I guess you could say that Pompositticut Elementary School was where my interest in running all began. Recess and gym class to be exact. We didn’t do laps or interval work or any specific training to one day be a professional distance runner, just challenge races or tag with friends at recess, sprinting to bases in kickball, and the Presidential Fitness shuttle run in gym class. I was a pretty shy little girl who also lacked confidence. I struggled with reading and staying focused, just needing a little extra time to figure things out in my own way.
First grade at “Pompo” was when that spark of confidence from recess and gym class really changed the path I would take in my life. All it really took was that first comment about my speed to get the seed planted. I don’t recall any other words of praise before that. That bit of confidence took me out of my shell just enough to feel more relaxed with my school work and thus do much better than was probably expected of me. Each level of school I entered, middle school, high school, and then college, my running followed me and proved to change my life in ways I never imagined could. There is no doubt that the confidence gained from my running accolades helped me out in the classroom. I discovered the feeling of success and worked hard to feel that in other areas of my life. I also developed a strong work ethic because things didn’t always come easy to me, both in my school work and running.
What sports have done for me is a major reason why I’ve been coaching girls cross country and track for the past 10 years. I teach girls the importance of finding their confidence and how to work hard at things that don’t come easily, both in running and life. This past fall I coached 76 girls on the State College High School Cross Country team. I made sure every girl that participated left knowing that she played an important role in the success of that team no matter what level she ran at. I encourage them all to work their hardest, never limit themselves, and to always be proud to run like a girl.
I strive to make a positive impact in as many young girls’ lives as I can both as a coach and a professional athlete. Once a shy, young girl, now a strong, confident female leader in sport and life. Thank you recess, gym class, and sport.