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  • kathryn elizabeth

my running story

My running story.

I started running in 7th grade when my brother joined the xc team. It was fun but I didn’t really realize what it was, I just went to practice and tried to keep up everyday. 8th grade it got way more fun cause I was actually good. Loved winning and just loved the way I didn’t feel awkward at all while running. Then high school xc started and it was so freakin’ fun and I got to run at footlocker regionals but missed qualifying for nationals by 3 spots, so then decided that definitely was not happening again next year. I got excited for freshman track season but then ran into several hip and adductor injuries which kept me from even beating my 8th grade track times. But then I rehabbed and pt’d all summer and sophomore xc was tha dreammm season. I got a heck ton of awards and got to go to footlocker nationals and…. Haven’t had a healthy season since.. So the rest of highschool was pretty rocky from torn hip muscles, multiple times in a boot, nutritionists and pediatricians telling me multiple things were wrong with me and how I needed to gain weight and do this that and the other to help with health and fatigue issues I had been having. After listeing to them and gaining about ten pounds from the specific diets they had me on I still hadn’t made any progress and my legs literally couldn’t run fast for more than half a mile without feeling like they were about to bust. Finally, when I started talking to a few knowledgeable college coaches they told me about ferritin. I had had my iron tested multiple times but the levels were always fine, but once we heard about ferritin level testing we immediately went and got it tested. Sure enough, it was hecka low. Long story short, after a year and a half of being clueless as to what was wrong with me we finally figured it out and I got to feeling normal again. Overcame a small foot injury right before senior xc started but cross trained like crazayyy and came back to win the first race of the season. A week later I was in the pool again after a fall which agitated the already torn (sophomore track) right hip labral, which kept me out for almost the entirety of the rest of the season.

There were tons of emotions and tears throughout all of this, but as a senior in highschool who had not run fast in a while the major emotion at the moment was anxiety because college coaches do not see your “one of the best in the nation” and “Gatorade player of the year” from sophomore year, they see “injured,” “has been,” “not desireable.” So, Scholarship had always been a shoe in for me in both mine and my parents eyes because nationally ranked runners can almost always get scholarship, but we were having to come to terms with the fact that college was expensive and scholarship may not be as readily available as we were thinking after the injuries. Anyways, after all the stress and frustration regarding the decision my parents and I prayed a lot and ended up deciding Baylor was the place for me. To say the least freshman year did not go as planned and the constant pattern of injury only continued and got worse, keeping me from gaining scholarship. I loved my teammates and coaches and loved getting to travel with them, but I was insanely lonely during the 8 months of injury and with being injured came way too many lonely hours cross training and weekends spent alone in a dorm room when all my teammates and friends were flying all over the country to do the one thing I wanted do do more than anything else, Run.

I’ve never been clinically diagnosed with depression or anything , but that spring semester of freshman year was definitely the hardest and loneliest time I’ve ever experienced, especially with being so far away from home (14 hours). Long story short I knew I was going to have to transfer and that was a really scare and hard experience and decision. Once I got home from Baylor for the summer I got to start training a little bit again because the other (left) torn hip labral had finally started to recover. Running slowly but surely got easier again as I worked my mileage up superrr slowly before starting at Samford in the fall. The transition to Samford was great because I was surrounded by so many amazing people. There were a couple of little injuries throughout this past sophomore xc season, but our coach was SO good about being there to help me cross train through them and I would come back in better shape for the workouts than I even had been before being out for two weeks.

So overall running was going well again. I was almost back to my sophomore year of highschool year xc season 17:20 5k shape. But then I tore my arch muscle with less than half a mile to go at Conference in late October. After (and during the last half mile) I literally could not put any weight on my foot without insanely sharp, shooting pain. I was immediately heart broken because during the race I knew I was on my way to break 17:30, which would be my first time to go sub 18 since all the injuries started. Then after the race I had to face the realization that I was about to be out for a loooong time again even though the doctors told me it might not be too long I could tell it was gonna be a while just based on the pain level. The hardest part was not getting to run regionals and help the team qualify for nationals though. For the first time ever samford had a huge chance of making it to nationals and I so badly wanted to help my girls get there, but this wasn’t our year (they still all ran amazing and like all PR'd tho !! ), but there’s two more years left for me to help do that so, still time !!

So the docs said I would be out for about 6 weeks, 12 at the longest and here we are 16 weeks later hah. Anyways, injuries are terrible and in the past I almost always get “sad” and “depressed” and “lonely” when I can’t run, and yes there have been bad days with this injury too, but for the first time EVER I have still been able to really love life without running and I have been able to develop SO much as a person outside of running this time because I allowed myself to. I’ve gotten more involved with church, more obsessed with fashion haha, more into reading, I LOVE going on long walks now, I sell paintings now !! (WHAT never thought that would happen for sure!!), and I really just love life and people and God more than I ever have. For the first time since I started running in 7th grade I can actually imagine my life without it now and there are so many dreams and exciting expectations around life besides just running fast.

Granted, I still miss running so much, and would probably pay a 100 bucks to go run 14 miles at 6:40 pace again on a Sunday morning while the sun is rising. Granted, I have still called my mom and friends a few times this semester completely a mess crying my eyes out about how I “can’t do it again, I can’t be hurt again, I can’t go swim again, I can’t watch everyone run when I can’t again,” but there is always a better day after “those” days. And for the first time in 5 whole years I can 100% say I love the life I’m living and I’m so happy and grateful for my community, where God has placed me, and where He is taking me.

Long story short, I just want to let someone know, even if it’s just one person who reads all the way to the end. You can do it. I know when you’re going through something it feels like it will never get better, but I’m living proof that you do gain resilience from struggle, you can and WILL (if you allow yourself to be) be happy and thrive in life when nothing seems to be going your way. I LOVE the girl I am today because I fought to become her. When you go through insanely difficult situations but still come out smiling anyways it makes people wonder. I am who I am and who I fought to be because Christ shows me how much He loves me by the way he fights for me. The more I fall in love with Jesus and worshipping Him, the more I fall in love with this life, the people I’m living it with, and the one living it (myself lol).

So, here’s to making people wonder !! Praying I can make them ask how I’m still smiling and help them see how wonderful living and loving and really trusting life with Jesus can be !! hype squad. K that’s all, thanks for taking the time to read <3



Also, go listen to Trust in You by Lauren Daigle and If then by General Ghost >>>

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