Sophomore dedicates herself to pre-season running

December 3, 2020 — by Nika Bagherian and Cici Xu
Photo by Carolyn Wang

Sophomore Carolyn Wang sprints across her neighborhood early in the morning.

 

It was 6:45 a.m., and the outside world was still dark. Like the morning sun, however, sophomore Carolyn Wang broke the gloom as she rolled out of bed and changed into her running clothes. After a few stretches, she opened the front door and sprinted onward into her neighborhood alone where her runs took place. 

Almost an hour later, Wang returned home for her online first-period class. 

To keep herself and her cross country teammates motivated, Wang organized a running group called the Morning Motivational Running Group.

“I assumed that many people probably wouldn't run during the summer and fall at all, so I thought it would be a good idea to start a group to get everyone motivated to run and to have that positive peer pressure,” Wang said. “It was also a way to get myself up and starting because without it, I probably wouldn't have continued running either.” 

Despite the uncertainties for the upcoming cross country season, Wang still motivated herself to run every day. When she started in August, she hoped to improve her endurance and speed before the season officially begins. 

“Getting back into shape is difficult, especially because last year was my first time running over a mile at all,” Wang said. “It's really hard to start from the bottom up, so I thought that if I could just stay in shape, I wouldn’t suffer as much later on.” 

Although Wang hasn’t been timing herself during these morning sessions, she said it has become easier to run two miles compared to her performance during the track and field season last spring. Wang’s fastest mile time is 6:32; she aims to surpass and maintain that pace in this year’s cross country season.

Because of the ongoing pandemic, Wang and the group of 30 members who are from last year’s cross country team are unable to meet at the track, where cross country practices are usually held. Instead, they organize their own practices by communicating through their Facebook Messenger group chat, then complete it on their own. 

Sophomore Nithya Krishna, who was Wang’s running mate before COVID-19 worsened and now a member of the Morning Motivational Running Group, said she is  “finding her way back” to her level of performance during the cross country season last year. 

Krishna has been running on a 3-mile route in the afternoon around her neighborhood three times a week. 

“The Motivational Running Group allows me to run consistently, and I hope I can overcome getting a little bit out of shape,” Krishna said. “Even though the pandemic is affecting runners’ performances, I don’t think our cross country team will experience big changes in this season because people who have been leading the team will still be leading the way.”

Until the cross country season starts, Wang said she hopes the Morning Motivational Running Group will mimic the social environment of the school’s cross country practices.

“It was my first time [running last year], and I didn't really talk to anyone in cross country,” Wang said. “One of my goals this year is to definitely get to know everybody better and to understand the team dynamic better.” 

Wang said she is dedicated to running and hopes her efforts will encourage other students who aren’t confident in their athleticism to join cross country. 

“If you haven't done a sport before, you should try it out,” she said. “I was doubting myself at first, thinking, ‘How can I go into cross country if I literally never ran past a mile?,’ but I persisted because I think it's really beneficial in the long run.”

 

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