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2022 XC SEASON REVIEW - and how Jesus has transformed me this season



I had big, big dreams for this season. For one, I wanted to be rid of shin splints for good (haha). I wanted to run a sub 23. I wanted to run varsity. I wanted to be a light for my team and shine Jesus.


The shin splints are still here, and I definitely did not run a sub 23. I did run varsity, though, and I believe that I did my best to shine for Jesus on my team.


Even though there were a few goals I didn't achieve, so much growth happened this season; especially mentally and spiritually. I'm genuinely so proud of how far I've come, even if the times don't exactly show it. I'm so proud of my team and how much we've had to work through together. I'm proud of how my teammates have improved and how we've gotten closer over the last few months. I'm so thankful for my coaches and my family who have supported me all the way.


The first few races of the season were tough. My mindset was not in a good place - I was very emotional, stressed out, and cried at least once at the first few races. I was stressing myself out over how I performed, and this perspective led to worse performances. I ran much slower than I did last season, and the times were defeating. I felt like I was disappointing my coaches, letting down my team, but mostly I felt ashamed. I went from being a decently fast runner to not, and it was hard for me to disconnect my identity and worth on the team from that. Many of our runners struggled with the mental aspect of racing; probably not for the same reason, but it was a real battle.


About halfway through the season, our team had to process the adjustments on our team. We lost many runners, for a variety of reasons. But this challenge brought our team closer together, and made us aware of some changes we had to make to be stronger.


For the second half of our season, our mindset as a team shifted. We were intentional about going into every race more positively, supporting each other, and enjoying every moment. I became more purposeful about reaching out to my teammates and reflecting on why I run. I had to refocus on enjoying every meet and every run more than stressing out about it. With this change of perspective, I stopped crying and I stopped putting pressure on myself about the times. I was able to stop being consumed with the results of my runs and started enjoying the races. I focused more on giving it everything I got, running for Jesus, and cheering on my teammates. I worked on speaking positive words and encouragement into the team instead of pulling the team down with negativity and complaining.


This season wasn't easy - mentally, emotionally, or physically. It was hard, but through the strength of Christ alone, we were able to fight through it and grow not only as individuals, but as a team.


Now that I'm in the postseason, the struggles of the season has taught me about the importance of prayer and leaning into the Lord. He is the one who carries me, who gives me the strength to keep going, who blesses me with peace and joy despite the circumstances I face. I'm facing new challenges now, but with everything I went through during the season and the relationships I built, I know that Jesus has strengthened me. I am reminded that no matter what I'm facing, Jesus is right by my side and He has equipped me with amazing people to help me through it. I am reminded that even when the current situation feels bleak and hopeless, God has a bigger plan in store, and He is always, always good. He is always, always faithful.


Also - I feel like after every XC season, I come out of it with better friends than when I went in. We have so much fun together. This year, team building was an especially big focus, and I am so thankful for it. We've had many team dinners and team activities, and all of that has brought us closer together and is one of the biggest reasons why I love this sport so much. We are a family, and not only do we run together, we have fun together and we support each other, on and off the course.


I pray that everyone can find a community like I've found in cross country. Go out with your friends. Be silly and stupid together. Play elementary school PE games. Have fun together. We all need some of that in our life. I also pray that you would be reminded that in the midst of the struggle, hardships, and disappointments, God is faithful, and He will carry you through it. Even though I couldn't achieve all my big goals, I feel so blessed. I have the best team behind me, and I have an even better God supporting me and guiding me through the injuries, defeats, and setbacks.



 

The 2022 cross country season was a rollercoaster, full of highs and lows. But ultimately, we made some incredible memories and we had a lot of fun. Our team is closer than ever, and we reached some incredible accomplishments. I could not be more proud of my teammates and my coaches, and I am so so so thankful that God blessed me with them!


Reflecting on this fall season, for the athletes or not, are there any highlights or lessons you'd like to share? Any prayer requests? Please drop those in the comment section down below. I'd love to hear from you!



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Your words are always uplifting, Ellie! Thank you for sharing this! — Gail Ferguson

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Kim McCracken
Kim McCracken
Nov 04, 2022

My biggest growth this fall season has been internal. God is definitely working in me to heal my heart and grow me. I am so thankful for His presence, care, and provision!


I’m so proud of your growth this season, Ellie! I love you!

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