It is the tears of disappointment that that drive Karen Mac. Not to dwell on what could have been, but as motivation for the present.
“I remember my freshman year, where the team finished 6th place at CCS. I remember the tears and the disappointment,” Mac said. “Even though I wasn’t even running the next year was truly fueled by a desire to get back to State. In the summer, we trained consistently and throughout the year we learned to compete towards a shared goal instead of just for ourselves.”
And what resulted was the best performance at the CCS Championship in team history. The team rocketed in the standings finishing second in the section not far out of first.
Coming off that season Karen was burning up the track early before suffering a knee injury that brought her season to a sudden halt. She worked hard to come back putting in the miles that summer but suffered a setback that knocked her out of the rest of the season. “Last year was quite a disappointment," she said. "I felt like our team was supposed to go to State, and I felt so bad for not being able to run. I knew we had to make it back to Fresno.”
So once again instead of dwelling on what could have been Karen used it as motivation. She never gave up and pressed on.
Karen is a leader on the Warriors squad. Gone are the excuses.
Despite the setbacks she persevered and remained focused throughout the off-season. She had a busy summer visiting colleges and participating in summer internships but she refused to accept any excuses. It wasn't easy but she was able to put in a consistent block of training, stay healthy and what resulted was welcomed by all: Karen Mac was back.
She was focused on one goal, to make up for what she felt was lost last season; but this time it was not just to get to the state meet, but to do well there. “My sophomore year we were so excited to have made it to State but it was clear that we peaked at CCS,” Mac Said. “But this year, I think it’s clear that we have a different mentality. CCS was more like another stepping stone for the one race that really matters.”
“We are ready to go for it this Saturday and I for one am excited for the last cross country race of my high school career, on my favorite course.”
But she is also excited for the little things.
“Qualifying for state is a honor because it means we get to run against some of the best. It also means Black Friday shopping for State apparel at Woodward Park, stuffing our faces with food the night before, immersing ourselves in freezing cold ice baths, and celebrating with some comfort food afterwards at the Dam Diner!”
So what advice does she have for those running in their first state meet?
“Don’t go out too hard and don’t get too freaked out if you’re in the back of the pack. You’re running a lot faster in the first mile then it seems like.”
And maybe buy a shirt.
Karen Mac returns to the State Championship for the second time and will join her team November 30 at Woodward Park in Fresno.
To check out The Road to State with Karen from 2011: CLICK HERE