Tara Erdmann ’11: Why I Run

I was never a runner. With a closet full of shin guards, cleats and soccer socks, running shoes were what I threw in my bag for soccer conditioning.

Not until my sophomore year in high school did I put on running shoes for a cross-country practice. My coach told me to go for an easy 40-minute run with the team, to see how I’d do. I felt like a deer in the headlights, because I didn’t know the route. So I started running with the top girl, a state cross country champion. Now I know that “short” run was the start of a path that would lead to LMU.

Today, running is completely part of who I am. It provides me with joy, structure, commitment and hardship, all of them juggled and constantly in motion.

In balancing academics, athletics and having a job, I have learned time management and the importance of “to-do list” sticky notes. I am a student for 24 hours a week and an athlete for 20 hours, and I work another 10 hours. I thrive on a busy schedule. When I have a rare day with nothing on my calendar, I still like to make sticky notes, just so I can scratch items off and feel as though I have accomplished tasks! Being a student-athlete has kept me focused on academics and my sport because I know that if I want to succeed in both areas, choices have to be made.

Running has become a spiritual part of my life. When I think about the gifts, talents and opportunities God has given me, motivating myself to train hard every day is simple. Knowing the talents we possess is the easy part; developing those talents to the best of our ability is the hard part. When I committed to LMU, I promised myself that I would develop my talents and not waste what God has given me. I am grateful each day for the opportunity to obtain a great education and do what I love.

The competitive aspect of the sport is addicting. Every time I step onto the track for a race, I can almost guarantee that I will run faster than my previous personal best. For me, it is about withstanding pain at a higher level of tolerance than before. There are no timeouts or halftime breaks in my sport — it is all or nothing. When I am finished with LMU, my path will continue from where it started six years ago. But now I call myself a runner.