By Anouk L.

Junior Isabel F. worked hard for the cross country team this fall. After starting the season with a knee injury, she managed to get to the All-State Championships.

The injury resulted in a slow start for Isabel that was both mentally and emotionally difficult.

“Running was extremely difficult for me because of the setbacks that I faced,” she said. “While everyone was able to start training and competing, I was sidelined.”

But not even an injury could stop Isabel from keeping the pace with her peers and–in some instances–surpassing them. The injury proved to be a source of motivation.

“I felt I was so far behind in the season and had a lot of ground to cover to catch up to everyone,” she said. “It was also super hard to watch others compete in the sport I love so much and not being able to participate.”

Isabel F. has been running throughout her life but she started to become serious about the sport in her freshman year. She proves her dedication with her diligence.

Almost every day before school, Isabel goes to CrossFit. CrossFit training is a combination of gymnastics, weightlifting, and body-weight exercises.

“The great part about this is the constantly varied workouts, which helps me to prepare for anything,” said Isabel. “This type of training has helped me a lot with my running and has really improved my overall performance.”

The cross country championship took place in Western Massachusetts on November 18th in harsh conditions. The runners had to adapt themselves to a weather they never experienced: snow was covering a major part of the race.

“This was easily the hardest race I have ever had to compete in due to the weather conditions,” said Isabel. “Running in several inches of snow and at times, mud, caused me to become stressed during the race, but I remained calm as best I could and finished the race.”

Any race involves a certain amount of stakes and pressure. With the weather, this race proved to be even more stressful. Isabel, however, managed to thrive under that pressure.

“The pressure even helped to motivate me to run at my best and I would not have been as successful without it,” said Isabel. “The pressure mostly comes from myself, as I push myself to exceed my own expectations. For the most part, I just wanted to bring pride to my school and make my teammates and coaches proud.”

Isabel has a few tricks when focusing on an upcoming race. “Sometimes, [preparing myself] means ignoring absolutely everything and isolating myself from the real world.”

According to Isabel, other sources of inspiration include listening to rap music and reading motivational quotes.

“Listening to rap beforehand and reading motivational quotes helped as well.”

Although the weather resulted in a disappointing performance during States, Isabel was able to find solace in the aftermath.

“[I was] pretty happy with what I had accomplished this season [and] looking back, it was an honor to compete with the best of the state, so I was thankful for that.”

Isabel is also thankful for her teammates.

“At every single high and low point of the season, my team was there for me and I will forever be grateful for their kind words of encouragement and helpful assistance. From traveling three hours away to Western MA to cheer for me to group sing-a-longs on the bus, my team was there every step of the way and I thank them for that.”

 

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