||Holy Names Academy|
"What Motivates Me"
Before a big race, my cross country teammates and I often discuss ways to stay motivated during a race or during the season in general. While some runners might draw inspiration from sports movies or reading books, I get my motivation from my past.
My journey started when I was a month into my freshman year of high school at Holy Names Academy in Seattle, Washington. Holy Names is an all-girls school, a concept that I was very familiar with having attended Seattle Girls School for four years prior, a middle school where I prided myself on being known as the fastest student. In middle school I had run 2-4 days a week depending on whether or not I wanted to go play H.O.R.S.E with my brother or watch movies with friends. I was rewarded for my incredible efforts by winning the majority of my races.
I was satisfied with myself and naively expected everything to be the same in high school. This is why my world felt so broken on September 28th, 2013. I had run my 2nd high school race with big expectations, and a goal to win and break 20 minutes for 5k. Barely able to pick up my water logged feet on the duck crowded course and crying all the way, I finished more than a minute slower than I had hoped, far from the lead pack. I was horrified and even had to ask my coach if she still thought I was fast.
As I reflect on this day, I chuckle to myself. It was a defining moment in my running career. The sky was pouring buckets, but I had kindled a fire. I had ignited something deep inside myself and decided that I would never feel such frustration again. I plotted out my goals the next day. One: win the Metro league championship race, two: win the District Championships, three: win a state title, four: win a national title, five: run at Stanford. I believed in myself and my supporters wholeheartedly, fully willing to sacrifice movies and H.O.R.S.E. showdowns in the alley to accomplish my running dreams. I sought out a physical therapist who could help correct my running form and asked my coach for harder workouts.
To an outsider watching my freshman XC progress, these changes in my mentality and routine may have seemed ineffective. I would go on to finish 3rd in the Metro meet, 4th in the District meet and 14th at the State meet. However, I never doubted my ability to run faster and place better. I trained harder in the off season than I ever had and pushed myself as best I could in the spring track season.
The tenacity that my freshmen self embodied has carried me far. I reflect on my first year of high school running three years later having accomplished 4 out of my five goals. I have won the Metro league championship race, District championship race, the State championship race and have signed my National Letter of Intent to run at Stanford University next fall. However, a National title still eludes me.
As I chase the final goal on my list, my primary source of motivation comes from remembering my ambitious 14 year old self. I train and race for the unsatisfied freshman in me, always remembering that I have not come this far, just to come this far.