September 24, 2013

Cruising Coral

Dress, c/o eShakti// Heels, Payless ($26)// Necklace, Maxnina// Bracelet, Macy's ($5)

I glanced down at my brightly-colored watch. Only two more minutes, Lily. You can make it, I thought encouraging thoughts to overcome the pain of testing your body's limits.

Six hundred meters to go. I forced my gasping breaths into controlled, deep ones. I could hear the screams for the top varsity runners as they dashed across the line. I could see the long-awaited finish, but the course was so conveniently engineered that runners would be so close they could taste it, only to have to pass it, loop around, and come back.

Two hundred meters. I leaped downhill for the final stretch. It felt like an eternity. My mouth twitched slightly at the red numbers on the clock, unable to form a smile in my delirium. Still within 21 minutes. Okay Lily, let's go. Today's the day to break 22. 

Then I sensed something in the corner of my eye. I jerked my head sideways to see two teammates pop out of nowhere. Oh, poop was all I could think. Your varsity position comes down to this. Either both of them will pass you, or neither of them will.

With every last ounce of energy I had, I dashed ahead, heaving a sigh of relief as my lime green race spikes hit the gray timing pad. I had manged to stay in front. I had broken 22.

Last week, I finally broke 22 minutes in the 5k (3.1 mi) for a personal record of 21:52. It's something I've wanted for forever. I did my very best to describe what a cross country race is like near the finish. They're excruciating battles between your mind and body.

It's a sport that I love deeply, but it can be quite stressful at times. Our team has become pretty decent this year with the addition of kick-butt freshmen and move-ins. We've managed to win a couple trophies and we have high hopes to qualify for the regional meet. I've run all varsity races since sophomore year, but with so much competition, it's a fight to stay in the top 7 on the team.

The week after I set a personal record, our meet was miserable. The water was knee-deep at some places on the course and it was pelting rain during the race. I wish I could say that I didn't let the conditions get to me. I wish I could say that I ran my best there. But my mind lost the battle that day. I couldn't focus; I didn't remind myself that I can count the number of meets I have left on my fingers. The worst feeling in the world is finishing a race feeling like you could've run faster.

Disappointment is never welcome, but it always ignites a spark in me. It ignites the burning desire in my soul for improvement. To redeem myself. To conquer the voices inside and outside your head saying that you can't.

I wasn’t born a runner. I still remember the sinking feeling of dread when my 7th grade gym teacher announced the mile run test. I still remember how each short lap around the track seemed like an excruciating eternity. I still remember stuttering across the finish, heaving for breath, sweat-drenched and beat, at eleven minutes.

It definitely was not logical that I decided to run a charity 5k for my friend’s mother later that spring. But this seemingly insignificant act of goodwill was what transformed into my deep passion for running. I began training every morning before school; first I tackled a mile, then, as the summer wore on, I plunged head first into cross country conditioning. I grew to smile at the mention of the sport that once made me cringe. I wasn’t naturally talented, but what I lacked in innate ability, I made up for with intense determination.

Running has taught me that all obstacles are ephemeral. I never would have imagined that I would enjoy running, let alone excel at it. I never would have imagined that I could run thirteen miles this past summer without stopping. I never imagined that it would create such a profound imprint on my life and identity. I am by no means the fastest runner and my mentality is by no means flawless. But with each stumble, I simply brush myself off and continue with enthusiasm and renewed resolve.

Life is perhaps a mental battle. Our mindset is so pivotal in determining many outcomes. I recognize that I am human and that I will slip, but I strive to pick myself off, perhaps not gracefully at times, and move forward with fresh determination.

I've had to dress up frequently, mostly for sports. Before a game, match, or meet, the students at my school either dress up or wear team shirts. I was thrilled to receive this dress from eShakti for that very reason. I've always been a huge fan of their classy selection, but I'm always most excited about their custom sizing options. You just type your very own measurements in, customize the neckline, sleeves, and length, and bam! A dress made just for you. 

I seem to always mess up this online ordering thing though. This time, I remembered to select short dress so I wasn't drowning in material, but I put my exact measurements in, so it's rather hard to breathe in this coral beauty. Tip for all you online shoppers: make sure to add an inch or two to your measurements--or take chest mesurements when you're inhaling!

I also have had to dress up because--ready--I'm a National Merit Semi-finalist! I found a couple weeks ago and I was absolutely ecstatic. I don't think I've ever wanted anything that much. If you remember this post, you know that it took plenty of sweat and tears.

Now on to the application process! I'm trying to take everything one thing at a time--it's much less intimidating and so much more manageable. If you feel like you're drowning too, I promise it works. Since I can't blog as frequently, I'd like to share how I spend my time these days. Next up, details about my multiple orchestras!

Finally, I love this song below because of the line "just because it burns doesn't mean you're gonna die." It's perfect for running. And life in general.

Have a beautiful week, friends!

Join the conversation!

  1. You are as strong as you are beautiful. I applaud your determination. Now on to your outfit... and what more can I say? Beautiful dress with some stylish slingback wedge pumps. You are totally awesome, Lily! :)

  2. The colour of that dress is gorgeous and the cut is so cute! I really love your determination and reflection on how running has affected you. Stay awesome!


