Bella = passion, strength, toughness

2 Oct

Bella… hard work, perseverance, dedication, commitment, passion, never give up, strength, toughness, those words all describe my incredible daughter.

Bella is only 12 years old only in 7th grade but yet as a competitive athlete myself I look up to her and I gain strength from watching her. Kids can teach us a lot, when we sit back and look at things through their eyes, the eyes that are not jaded but full of hope and possibility the eyes that say anything is possible and have no fear we can become better people, stronger people.

I saw this recently out of Bella and what fired me up as I look into the 2015 season after I had a very disappointing 2014 season of racing. (sure I had some high points and podium finishes but the main races I wanted to succeed in I failed and it stings bad and still does weeks later)

Bella is a 7th grader who got asked this year to move up and run with the high school girls at Minnetonka. She started out the season winning the team time trial and in the first few meets of the season raced on the Varsity team and was scoring points being like the 4th runner on the team.  But at one meet she had a bad race (it happens) and she lost her spot on Varsity because in Varsity running you are only as good as your last race. So the following meet she had to run on the JV team.  She was sad by this and upset but determined to earn her spot back and prove she belonged with the Varsity runners and is very strong athlete.  At her first race in Buffalo on the JV team she went out and was leading most the race but on the final hill climb before the turn to the finish line she slipped back and got passed by a few girls then rallied and passed most of them again and finished second place in the race to her teammate. She got done and talked about how bad her legs hurt, and how her breathing was tough because of the cold and sickness in her lungs she had been battling. It was at that race talking with coach after and thinking that she was tired and when her race times started slipping was when swim season had picked up and along with 75 minutes of cross country practice a night she was also swimming hard for 2 hours a night and trying to stay up getting home work done.

So after that meet we talked with her and decided to rest her sit her out of some swim practices until cross-country is over, and when she does swim limit her to 1 hour of practice and pull her early to allow her legs to recover and get more rest. We also looked into diet and hydration and she started to work on improving those things to help her body recover. These were all sacrifices Bella wanted to make to give her a chance to recover and get back to running at a high level. She wanted her varsity spot back and wanted to help her team in these meets contend to knock off these top teams like Edina and Wayzata.

So after we started a week of this new regimen the next meet came up and again Bella had to run JV at this race because the Varsity could only run 7 girls and Bella was like the 8th girl. That day when I drove Bella to catch the bus with the team I said to her “go out and have fun today, run lose, run relaxed and just run like you know how to do. Get that fire in your eye you have when you race and don’t back down from anyone who wants to challenge you” She was feeling good.  When the gun went off for that race she took off and got into a pack with her teammates and other girls running strong. As I saw her come by maybe after a mile she looked strong and had taken control of the lead. She had great form and was looking like the old Bella. She went out and ran a awesome race… at times girls would come up and challenge her for the lead but she never backed down and kept pushing the tempo with half mile or less in the race she distanced herself from the pack and was solo cruising in for victory. She won the race by 15 seconds over the 2nd place girl and had a really good time as well. She got done and said my legs feel so much better than last week and agreed her new regimen was working.

That race put a spark back in her eye, some excitement back into her running and has given her new fire to use for the finish of the season. As I watched her race that day and as people commented to me after the race on how good she looked of course I got the proud father glow inside me. Sure part of it was because she won the race, but more what excited me that night was how she looked, how she smiled and how lose she ran. I saw the glimpses of that amazing kid, the amazing athlete that night and I knew this was only the start of her strength and power as a runner coming out. Bella taught me again that night, never give up on your dreams shake off bad races because you always have another race to improve at and gain back your confidence. Bella reached her goal that night with a PR time in the 4k going 15:16 and earning her spot back on the Varsity team as the 6th or 7th runner on the team.

After that race, after talking with Bella she has me fired up again to compete to race and to train harder and smarter and focus my energy in a positive way so I can rebound from some very disappointing races I had this season like Ironman when I completely tanked and got sick and flat out had a horrible race. Next up for Bella is the Lake Conference meet, and next up for me not sure but I’ve picked up my miles, building my base and strength and am working on that fire inside me burning to race like Bella… to make it look so effortless and smooth to run with no cares, to run with no regrets and to run never backing down.

I love Bella so much she is a special kid that really helps me look at life in a fresh set of eyes.

Bella I’m so proud of you!


Coach MB


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