Anna Hall is a junior at Valor Christian High School in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. A nationally ranked indoor and outdoor athlete in track and field, she reflected on her journey with the sport in a 'Love Letter To Running' for MileSplit.
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You are the most pure form of sport. There is no hiding when it comes to you. If I've been lazy, it will show. If I've put in the work, it will show. You are the most heartless yet rewarding revealer.
I fell in love with you as a child and I've never looked back, but my relationship with you has never been easy. You require all of me. You have drained me, consumed my life, and then some. I gladly gave my life over to you ... Many people don't understand why I've done this, but that's okay.
You've taught me about myself, you've pushed me to my limits. You made me fear complacency, of missing out on untapped potential. You made me fixated on doing everything I possibly can to be the best version of myself. You taught me how to suffer, and in some twisted sort of way, to enjoy it because pain feels like progress. So everyday I show up. I do what is asked of me, sometimes more.
You taught me to focus. Track started as something to do for fun and grew into a passion--a serious, serious passion. I fixated over everything around it. I always wanted to win and I always wanted to PR. Somewhere along the way you made it very clear that neither of those things can happen every time.
"I thought I was stuck, that I would never improve. But now I am so thankful for that time and the lessons it taught me."
I thought that if I wanted to get far I needed to do things perfect every time. I learned that was not true, but I still struggle to take pressure off myself. But then you taught me how to stay in my own lane, to focus on my box. The things inside my box were the things I could control--my effort, my attitude, my own performance--while the things outside my box were the things I can't control--others' performances, weather, warm up conditions, etc. A pretty knowledgeable person helped me figure that out and I've never been the same.
I was finally able to compete free.
And that mindset has translated into other areas of my life.
* Photo Credit: Submitted
People like that--genuine, wise, caring people--are the people God used you to bring into my life. I've met my greatest mentors and my best friends through you. And I am forever grateful.
You also taught me my place. Track is a humbling sport. Anyone can be beat anyone on any given day. You taught me that my success is thanks to God, and the others that helped me get there. It is easy to be prideful in track because it is so individualized. But it is with you that I have to remind myself that there is always someone better than me out there. It's a constant battle. I know there is a plan for my success and it is bigger than just me. In turn, I have learned to be sympathetic and understanding of people when they are in rough places because I know that it can happen to anyone.
When I became a multi-event athlete it was hard and unrewarding, but I learned to love the challenges of each event and I feel like I have a deeper respect for the other athletes in track and field because of it.
You've shown me that events in track are brutal.
High jump had always been my favorite event; it was a bond me and my dad shared. I loved it. But I realized that it may be one of the most frustrating things in the world. I had had some success. I jumped 5-6 the summer after seventh grade year, but I didn't jump higher until three years later.
"I know there is a plan for my success and it is bigger than just me."
That time was awful. I was practicing and training and the results and progress weren't coming. I thought I was stuck, that I would never improve. But now I am so thankful for that time and the lessons it taught me.
It taught me how to persevere and to understand that hard work has a purpose. I now believe that even when I have ruts or get stuck, that if I keep working hard eventually, no matter how long it takes, the results will come. I have learned not to give up when things get tough.
You've taught me to look at the big picture while still being hard on myself.
A tough loss doesn't define me; in fact, it will only make me work that much harder in brutal, fall training. A bad day is not the end of the world. There are lessons to be learned from it.
Thank you for giving me perspective.
Lastly, you taught me to dream because anything can be accomplished if I work hard enough. And to always give my best.
Thank you for the gifts you've given me, I won't let you down.
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