Rigorous racing

Learn about the training and methods behind racing


n: Run, run, as fast as you can. At the runDisney 2023 Springtime surprise weekend, I raced the Toy Story 10 miler. My running journey started off just ten months prior when I joined the cross country team, and I never would have imagined I would end up here.

Preparing for a successful race begins many months before race day. The time leading up to the big day is filled with many long miles, hill workouts, speed intervals, and recovery days. And then the grueling cycle repeats. 

Sometimes when I run, I feel like I am flying. When the sun is out, a nice breeze blows and my lungs take in air, I can push myself to go faster. Occasionally, I run to the beat of music which drowns out the rest of the world allowing me to focus on only running. I can’t hear my breathing, my feet hitting the ground or cars passing by. I am lost in my own world as my feet carry me further and further. When I finish, I feel accomplished and the endorphins are released. 

But not all days are good days. On days where I can feel my feet dragging along and where there seems to be no end in sight, I tell myself to just keep going. I can’t catch my breath and I can feel my heartbeat pounding like a drum. My focus is everywhere but running, and my pace slows. I want to stop because I think I will not make it to the end and the burning just keeps getting worse. This is where progress happens. I force myself to keep moving. To ignore any of the pain that tells me to quit.

A slow run is better than no run, so I push through.

Then on race day my stomach is filled to the brim with butterflies. I doubt all my training, even though I know my progress still stands. I should have nothing to worry about and yet, there I stand questioning if I can even finish the race. 

No. I force the negativity out of my head and replace it with encouraging thoughts. Hyping myself up, I think of the end of the race. I picture the clock with a personal best time and crossing the finish line before falling down in exhaustion.

We step up to our box. I am surrounded by other talented runners who trained just as hard as me for this race. The timekeeper walks to the middle of the field. He holds the gun up, and my hand hovers above the “start” button on my watch. 

He fires the gun. 

Everyone takes off sprinting trying to find their position in the race. Nobody wants to be left behind. I find a group holding my pace and try to stick with them. My lungs already feel like they are failing, but I know stopping is not a choice. My breathing quickens along with my heart rate and my legs become numb with pain. 

After what has only been a short amount of time, but what felt like forever, I pass the mile marker. And then I advance through the next. And I keep going until I see the finish line. It is so close and yet so far, and I know this is it. I have to give it everything I have, which is not much. Before my body can register what is happening, I start sprinting. I want the P.R. I move my legs faster. The clock is running down to my goal time. So, I accelerate my speed even more. 

And then I am done.

 I collapse, alleviating the weight off my legs. Now that the race is done, I can restart the cycle and do it all again.