Overcoming Your Plateau


Herff Jones

Selena Avilla posing in her track uniform for her Senior photos.

Selena Avilla, Staff Writer

I would’ve never thought that my friend dragging me to Varsity Cross Country tryouts as a seventh grader would lead me to where I am today. I still remember everything about that day. The smell of the wet grass, the taste of crisp air, the sound of crickets chirping, the feeling of something new. Like a spark starting, but not knowing it will turn into a fire of passion.

I was always the youngest one, the baby of the group. I trained day by day through blood, sweat, and tears just to try to meet the times of my older teammates. With each meeting, I slowly beat my Pr, and at district got a time of 27 minutes. I was ecstatic, all my hard work paid off and I was ready for the next season the following year. As the next seasons came around, I continued to train hard. However, I started to get pains in my knee, but thought nothing of it, probably just me being sore. The following year came around, and I kept pushing but the pain still hasn’t gone away, and now my ankle is in pain as well. “I gotta start stretching more, that’s probably why,” my younger self thought.

It got to a point where running even a mile was painful. I eventually stopped beating my Pr and hit a plateau hard. I was stubborn back then. I refused to ask anyone for help. I didn’t even tell my mother about the pain until it was too late. I continued running even with the pain I was feeling. It wasn’t until I sprained my hamstring during my Junior year track season that I decided to do something. I realized if I didn’t want to lose the ability to run permanently, I would need to let go of my ego and ask for help. I went to my doctor and followed everything they advised me to do and after many years, I finally found hope again.

My coach announced that I was the team captain in August, and I was exuberant. After all these years, my hard work finally paid off. I immediately started my fundraising plan to get my team new uniforms. I called different organizations, made a spreadsheet for our budget, and even made a page for donations. I wanted to leave my team with everything they needed after we seniors graduated. From the outside, I was a confident captain, but that wasn’t the case at all. Though I was happy, something inside me felt like I didn’t deserve it. Others are faster than me, shouldn’t they be captains? 

It wasn’t until my recent Cross Country meet that I got first place and felt proud of myself.

I persevered through everything and proved to myself what my coaches already saw. It doesn’t matter how fast you are, all that counts is your will and perseverance. Cross Country and the teammates I had over the past several years molded me into the person I am today. Running became my life and helped me through a lot of dark times and for that, I’m forever grateful.

Who would’ve known that a girl being dragged to a tryout would end up falling in total awe of the sport and become captain one day? A quote I thought about a lot during my struggles was “Our imagination is the only limit to what we can hope to have in the future,” written by Charles F. Kettering.

I am Selena Avilla and I am a cross-country runner. It flows through my veins and gives me hope in the morning. I can’t wait for what this Senior season will bring, whether it is a challenge or not, I’m ready for it. Bring it on.