Acronyms and adventure: XT, XC, XO

When I was talking to my “Big” recently, or the gal who was assigned to be my team buddy incoming freshman summer of college cross country, she asked me,


“Did Coach tell you to do that?”


Which made me think … Well first off, and to jump way ahead of this post so far, no he didn’t. Secondly, no he really didn’t say anything about how much I’ve been cross training and please don’t tell him how little I’ve been running because this is the first time I’ve ever not followed the training plan during the off-season *insert wild eyes and nervous laughter.* Thirdly, this question scared me enough that I didn’t respond to her text message for a few days and thought about my response, hoping I wasn’t about to be chastened by one of our fastest alumni, and someone who knew me and inspired me – from school, to home, to the team, and even in my squirrel collection (a story for another blog post). So instead I responded with, “No he didn’t haha I’m not sure how much he knows/checks the online logs but 😅 my goal this week is to run more haha.”

Can we please note that last part of, “my goal this week is to run more”?

What not to do during the summer: the chronicles of a blue-eyed, bus riding, rule breaker … also known as my junior summer, year 2016. Sure I’ve been running, but I’ve also been doing a lot more cross training than I’ve done in the past (excluding the few months of my stress fracture in HS), and honestly? I’ve been having a lot more fun than ever before.

Rather than explain myself and ramble on about how tired undisciplined I am all the time, or how hot and humid and miserable it is in Georgia, or whatever other reasons excuses I can come up with … I’ve compiled a bunch of photos to give you and inside look at these last couple months! Or, if you’re a tease and only clicked on this post to give me a notification (looking at you Mom) without reading it, here is a long post you can scroll through and read the bold captions, and/or just look at the pictures – because how interesting could my life actually be, right?

*WARNING: Snapchat selfies included in this post*

Image-2

Piedmont Park in incredible! … but I’d advise having bike brakes that actually work while adventuring. It was an interesting 6 miles or so (besides the “getting lost” part).


Image-3

Clairmont pool is OUTSIDE! I’ve been working on that Washington whiteness! Oh, and that’s a drop of water on my chin FYI (just in case it scared you as much as it did to me after I sent it to my mom before seeing it)!


IMG_3660

Have to try a bit harder to come up with a caption for this, but I climbed some stairs (just kidding I took the elevator) to the top of a research building to watch Fourth of July Fireworks. Let’s say I was exercising my eyes on this one … just go with it, haha!


Image-5

Snapchat game strong. See below for “post-yoga, pre-Beltline-adventure, I’ve-been-awake-since-5:30am” photo.


Image-6

I’m hardly ever the shortest person in a group, but even then they could touch their toes and I couldn’t! Also, for reference, I’m almost 5’10” – I love tall friends.


IMG_3460

*please note this was the beginning of my ride* – pictures do not do my biking abilities justice, and darn WordPress wouldn’t let me add in my cool video!


IMG_3421

A big group of friends and I camped in South Georgia, and then hiked around this super neat canyon! Can add and check that off my bucket list – “the Grand Canyon of Georgia.”


IMG_3472

Okay so maybe sometimes I run, but this was too good not to add into this post. After this picture I laid on the ground of our locker room for 20 minutes before mustering the energy to walk home. Wild Friday night, let me tell ya. 


IMG_3302

I *somehow* survived a total of 7 hours public transportation to travel to Chattanooga, Tennessee for a day trip and walk around the city with Kevin and his good friend! There was even a triathalon going on the weekend of, and a TON of people being active on the bridge and at the local park. SO COOL.


IMG_3466

Walking around and being on your feet all day at work counts as formal exercise, right? Thank goodness for squishy shoes!


IMG_3730

Another hike! This time at Stone Mountain, Georgia. It’s not an actual hike, but it’s also not actually a mountain … so there’s that. Mostly went to hangout with these awesome friends of mine (and the laser/firework show!).


Image-1

Hey look I’m running again! Oh, and pirating a private race photo … oops. But after almost passing out from dehydration and effort after a particularly hot and humid 10k, I needed some way to capture and cherish the painful experience.

