A week and a half ago, I ran the worst race of my college career so far. It was hot out, I was dehydrated, and I was demotivated. Long story short, it sucked. The only part of my race that I remember is looking over to the crowd during my first lap and seeing that my mom surprised me by coming. And at the end of lap three, when I was clearly not doing well, she was still on the side smiling. It didn’t matter that I was last, or that I wasn’t running my best, she’s proud of me anyway.

My mom is one of those brave souls that has decided to become a teacher. Even worse, she teaches earth science to middle schoolers. She spends her days keeping 120 thirteen- and fourteen-year-olds from snorting Pop Rocks and trying to kill each other. But no matter how long of a day she’s had, she still always has time to sit on the couch and rant with me after school or now text with me as I complain about a frustrating day of class or annoying day of practice.

My mom has always been my biggest fan. She’s the one that encouraged me to join the sport I’ve fallen in love with and was the first person to not laugh when I said I wanted to run in college. My freshman year of high school she found a used warm up jacket for sale from a local D3 college team and hung it up in my closet with a note. It said:

This jacket makes me smile because it makes me think of all the possibilities. Don’t ever give up on your dreams. Maybe someday I will see you run for LVC or some other school. Maybe not, if you choose a different dream.

I am proud of you now and always.

This note has been tucked into the cover of my running journal for the past four years, always a reminder of the people who believe in me. I am so lucky to have someone so endlessly supportive in my life.

So, thank you, mom. I appreciate you more than you know.

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