  3. gorgeous dress and colour it looks great on you! xx

  4. I love coral! And the gold jewellery you have put with it goes so well! :)

  5. You are one amazing girl Lily. I am always blown away by your tenacity in pursuing what you want and how you accomplish it all with a lovely smile and such a wonderful attitude.
    Congrats on being a National Merit Semi-finalist! That is a big deal for sure :D PROUD OF YA GIRLY!
    Oh, and yes, this eShakti dress is lovely for sure. Perfect for game days when you have to dress up :)

    The Dragonfruit Diaries

  6. Hi Lily!!! You're amazing! Yep, you are, woman! HANDS DOWN! I'm so glad I'm back to blog hopping again!

    Also, I'm still working for a sub 30 with my 5k run! I admit I haven't been running as of late. I'm mostly on my bike and I'm still rediscovering my love for running. I was a varsity when I was in HS and stopped running when I got to college. OMG. #STORYOFMYLIFE

    You're truly an inspiration! And yes, it's really a mental battle. There's going to be a hundred million voices in our head telling us we can't do it but you know, we know better!

  7. Lovely outfit, like the colour of the dress :))

  8. hey, Lily! it was oh so fascinating to read the part about your running competition. especially the part where some other guys wanted to pass and your turbo-mode was switched on ;) it was like reading a very exciting book! oh and I'm so happy you were able to improve your personal record. good job, girl!
    now, when it comes to your outfit I have to say a lot of good things as well. the dress looks absolutely gorgeous on you! by the way, I own a purple one with little sleeves and it has the same hem. oh and the golden jewellery looks absolutely gorgeous too! it just goes perfectly with the coral dress.

    Maikeni blogi - part of me

  9. Oh, Lily, I'm so incredibly proud of you! Way to go, I hope you are just seriously so proud of yourself. That's awesome. Can I just keep telling you how awesome you are? How rad that time is? How dedicated you are, and how it has showed through this? Yeah, I am super proud of ya! :)

    It's funny how some things we start to hate we end up loving (or at least having some kind of mind battle with them, a love/hate complex going on, haha!). I feel that way about contemporary art. It makes me angry, but at the same time, it makes me think, "Man, why didn't *I* think of that?"

    So yeah, you rock. HIGH FIVE.

    And you look super cute, duh. I love that soft lace dress on you. Even such a fierce runner lady as yourself can don such cute outfits, and I love that. I love that you can balance two things like that. :)

  10. oh you look so stunning! the color of the dress look stunning on you =)

  11. The dress is so girly and beautiful, just like you. x

  12. Your necklace is so cute and whimsical!

    I can't believe you ran a 5k! I would never be able to do that.

  13. I love all of your vivid descriptions of running- you are such a passionate and determined girl, I just love it! Your stories are always so inspiring. And congrats on being a National Merit Finalist! That is SO exciting! All of your hard work is paying off :)

    Xo, Hannah

  14. Wow! What a great post about xc. While I ran to keep in shape during the summer, I'm not competitive at all. But, my lovely boyfriend is an avid XC runner and I just absolutely love going to his meets. (Slash being able to scream my lungs off haha.) I know that it takes your all to run those xc courses and I totally admire that:) So great job this year! Thank you for sharing.
    Hugs & Kisses,

  15. This dress is gorgeous Lily!! And you look so beautiful in it! I love your determination, you're so inspiring! And it was cool to learn that you didn't always like running but that you grew to love it! Awesome story :)

  16. Congratulations on your race time! That is very difficult and I'm glad you accomplished your goal! I know how you feel about being dissapointed when you finish a sport and feel like you could have done better. That's how I feel in field hockey some games.

    I love that dress, it is absolutely gorgeous! The color and lace are both really pretty and it looks so good on you!

    Also congrats on being a merit scholar semi-finalist! That's awesome!!


  17. Yay for Columbus bloggers! So glad you found me on Chictopia (and that I actually logged in and saw your comment). Love this dress and your adorable style, so excited to be a new follower :)

  18. cute dress ;)
    nice blog, would you like to follow each other?

  19. Beautiful colour and the lace is so stunning. Amazingly pretty. This is my dream dress. Perfect.

  20. Such a pretty dress! Love the color. So glad I found your blog.

    And I love that song by Pink :)

  21. Such a riveting, beautiful story Lily! Gosh, it brought me back to my days when I used to run distance for my school's track team in the junior high. You captured the feeling and emotion perfectly. So happy for you that you finally reached under 22! :D

    Also, you are so dazzling in this outfit! Such a breath of fresh air you are :)

  22. what a beautiful, deep post! You have an amazing writing skills. "To conquer the voices inside and outside your head saying that you can't." this is an amazing quote of you, this is right what I need to hear now.
    I also like those wonderful photographs of you, you look so pretty and feminine in this incredible lacy dress!
    Wish you a blessed day ahead!

  23. Beautiful dress and photos! I really like the way you write your posts!

  24. This dress is just gorgeous on you, I love the color. And yay for breaking your personal record. Love your determination!

    xo, Yi-chia
    Always Maylee

  25. that dress is absolutely gorgeous and i like your tale of fearless triumph of mind over matter (and tiring muscles). your fighting, driven spirit will get you very far in life! i am much more sprinter than distance runner but i finally got the gumption to run my first 5k and my friends and i are training for a half marathon for fun.

    i am surprised to see someone reads my weird photo titles :) you make me smile, lily

  26. This dress is so super adorable! And a perfect color for you!



the 'gram

© imperfect idealist.