So there you go. Some XT before XC and XO to all my lovely friends who have been there along the way and continue to go on adventures, run with me, read this blog, and deal with my crazy stories and bad jokes. Oh and one more thing because 878 words is more than I wanted to share in this post … I promise that my next blog post will have less selfies. #sorrynotsorryabouthehashtags

 

 

Until next time,

Gabby

Advertisements

Curse of the Sunday long run(s)

Once upon a time there was a girl who went for her very first run. From then on, she continued to go longer and explore farther from home on different routes through streets, trails, parks, highways (sorry Mom), backroads, and everything in between. Even the local cow pasture (until the property owner started driving toward us and we sprinted away) wasn’t safe from her wandering feet!

This girl went on to start high school, run for her four years, continue running into college, move to the other side of the country to good ‘ole Georgia, and one day find herself on her own during the sticky summer months, wanting to go for a long run – one of her favorite things about running. Back at home in Washington, these long runs would be VERY long and oftentimes last up to 2.5 hours along the winding, single-track, viciously hilly, gravel logging roads at the local state park. Even then, long runs in Georgia were always an adventure …


Week 1: June 26th, 2016

Upon adventuring for a long run in the surrounding neighborhoods, this girl found a cute little woodchipped path, ran along it, and all the while was thinking of other routes to add-on, and what “road math” she could do in her head to complete the total 90 minutes of the long run. BUT THEN! Dehydration hit! Like, the girl started her run with a sip of water and a bad “nature break” omen dehydrated. Now the plan was to find the nearest water fountain, but most likely the nearest home (non-mansion, preferably) to drink from their hose – which has proved to work the best before in similar situations.

** ACTUAL UPDATE POSTED TO XC TEAM FACEBOOK PAGE**

Made it through half of my long run today before asking a woman walking her dog if she had any water. Was busy househunting, writing a short eulogy in my head for a dead squirrel I ran by, thinking about how much i *actually* miss Kennesaw, wondering if anything bad would happen as I followed her to her car, and that when it’s hot you’re supposed to slow down … but any slower and I would be walking? ‪#‎powerwalk‬

Somehow made it back without sneaking into someone’s yard and drinking from their hose (even though that’s my go-to for water when desperate), and struggled through 75 minutes instead of 90 #sorry fam

Moral(s) of the story:

– if yesterday was the hottest day on record since 1914, and your ~morning nature break~ is almost brown… then you probably aren’t prepared to do a long run well no matter how early you go *still not cooler than 80 at any time here in HOTlanta*
– always take a running buddy for long runs !!!!!
– HYDRATE HYDRATE HYDRATE (and electrolytes are good too)
– talking to strangers and learning their life story (she used to run, cycles now, lives in VA Highlands, and even though cooking is her passion she doesn’t want to start a catering business) is okay! *as long as they’re not too creepy looking or their dog isn’t mean*
– listen to your body – the wheezing, mumbled complaints, blisters, sore/tight muscles, and spots you might be seeing are signs that maybe today should be an easier day :-)


Week 2: July 3rd, 2016

After surviving a rather busy and whirlwind week thanks to TV appearances at work and out of the ordinary experiences (never a dull moment here!), our dear runner girl was looking forward to a long run in which to enjoy the decent/not uber humid weather and relax! After all, church of the Sunday long run helps to make the rest of the Sabbath a delight. #HisDay Even then, the gods of the long run were not happy and 15 minutes into the run, just as the girl was entering into some single-track, soft surface trail, a root jumped out and ATTACKED HER! BUT THEN! she fell to the ground with a not so flattering “oomph!” and laid there for a few seconds before beginning to cry, recognizing that the pain in her ankle was not going to be the usual “get up and go” sort of fall. Glancing up, a man had been walking by with his young son and their dog, but even as the girl lay on the ground nursing her scraped and bleeding hands and knee, the man continued to tell his son, “Don’t let him chew on his leash – make sure he stands here and hold on tight.” Yes hello sir, a girl is hurt here. Please please help!

