Sports spotlight


photo courtesy of Mia Rojas

Mia Rojas, columnist

Running has been one of the only things that made sense to me. As a clumsy and uncoordinated

person, picking a sport when I was growing up was exhausting.

It took so many coaches, traumatized by my lack of hand-eye coordination, to come to that conclusion.

I can’t complain because with- out those humbling experiences, I would never have discovered running.

Running didn’t require any inherent talents or skills.

My cross country and track career started in middle school, but high school is when I started taking it seriously. My weekly mileage tripled from 9 to 24 miles and I started improving my times.

I began running on varsity my freshman year and it felt unreal.

However, sophomore year, I was still recovering from injuries. As I started to get back in shape, I realized I couldn’t run as much any- more. I got tired quicker, my times got slower, after just a few races, I felt an overwhelming, sense of failure.

Since I had made cross country such an acute part of my identity, I refused to believe I’d peaked, so I pushed myself harder. Running became less about the people I got to spend time and more about my times and weekly mileage. Not seeing times that were close to the ones I ran my freshman year had a profound impact on me.

I realized that I placed my worth on my performance, and I fell out of love with the only sport that made sense to me.

This obstacle tested more than my running ability and it forced me to look inward.

The reason running gives me joy is because it tests my limits and builds resilience. Running long distances taught me about mental toughness and how every obstacle is for a greater purpose.

Over the past four years, I’ve had to grapple with defining my reason to run and what the sport means to me. Although running has put me through tough times, I will remember the people and lessons I’ve learned from it, especially the importance of slowing down in life.

I’m not the same runner I was freshman year, but at the same time, I was never supposed to be.

My body, my mind, and my relationships with the people have changed since I was a freshman and those aren’t changes I should fear.

By remembering the hard times and going through life at my own pace, I’ve learned to believe in myself and the process.