“Want to come to morning practice? We meet at 6 a.m. to run, then we lift weights," my friend Sarah, who was a year older than me, told me. "There are doughnuts.” Sarah was on the cross-country team, a team that was ranked the best in the state of Oregon. Even though I played volleyball, I agreed. Sarah was awesome, and I loved doughnuts. Why not?
That’s how my love affair with distance running started. In high school, running was my healthiest relationship. My coach took us to beautiful trails around Portland to run after school. He taught us how to prioritize sleep, and he made sure we were well-hydrated and eating enough to support our 50-mile-per-week training regimen.
Every time I stepped up to the starting line ready to race, I felt nervous but also incredibly confident, because I knew that no matter what happened during the race, I had trained as hard as I could. I took comfort in knowing I had done my best to prepare. The end result was important to me, but it didn’t matter to me as much as I mattered to me.