Long story short, and to save repeating the pity party of the runner girl for another time, no one helped the girl as she limped the 30 or so minute walk home – whimpering a bit (well this is embarrassing to admit) and immediately calling her mom before ibuprofen and ice/elevation for the hurt ankle … and then more tears. So all in all, week 2 brought a slightly sprained ankle and a frustrated girl. Oh, and the Peachtree 10k was the next day (less than 24 hours away), so maybe not finishing the run was good thing? #debatable

IMG_3688.JPG


Week 3: July 10th, 2016

WAKE UP WAKE UP WAKE UP! Well, apparently loud alarms at the right time to go off did not work to get the runner girl up that Sunday morning. Figures. Plans were made to run with one of her teammates and drive to the Hooch for some soft surface, runner-filled, early morning long run miles. Unfortunately (sorry Erica), she didn’t wake up at the right time and actually woke up at a very disoriented 9am instead of 7am #oops. Being so, she rushed to get ready to leave and run at the Hooch anyway, calling and texting her forgotten friend (sorry again Erica), crying a bit (see a theme here?!), and getting on her way.

Upon arriving at the WRONG Chattahoochee River park, because apparently that’s a thing (Coacher never told me that there were two, ugh), the girl saw that there were branching trails from the parking lot and decide to give it a try! Because 90 minutes of adventure is never a bad thing, that’s for sure! BUT THEN! The trails turned out to be way too full of roots and it was more of a hike than run … of course it was. So, getting back in the car, KIND bar and water in hand, GPS at the go, the girl returned home. After a good half hour of settled lactic acid in her legs and repetitious pop songs on the radio, the girl muster the energy to run another 30 minutes through the ankle twisting park from Week 2, and after a short temper tantrum (these are common, no worries), FINALLY FINISHED (close to/combined) 90 MINUTES!


The curse of the Sunday long run(s). The past three weeks have been great! … except for the long runs. Unfortunately, Sundays are the days of running that I look forward to the most and these experiences have left me feeling tired, frustrated, and disheartened. This post is a a big thank you to those who have supported me in some of these challenges – listened to me vent, complain, cry (thanks Mom), and all else. This post is also a big sorry to those that I’ve vented, complained, cried (sorry Mom), forgotten (sorry Erica), and let down (sorry teammates). This post, en todo, is a bit of a cry for help! Anyone have any tips on how the break the curse? Anyone want to run with me next Sunday (if I promise to avoid all prior trail incidents, hydrate enough, and wake up on time)?

Here’s to a love-hate relationship with running, the Georgia humidity, Sunday mornings, 5:30am wake-ups during the week, Nalgene water bottles, and this blog.

Here’s to hoping for next week being a better long run.

Until next time,

GabbyIMG_3279.JPG

5am insights

So if you aren’t sick of my complaining yet, I’ll just continue anyway because I think everyone can agree with me on this point: the humidity here in the South is the WORST. Unfortunately what I’ve been hearing from Georgia natives is, “Oh just you wait, the worst is yet to come. Wait ’til it gets to 100 degrees! And the dog days! This is nothin’!” This remark is generally made beginning with some form of polite “ma’am, “sir”, or “y’all” and ends with a long sip of sugary sweet tea. I am fixin’ to use these Southern phrases one day or another.

Okay, okay, so maybe not that many Southern stereotypes fit into that specific conversation … but pick at least 2/4 and you might start to understand the way of life down here.

All of that being so, I’ve been punishing myself getting into a routine of waking up around 5:20am and getting in about an hour run before getting ready and leaving for work. I stand on my feet all day as well as commuting and lifting weights at night, so it will be easy in some ways to add in two-a-days later in the summer (editor’s note: it’s NOT any easier – it’s actually just been easier to run IN the heat, rather than to beat it! #oops). As soon as 5am comes and I still haven’t gotten much better at going to bed earlier, I’ve come to appreciate the *dark* morning runs. Sort of.

For some reason, the fact that it’s dark out in the morning isn’t an issue for me … but now being out after dusk makes me sad because I realize that even after I go to sleep and wake up for the new day, it will still be dark. Ugh. Still, coming from a small town with a total lack of good lighting around its pot-holed streets and one stoplight, I’m thankful for the convenient lamp posts along the main road of my university – the road serves a main bus stop, 2 hospitals, the CDC, and probably more important reasons, but I’ll pretend that they want to make sure runners like me feel safe.

