I was on the treadmill the other day – simultaneously watching my show and the snow outside the window. Normally, I would have trudged through the snow and run outside, but unfortunately, the snow in Flagstaff is a little heavier than the couple of inches we get in SW Washington each year. Of course, my first year at school had to be the year of multiple record-breaking storms! Regardless of my hatred of the treadmill, I was in a simultaneous place of boredom, pain, and suffering. But there are a few different things that make me return to the treadmill despite how much I hate it.
I remember how I used to train for the season with my friends and at Whisper. I don’t have a season anymore but replicating that feeling in any way I can is beyond rewarding. I always feel invincible during or afterward – which didn’t come easy to me throughout my time in youth sports. Even to the point where I decided to not run my senior season of track. This was simply because I have other related ambitions, but I must stay healthy to do them. This decision was extremely hard as all my friends compete, and I thought I was going to run track – until I didn’t. However, this was the best decision I could have made.
In short, this led me across Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Florida, Texas, and Arizona. This allowed me to progress in an area of my life that was normally only for weekends: refereeing soccer. This is a large community, but such a family. My goal is to continue refereeing to as high a level as I can. It is my new form of competition that I no longer have from racing. It is one of the most challenging things I have ever done, but I want to keep a piece of the former competition I used to have. The stress sometimes takes it away when you’re in the moment, but there truly is nothing like racing. Once the youth seasons finish, often that feeling ends. But for me, now it never has to. I don’t have to give up that feeling. I can escape and feel at complete peace like I once did. For this reason, it is one of the most rewarding things I have ever been involved in. But it started with that decision to focus on refereeing, which led me across the US.
Most weekends, you will not find me in my dorm or even around the Northern Arizona University campus. Instead, I will usually be in Phoenix or Mesa refereeing. Soon I will trek to Florida once again for another tournament. (Catch me in Florida for a 3rd time, without ever seeing a beach!) It is fun to return to somewhere that I raced so many years ago. The difference is today, I am competing in a much different way. But this does not mean that I do not value what I am doing in school. I am double majoring in biochemistry and Secondary Education with minors in Mathematics and Biology. After tutoring through high school, pacing at Whisper, and starting my practicum teaching in my courses, I know that I want to teach kids how to think critically about anything the world brings to them.
Thankfully, I am surrounded by amazing people in my life that have only uplifted me in my education, career, and soccer/running-related goals. If it was not for the decision I made in the spring, I likely wouldn’t be in the same place I am today. Today, I remember the power of the decisions I make, and the impact they can have on my life as I continue on the treadmill. I am grateful I can still escape in my runs as I used to when I started running 9 years ago. The training I do, and by extension, Whisper reminds me that I can still find the indescribable feeling that I had training for and racing at 2017 JO’s or for Cross Country State.