Opinion Sports Columns

Crain: Thank you COVID for forcing me to rediscover my purpose

By Carley Crain

After a knee injury last year that forced me to stop running for months, you could say I was pretty excited for a new start this year. 2020 was going to be my redemption year when it came to running and I was so ready. All of a sudden, COVID-19 hit and we were faced with a global pandemic. Soon enough my fall sophomore cross country season was canceled and track is still up in the air.

I remember the day that Springfield College canceled fall sports like it was yesterday. I read the email over and over because I did not want to comprehend the news. At first, I refused to accept the reality of no fall sports and it felt like my identity was stripped away from me.

I was upset, angry, devastated and confused.

For weeks, I stared at a blank wall for hours while on the stationary bike training to get back into shape after my injury. I kept telling myself that all the hours of cross training would be worth it because soon enough I would be back to racing. Well, turns out racing had been postponed – and I had no idea when I’d toe the line next.

All the motivation I had for the upcoming season quickly dwindled away and I could not get myself to go on runs for a while. I kept asking myself, “what’s the point?” and “why am I doing this?” I then slowly came to realize that I had to rediscover my why.

Why do I love running?

Why did I choose to do this sport?

I started to put less pressure on myself for following a designated training schedule and ran intuitively throughout the summer. I was able to fall in love with the sport again and began to appreciate the grind of just day-to-day training.

So, when I got the email about students being able to move back to campus for the fall semester I was more excited than ever. I knew things were going to be completely different and that it would be a big adjustment. However, I was able to switch my perspective and learn to be more appreciative of the little things.

So, thank you COVID for helping me find my love for running again.

Thank you COVID for forcing me to rediscover my purpose.

Thank you COVID for making me more grateful and appreciative.

Sure, this fall looks completely different; from running with masks on, to only having practice a few times a week and being forced to train with a small group. But I am sure of a few things: I am healthy, I am able to run with my teammates, and I know running will always have my back no matter what.

So, when I do get to race again, I am going to run like it’s my last time. Because if COVID has taught me one lesson, it’s the fact that the thing you love the most could be taken away at any moment.

Photo Courtesy of Aidan Harmer


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