I can’t believe my high school running career is over! I have learned so much about myself, what works for me to perform my best, and what matters to me in and out of the sport.
I feel like I’ve grown so much as a runner ever since my mom forced me to try cross country as an 8th grader in middle school. Looking back, there are times where I wish I had done things differently or sooner, but I’ve realized that I wouldn’t have learned the lessons I have without those mistakes.
One of the biggest things I learned was the importance of having a growth mindset. A growth mindset means you are willing to develop your abilities, talents, or passions through hard work and perseverance. From my freshman year of high school to now, I have learned that when faced with setbacks that come with running (injuries, burnout, stress, bad races etc.) it can be your mindset and how you deal with those setbacks that determines your outcome. As with most runners, I’ve dealt with a few setbacks throughout my high school running career, but I think my growth mindset has allowed me to come back stronger. This past track season I faced some injuries that left me unsure of how I was going to make the most of my senior season. I turned towards other training methods which helped me stay in shape and saved my season. I’m not sure I would have been able to do that my freshman year. After reflecting on how I’ve developed as a runner, there are a few things I can share that may or may not be helpful 🙂
• When I have been injured in the past, I tended to isolate myself completely from others. I wanted to keep it a secret and wanted total control of my injury recovery. My advice is to not be afraid to reach out to others if you are dealing with an injury.
• Easy runs easy: surprisingly easier said than done, but super important for recovery. I used to think that all of my runs needed to be fast in order to get better, but I’m glad I have learned the importance of prioritizing recovery.
• Make it fun! I spent the first few years of my running career stressed and worried about every little detail (including wearing my “lucky” sports bra for every single race). Running shouldn’t restrict or control your everyday life. It’s okay to take breaks and have fun.
• Finally, I think it is important to focus on what will really make you feel happy and add the most meaning to your life. I took a free online course called “The Science of Well-Being” which I highly recommend. The course teaches that happiness doesn’t come from things like winning medals or races but instead the experiences and relationships you build.
I am excited to continue my running career in college, but I will definitely miss my high school experience, coaches, teammates, and memories. I want to end with a shout out to my incredible coaches and teammates at State College Area High School for always pushing me to be my best self and teaching me the tools needed to become the best runner I can be. I would also like to thank Brad of Central PA Runner for allowing high school runners to share blog entries and get involved. Finally, thanks to the Central PA running community for cheering at races, the high fives, and supportive environment. I’m looking forward to reading the upcoming senior blogs and continuing to follow the amazing athletes in Central PA!
Editor’s Note: Jordan Reed concluded her outstanding State College athletic career with a 7th place finish in the 3200m run and a 5th place finish in the 4x800m relay at the PIAA State Championships. She finished 9th at the 2020 PIAA State XC championships this past November. She will be competing for Davidson College this fall. Wishing you the very best in your future endeavors, Jordan! It was a pleasure working with you over the last year. Can’t wait to see what you do at Davidson!