Hey there! I confess, right now as I am writing this I have no intentions to share this article. But I feel I need to write it, and I’m fine if anyone reads this. I am the second girl from the left in the picture, and I ended up running the majority of the run with the girl to my right (Megan, my teammate/incredible friend) and a decent bit with the girl to her right.

Make the Lake has forever been one of my favorite parts of cross country season. In fact, the past two years have been rough, but Make the Lake has always been the highlight. I love getting a ten miler in, jumping off the bridge, and most of all, meeting new friends. Make the Lake is basically the ultimate distance runner party.

I remember when I was young, I did the four miler as a seventh grader. The next year I think I did seven miles; I was actually not terribly slow at that point as I was in seventh grade. Freshman year I did the ten mile run for the first time, and had the time of my life running all around Detroit Lake with a bunch of new girls. It was a bit rough; I got overheated and let’s just say that drinking orange juice before was not a smart idea. However, I have always done the ten mile since. I don’t remember anything unusual my sophomore year, and last year I broke out of my exhaustion phase.

This year turned out to be the best yet. This probably was because I ran the majority of the run with Megan. We started out before many of the girls, so we ended up going what we thought was pretty fast for the first three and a half miles before we got to Long Bridge. Though it was a little cooler than years past, plenty of people jumped off the bridge. The reality is if you don’t jump off the bridge, it’s not the same at all. I wasn’t going to let Megan get away with not jumping off the bridge.

When were supposed to jump off the bridge together, she didn’t. So, I spent the next two minutes calling her a wimp, yelling “little young freshman” to her (her *favorite* nickname), and demanding her to jump off the bridge. (*sidenote: if you don’t know me, you should know that Megan and I are really good friends and I’m not a senior who pressures random freshman) I told Megan I wasn’t going to get out of the water until she jumped off. In the end, Megan faced her fear and I don’t think that she will regret it.

Next, she helped me face mine. I’ve been in a rut recently. Before I went off to camp this summer, I had run around the lake at 9:00 pace and was so proud. I have been running my “fast runs” at around 9:00 pace; soon after that really good run before camp I rolled my ankle and got sick and hadn’t been the same since. I feel like I’ve just been putting in the work and I haven’t seen progress.

Today was the day I had my breakthrough run. Megan helped me be daring and run at a pace that was a lot faster than I could. Somehow I managed to stay with her the whole time. It was pretty fun; at one point we ran behind a boys’ team and watched them do their version of “parkour”. Eventually we actually passed them and just kept on picking it up, which was a bit scary for a person who had just run a 5k at the same pace less than two weeks ago. We ran into one of her friends that I think we’ve run in the 4×800 against, and finished the run with her.

The best part is that even though I was really pushing myself, I didn’t feel like I was dying. I definitely have felt like I was dying in past years. I could even eat a piece of pizza without feeling gross afterwards, which was big surprise.

So in the end, I realized that it takes a bit of daring, a bit of a push, and brave mind to make the best runs happen. I’m very excited now that I know what I can do, and I don’t think that I’m going to burn out again this year.