Pain, Growth, Transformation, …and maybe some Recognition

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For those of you who don’t know me, I love running. I know that bores some people and I would never force you to accompany me on a journey. Above is a photo of my most treasured award. It was living proof of my transition from freshman to sophomore year of Cross Country (with a dose of distance running on the Track team). Long-distance running requires long-term thinking… and a passion for the process. I’ve previously “re-blogged” my post about my first marathon experience but let’s bring it back to the roots. I had my difficulties on the track during my high school years but before that, there was my brother’s influence of seeing the enjoyment amongst a team who competed by… running.

One of the silliest things I would say when I was little was that my shoes made me run faster. I would purposely “tie my shoes” on field trips so I could sprint a little burst to catch up. There were countless treasured memories that ultimately led to my decision to join the Cross Country team as a cold turkey who NEVER participated with any sports team before. I even needed a neighbor who was on the team to overcome my doubts, get me in front of the coaches, and reel me in. I’ve discussed some of the challenges along the way, though problems already surfaced despite my eldest niece not being born yet.

So… what was the key to my successful pursuit of running faster? Working harder and smarter! No shortcuts! In my ambitious strive towards building up mileage, I faced injuries along the way, especially calf pain that felt like daggers in my legs. However, I was able to get in touch with my coaches and slash my personal best times with ease. A tremendous amount of growth was necessary to attain the recognition in the above photo. I will leave with the short yet sweet story about summer runners’ camp out near Half Moon Bay.

My first summer camp of running was quite the experience. I had just finished my freshman year and was eager to improve. Little did I know what exactly that entailed. Running twice a day?!? Pool workouts? Good thing I was in good company. But wow… was I tired or what? 6, 7, 8 miles for a long run that was out-and-back? What if I get lost? Or I am alone? Fatigue much? I earned some battle scars along the way, especially after a silly fall when tripping on a fallen tree. In spite of the work, I did not mind the moments & memories along the way, including washing dishes, playing group games, playing ping pong, taking naps in sleeping bags, going on night hikes, sharing stories, and… connecting. If anything was instrumental to my ability to improve, it was first and foremost the feeling that I… mattered. So whatever it is that you are doing, keep at it!

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