Shortly after the Lake Braddock (Va.) High girls set a new national record in the indoor DMR at MileStat Presents The VA Showcase in January, Kate Murphy admitted to feeling less than 100-percent.
The University of Oregon signee and Lake Braddock senior had just run a 4:37 split in the 1600m -- which would have stood up as the US No. 1 effort over the indoor season -- to help carry the team to its national all-time best of 11:34.54.
"I'm feeling OK," she said. "My legs have definitely not been feeling the best they've been. My quads are a little bit rough right now, I'm not sure what it's from. Hopefully I get it figured out soon."
Murphy went on to race at two more meets in February, producing a time of 2:55.98 in the 1000m at a state conference meet, and then an effort of 4:57.29 in the 1600m at a regional event a week and a half later.
But soon enough, her unease gave way to a smart decision: She shut it down.
At her best, Murphy had been spectacular, going 4:07.21 in the 1500m at the Adidas Boost Boston Games in 2016 and clocked a 9:10.51 at the USATF Junior National Outdoor Track and Field Championships last June.
Word out of Lake Braddock was tight-lipped until May 6, when Murphy finally raced for the first time since indoors, going 11:03.25 at the PR Nike Spring Invitational at South Lakes High.
The senior followed it up last weekend, going 5:10.08 in the 1600m.
While those run weren't typical "Murphy performances," they were good signs from one of the nation's best runners.
Ultimately, Lake Braddock coach Mike Mangan said Murphy's recovery from an apparent injury in the winter will pace as slowly as she's ready for.
Murphy's early runs are a means to help the Lake Braddock girls over the course of the VHSL Group 6A Championship season.
"She is racing for her team at the moment and we are taking this day-by-day," Mangan said by text. "The long term plan is for her to be ready to be an Oregon Duck."
The good news is evident. Murphy is running again.