“How Running Can Help Solve Your Problems” by 2020 Amy Schuerholz Metz and CCR Scholarship Recipient Dafne Estrella

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Dafne scholarship winner.jpg

Whoever said running from your problems doesn’t solve them probably wasn’t running fast enough. It may not be effective in solving them, but running in general usually makes problems seem significantly easier to work through. At least, easier than the act of forcing your body to run a certain distance or time.

I started running my sophomore year at Southern High school, I joined Cross Country to build a stronger resume for college applications. From Cross Country I joined the Track and Field team. Before I knew it, I found myself returning to try outs each year after that.

Cross Country and Track became a year round focus for me, I ran through each sports season and through each summer. That first year I was just testing the waters, little did I know I’d end up being pulled into something I’d never want to leave.

The first Cross Country race was a combination of awful weather and a deep fear of failure. The South River course was mud-filled and a safety hazard at every turn, I slipped several times throughout that race. By the second mile I was already questioning what had possessed me to join that ridiculous sport. I was prepared for failure and wasn’t sure I would step foot on the line again. I finished second to last and vividly remember the feeling of exhaustion and genuine disappointment in myself. I was so embarrassed at my performance, all I wanted was to leave. From the crowd of cheerful parents, teammates and coaches, I picked out my dad. He stood with a proud look on his face, waiting under an umbrella with a jacket to wrap me in. He didn’t care that I had finished second to last nor that I was covered in mud, he was just there to witness the beginning of a brand new journey for me and to cheer me on. I still think of that race and remember the mix of feelings that only left me with the desire to do better.

My final track season was cut short by the pandemic, but I had the chance to persevere through one last Cross Country season. That season, after much practice and motivation from my coaches, I finished 14th at Regionals and went on to compete at States.

As I type that today, I can still say it doesn’t feel real. I may not have been breaking records, but I broke out of my own comfort zone and I came to realize, I was oftentimes the only one holding me back. At the same time, I was working towards college, my own personal record. I am the first in my family to attend college, something I have worked towards for a very long time. The same work-ethic and desire to improve that got me through every race is what pushed me to fight for a spot at Virginia Commonwealth University.

I am now majoring in Fashion Merchandising with a plan to minor in Media Studies. Receiving the Charm City scholarship helped lift a very heavy burden from my shoulders, it greatly alleviated the financial stress for my freshman year of college.

Many times in my journey toward a new PR, whether in running or my academic goals, I experienced many setbacks. Despite that, I remembered a phrase my team often said, the faster you run, the faster you finish. So I keep going, because if I can willingly put myself through muddy courses and insurmountable hills and somehow succeed, then I know I am capable of much more. Like I said, you can’t run from your problems but you can run to gain a sense of how much you are truly able to achieve.


Wednesday, May 12, 2021

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We hope that you find this blog to be a source of training tips, inspiration and community. Our goal is to create a place online for every runner to find the motivation they need to hit the pavement. If you’d like to be a guest contributor, please email us at lauren@charmcityrun.com.

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