"Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance."
~ Samuel Johnson
During her junior year of XC things began to shake out a bit. She wasn't necessarily crushing it, but she was chipping away at those old freshman year times and she could feel herself getting closer to where she knew she should be. Indoor and spring were much of the same. No huge gains per se, but some good races and times. Not to say that she wasn't frustrated. She was. But, unlike the year before, she finally wasn't stuck or sliding back and just having that to grip onto was enough to keep her fired up and willing to work. Finally, at the end of her junior spring, she had that small breakthrough that we'd been hoping for. I say small because she didn't run a PR, but she did break 12 in the two mile which she hadn't done since 9th grade and was starting to wonder if it would ever happen again. Both of us were thrilled, not about the time, but about the fact that things were clearly on an upswing for her and I know we both sensed that things were about to change.
Which brings us to this past fall. Senior year. She'd logged hundreds of miles, done tons of workouts, run race after race after race for two years straight and right from the get go her grit, patience and determination finally began to pay off. Her XC season started so strong. Unlike years past, she easily broke the 20 minute barrier at the start of her season. Then, at the Middlesex League meet she flew, literally, running a 19:18 5K, a time that she hadn't thought within reach for years and a massive PR. Finally the breakthrough had happened. "I have never been so happy as after that race at Middlesex League meet. Our teammate, Danna, came sprinting up to us with a huge smile on her face as she told us that all three of us had PR'ed. I have never felt so excited for myself and my teammates and we were all ecstatic and hugging each other and yelling. I had finally broken my freshman year PR after 3 years of hard work and so much frustration.” As she moved on to indoor track, the momentum kept building. Due to several girls going away during the vacation weeks, her coach had her doubling in the mile and the 2 mile which is a big ask for any athlete but especially for Kesinia who still wasn't sure what her body was capable of based on past seasons. “This indoor season I finally got back my love for the sport. For various reasons, including a stressful personal life, I began to look forward to practice and I could not wait to get on the track and forget about everything else that was bothering me. Workouts went well and I was not bothered by the shin splints and fatigue of previous indoor seasons.” Her work ethic and positive attitude paid off and this season she had her most successful indoor season ever.
And now we're back to the beginning of my post. As I mentioned, I got to watch as she ran a huge PR of 5:19 in the mile at the Middlesex League. After that, she came back and ran the 2 mile, coming in under 12 minutes and scoring for her team. A feat that is truly remarkable considering she had already PRed, and therefore worn herself out, in the mile just hours before. A week later, she closed out her indoor season with a solid 5:20 in the mile. But the true surprise came when, she doubled back again and ran an 11:46 in the 2 mile just hours after crushing her mile. “After my success in indoor track this winter, I am super excited for my outdoor season. I'm on the verge of a something big in the 2 mile, I can just feel it. I now know I can break 12:00 easily. I just need to race on fresh legs and I have not doubt that I will finally crush my PR. I will definitely say that over the years I have felt frustrated and tired to the point of tears, especially after races that I expected to go really well that fell flat. But I never doubted what I was doing. I never even thought about quitting. Both the physical workouts and the support of teammates from running have become so crucial in my life that stopping was not even an option. Not getting the results you want is hard and it definitely temporarily took the joy out of running for me, especially that sophomore indoor season. But sticking with it and pushing through plateaus is what makes you mentally stronger. And I know that is why I've had such a great year. Coming up on my last indoor season I am sad because it’s my last one but I look forward to pushing myself and my teammates to be our best." Bottom line here, if you build it, no matter how it's built, it will come. Always push through. Thanks, Kesinia. Go get it this spring. Can't wait to watch you fly.
Listen to this:
Grow - Conan Gray
Grow - Conan Gray