My Story: The Once horribly slow runner and his journey to becoming something people told him he could not.
You might find this interesting, and I’d appreciate it if you read it. :)
So I wasn’t always a runner, per-say. I was always a hockey player. Since I was 5, I played hockey for 12 years. I don’t want to seem cocky, but I was the best hockey player in the 45 mile radius around me. I played for many, many teams. My best season I scored 85 goals, got 43 assists, all in 39 games. The closest to me in the league had I think 30 something goals. So I was doing big things. Then in the last game of my 7th grade season with 30 seconds left I broke my leg. That put me out for almost 8 months. This is when I decided to start running cross country, just to build back up my leg muscle.
The Runner in me:
I remember, through all of elementary school the gym mile was my thing. I would always come in first for my grade and class. I even think I set the 6th grade record at my school or something like that. But it’s just because I was in shape. 7th grade I didn’t do cross or track just because it was a new school and I had hockey. Then after breaking my leg, I started Cross Country to build my leg muscle up. And I have to admit, I was horrible. Out of about 60 kids, I was the second or third slowest in the school. I was so slow, that it was ridiculous. I think my 1.5 mile run was like 14 or 15 minutes? So yeah…but yeah. I died that season. I don’t really remember track too much. I was on the 4x800 relay I think and we medaled our first meet. But that’s it. Nothing big.
High School Running:
I didn’t really train or anything for cross country my freshmen year. I didn’t take it seriously yet. I just wanted to do something to stay in shape. My fist 5k I ran that season, I got a 20:40. And was 13th out of 30 for my team. Which for guys, isn’t the fastest. By the end of the season, I earned my way to the regional team, and came in 3rd for our team at regionals. My PR was brought down to a 18:34. The closest person in my grade to me ran a 20:13. And that person was the fastest XC on the team in 8th grade.
Oh and then for track I ran a 4:52 mile and was .1 second away from making it to regionals but a senior beat me out by that much. I was the 3rd fastest miler on the team. And that time actually beat Steve Prefontaine’s mile time his freshmen year. He got like 5:02 I think. Just sayin! :P I also vowed that I will break the mile record before I graduate during this season.
But Sophomore year I didn’t really train hard either. More than freshmen, but still enough. This year I got a lot better, and my PR was a 17:33. I ran that at regionals, and then again at states. And this year was actually only the 2nd time our school has ever qualified for states in XC. We’ve had a team for 30+ years. I was the 2nd fastest on the team, and this was the first time I was contacted by a College wanting me to run for them.
For track, I got injured a week before it started and couldn’t run for 8 weeks. I ran at 2 meets I think, and my fastest mile was a 5:14. This was the first time I didn’t get a Varsity letter. And I was pissed.
Junior year, sucked. I let myself down. My PR was a 17:29. Only a 4 second PR from the year before. I was still the fastest on the team by 40 seconds, but I disappointed myself. I seriously missed a medal by one place in 7 of my 12 races. And this is where my view on running completely changed. I got a sudden urge to become the best. I wanted to be the remembered runner. So I quit hockey, and started training January 1st for track. I adopted the running habits. The running tone. The running everything. I tore down hockey posters and put up Prefontaine Posters. I watched “Prefontaine” every other night. I was obsessed. I went from barely being able to run 3 miles on January 1st, to running 10 miles easily on March 1st. I was ready to be the best.
Track was pretty good. I won I think…6 or 7 races between the mile and two mile and 800m. I actually got a decent amount of medals. And things were going good. Half way through the season I was put on the 4x800 team after beating everyones PR in the 800 just 10 minutes after I ran my mile race. I ended up with a 2:04 in my 800, 4:43 in my mile, and 10:27 or 28 in my 2 mile. But I knew I could do better. The day I was suppose to peak I got a stress fracture in my foot. The whole race I had it, and still ran a 4:57 mile. After 10 weeks off from running in the summer of 2012, I was finally able to run again. Even though I couldn’t run, my training went really really well. I saw a noticeable strengthening of my arms, pecs, abs, quads, and determination. But despite all that training, my 10 weeks missed from running did it’s toll.
Senior year cross country is over now. Four years of miles upon miles with the same team, ending way too soon. Of course I came into this season with high hopes. Even though I was injured for quite a bit of time, I believed I had good enough training to do what I wanted and be unforgettable. Sadly, my first race told me how the rest of the season would be. Coming in 2nd for our team when I wasn’t feeling sick, a first for myself in 2 years. I was a minute slower than the previous season. Which worried me, but still I believed I could get my strength back and run a good time. But race after race, I was getting times that left me heartbroken basically. I was aw-struck. I’d almost break down after every race because I never ran these times since my first race in freshmen year. Running mid 19:30’s and 20’s for almost all. It was devastating me. One break-through race I got 18:15. Which made me feel better. But yet the races after those were back in the 19’s. I wanted to go out with a bang at regionals and do what I knew how to do, run well. Yet, even though I was mentally ready for that race my body was just not doing it. I had to aerobic base before the season. I was done. I ran a 19:08 at regionals. 1:40 slower than my PR. And this time I did break down. I couldn’t take it. I ended my high school xc career on a bad note. But even though that is over, and I didn’t do what I hoped. It has made me stronger. That feeling of losing. I’m not ready to feel that during track. I’m ready to break records. I’m ready to win race after race. I’m ready to become THAT runner at our school. The one that is unstoppable. And it all starts now. This winter season will be busy. But it will all be worth it. Every squat. Every mile. Every drop of sweat. It will make me one step closer to making a name for myself.
Cross Country season is over and now I go into winter training. I’m not much of an indoor runner right now (we don’t have a team). I like just training for the real season. Outdoor Track. I have made a schedule that I went over with my xc coach, my track coach, and my distance coach. Miles upon miles will be ran in the next 4 months. Squats upon squats, cleans upon cleans, and downward dog upon downward dog will be performed. Give me scars and give me pain, because I know in the end I will be the one unstoppable. And I can’t wait for every second of it. The rest of my running career starts now. And I won’t miss a stride of it.
So with the 2012 London Olympics, I have fully decided that I want to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics. My best chance I believe would be in the 800m, as I feel most comfortable with that and my time is probably the best for it. Right now, in 2012, I have a PR of 2:04. And if I remember correctly, a time that would get me qualified would be around 1:44. 20 seconds in 4 years could be a bit much. But I’m ready to train for it. I don’t know how I will do it. I don’t know who will help me do it. But I know, I will try my hardest. And I will make sure my hardest is enough. My parents don’t think I can make it. My enemies don’t think I can do it. Hell, my coach even thinks it’s a pretty lofty goal. So that just means I HAVE to do it. I know I won’t be the best in my first year of college. Or the second. But I do know if I work hard enough, I can and will be the best my final year. The years that count. It’s a process. And I’m willing to go with it. I’m ready to be a runner for life. I’m ready to be an Olympian for life. May my training take me to that goal, and I will thank it to all of your support. You guys are a huge motivation of mine. And I would love to thank every single one of you. And I promise, I will remember all of you when my time comes to shine.
“Don’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream the farther you’ll get.” - Michael Phelps
If you actually read all of that or skimmed it, I want to sincerely thank you. It means a lot to me if you did. I hope you found it interesting/enjoying/motivational/whatever. And I would love it if you sent me a message telling me you did! Because I’d like to recognize you and your awesomeness! I’ll even give you a cookie or a promotion or something if you want. Because you deserve it. :)
“You have to wonder at times what you’re doing out there. Over the years, I’ve given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement.” - Steve Prefontaine