By JUSTIN YEH
With the cool air rushing through her hair, junior Frida Monsalvo uses her last rush of adrenaline to secure yet another first place victory as she passes through the finish line.
Monsalvo is one of Wilson’s fastest female runners with an extensive record of high rankings at races. As a sophomore, she finished third in league. This season, Monsalvo placed first in every home race and ranked seventh in the league. Despite competitions becoming more intense this year, she is determined to maintain her high rank.
With her parents’ encouragements, Monsalvo first gained interest in running when she entered middle school.
“In sixth grade, I joined cross country, because my parents believed that running would help me improve in soccer,” Monsalvo said. “My interest in running grew as I realized that I was fast and [had] good stamina.”
As an inexperienced runner, Monsalvo struggled to maintain a steady pace.
“When I first started running, I would start off way too fast and slowly die off. It was very difficult for me to finish a race without slowing down or taking a break,” Monsalvo said.
However, with more experience, Monsalvo’s mile times began to improve.
“Over the years, I gained more endurance and learned how to pace [myself], which help consistently decrease my times,” Monsalvo said.
Outside of cross country practice, Monsalvo continues to polish her ability in order to improve her endurance, running six days a week with a total average of forty to forty-five miles per week.
As a result of her dedication to training, Monsalvo also overcame her fear of long distance running.
“After [pushing through] a ten-mile run for the first time, I felt exhausted and could not feel my legs. [At the same time], I was so happy, because I proved to myself that I could run long distances,” Monsalvo said.
Nonetheless, Monsalvo still faces challenges as she strives her way to the top.
“There are days when I do not eat or sleep enough. It makes running very tiring and sometimes causes me to [lose] my drive for running,” Monsalvo said.
Whenever Monsalvo loses her motivation to run, she draws strength from the people who believe in her the most.
“My parents always go to my races, even though it may be boring to watch me run up and down hills for twenty minutes,” she said. “I become motivated to try my hardest, because I know my parents are cheering me on.”
Being both a Cross Country captain and an Advanced Placement (AP) student, Monsalvo is always working on balancing her time wisely.
“My schedule can often get overwhelming, because I have to take time out of my morning and afternoon to run. In addition, I am expected to finish all my homework on time,” Monsalvo said. “Over the years, though, I learned how to manage my time and focus on the tasks I am trying to accomplish.”
As a runner, Monsalvo also needs to be cautious not get any careless injuries.
“Last season, I had shin splints, which caused me to have a difficult time racing, because it was hard for me to walk,” she said. “I am lucky enough not to have any severe injuries this season—just some minor ones.”
Currently, Monsalvo is working hard to qualify for CIF and further her running career.
“Next year, I want to be in the top three in league. I [do not plan] to stop running anytime soon, and hopefully, I will be able to get a scholarship to UC San Diego, my [dream college], for running,” Monsalvo said.
Overall, running will continue to be an important aspect of Monsalvo’s life. Despite the challenges Monsalvo faced, they are what shaped her into the hardworking student-athlete she is today.
“Running gives me a boost of confidence, because it is what I am good at,” Monsalvo said. “Not many people can run as fast as I do, which pushes me to stay on top of my game and [become] a better athlete.”