Courtesy of Elliana Tonghini
Sports are an essential aspect of my life. They’re something that I can look forward to after long and stressful days at school and allow me to be surrounded by amazing teammates and coaches. With COVID-19, a big part of that was taken away, and while running is still something I can do on my own, it isn’t the same. Both winter and spring track provide different atmospheres right as you enter the locker room and turn out onto the basement floor. The amount of chaos going on with all of the sports teams is stressful, but in hindsight, it is something that I really miss. For track itself, COVID has had a different kind of impact. Running is something that you can still easily do outside of school, but East track is more than just running: it’s about the people that you are surrounded with. During practices, you spend so much time with your teammates and coaches that they begin to become important parts of your life. The conversations and discussions that are brought up during runs are of a wide variety of topics from schoolwork to life events and even the occasional comments on teachers. Looking back, that is something that I definitely took advantage of but am looking forward to when practices resume. When practices were initially put on hold, our coach had put out a schedule for us to follow until they were back on again. The schedule was relatively easy to follow because in the back of everyone’s mind, there was still going to be a season, but it would just be pushed back a bit. In the following months, as COVID began to ramp up, a season was becoming less and less likely.
Since I do not run cross country in the fall, it was extremely difficult for me to stay motivated to run. I played tennis in the fall, so at the time, I was not running with anyone. Yet as it is with most sports, being mentally strong takes precedence over physical strength. The only way that I was and am able to run is by thinking about my long-term personal goals. Along with being surrounded by amazing teammates and coaches, one of the main reasons I love running track is being able to see all of the hard work that I put in pay off in the long run. Whenever I feel like I’m losing motivation, or just don’t want to go out for a run in the sub-30 degree weather, I think about the results that I could get out of the training I put in, and it drives me to keep going. This not only benefits me but also the people around me. When I see that my teammates are also becoming less and less committed to running regularly, I use my own personal motivation as a motivating factor for them. This is the same for all the other girls on the team, and I think that is a big reason why our team is so tight-knit, because everyone wants the best for one another, even if we are competing against each other. I am extremely excited to see what is in store for our team in the next few months as I know that everyone, including myself, is excited to get back to being together as a team and racing again despite the setbacks from COVID.