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For the Love of Competition

Feb 25, 2014

Kristin Metcalf
Training

My love for sport began at a time of the year much like today…the aftermath of the 1984 Winter Olympics. At the age of 11 I was two years into my own figure skating career. I fell in love with the sport at the age of seven after watching the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics on TV. My mom gave me the choice on my ninth birthday to either choose drama lessons or skating lessons. And so the story began, I worked out countless hours on the ice, trying to perfect the art of athleticism and grace.  Only figure skaters know that deep-seeded emotion that wells up within you when you feel the grace of your blade upon the ice. It is a certain sound, a certain freedom that comes from skating fast, jumping into the air, and landing perfectly on one foot. It is unreal.  But for me it was the combination of music, choreography of movement, and athleticism that I loved. The part of me that I just couldn’t perfect was the nerves. The nerves I felt when a panel of judges watched every move I made during competition. I could never skate in competition like I did in practice.

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After 9 years of pouring my soul into perfecting this sport, I just couldn’t do it anymore. I fell out of love with the competition because of the intense pressure and judgment that came with it. For my first three years of high school I was doing two hours of skating practice in the morning before going to school and then after school going to track practice. What I realized through track is that I loved the feeling of stepping to the line of a race and the only judge was the clock. It was simple. The fastest woman won! It is here where my love of running began. My senior year of high school I decided to try x-country! Love at first sight. From a 800 meter runner in track to a 5k runner in fall; I loved every moment of being a part of a team.

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Four years later after competing for the University of Washington in x-country and track, I decided to take a break from running. I had struggled with the same running injury and was tired and burnt out. Spring of my senior year, my high school x-country coach, Leo, asked me to come out and help him with my alma mater’s distance runners.  Here is where I took all my experiences of being a dedicated skater, runner and college athlete and funneled them into coaching and inspiring young runners. At a time when I struggled with college running injuries, my passion for running was reborn. I loved sharing running with others and helping motivate them to be better runners, competitiors and teammates.

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Fifteen years later, I had poured everything I had into coaching these women. I spent every available hour trying to be a better coach. I loved running and wanted to share that passion with every athlete in my program. At the same time I was a new mom, and what I had to accept was balance: how to balance family, coaching, teaching and being a supportive partner to my husband and his coaching career as well. It was then that I knew I needed to take a break and focus on my daughter and our family. Those two years off from coaching is where I found a new love of running: one that was for myself! What? After 15 years of coaching other people in the sport, I had a chance to reinvent running for my own pleasure, for my own sense of freedom, and that is what brought me to Oiselle and my run family here! After admiring what Sally was doing with Oiselle, I decided I had to be a part of it. And here I am: still in love with the sport, the dedication, the competition, and the undeniable truth that comes from putting one foot in front of the other: that through running I am a better person, friend, mother and wife. I can’t imagine my life without running and I can’t wait to see what other doors open through running.

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