Hawai’i Again…?

Written on Saturday, October 22nd, as we drove to Hapuna Beach after our conference race.

Ask me six months ago how I liked running. I would have said that I h-a-t-e-d it. I always respected my cross country friends for what they do, but would never have thought of joining. Even during the summer when I ran with Fredy, Ethan, and Mayra, I would feel a rush of relief as I thought, “I can just run for fun, unlike them… they’re actually doing it for their sport… sucks for them!!” But fast forward to the final days of August– I was walking back from lunch during RA training week, rushing to be on time for a conference. If I didn’t fatefully bump into Harlan and the boys at that moment at the stairwell, they would have never casually asked me if I was interested in joining cross country, I would have never even considered it, and I definitely don’t know where I would be now. Honestly, it gets to me every time I think about how far I’ve gotten. I ran five 6k races, PRing every single time except for this last one (I’ll get to that later). My goal for the season was to run an average 8 minute mile for the 3.75 miles that we run, which frankly, I didn’t believe I could do. I just said that because we needed to set a goal. But you know what? I freakin conquered that in my fourth race, running at 7:57 pace. You better believe I bawled my eyes out after that race. I was in so much shock. This is the girl who came in dead last in her first race at 9:12 pace. This is the girl who couldn’t even complete three miles in her first practice. This is the girl who would dread going to tennis practice every single day, contemplate which excuse to give each time to try and get out of things (I never did, though! Promise), especially if there was conditioning…. but I overcame everything that I thought I couldn’t do and reached for the damn stars, and captured every single one. And today, I finished my last ever race. My last ever collegiate sports competition, in the Big Island of Hawaii, through the muddiest jungle where peril awaited every footstep. I now walk away from this experience as a runner who can comfortably run at least five miles a day, as a dual-collegiate athlete in NCAA Division II, as a part of an amazing group of teammates, coaches… friends. I am forever grateful for the love and support that this group has embraced me with. Through them, I was able to learn discipline, mental strength, and pure hard work. But let’s not forget everybody who supported me from the sidelines, everybody who came to cheer me and my team on, and those who rooted for me in spirit. Without a doubt, I am a better woman than I have ever been… all because I decided to become a runner. And boy, did I fall in love with it completely and unapologetically. 

I know I hung up my racquets in April and said I would be done with sports forever. I guess I just couldn’t help it. But this time, it is forreal– I am officially done with my athletic career!

Nobody compares to this group.Sights from our hotel.Jumping for joy… because I stuck through all the pain these past months… and now I am done!!Look closely.. there is a sea turtle.I am so thankful for Chels and Rhics!Hapuna Beach, ladies and gentlemen.Before…After! That mud run was intense.Big Island, the youngest of the Hawaiian islands, boasts of her active volcanoes. Look at this hardened lava!!Water as blue as I remember in Oahu.Banquet shenanigans… for the record, cross country is the most fun, dorky, awesome, and cool sport out there. Just saying.Rambutan and lychee!Kilauea… the most active volcano.Of course I had to take this pic!Don’t let the softness of the sand fool you… the wind was so strong that it felt like we were in a sandstorm and it hurt like heck as it stung our skin!

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