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2023 CROSS COUNTRY SEASON RECAP!



It's officially the end of the 2023 cross country season, and to say that it didn't go the way I had prayed would be an extreme understatement. If you aren't caught up, check out this post first, but to sum it up - part way through the season, I was sidelined, once again, due to another injury. This diagnosis was a major disappointment, and it was honestly something that I really had to wrestle with until I actually accepted it and trusted the Lord in it. So, this season didn't turn out the way I thought it would, but I'm still so grateful for all of the memories and lessons that I got to walk through with my team.

 

After a couple months of summer training, we all headed into the cross country season confident and excited. I was especially hopeful - after my shin surgery last December, I was looking forward to having no pain and breaking a 23 5K. Not only that, but I was set out to be so intentional about my mindset and mental game this season.


When the first race rolled around, I felt decent going into it. My shins weren't hurting very much, if at all, and I was mentally prepared to fight for my spot on varsity. My time was around the 26 minute range, which I wasn't super excited about, but I didn't cry before, during, or after the race, and I took that as a win. I was able to grab a varsity spot, but I knew I wasn't secure there, so I was committed to learn from this race and move on.


I made it through two more races before my most recent injury sidelined me. I cut over a minute off my time at my second race, and again, my mental game continued to improve (or at least I felt like it was). I continued to run varsity, and I truly was so proud of my team. I've always loved being the team cheerleader, but this year I especially took that role seriously, especially after I was injured.


At the last race I ran this season, I felt like I was running my hardest, but my time wasn't what I hoped it was, and I was bumped down from my varsity spot to JV. This meant that I wasn't going to be able to run at Rim Rock, the biggest meet of the season and a huge team bonding experience. I sobbed after my race, feeling disappointed and defeated.


Later that week, my mom received a call from my orthopedic doctor's office, and the diagnosis wasn't good. My season was over. If you still haven't read about that yet, then check out that post here. I don't want to go too deep into how being injured *again* affected me, but I'd truly encourage you to check out that post. I got vulnerable, and I went deep into the difficult parts about walking with Christ and what He taught me through that experience.


Despite the mix of emotions that I felt as I faced a new, long, restricting recovery, I undoubtedly wanted to continue to be apart of this team and their season. I showed up to practice every day, cheered them on during their runs, and came to every meet. It was so important to me that I supported my people, not only because that's what they've always done for me, but because I love them and I love this sport. One day, I told my coach after I spent over an hour and a half cheering them on while they ran hills that these were some of my favorite people doing one of my favorite things, and I meant it. Even though I can't run, I love being there, and I wouldn't trade it for the world.


So, I came to every race, and got around as best I could. I screamed until my voice cracked and gave out. I waved my pom-poms like crazy and made memories right alongside the other girls on my team. I learned to trust in the Lord and hold onto my faith, even when I was confused and disappointed and defeated. And even though it wasn't easy, and even though I couldn't run, God is still good. He proved that this season.

 

This season didn't look anything like what I hoped it would or what I thought it would. I mean, I made it through three races before I couldn't run anymore, but I'm still so grateful that I was able to be a part of the team and cheer them on. I'm so grateful for the memories we made and support that they continually showed me. I'm so grateful for the lessons God taught me and the ways I was able to grow as a person, and spiritually, even though I wasn't able to run.


If you're walking through a difficult season, where you aren't quite sure what God is doing, if He's doing anything at all, I want you to know that there is beauty in the most broken and heartbreaking situations. God is good and faithful, even when our lives don't look like what we hope they will or imagine in our heads. I pray that my season would inspire and encourage you, and serve as a reminder that beautiful things, including memories, can come out of disappointment and defeat, if we only allow the Lord into them.

 

How has God shown His faithfulness to you, even when the situation wasn't the most ideal or easiest? If you're an athlete, how have you seen God work through a disappointing season? Let me know down in the comments below; I love to hear from you!


Also....it would mean the world to me if you would check out Run the Race on Pinterest! You can find that here. Follow me for a little extra encouragement, inspired by my blog posts. I'm so grateful for you!

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