A month ago I got the opportunity to spend a long weekend with 18 other amazing Oiselle women. I was able to share my story with them and I hope I was able to make a difference in their running journey. They may not know it but I learned more from them through this experience than I think I taught them. The reflection on my own story and the mistakes I have made really resonated with me as I was planning my talk and I realized one important thing that I hope every runner will hold in their heart especially when things get tough. That one thing is that we as runners are all the same. No matter what our pace, no matter what our body type is and no mater how old we are, we each struggle, we all get down on ourselves, and we all feel inadequate at times. Elite athletes have bad days. Every run is not sunshine and rainbows and if anyone tells you that they feel amazing every race and workout they are liking lying. Things don’t always go as planned and we deal with it. So no matter what you are feeling trust me it is normal. One bad day will not be the end it just means tomorrow will be better. The one thing I heard from a lot of these women was that they worried they weren’t fast enough and were scared to come to camp and be the slowest but I can tell you from experience that putting yourself in a situation that feels uncomfortable will only make you stronger. In running you have to willing to be uncomfortable and that works in 2 ways. You have to be willing to push yourself in a race to a place that feels uncomfortable if you want to reach your full potential. You also shouldn’t be scared to come in last which is uncomfortable but that is how you get better. I went to NC State because I wanted to be surrounded by people who were better than me and now here I am today thinking about the marathon Olympic trials. Its nice for confidence to run some races and place well but sometimes its good to go to a big race and just put yourself out there. I raced at Freihofer’s 5k for Women this year which I can say was both terrifying and humbling. I fell off the elite pack immediately but ran my fastest road mile. If running were easy everyday there would be no challenge and where is the fun in that?! I don’t run simply to win races, I run to get better because that is what really matters.