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Shaving seconds off: Tracksters run a season to remember

This track season’s training began during last track season. I had learned a lot, mainly that getting sick at a critical time is not a good idea and running when sick is an even worse idea.

Then came cross country. I had a wonderful team and great new coach. However, I was way behind my teammates to begin with and was behind my times from last year when I got sick and injured at the wrong time again.

Runners need good seasons. The feeling that you’re getting better needs to be there. If you’re just getting slower, then you won’t be as motivated. Good seasons are what keep us going.

We all have that choice when we don’t show improvement. I know I had that this November when I was just bogged down with a bunch of stress and lack of getting better. It would have been easier to concentrate on schoolwork.

However, for me, throwing myself into training wasn’t so much a choice but a must. I was feeling probably the worst I ever have for an extended period of time, and I knew that something good had to come out of it. I just had to make it happen.

All of a sudden, I underwent this change. Very few people even noticed it. I started cutting a lot of junk out of my diet. Three times a week I began weight lifting. Then I started running in halls and outside. Skiing became even more important than it did in past winters.

I had a feeling this track season would be good. For the 4x800 relay, we had two girls that qualified for state cross country this year, as well as me. In the past, the relay has always been an event that I didn’t want to do. Not to mention, my split in it was always really slow.

However, I just had that feeling. It increased when my coach from seventh grade, Mr. Wake, told me that he would coach for distance track this year. That’s when I became off the charts excited.

When track season started, I did not know where I was or if all my training would pay off. I was in the 4 X 800 meter relay, and I was scared that I would let the team down.

However, I surprised myself by improving 15 seconds off my split from last year at the first meet. I don’t know if I’ve ever been so happy after a race as I was after the 4 X 800 meter relay, because for once, I could compete with the fast girls.

Soon, the 4 X 800 meter relay became my main focus. We had a couple of decent meets, but the first time we won was at the True Team meet. Then we started doing even better. With what eventually became our main 4 X 800 meter relay team we ran a 10:26 at our home conference meet and won.

Though the relay was doing really well, my 1,600 meter run wasn’t. After the first meet, I was running near where I was last year. So I made some changes. I abandoned my traditional principles of only running pure distance events and tried the open 800 meters.

I used to hate 800s and to love 1,600s, so this change was quite significant for me. At sub-sections, I did well enough to kick out in front of a girl trying to pass me: I barely qualified for sections.

That wasn’t the only good thing that happened. Without much competition, our 4x800 meter relay team dropped another three seconds off our time and qualified for sections.

For sections, we stood a chance of making it to state. We ran our hardest and were one second off the school record. If the other teams had run their previous bests, we would have qualified. This was the section track meet though, and they were at least 15 seconds off their previous times. We were 10 seconds better than our previous time with the exact same people.

We got third place, but I still call it a success. I ran 18 seconds faster than I did last year, as well as achieved my dream time that I wanted all year.

Another teammate blew us all away by shaving another 4 seconds off her previous split. We ran our hardest, and trust me, it’s far from over yet.

Thank you to my wonderful teammates who have made this track season worth it. To my dad – you inspire every day with how far you went in high school and college. 

Mr. Wake, I know you’ll read this sometime. Thank you for believing in me when I was that seventh grader who placed last at sub sections. Your confidence in me has kept me going and is one of the main reasons why I have never given up.

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