I Hate Running
By Justine Kruger

“I hate running” Those were the first words that I muttered to myself during my first ever collegiate cross country 5K time trial my sophomore year at my university. It was awful. I wanted to throw up the entire time. The coach had picked me up when I asked him about doing some extra trails around school on my own. I didn’t even know what I was getting myself into. First practice of the season, and we are running 3.1 miles as fast as we can. I was terrified and nervous and ready for failure. Not even halfway through someone threw up and another girl was limping. I looked at this and decided that my odds weren’t very good. I was feeling okay, but still nervous. I ended up doing just fine for my first ever time trial, but this season I know was going to challenge me in more ways than one. The speed workouts were crazy; the long runs were, well, long and the expectations were very high.

            Ever since I could remember, I was always expected to do so well in my sports. I always had so much pressure to do well and be the best one, get first and bring home the trophy. My family is very competitive and that really put pressure on me to always do well. My dad was very supportive of me and everything that I put my mind to. He was there for all of the soccer practices and games. He always came with some other kind of support system like my grandmother and of course some kind of sports drink spiked with an energy drink. So when I said that I wanted to join the cross country team at my university, he of course was very supportive and welcoming to the idea of his oldest daughter once again doing a sport.
            My first year was full of so many trials. All I wanted to do was get better and faster. I was always good at sports, so why couldn’t I pick this one up so quickly? I always had to be reminded that progress in running doesn’t happen overnight and make sure not to keep my head too high in the clouds. I was always reminded to make reasonable goals that I could achieve in a decent amount of time. Races were nerve-racking and more intense that I had ever imagined. I threw up at the end of every single of them, so I always had that to look forward to. When it got to the middle of the season, I started to go to some of our assistant coach’s ultra-marathon races, it was amazing. Seeing people do this as a profession became something so new to me. I was excited, because naturally I wanted to be just as fast and strong as they are. So I focused in my training and before long, I was improving and getting better. I started my season with a time of 25:20 and ended with a 22:40.
            I just ended my second season of cross country ever and it was a season that I will never forget. I learned so much about myself and what I wanted to do with my future with athletics. I learned more about the sport, and am excited to attain more knowledge daily from my coaches and teammates. I finished the season with a 21:33. A minute and seven seconds faster than last year. Only a year has gone by and I have been able to improve that much. I’m still of course upset that I didn’t break 21 minutes, but I have come to learn that running isn’t something that just happens; it takes dedication and constant work to be fast. With this upcoming track season in mind I have to remember that this is only my second year; And not to have the big expectations that I always put on myself because that won’t help me in this sport. This isn’t like soccer, a sport that I had played for fifteen years, this is something completely new, and something my dad doesn’t even understand. Running opens up so may doors and gives me the opportunity to enjoy being active and fit.  I can happily say that I love to run and looking back, I laugh at myself for ever saying otherwise.     

About the author:

Justine Kruger, is a student at William Jessup University in Rocklin, Ca. studying adolescent psychology. She is active and enjoys the out doors. She just recently started running. She is thankful to God for her health and has a desire to share her new found passion for running.