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WVU Mountaineer Showcase Vlog & Outdoor Track 2022 Season Recap // Episode 173

Photos from the Pine-Richland Track Series on 6/2/2022.

Hi everyone! I hope you're having a wonderful day!! This is a rather overdue post, but I've been marinating on my feelings about my past outdoor track season for a few weeks now, and I finally feel that I understood what the season has taught me and I'm ready to share! I love doing these competitive season recaps because they always help me organize my thoughts and feelings, which become so jumbled and messy during the actual season, haha.

This outdoor track season started out rough, like real rough. After the indoor season I jumped straight into training for outdoors, only to find that some nagging pain in my entire left leg was getting significantly worse as the weeks went on. Finally, it got so bad (I typically have a high pain tolerance, which can actually get in the way of injury prevention, lol), that my dad and I went to a physical therapist to figure out what was wrong and how to fix it. At the beginning of March I went into PT, finding that the exercises and new strength training were definitely helping what had been diagnosed as a locked hip flexor. While PT was wonderful and I was getting better, I had lost basically three weeks of training - some of the most valuable training time since the racing season was about to start.

On April 2nd, I toed the line for the Altoona Igloo Invitational 2 mile (my favorite track event of choice) with the goal of running hard and feeling healthy. This proved a worthy goal, as I raced well, running 1 second slower than my PR from last outdoor season. I felt good and healthy, if slightly out of shape, and oh so hungry for more. I raced 7 times this outdoor track season, each time teaching me something new and challenging me in different ways.

I won’t break down every single race, but here the highlights. I raced in West Virginia at the WVU Mountaineer Classic, which was a super exciting experience! I got to watch D1 college athletes, an Australian Olympian, and amazing high schoolers race under the lights at a cool mondo track. At that meet I was also in the same race as Irene Riggs, a phenomenal high school distance runner, who in that race ran 9:54 for 2 miles, which was a #3 nationally ranked time at that time. It was so inspiring, and I have to say I was rather honored to be lapped by her, lol. My favorite meet from the season was the Bellwood Invitational on May 2nd, at which I ran my best time of the season and won the girls 2 mile. I went into that day thinking I had about a 50/50 chance of winning, so to come away with the win and a personal best at a track I know very well was so exciting. To be honest, one of the best parts of that day was when after the race, a journalist from the local newspaper came up to me asking if we could talk about my race. He asked me about how the race went, what winning meant to me, and what it says about my season and progression. To many of my local high school competitors, being interviewed after a race is pretty standard and not incredibly exciting, but to me it was thrilling. I don’t do anything in running for attention, but throughout my high school running career I’ve gotten significantly less press coverage than my peers for a variety of reasons. While I hate to admit it and I don’t expect this attention, it has been frustrating at times to see my peers getting that coverage and attention while I blatantly don’t. I’ve come to see this as yet another challenge from God to just run because I love running, and not because it’ll get attention at my school, from the newspaper, or even entry into big championships. I truly believe that this unique high school running experience is all teaching me a lesson, and while that’s tough to swallow sometimes, it gives me an appreciation for the little moments. When that staff writer came up to me and asked if I could talk, I felt so excited and ready to speak from the heart (though I was probably still gasping and out of breath, lol). Anyways, this is all to say that being interviewed after winning the Bellwood Invite was truly a highlight of my season.

To break it down, I improved my 3200-meter time from 11:56 (2021 outdoors) to 11:37 (2022 outdoors) and my 1 mile time from 5:35 (2021 outdoors) to 5:32 (2022 outdoors). To be completely honest, these times were not what I had hoped for. I expected more out of myself physically and was extremely disappointed by not obtaining those goal times. However, I know at my core that not reaching those goals was teaching me something. Throughout the season I couldn't quite tell what, and I know that I won't truly know until after my high school career is over, but as of now here's what I think God was teaching me through this outdoor season:

~ Humility

~ Joy in the small moments

~ appreciation for opportunities

Not racing to my body's extreme is very hard for me, because while physically easier, I don't feel the satisfaction of the exhaustion of working my body to its absolute max. This is something that I've struggled with all throughout high school, especially because an iron deficiency has caused me to push my body to its absolute max without getting the gratification of a shiny new PR and leaving me passing out over the finish line, seeing double and barely being able to speak of the immense wooziness and exhaustion I was feeling. This is something that I’ve worked on a lot since last fall, as my parents and I have figured out that I have an iron deficiency (not uncommon for a teenage female distance runner) and while working to fix that has significantly decreased my woozy spells, it hasn’t solved all those problems. I’m so thankful to have parents who work so hard to help me run my best and achieve my goals, while also reminding me of my love for the sport and running itself.

Side note: this blog post is both a season recap, and an announcement that I just posted a new video!! It’s a vlog from the aforementioned West Virginia meet, which I vlogged all the way back in April and was planning on making it a nice video for the next weekend… but then I got super self-conscious about how I looked running in it and decided that I just wasn’t happy with my race time, so I just gave up on the footage and let it sit for 2 whole months. This past week I finally reckoned with the fact that I can make a sick video with some sick footage without the actual experience of it being absolutely perfect and without having perfect running form. It was still a veery fun meet and super cool opportunity, and I can’t let a silly little thing like a time on a stopwatch or how high my knees lift hold back creativity. It’s never too late to create something that you’re passionate about, so I hope you enjoy the video!!

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