Sunsets are overrated and sunrises don’t get enough credit. Not sure if it’s because people are generally awake for the sunset and don’t wake up before the sun? C’mon people – you’re missing out.

“Sorry Rudy but no, maybe sometimes if I feel like I need to punish myself for whatever reason”

Can we please recognize that this post has 11 “likes”? You can’t say I haven’t tried to find a running buddy. For now I’ll stick to my own groggy, somewhat grumpy, bargaining (for more sleep!) solo runs. There are a lot of hills, not many other runners, several confusing turns and blindspots, but at least I can come home to overnight oats, a shower, and begin the day feeling somewhat accomplished.

 

… I say “somewhat,” because at that point? It’s still only 7am. Awesome.

 

 

Until next time,

Gabby

 

 

Keeping track 

161 days is 43.99% of the year 2016 and I can tell you where I’ll be for the next 56.01% … still here in GA 

1 call a day to my mom just to ramble and catch up on more than just the links on Facebook she sends me

6:08am and you’ll see a cotton candy pink sunrise on the horizon – above the Atlanta trees

2.5 hours by bus to get to and from work everyday

1 pair of daily scubs for work that are my only motivation to go to Medical School because they’re so comfortable

7-“ish” hours of sleep every night 

1-2 hours of swimming/aqua jogging each week and conversations with myself as my above-water head bobs from one side of the pool and back again 

Everyday I’m missing Washington and my hometown

10min “snooze” option so I might as well change my alarm from 5:15 to 5:25am 

500+ number of book pages flipped through while trying to pass extra time

90 degree average for a summer day Atlanta – don’t forget the drenching and suffocating humidity 

2 seasons of Graceland binge-watched thanks to Netflix

A handful of new friends and a bunch of better friends made through weekend adventures 

1 Thursday each week when I get the chance to sleep in (sort of) thanks to my lack of self-discipline 

Countless prayers to a Heavenly Father who is continually watching out for me, loving me, and guiding me through this crazy life

$3.99 for the cutest vintage modest dress I’ve ever seen at a thrift store – and did I mention the pockets?! 

6 hours on my feet each day at work fighting plantar fasciitis, falling asleep, and funky morgue smells

3 days a week in the weight room listening to music that I think my generation enjoys but I can get over how it all sounds the same – I call it “hoodrat rap”

20 years of life and this is the longest period of time I’ve spent out of Washington

4 times I’ve been totally and completely lost while trying to practice bus routes or explore Atlanta 

50 piece Tupperware set that is multicolored and a dream come true for a college student making packed lunches 

30 minutes past my bedtime to write this post (which correlates with the 30 minute nap I’ll take tomorrow)

Not sure how many months, but pretty sure it’s been longer than I think. Here’s to a jumbled and different style of writing as well as just plain rambling blog post – just my thoughts as they come along. Welcome to the summer life of Gabby: an unpaid intern at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, learning the struggle of public transportation, the fight with the humidity and attempting to still run and train for cross country, subleasing a house with nearly non-existent roommates, cooking and copying meals I’ve grown up with at home – this time on my own, and all the while managing 3 journals, 2 blogs, 1 busy tiring wonderful life (oh, and 0 boy interests). 

Still, I am happy. 



Until next time,

Gabby

Seven words for seven years of running.

Seven. It sounds like a nice number? Luckily it hasn’t been 7 months (or more) since I last blogged, so no apologies here but I’m sorry for not sharing more since the summer – I blogged so much! If you’ll forgive me, here are some lists … because college has made me fall in love with sticky notes, lists, and planners. #organized

7 deadly sins (uh oh)

7 days to create the world

7 runners on a varsity xc team (relevant)

7 colors in the rainbow

7 is the calling code for Russia (also relevant)

7 years of friendship with “my boys”

7 Horcruxes made by Voldemort

7 is my birthday-day (even though I once got confused and thought it was the 4th)

Photo on 2-12-16 at 7.31 PMPhoto on 2-12-16 at 7.32 PM #2Photo on 2-12-16 at 7.33 PM #2Photo on 2-12-16 at 7.34 PM #2

(Yes, there were 7 examples!!!!!!! And 7 exclamation marks ……. okay, I think you get the point???????)


