Overcoming The Injury For The Opportunity

By Jeremy McDonald

jeremymcdonald73@gmail.com

STAYTON, Ore.–  Lower body injuries when it comes to running could normally spell some bad luck for runners like Regis’ Julia McLaughlin.

Ankle Tendonitis came around not once, but twice her sophomore and junior years while she was at South Salem High School before her transfer over to Regis midway through last year.  With the cancelation of her track season due to the Coronavirus Pandemic this past March, it gave McLaughlin an opportunity to heal up and adjust herself to the grueling task of running at the High School level. 

Taking the Spring off before getting back to running.

After track season was cancelled last spring is when I took a break from running till the end of spring, since I figured some down time is probably what I needed even after physical therapy. I focused on slowly getting up my mileage from there and making sure I was taking the right steps to avoid causing the same injury,” McLaughlin said, who finished 42nd in the tough-Mountain Valley Conference Fall of 2019 in Cross Country.

“It also got me interested to do a lot of research on how to stay healthy as a runner, and I’ve definitely learned a lot from doing that. I think consistency again was important because I’ve been able to take the time to do the solid base training that I needed to stay healthy the whole season. It has also just been a great outlet for me to be able to run every day and focused on staying healthy for the future.”

It’s the little things, McLaughlin said, that one can do to improve yourself.  Stretching, diet, not loading up too many miles too fast.  Everything for the positive adds up as much as the negatives do.

“All aspects that I think are really important when succeeding at the next level,” McLaughlin said.  “I really just overworked myself and didn’t know when to step back and take care of my injury.”

McLaughlin (center) signs her Letter of Intent as she has battled and overcome Ankle Tendonitis for an opportunity to compete at the next level (Picture provided by Julia McLaughlin)

McLaughlin had spent two weeks training and running with the Rams before the Pandemic put a damper on her Junior season, but she was welcomed in like family during those two weeks of practice and the four weeks prior to the few practices that they had.

“I had so much support from my coaches and new teammates which was super meaningful to me and was one of the things I was so grateful for about coming to Regis,” McLaughlin said.  “I’m really grateful for the opportunities and the joy that running has given me throughout high school. I think what’s happened has given me a whole new perspective on “running every race like it’s your last” knowing that nothing is ever guaranteed, and it will be really meaningful to compete moving forward because of that.”

With the uncertainty of what is ahead for her and many athletes across the State, she is just going to take what she can get and enjoy it as she goes.  Running has been a great outlet for her and these crazy times made her realize how much she has enjoyed it.

Late last week, McLaughlin signed her Letter of Intent to run at Benedictine College in Track and Field for the 1,500-meter and the 3,000-meter races as well as Cross Country.

The Ravens of Atchison, Kansas are an NAIA team and a part of the Heart of America Athletic Conference (or HAAC).  It’s unexpected and is a blessing at the same time, knowing that her goal and dream had come to fruition when she signed on the dotted line.

“I’m super grateful for the opportunity to be able to be running in college, it’s something that I wouldn’t have expected when I started high school, but I have known for a while now that I’ve wanted to attend Benedictine College and made it my goal to run there because it is something I’ve enjoyed so much and wanted to continue that,” said McLaughlin.

“I’m really excited to be working with the coach and the team next year, they have a really great community aspect to the team and the college in general, one of the things that helped me make my decision to go there.”

As for now, it’s training and seeing what is to come for her in terms of donning the Regis jersey before graduating High School.

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