Allison Sawyer: A New Chapter in Running
November 26, 2012
My passion for running started in high school, when my brother suggested freshman year that I try out for indoor track, after realizing that soccer was not my calling! I remember the first day of practice running from our high school to the one light in town and back, a measly 20 minute run that at the time seemed like a lot.
That season I raced the 4×800 meter relay and the 1000m and thought sprinting was my calling! After outdoor track I got a phone call from my coach trying to convince me to run cross-country that coming fall. My initial reaction was no, but after thinking it over I decided to give it a try. That season I ended up getting top 20 at State, then moving on to track I tried out the steeplechase and I made it to State in that as well.
By my junior year the cross-country team was my family, we were a close knit group of girls, we all worked hard and we all had the same vision, and that vision was to make Nike Team Nationals. We knew that we were the underdogs in such a competitive field of schools in New York State. Our rivals “Saratoga Springs” had won Nike Team Nationals the year before and we knew we would be going head to head with them. Junior year at State we lost by a disappointing one point to Saratoga Springs, but based on points we made it to NTN.
Traveling to Portland Oregon was and still is the best trip of my life. Talk about everyone running the race of their lives, despite our top runner being injured and running on a fractured foot, we managed to pull out the win. Senior year went even better than junior year making NTN again and getting second, winning State as an individual and making footlocker nationals. This led me to get noticed by several colleges, getting letters in the mail everyday and phone calls from coaches across the country.
My final decision led me to Boulder, CO to run for the University of Colorado. This would end up being an experience that changed my view of myself and running. Not only were there more miles but also every race seemed like a national race. After coming off such a confident high school career, I thought the momentum would carry over into college, instead it was three years of disappointment, heartbreak, and self-hating. My confidence was brought down to nothing and I had learned to hate running, it wasn’t that fun or enjoyable thing it had been in my life during high school.
After reaching an all time low my junior year, I thought it would be best to just put an end to it and walk away. At that moment in my life I thought I would be done running and would just run recreationally, but somehow I could not give up on that dream in my head. I still tried to run everyday and do workouts on my own but I felt like something was missing and I wasn’t happy with what I was doing. I still went and watched all the track races and cross-country meets feeling sad and upset being the one on the outside just watching. I missed competing, and what I would soon discover is that I missed the team aspect of running.
After being told I should talk to Lee Troop about joining his group the “Boulder Track Club”, by my old teammate from CU Matt Tebo, I got excited! Would this be my opportunity to get back to what I love doing and have always dreamed of? My answer so far is “YES”. I have learned to enjoy running again and I love all of the teammates I run with on a daily basis. I still haven’t regained all of my confidence back yet, but I know it will take time and patience and I believe I will get back there.
I am so thankful for the opportunity that has come before me with my new coach and teammates and I am looking forward to my new chapter in running after having such a HIGH in high school and such a LOW in college. It can only go up from here.