 

He estado corriendo durante siete años!

= Me encanto aprender más y más palabras en español! I’ll be in Mexico later this year, so hopefully I’ve learned enough to order tacos and talk to people about the beach!

 

= Korean number for 7 … I think. One of my friends is fluent and recently even taught me how to say apple (sagwa?). Shoutout to awesome trilingual friends (hola Raul) for teaching me cool things and responding to random text messages.

 

Я работает в течение (Семь) лет!

= Russian (again relevant since I had a dream that I was going to go on a mission for my church to Russia. You can ask my awesome roommate about this, but I’ve been trying ~sort of~ to learn Russian). Also, if anyone knows Russian and this is wrong, can we please blame Google Translate and not my limited knowledge from Duolingo?

 


 

Well, a long blog post so far of 777777777777s – how exciting. Really though, what else needs to be said? I’ve worked on this blog post since February started – I’m currently drafting it on a bus coming home from Tennessee after running a sub-par indoor mile (so I apologize if I seem too pessimistic about running). Even then, I (also) forgot how much I love this blog, all it’s meant to me over the years, how much in life has changed, and that I’ll always have the the scaryoverwhlemingendlesslongnonprivate Internet history of this blog to remember the most fRustUratiNg times of my life.

 


 

So, 7 years seem like a long time to keep doing the same thing, right? How do I do it you ask?! WELL. Sometimes what motivates me to go to practice is definitely NOT running. Sometimes what motivates me to go run is:

  • seeing my teammates! Even after having classes together earlier in the day, but then going for a few hours apart? The separation anxiety is SO real! (S/O to Megan for not only putting up with me in Biology, but also tutoring me, *usually* responding to my weird Snapchats, and the list goes on)
  • because I’m hungry and/or tired and want to get it over with …
  • I actually am excited TO run (to clarify: this is usually not a workout day or after Morning Run)
  • sometimes when I walk to/from the gym I see cute athletes on other teams (S/O to the Emory soccer boys)
  • twice a week we lift after running and who doesn’t want to #getswole ?! Just kidding (a little bit), but I do like to lift weights and think that it can benefit your running so much!
  • my mom or coach just got me a new pair of running shoes and I want to show them off, break them in (= get them muddy on the first day), or find what outfits I can match them to
  • it was a good/bad/terrible/wonderful/normal/exciting/boring/stressful/relaxing day

 

Basically, seven/칠/7/Семь/siete years later, and I still love running. “One foot in front of the other for as far as you can go … that’s faster than a walk” = my precise and accurate way to define running. Or wait, just “Google it” and you’ll find: “the action or movement of a runner.” Wow, so insightful.

Not only do I run everyday as a collegiate student-athlete, but I run because I am a runner – no matter how fast, slow, chubby, skinny, motivated, or unmotivated I am. No matter where I am, who I’m with, what time of day it is, or any other circumstances. No matter where running falls on the ladder of life from family, to school, to friends, to internships, to church, to boys, to _________. I am a runner (even if it’s a love hate relationship). As one of my teammates said (S/O to “Grandma” Elise) after running another cross country season as a 5th year, and *finally* ending her collegiate career, “Running gives so much more than it takes.” Here’s to another year, and a lifetime to go. Happy run-a-versary!

 

Until next time,

Gabby

P.S: I definitely used the number 7 more than 7 times – no need to check.

*breathe in, breathe out*

WOOHOO!! It’s Healthy Lung Month!!

No, wait … that’s not quite how I want to start this blog, but I guess it’ll do for now. Let’s come back to that, huh?


Hi people!!

Since coming back to school (YAY EMORY!!), I’ve left the blogging world to focus on running and training this cross country season, schoolwork, hanging out with my awesome roommate, church, writing poetry (how could I ever stay away from writing?!) for a super cool workshop class, running, random adventures around Atlanta, more homework, becoming more involved on campus and seeking out potential research/internships, and did I mention all the work I have to do this semester????

