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Holly McCamant: Learning from track season

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Two weeks ago, the track season ended for me.

This season wasn’t the easiest for anyone by a long shot; the weather made it difficult to practice outside and caused half of the meets to be canceled.

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The one positive thing I can say about this season that I learned was that I learned a lot. The learning started at my first meet.

I was signed up for the 1,600 meter run and the 3,200 meter run. That particular meet was in Bemidji State University’s indoor track, which in previous meets there garnished my dislike because of its desert-like air.

Past years they held the distance events outside, but with a look at the snow outside, anyone could see there was no way that running on Bemidji’s nice, outdoor track would happen.

So I had to run my events inside. I was a little worried that the air and tiny 200 meter track would throw me off, but I was willing to try.

Running the 1,600 OK. Nothing terrible happened, but I hated the air in there even more when the lack of moisture caused severe throat burn.

The 3,200 was a completely different story. Not only did my throat feel even worse, I miscounted and thought the 15th lap was the last lap (there were 16 laps), and started dry-heaving on my last lap.

According to my friend, I had boys yelling, “She’s gonna puke!” at me from the sidelines. I didn’t actually puke, and I placed because so many smart people refused to do the event. I learned my lesson: running the 3,200 meter inside is not so fun.

This season also taught me that practicing inside will help you, but won’t get you far. Putting on distance was difficult when the only option for running was in the school halls.

I felt like a hamster running inside a wheel during those indoor workouts. Those hamster workouts didn’t really help my times, and when I ran outside, I actually started getting faster.

Those outdoor workouts resulted in one decent meet before I encountered my enemy.

When I woke up on the morning of the Conference meet in Hawley, I felt sick.

My performance at Hawley was poor. However, I have learned two very important lessons: 1. Get enough sleep and don’t get stressed out. 2. Never, ever, ever, run when sick.

My end of the quarter stress and sleepiness had caught up to me, and I still haven’t recovered from that nasty head cold.

I had to learn the last lesson the hard way. Yes, I can be overly optimistic. A week and two days after Hawley was sub-sections: my last chance to have a good meet. I still wasn’t feeling too well, but then again, this meet was my last opportunity.

My freshman track season was about to end, and I hadn’t been able to get my best time yet.

So I gave the 1,600 a try. This was sub-sections, so I couldn’t do what I did at Hawley and run a 6:37 (embarrassing, I know). I gave that mile everything I had and still came in at 6:22.

My best is 6:06, and I know I could be in the 5:50s if I wasn’t sick. I could have gone to sections and had a stellar track season. Instead, I ran worse than the previous year at my last freshman meet.

I wasn’t done yet. I was signed up for the 3,200, and if I didn’t complete that event I would be scratched from the mile also. So I ran an evenly paced, slow two mile. I did decent and didn’t half kill myself like I did in the 1,600 (not going into detail on what it is like to run that event when sick).

Two weeks ago, I ran sub-sections, and I still haven’t recovered yet. As I am writing this column, it is Sunday, and because tomorrow is my birthday, I am wishing that my sinuses will calm down (Monday editing update: I was too hopeful … again).

The most important lesson I learned, though, was from my former coach, Mr. Wake. I was getting frustrated because I wasn’t being pushed hard enough, and he told me that it wasn’t the coach’s season. This season was mine.

After that, I figured out how to channel my frustrations directly into my workout.  I had that one successful meet before I got sick. What he told me helped this season not be a complete wreck.

This season may have not gone well, but I must say this: watch me this upcoming cross country season. I am not going to let anyone down.

Holly McCamant is a sophomore at Frazee-Vergas High School.

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