Aboard the Cross Train?


As “Back to School” commercials rule the television and the “pumpkin collection” returns to Bath and Body Works there’s no denying it: Summer is ending! Sad as it might be for those enjoying the endless buffet on a cruise ship or having the luxury of sleeping in past noon, for me that was never a part of my summer anyways. For the last ten years, summer, or more in importantly the end of summer, was about one thing: CROSS COUNTRY.
Now August is here and I’m not the one buying a new set of colorful notebooks or putting in 70miles this week. Instead I’m singing along in my head with Alice Cooper, “School’s out…forever!” It’s true, I graduated from FSU on Saturday and am just beginning to realize that may have been the end…forever! Instead of going on to graduate school or landing a full-time job, I am lucky enough to pursue my running as a career as I enter the professional running scene (thanks to Oiselle).
Me, trying to take swimming seriously
But 100% focus on running hasn’t been the same lately because of one thing; no more cross-country. Normally by this time of year I’d be racking up the miles, hitting a new all-time longest run, and finally taking my XC spikes out of their bag to clean off the mud I let sit on them since NCAA Cross (why do I always do that to myself!?) However this year the focus isn’t cross country, instead it’s cross-training. I’m still on the long road back from a pesky injury that plagued my entire track season, and even though I’m running pain free for the first time in months, I still feel so far off where I’d normally be. To make up for it I’ve been spending extra time doing rehab exercises and giving my arms lactic hell in the pool. My coach keeps telling me not to worry, “There’s no more cross country. All that matters is getting in the miles.”

All that matters…if only I could think in terms of what really matters. As hard as it is to see the best of the best finishing their European racing circuits with a fresh set of PRs, or my old teammates head back to school in tip-top shape ready for their cross-country season debuts, the truth is that’s not where I am right now.
Timing, it’s all about Timing. To be in my best shape right now would be of no benefit to me. To keep this perspective in mind I opened my Bible and turned to Ecclesiastes chapter 3
Ecclesiastes 3:1 “To every [thing there is] a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” This reminds me that God’s timing is perfect. It may not be what I want, but it all has its reasoning. Most of the verses seem like common sense, there’s “a time to be born, and a time to die;
 a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted… a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
 a time to mourn, and a time to dance…” but then again we don’t always live with the notion that this is common sense. Society, and myself included, like to sell the idea that you need to always be “one step ahead,” and you’ve got to “make your own destiny.” Yet sometimes the uncontrollable creeps in and we find it hard to accept what always seems like “bad timing.” Well Ecclesiastes is basically teaching us that there is no such thing as bad timing. Every time we face a loss, disappointment, setback or change of course we have to sit back and believe that it was meant to be and all you can do is make the best of your own situation.

Not sure I’ll miss mudslides like this!
There was a time when I would wake up at the crack of dawn, throw my muddy spikes into my bag and head out for a grassy-dew-filled field to run my 6x1000s. However, those good old cross-country days are now in my past. I’ll miss them for sure, but I can’t look behind anymore. For now I’m focused on the moment but also keeping my eyes set on the future…There’s still lots of time to put in the work before the next World Championships or Rio 2016, and as long as I have my focus on God’s timing I know I’ll get to where I’m meant to be. 
~I run for Christ! #IR4C
And now its time for…..Four Fun Facts about Me!
1…My first cross-country season actually came following my first middle school track season. I probably chose not to run XC in 7th grade because I was shy. I also thought it was the same thing as track but with a dirt oval. 
2…My senior year of H.S. our XC team was ranked as high as 3rd in the country. In college my team finished 2nd, 2nd, 4th, 4th and ranked as high as 1st. Despite not winning a team title I’m still proud of that streak!
3…Now that I’m not busy with school I can’t wait to get painting and organizing my photography into a website.
4…Lately I’ve been trying to come up with creative pool workouts and this seems to be my default one. I call it “The Twelve Days of Christmas Workout” You start out swimming and singing the song in your head and holding your breath for one verse. As the song progresses (and gets longer and longer) you have to hold your breath until you get to “a partridge in a pair tree). By the time you get to the whole 12 days you’ll be lactic for sure! And if not, you need to sing in your head slower 😉  But if you’re not as weird as me and don’t want to sing a Christmas song in August then pick any song and keep trying to get further into the lyrics with each lap. I just use this song because it also makes it easy to remember how many laps I’ve done. Happy splashes!

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