Photo taken by Randall Levensaler

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Thanks for the great ass and thighs!

Two weeks ago I flew back to my beloved keystone state to be inducted into the DeSales University Athletic Hall of Fame. This was an honor I will never forget, and also an event that triggered me to reach back to the memories of how my running career really began.

Like most now self-proclaimed runners, my first athletic experience actually came from a team sport, field hockey. Little did I know at the time, but this sport was laying the foundation for the runner I am today.
Senior year at Bangor High. 




Here are a few examples…

-Lets start with the most obvious, laps. Every practice started with laps or the occasional timed mile. Both were big hits with the team based off of the groans of excitement…me included. Apparently I couldn’t get enough and managed to get additional time circling the field for goofing off or letting the occasional curse word slip too loudly around coach. I should have known I was destined to run since the laps started to feel easy. Sorry for the occasional potty mouth Coach Alfred, but thank you for the extra time on feet!

-Agility drills. It will be embedded in my head forever to bend my knees and get low. Seven years of running around the field in a partial “squat” position will give you a hella strong butt and thighs, along with the perk of looking great in spandex. At the time I hated the idea of being muscular, but now I’m so grateful to have a “booty” because that strength helps me to run mountains. 
Charging in for the tackle.


-Learning to tackle (as in fighting the opponent for the ball in an upright position). Being 5’2 and fairly scrawny, I was no stranger to getting pushed and shoved. I realized that if I expected to win the ball, I had to use my elbows and throw my weight through my hips when colliding with a competitor. I only got carded a few times, which I was secretly proud of. This experience now comes in handy when I have to “fight” my way past guys that don’t like the idea of being “chicked.” 
I was pretty short...but I could hold my own :)


-Respecting fear. My biggest running nightmare is tripping over a rock and knocking out my two front teeth. I believe this fear stemmed from seeing my fellow teammates get hit in the mouth with the hockey ball or a high stick. After watching their mishap, I’ve learned to be hyper aware of my surroundings, and to always respect the mountain. Lisa and Lindsey, no one can rock a swollen mouth better than you two.

-Sprints. Ahhh yes…sprints are also code for punishment. Four of my teammates and I were awarded with additional post practice sprints after being accused for attending a party that allegedly had alcohol. I owe it to you, Shannon, for all the races I’ve won in a sprint to the finish. 
Getting ready to dish out the elbow and hip combo.


Now that I’ve realized field hockey was actually my secret weapon to becoming an ultra trail runner, I wish I could go back in time and add thanks to my field hockey coaches and teammates in my HOF induction speech. 


I’m hoping this blog post will suffice, and even though I’m a goofball and like to write with humor, I’m serious when I say thank you Bangor Field Hockey! Thank you for preparing me with your crafty little ways and for bringing out the runner in me that I never would have known existed. 
Senior night with best friends...and partners in crime.