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Running pains

July 1, 2011

It’s my turn to blog, and although I have a million thoughts going through my mind, I’m finding it difficult to write.  This may be a hot mess of words, but I figure that the words won’t type themselves. Putting thoughts and feelings down in writing has never come easy. I’m great at verbally expressing myself- most of the time.

I moved to Austin from San Luis Obispo, CA to join Team Rogue Elite. I’ve been in Austin for 13 months and 25 days now. Looking back, I’ve had some great successes since making the move. I entered this past track season with my best cross-country season under my belt. Racing in a USA uniform in Trinidad was seriously a dream come true. Yes, I still want to make an Olympic Team. That’s the main goal. Racing for Team USA at the NACAC XC Championships was a step in the right direction. I don’t want my less than stellar track season overshadow that…

As athletes we all suffer from pains- whether they’re chronic, short lived, serious or not. We deal with pain on a daily basis. We’re really in trouble when the pain doesn’t stop at the body, but migrates to the head. My most successful season thus far has been in 2008. I finished 6th in the steeplechase at the US Olympic Trials with a PR of 9:49.56. I got a stress fracture in my 4th metatarsal that prohibited me from running from late March until early May. I was “stuck” aqua-jogging in the pool twice a day and in the gym lifting about 4 times a week. I was hungry to run, but I had no choice at this point. I COULDN’T run. It is funny how much running successfully relies on the mind.

For the past 20+ months I’ve been dealing with a nerve issue from my lower back to my hamstring. I can run though. Some days have been tolerable, some less tolerable, but I can physically run. During the 5k at Mt. SAC this past April I realized that I was in more trouble than I thought. My head had been infected with an injury. My thought process went as follows: Find a rhythm. Have fun. Why are you still running? Find a rhythm. Be yourself. Why are you still running? Obviously, that’s not the healthiest or most beneficial thought process to have period. But while running- disastrous.

I’ve spent the last month and a half doing PT for my injuries, which has helped immensely. The pain and tightness have decreased significantly, and although I’m excited about that, it came a little too late. My season ended last weekend at the USA Championships in Eugene where I failed to make the final in the steeplechase. Out of 7 appearances at the US Championships, I have now failed to make the final twice- Once in 2006, and now in 2011. It’s extremely disappointing, but it has left me with a familiar hunger, a hunger that I am excited about. The US Olympic Trials are next June. I have one year to get healthier, stronger, faster and even hungrier.

In my 21+ years of running I had never questioned why I was running until during the 5k at Mt. SAC. I remembered why I love it so much when I completed my first steeplechase this season. Magically my brain injury had been healed when my pains started decreasing. The truth is that I absolutely love training and competing. I love meeting people. I love where running has taken me. I wouldn’t be living in Austin if it wasn’t for running. 2010 was the worst year of my personal life, but I wouldn’t change anything that happened because I’m in a much better place. I belong to a team that has such an amazing group of strong runners and a fantastic supporting staff. We are a family and I am so proud to be wearing the Crown and 3 Stripes.

I’ll end this blog with my favorite quote:

“We may lose and we may win, but we will never be here again.” – The Eagles

-Kara June


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