Note to self: 5 classes can be a lot to handle when a student-athlete.

Other than that, I wanted to share a few tips and some fun facts (yay interesting classes!) that I’ve learned recently, and use this blog as an opportunity to: 1) take a study break and be creative, 2) prove that I’m still alive and won’t allow this blog to end anytime soon despite my numerous and extremely prolonged breaks from writing (oops), and 3) share why staying healthy is so personally important to me, and how it affects those in my life *cue exit from current tab back to Facebook or closing the Internet completely.*


011fb640471be52265a62acea8518b40

Sort of sad when a cigarette has more of a love life than you do! HA!

Part 1: Stop it.

First things first, a slight rant about the annoying and distracted people who smoke on the sidewalks while I (try to) run by them, not paying attention to where they’re going (does everyone assume that sidewalks are meant to be walked straight.down.the.middle? Ugh fine, I guess I’ll potentially injure my ankles and run in the grass alongside you, or even more potentially dangerous, IN THE STREET BECAUSE YOU WON’T MOVE!!!!), and waving their cancerous pastimes around where my perfectly healthy and functioning lungs are exposed to such monstrosities.

Anyway, about smoking.

It’s the most preventable cause of disease and death in the US. // One-third of all cancer deaths are because of smoking. // You lose on average up to 8 years from your life when smoking two packs a day becomes a habit. // Safe to say, smoking is close to my heart (actually though, go healthy heart & lungs!), and I’m more passionate than ever about people NEVER choosing to smoke, or at least making the effort to quit. Managing stress in other ways, learning about the health consequences, and realizing that the more you try to stop smoking … the higher your chances of succeeding are – all are steps in the right direction. Go you.

Part 2: Now, do this.

gym_cartoon_1

So I’m not always the biggest supporter of running (it hurts and makes things pop and snap and strain and takes a lot of time and makes you smell terrible and is oftentimes miserable and is really hard even when you think you’re in good shape and is something you just can’t stop once you’ve started and the list goes on), but YAY EXERCISE! From the days when I was younger and my parents made me play basketball in the winter just so I would be active between soccer seasons (and use up all my free and boundless youthful energy!), exercise has always played a large part in my life. Whether it’s going on walks, taking the stairs, starting a run/walk program, NEVER running but taking classes at the gym or lifting weights, and even more simple activities like yardwork or shopping … using your body is important! I can’t stress enough (ha ha for those of you who get it) the super awesome effects that exercise has on stress management, self-esteem, overall energy, creativity, memory, living longer *see above cartoon,* and of course, the change exercise can have on your physical body! I’ll admit, that last part is a total perk to running/exercising all the time, and I totally pride myself in my calf definition (especially in heels – another potentially dangerous decision, sidewalks aside). I guess I can thank my coach for all those tough workouts (only sort of kidding)!

So, end of sermon, but exercising can sometimes be a hassle when we feel like we don’t have time or don’t feel up to it … but it’s SO worth it. An apple a day (doesn’t actually) keeps the doctor away (but exercise does!).


Renewed focus to quit smoking, or complete objection to starting? CHECK.

Motivation to be more like Gabby and exercise more? CHECK.

Remembering that your health affects not only you, but everyone in your life? Almost!

My work here is done. Well, not really, because unless you’re super fit and perfect and somehow have found a way to bypass how the body ages, any sort of stressful situation ever, or can somehow resist the smell and enticement of donuts … then you know that exercise and staying healthy is an ongoing process. Sometimes we fail, sometimes we trip over the sidewalks when trying to bypass clueless smokers, and sometimes we give up on ourselves … BUT! Happy Healthy Lung Month! Just a reminder that no matter where you’re at on the scale from couch potato, to casual road race runner, to Olympic athlete … that it’s a start. Keep going. :-)

Until next time,

Gabby

Special thanks to the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance for reaching out to me and encouraging me to write more about such great themes that go with this month’s LUNG calendar (I’m punny, just go with it). Check out their website to learn more about asbestos and other common toxic pollutants, that while still legal in the US to be involved with production, can be very harmful to our health, and how we can best protect ourselves. :-) My grandpa is currently battling mesothelioma cancer because of being exposed to asbestos in the Navy, and rather than in his lungs, the meso is in his bowels. Always remember that your health is not only important to your personal well-being, but also all of those in your life you love and support you!

