The Simplicity of a Race

By Olivia Gardner, Regular Contributor October 18, 2015



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I’ve learned a lot about myself this past week. Last Friday, I was nervous going into my race because of knee pain I was experiencing. I told my Coach and she told me to do what was best for me, because only I knew the pain I was in. I began that race with tears streaming down my face and pain coursing through my knee, determined to try, and I made it a little ways past the first mile when I had to stop. It was a big decision, but my teammate was there to walk me off the course. In four years of cross-country, I have never let out of a race, and I have never not raced. I have been training and working hard since June, becoming stronger and faster, but then I get injured with two weeks left in season. I was beating myself up. So, I went to the trainer and was told I needed to go the whole week without running. The goal was to race on Saturday.

I came to the realization that day while standing in front of the mirror: “I’m okay. I just need a break and a little rest, and I will come back for the last two races. Everything will be okay.”

It was a reminder that we get caught up in life and don’t always pay attention to what we need for ourselves, because we’re so busy doing what we need to do.

Saturday morning comes and I get up ready to race, but I was a little nervous. I did my warm-up and wasn’t so sure I was going to race, but I told myself that all I had to do was try. I approached the start line with positivity, because I’m the captain and I have a team to support. I gave my girls a pep talk. I told them,

“Go out and do your best, be positive. I’m not sure I’ll be finishing with you, but I will be at the finish either way. I love you, and you will all do amazing.”

We all began that race. I ran and heard so many teammates and parents encouraging me that no matter how much pain as I was in, I knew I had to finish. I knew that this was my second to last race, and there was no way I was stopping now. I made it to that finish line and it felt amazing. I hadn’tt run in a week, but I still went and raced. I am grateful for having feet that take each step on the pavement, legs that ache yet still move, arms that propel me forward, and a mindset that has taken four years to learn to ignore the voice in my head telling me to stop.

Even when you believe that you can’t do something, just try, because you never know what could come of it.

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About Olivia

OLIVIA_GARDNER_writer_bio.jpgOlivia is a senior in high school from Colorado. She's involved with cross-country and is one of the captains for the girls' team. Sci-Tech also plays a big role in her life. She enjoys doing puzzles, yoga, and finding inspiring stories anywhere about people making the world a better place. She finds peace in cooking and baking because she can just satisfy her taste buds. She's always up for the moments when she can just blast some music and dance and sing with no cares or worries in the world. She loves life and loves the moments when she is able to relax and enjoy it for a little bit. Her blog about life and inspirations is


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