Every morning in Africa a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle or it will starve. It doesn't matter whether you're a lion or a gazelle-when the sun comes up, you'd better be running.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Summation of a College Career

It's been a really long time since I blogged and I'm pretty sad about it. Let's just say I had writer's block for like...6 months. I felt like I wrote everything about running that I could. I still don't have a list of ideas, but I have been reflecting on my collegiate runner career a lot recently.

As of May 12th, 2012 I was officially finished competing as a collegiate runner. It still hasn't fully hit me that I am done with something that I have been participating in for 10 years of my life. Yes, I will still run, I may even join a local club running team, but competing as I know it will never be the same. I'm not complaining nor I am feeling sorry for myself. These are just the facts. I know when fall comes around and everyone else is starting school and going to XC camp and running the first race I will probably have a melt-down and really freak out. But for now I will continue my summer training and try to forget that I'm done. I have always been one that is ready to move on with my life when the time comes. In 6th grade I couldn't wait for middle school. In 9th grade I acted like I already was in high school. And by the end of my sophomore year of high school I was already wishing I was in college. But now that I'm done with college....I'm not really sure what I am supposed to be looking forward to! Definitely not ready for kids yet, and I haven't applied to physical therapy school yet either so I am just a bum on the street working and running and feeling in limbo.

But! This blog is about running, not about my up-in-the-air life. Its been 2 weeks since I ran my last track meet. I took 8 days off: no running, no exercise, no nothing. I was going crazy. I get super antsy and anxious when I don't work out, so this week I've been back at it. Cross-training and running. I've tried to put my last track meet out of my mind. I really sucked it up :( They say if you want something bad enough, if you dream it hard enough, that it will happen. Well, I think that's a load of crap. Cuz I definitely wanted more than anything to end my career on at least a good note if not an awesome bang! No such luck for me. Its okay, I've learned not to let one race define my life or who I am, but trust me, it still sucks. I once wrote a post when I had an insane dose of wisdom fall upon me. In it I wrote,
"The race isn't over when you cross the finish line. The race is never over, it is only a stepping stone on your climb up the mountain. You must use every race, every run, as a learning experience; you must get stronger with every success and every failure."
What I could learn from listening to my own advice! Fortunately I have an awesome friend who also offered me words of wisdom when I shared my disappointing performance with her. She reminded me that my contributions to the team were much farther reaching than 2 crappy races my last weekend as a college athlete. There is more to being on a team than racing well. There is the camaraderie, the sportsmanship, the hours of agonizing workouts, the bonds that form when you go through struggles with each other, the example I have been to others. She helped me take a step back and remember 4 years of running, not 24 hours of it. I have been reflecting back on my four years and realizing how much I have grown and changed since I started.
2009: I could not jump over that barrier...
2012: Steeple pro. 
I think these two pictures depict quite the change. Not only could I not jump that barrier the first 20 times I tried, I had many other running barriers I hadn't learned to overcome yet. Now, four years later there I am jumping that barrier like nobody's business. Okay, not quite, I still have terrible form, but it wasn't such a barrier to me anymore. More like a stepping block to help me over that water. So it was with many things in my running. I learned to overcome the mental barriers that held me back from being a good distance runner (anything longer than 800m killed me my freshman year). I learned to embrace pain instead of resist it. Of course running is going to hurt a little bit. But instead of backing off, just accept that pain and deal with it. It doesn't get worse. It stays the same. Like the steeple barrier, it can be something that stops you, or it can be something that you use to your advantage. You need to find the barriers you have in your life and turn them in to a stepping block to clear that pit of water. 

I also learned how to have fun. Running used to be so serious to me! Which I thought was fun, and I did enjoy it, but I think I took it way too seriously. Bad races and workouts were devastating to me. As I matured as a runner and person I learned that a race is just a race and the more fun I have doing it the better I usually do. I love that pictures can capture these emotions so well.

Notice: Top picture-teammates, smiling. Me, not smiling, not paying attention, totally focused and freaked out. Bottom picture-all laughing and having fun.

I have blabbed enough. I am going to let my pictures to the rest of the talking. These are some of my favorite memories from the past four years. I know that although this chapter in my life is over, I have many new and probably just as exciting experiences to come. I will never stop running. Running makes up the person I am.

the race that changed my life. Read about it here


The first and maybe only race I ever won.
Thank you UVU for the best four years of my life so far!


5 comments:

  1. Kalina, I loved reading this and thinking about you all grown up (sniff). I'm so happy that you were able to gain so much from college running. Just remember, the best is yet to come!
    I also really enjoyed reading about the race that changed everything for you. That was a powerful post!
    Love and Best Wishes for your future in running and everything else-- Coach Chambers

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  2. There are still races to run and finish lines to cross and as always, I will be there.

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  3. I love this!! You're an amazing friend, runner, and person! On to new adventures and 'water barriers' to conquer ;)

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  4. Kalina,
    Truly words of wisdom... very inspiring.

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  5. I don't know what brought me back to read this post again. But anyone else who stumbles across it should know that in less than a week after you posted this, the doctors found large tumors in your abdomen. One week later you were on the surgery table being diagnosed with late stage ovarian cancer. The amazing thing about your last 2 collegiate races is that you finished. That is truly a miracle. We will never know how you would have done had you not been sick, but your determination and grit will remind us all that we need to finish the race, no matter how hard and no matter how long. Now when you run, it will be because you can and every step will feel like a gift, a miracle. Thank you for being an inspiration. I will never forget how you picked yourself up from your last hurdle and finished the race. It will always inspire me to do the same.

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