Just don’t tell him!

Hi there! :-)

Well, as a quick update – I’m alive and well, back at college for my second year, already in the swing of classes (and currently hidden away in the library!), adjusted to the routine of practice and racing for the cross country season … hmm, what else? OH. Just reflecting on old teammates, my high school running career, and going through old files on my computer!

One memory from a track season my junior year really stuck with me, and enough so that I wrote a paper about what happened for one of my classes in high school (didn’t hurt that my English teacher was my assistant coach and had heard this story before)! I came across the original copy earlier this summer, and just KNEW I had to type a more permanent one. As far as sharing it on this blog? Well, it’s running related, so why not? Oh, and just one more thing if you go ahead and read this blog post? Just don’t tell him!

No matter how hard track can be, I always have my teammates right with me through it all. Andrea and I are stretching buddies ... among other things. ;-)

No matter how hard track can be, I always have my teammates right with me through it all. Andrea will always be #1!!!!!!!!!!! :-)


When picturing the moment that I would finally talk to Cole Smith, I never thought I would be covered in mud and trying to get away. Track season has meant bad weather, hard workouts, and long practices. My whole track experience changed once Andrea and I noticed Cole. I mean, how could we have missed him? Six foot four, tan, and high-jump extraordinaire helped him to become our perfect man. From then on, we always tried to muster the courage for a quick “Hi” or “Goodluck” whenever we have a meet with him. Until that Saturday in April, neither Andrea or I had captured Cole’s attention.

It was the end of the track meet. The horrible weather meant that everyone and everything was wet and wind-chilled. Almost all the schools had hopped back on their buses, all except for our team. Not to mention that Cole and his team were finishing cleaning up the field as it had been their school’s home meet. Andrea and I had both run a leg on the 4x400m relay after already having run our main events earlier in the meet. Running our cool-down barefoot on the grass around the track, Andrea and I spotted Cole talking to our teammate. Still on the opposite side of the track from the two guys, as we got closer, Andrea and I continued to joke about stopping next to Tyson just so we could join the conversation and talk to Cole. Right as we were about to run by them, we chickened out and dismissed the idea. “Next meet,” we said, “Next meet we’ll talk to him …” Something, of course, that we had been saying all season, and for years.

That was when it happened. When I spotted a blue and white headband right below our feet as we ran along, and I instantly stopped to grab it. As I knelt down, my foot slipped in the muddy grass and there I was, falling onto my butt in the wet grass after a headband, not to mention the yelp I let out! Sitting on the ground, I instantly turned to look if Cole had seen, only to make eye contact with our teammate Tyson, who was looking at the two of us slack-jawed. I was up on my feet in an instant with my prized possession in hand and laughing hysterically from both the utter hilarity of what had just happened and, of course, embarrassment. Tyson later recounted how that when I fell, Cole slowly looked over at me, then looked back and continued talking with no apparent emotion. For as much as we always tried to get his attention and made no real attempt, I think I caught hold of it that day, without even meaning to.

“Remember that time I wiped out on the grass in front of Cole just to grab a headband?” The story may last forever, but Cole Smith won’t. It’s his senior year and Andrea and I still have yet to talk to our sought after man. ;-)


Starting into my second year of college, and thousands of miles away from the high jumper of my dreams (as well as all of my old teammates – and HOME for that matter!) … I’m remembering this track meet and all of the fun times that were had, with the feelings of nostalgia, but also so much happiness, and a few laughs along the way. The moments are the past are just that, in the past. There really is no time like the present, and it’s up to us how we spend and manage out time (like right now, this is a study break, okay?).

I feel blessed to have made the memories I did while high school, even if since I’ve graduated they’ve gotten a new stadium, had the track replaced, and (!!!!) have a turf football field. Emory’s field is real grass, and the weather is starting to turn again into fall … or should I say autumn? ;-) Here’s to what’s to come!

Until next time,

Gabby