250 Miles Stronger…

Like many avid football players and fans, my husband looks forward to the fall because of the ensuing college football season.  Last fall, his eyes were opened to a new sport as our oldest daughter was introduced to running.  A Cross Country course is a bit different from the football fields and 200 meter dashes that Matt was famous for during his athletic tenure, but watching our daughter over the past year has made him a believer.

Matt, his senior year in high school…

I have always loved Cross Country.  There is just something about taking on the challenge of a running course with nothing but a stop watch, a pair of shoes, and your pride that makes me grin.  While I have transitioned away from competitive athletics during my adult years, I still periodically search for that “runner’s high” on the roads that surround our farm.

I don’t run as fast anymore, but I still enjoy the journey…

Nothing in my decade long search for athletic excellence prepared me for the absolute joy of watching my daughter in her own athletic journey.  It is fascinating to watch her learn to set goals, work toward them, and gain confidence as they are achieved.

Last fall was the beginning of a beautiful thing…I look forward to the years ahead!

This summer her coach challenged her to run 200 miles.  The lure of the “200 mile club” sparked her competitive nature, and she came home and announced that she was going to do it.   I helped her to develop weekly goals for the summer, and then turned her loose to see what she could accomplish.

The medal last fall that taught her that hard work led to success, and the coach that helped her to learn…

I spent the summer watching her gain confidence and pride with every run that she took.  She and her loyal four legged running partner got up early each morning and ran in the relative coolness at dawn.  While she certainly gained physical strength that will be greatly beneficial as she competes this fall, in reality she gained so much more than that…

The runner and her loyal sidekick…

At the end of the summer, armed with 250 miles and a smile, she is a proud member of the elusive “200 mile club”.  She wore her shirt to the first day of 7th grade and talks excitedly about the plaque that she earned the right to have her name printed on.  She comes home from practice talking about how it is important to always “work hard and finish strong”, and I find myself blinking back the tears as my heart swells with pride.

A special shirt on a very special young lady…

I have no idea what physical accomplishments this cross country season will bring—she has new goals for the season which include breaking a 5:45 mile and winning at least one race.  As her mom and her biggest fan, I know that regardless of how fast she runs and how many medals she brings home that the life lessons that she picks up along the cross country course are invaluable.

I would like to send a huge thank you to Coaches Dustin and Alisa Favinger for inspiring my daughter to search for greatness in all that she does.

Go Haymakers!


Filed under Ashley Grace's Corner and The Chick Project..., Family, General

15 responses to “250 Miles Stronger…

  1. You sound very proud, and rightly so! Good on her!

  2. Dawn

    Congratulations Ashley Grace! so much to be proud of!

  3. Stephanie

    She will do GREAT things this season both in cross country and track. We can’t wait to watch her accomplishments occur in both sports for the next 6 years! Go Ashley Grace!!!!!!!!

  4. Liz Cote

    You should definitely let me know if there is a competition near Kearney. I would love to come watch her 🙂

    • Liz! I now have to get used to your new last name! She runs in Cozad, Broken Bow, Lexington, Minden, and Ogallala that I know of for sure. The Junior High team does not travel to the Kearney meet…

      We hope to catch up with you soon.
      Anne (Ashley Grace, Megan and Karyn too!)

  5. Dustin Favinger

    Anne, not fair…as you know I am a follower of your blog and read it everytime new content is uploaded. This morning as I was reading it I was not prepared to be overcome with pride (and maybe a little emotion)…Pride in your daughters work ethic, leadership, and humility. The fact that you thank my wife and I for that, does not tell they whole tale. Your family is a model for others to follow. The values you instill in your children and values you model everyday for them are the real keys to success! So, now I am wiping my eyes and my heart is again filled with excitement to share her successes in the coming years.

  6. Alisa

    Thank you so much for sharing….like Dustin says, we are blessed to have such a talent leader and runner on our roster and we have very little to do with that, she has learned all of her hard work and dedication from home! I, too, was wiping my eyes. This was something I needed to read after a challanging week of practices. Thanks again!

    • Dustin and Alisa,

      While I can lay the foundation for her to want to participate and work hard, it takes a good coach to really motivate a young athlete. The beauty of what occurred this summer was that Ashley Grace self-motivated because you all gave her something to strive for. I go to work before 6:00am—she got up every morning on her own and ran because SHE WANTED TO! The more she ran, the more she loved it, the more confident she got (both running and otherwise in her life).

      You both are tremendous role models and I feel very blessed that you will coach my children. Maybe one day in the not so far future, I can coach one of your kids in the pool 🙂


  7. Nebraska Farm Wife

    That take some AMAZING dedication to run this summer with the higher than “normal” early morning temperatures we had!!!

    • Bobbi,

      She is a dedicated kid, and I loved watching her develop a love for the sport that motivates her all on her own. I have such a tremendous love of athletics that is it fun to watch my girls find their way on that journey as well. In addition to being healthy and in good physical shape, she is learning great “life lessons”.

      All the best,

  8. Pingback: Fueled By Beef and Determination—Destined To Win! | Feed Yard Foodie

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