My name is Laura Gonzalez Campos and I’m a sophomore at OSU (obviously…) and this is my first year being part of Running Club! I’m a Psychology major/Business minor (hoping to go into Human Resources) and I was born in Cali, Colombia. I moved to the United States when I was very little but I still speak Spanish at home! I am more of a long distance runner and I really enjoy doing half marathons!
In order to understand why I started running I have to go back a couple years…
Having to hear that my first running coach died was by far one of the most painful feelings in the world. It was worse because it was juxtaposed next to one of the best feelings in the world: winning a race. I found out minutes after my first high school meet. The flavor of victory completely obliterated the typical exhaustion that resulted from racing. The pain hit me as if someone had just doused me with a bucketful of cold water. The tension in my throat—the awful feeling you get when you’re about to cry—was so strong I could taste the bittersweetness.
My middle school coach passed away due to esophageal cancer on August 29, 2009. After he was diagnosed, the doctors had given him less than two months to live. That’s when I started to take running seriously. In the time when my coach’s physical strength was crumbling, his mental toughness glued everyone’s hope together. He was a role model for the entire Cincinnati community. Coach often compared his battle with cancer—and any battle in general—to training and running a marathon. He was prepared to put the mileage in to win the battle, and he was willing to do whatever it took to reach the finish line. He trained for this “marathon” with amazing grace; along the way, he inspired me to live my own life differently and to take the time to recognize what is truly important in life.
Coach may not have finished the race the way he set out to, but he certainly reached the finish line in a way that many of us could only hope to emulate. Now every time I lace up my shoes, I hear his voice along with the beat of my racing heart.
Before trying cross-country, I had never really experienced what it was like to get out of my comfort zone. Coach Stoneberger slowly but surely exposed me to the hardest and easiest thing I have ever done. Running pushes me physically but what bewildered me the most, as a middle school runner, was the affect it had on me mentally. Running is truly ninety percent mental. It is also very painful, but it bestows the most rewarding feeling. Running never takes away more than it gives. It is something only a select few know. Those who put themselves through pain, but deep down, know how awesome it feels. There are days when running serves as a companion—something to vent to and lose some steam with. There are days when running provides competition and thus, forces me to race. But most days, running clears my mind. Running is my symbol of discipline and limitless inspiration.
When I came to college, I looked forward to running not because I had to, but because I wanted to. I did not participate in Running Club freshman year, and in hindsight, I regret it. Running alone is all right, but running with friends is ten million times better. Life is all about people! I told myself at the end of last year that I was going to try this…and within the first week of practice, I became a much happier person. I love having a group of friends to talk to and de-stress with every day. Even if it’s a tough track workout, I enjoy coming to practice because I know how wonderful it feels to be part of team and have people encouraging and inspiring you every step of the way (literally).
Running Club has welcomed me so nicely and I am forever thankful for that. Runners are definitely the coolest people! I absolutely love having friends who share a similar interest with me and I look forward to many more happy memories and laughs! Thanks guys 🙂