Battling Adversity, by Tyler Stevens

My time as a high school cross country and track runner has gone by so fast. I remember meeting my teammates my freshman year over the summer like it was yesterday, and now I have just finished my first race as a senior. Everyday over the summer was scheduled for me perfectly. I would wake up, run, and then go to work until the late evening. Having a schedule like this makes the summer fly by. I ran over 500 miles over the summer, running almost everyday. Summer training is the best time to build a base, get some quality workouts in, and prepare yourself mentally for the challenges that lie ahead.

In spring of 2020, COVID hit the United States. This is by far the biggest setback that everyone has faced over the past year and a half. The spring track season was canceled, and I had to overcome this setback to put myself in the best position to succeed. I joined a very popular running club called RunCCG, and with their help I was able to get in some quality time trials to form a substitute track season. They have helped me prepare to overcome everything.

Overcoming challenges is a huge part of being a student-athlete. This summer, I was diagnosed with Pericarditis, which is a virus that inflamed the outer muscle of my heart and affected my heart rate. At first I thought it was something that would last a day, but when the doctor told me that it could last anywhere from a week to 3 months, I saw my XC season flash before my eyes. Luckily, I began to feel better about a week later, and was cleared to get back to training shortly thereafter. I had to build back to where I was, which was tough, but it helped me reach an even higher level of fitness than where I was at before the diagnosis.

Another recent challenge I had to face occurred a little over a week ago. My team and I traveled to Ohio for our season opener. I am not sure why I was so nervous for this meet, maybe because we were racing at 10:10 at night, but my nerves led me to over hydrating in the van. I drank over 216 ounces of water on the way to Ohio. The combination of nerves and over hydration got to me and I puked about 2 hours before the race and then again 30 minutes after the race finished. Because of this, I didn’t go on the course walk. Luckily, I had enough time to do my warm up jog on the course and my teammates pointed out some important things to me, and I finished in a 16:27. I was happy with this as a starting point, especially because I know that I can both prepare and race smarter. I am also happy with a 16:27 5k, especially in August.

Everyone experiences challenges throughout their journey to find success, but pushing through those challenges and learning from them is the most important thing to improving. Throughout my high school running experience, I have faced many challenges, but learning from them and changing even the smallest things over the years has helped me get to where I am today, and I look forward to battling more challenges that will help me in the future.

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