Cross country challenges long-time runner
Freshman Ashley Erickson runs at the Eastman Lake Madera Invitational on top of the Madera Dam, Oct. 3. She says working through the half-way point of a race can be one of the most challenging things in cross country.
Freshman Ashley Erickson joined the FC cross country team this season in order to maintain physical fitness and endurance. She received a medal in a 2.7 mile race at the Eastman Lake Madera Invitational, Oct. 3. Although Erickson prefers short sprints over long distance running, she decided to challenge herself in a new way.
Vargas: What made you decide to join cross country this year?
Erickson: Although I have always enjoyed running, I only ever joined soccer and track in junior high because I do not do well on distance running. In track the only events I competed in were sprints, but cross country sounded fun. I felt it would be a good experience that would keep me in good shape at the same time.
Vargas: Why did you choose this sport rather than any other this season?
Erickson: I chose cross country for two basic reasons. One, I really enjoy running; and two, when I played volleyball in elementary it never was a sport I excelled at, as flying objects tend to be attracted to my face.
Vargas: As a freshman, is it more difficult to compete against others older than you?
Erickson: Yes, being a freshman definitely impacts how I feel as a runner, but as to how well I run, I think it has a lot more to do with experience and practice. The older girls who have usually been doing cross country for several years are hard to run against because they are a lot faster, which makes me feel very slow when running at a meet.
Vargas: Why do you participate in cross country when you could spend your time elsewhere?
Erickson: First of all, my 'time spent elsewhere' translates to time spent doing homework or alone and bored, which quite frankly isn't nearly as fun as running and spending time with the team, who are all awesome. School is very important to me but spending all of my time working stresses me out more than running and then working, in which case I have spent my energy and can sit down and do my homework quietly.
Vargas: Do you plan on doing track next semester?
Erickson: Absolutely! Track is probably my all-time favorite sport to compete in and to watch. I positively adore the sport; what's not to like? It has everything: short sprints, long sprints, relays, distance, jumping, throwing and hurdles; track is just awesome in general. Track people are beastly.
Towards the end of the Eastman Lake Madera Invitational, freshman Ashley Erickson treks through her last mile. She says finishing the race is one of the best things to experience and makes the rest of the race well worth it.
Vargas: What motivates you to run?
Erickson: There isn't really one single factor that motivates me to run. I'm self motivated to a point, though that's mostly because I'm stubborn. I don't like to disappoint people, so I feel guilty if I just stop and walk a little bit or do poorly for my coach. I also have competition within the team, as almost all of them are faster than me by far, which makes me want to be as good as they are. I also feel motivated to run just because I can; I mean, God gave me muscles that are capable of working together perfectly enough to move, so why wouldn't I?
Vargas: What is your preferred distance to train?
Erickson: Meets are usually around three miles long, so I like to run somewhere in the four mile range for now, but I'm working on being able to fun farther, maybe six mile or more for a workout.
Vargas: How did you get started in running and athletics?
Erickson: I have played soccer on and off since I was little, which interested me in sports in general, but in fifth grade some of my friends did track and convinced me to join; I instantly loved it. Sprinting is my speciality, and I have a great time striving to improve, even if it's only by a fraction of a second. I have done track since then and have enjoyed every second of it, whether at a meet, having fun at practice, or hanging out with the team.
Vargas: Do you have a mentor or coach in the sport you prefer to help you? Why?
Erickson: On the team, we only have one coach, Janae Ford, and she's awesome. She is always encouraging and doesn't yell at us if we don't meet our goals; she always encourages us to do our best for God and to remember that we are running for him, not ourselves, which is really encouraging for me to think about when I feel tired or under the weather.
Vargas: How do you work to improve after mistakes?
Erickson: After making a mistake I spend a lot of time feeling guilty about it if I know that I could have prevented it. When I'm done with that, I figure out what I did wrong so I can prevent it in the future and apply it other areas of my life. Then I just try to work harder.
Vargas: What is your attitude towards hard work?
Erickson: Hard work is...well, hard. I don't want to do it, but I know that if I do I will be better because of it. There really isn't a point of doing something if you don't do your best. For example, if I give 99% on a test, my reaction is to be happy, but then I am disappointed that I missed a perfect score by this much. I was this close to to getting a 100%. Along the same lines, when I run a hundred meter sprint, I don't run 99 meters and then stop because I'm tired; I finish the race, because if I didn't, there would be no point of even running. Giving 100% is the only way of getting a 100%.
For more information, read the Cross country sport shorts or the Sept. 25 article, Cross country provides mental challenge.