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  • Okay just a little background information for my story... I run track here at UT, and I came from a high school program where long distance running wasn't a popular sport and so I never really had a grasp of what it meant to be on a team. Um, so coming to Texas my freshman year, I'm on a team with thirty girls who are incredibly supportive and encouraging and it was just something I had never experienced before. So in the Spring is our track season and Texas Relays rolls around, which is the biggest track meet of the south. It is a meet for professionals, collegiate and high school runners so it is huge racing opportunity. So my coach comes up to me and says
    " Marissa! What do you think about running the 10k this year at Texas Relays?" and of course, not wanting to disappoint him, I'm like
    "Absolutely! Stick me in there, I'm up for it!"
    So race day comes around, and I have a fan crowd of about forty people because I'm from Austin and so home meets mean that my parents can come, my grandparents can come, my aunts and uncles can come, and all of my friends can come. So I had forty people there with signs and.. it was great! But would later be a little bit embarrassing. So the gun goes off and I'm stickin up there with the top girls cause I didn't want to disappoint my team, and I didn't want to disappoint my coach, and my fans... and So I am trying to stick up there with some professional runners and some really experienced senior girls. Um, lap about ten or twelve comes around and by that point my legs are just weights and I am beyond mentally checked out of this race. I'm thinking about the Amy's ice cream I want afterwards... the couch I rather by laying on. Just anything. And so, naturally, I have completely lost track of what lap im on by this point. Um, so I pass my coach at what point i thought could be my 24th lap, my 25th? I really had nooo idea. And he says
    "Marissa! Kick it in! FInish this strong!"
    and So I start sprinting in, I have about 200 meters to go... and I finish the race, and I'm drinking water, and high fiving girls around me, and um, celebrating... and it took one glance at my dad, who was doubled over cracking up laughing... to realize I that I had just run 24 laps instead of 25 and, I was just, completely mortified. Just humiliated, and was so scared to walk back over to my teammates and where my coach was standing in fear of what they were gonna say! Um, so, I walk over to my team, first, and much to my surprise, they just come up to me with open arms, and are kind of giggling about it. But still patted me on the back telling me I did a great job. Um, and I think the best response was from my coach, who just said
    "Yup, good job. We're gonna have to work on counting to 25, but good job"
    And I think that's was the day I kind of learned the importance of teammates, and being on a team. And, um, just what that support system looked like. And that it didn't matter whether I succeeded or failed on any given day... that I was still going to have people there to encourage me and support me.
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