You’d be forgiven if you thought that Rebecca Tracy might be burning the candle at both ends as she chases an Olympic dream while going through the wringer called med school.
But after talking to her, I think you could make a pretty strong argument that pursuing both demanding passions actually helps her stay balanced and focused one the current task at hand.
Rebecca’s Love of the Mile Runs Deep
Rebecca will be competing in the 2016 Olympic Trials for the 1500m distance, and her fondness for the history of racing the mile was made clear from the start.
Running collegiately at Notre Dame, she experienced the excitement surrounding the Mayo Mile every year on her home track.
Even though she doesn’t race the actual mile very often any more, Rebecca will always love the mile because of the history that is involved with one of the distance.
The Dream to Represent Team USA
Rebecca began to dream of representing Team USA while she was quite young, but running wasn’t the sport of choice.
Rebecca played soccer before turning her focus to the track, and the idea of being a member of the US Women’s Soccer Team sparked her desire to represent the United States at the International Level.
After turning her focus to the track, the dream resurfaced in college when she found herself just on the outside looking in of qualifying for the Olympic Trials in 2012.
She continued to run and to train after college, not knowing exactly what the future would hold, but she continued to make her way over the next four years and will be running with a chance to represent the United States in Rio in 2016.
Balancing Training and Med-School
Rebecca has found a lot of similarities between training as an athlete and excelling at school.
Taking care of yourself by getting enough sleep and eating well are important for all of us, and Rebecca has definitely learned the importance of taking care of herself to allow her to progress both on the mental and physical sides of her life.
Rebecca has also realized that having two demanding pursuits allows her to not develop tunnel vision in just one area of life. Carving out blocks of time to train creates natural study breaks, and those breaks actually help her to refocus when it’s time to get back to studying.
Sure balancing both med-school and training can be overwhelming at times, but on the whole it is working for Rebecca.
Her Journey to Med-School Started in 8th Grade
In 8th grade, Rebecca enjoyed the biology unit in her science class and at that point decided that becoming a doctor might be fun.
And she’s stuck with it since then!
In college, the path wavered slightly from pre-med/biology to psychology, but she has still ended up in med school on the path to becoming a doctor.
She’s still unsure what branch of medicine that she plans to specialize in, though being in the ER for a rotation has her excited about possibly pursuing emergency medicine, but ultimately that decision is TBD.
Running in Rebecca’s Future?
Perhaps the most obvious question I could have asked Rebecca is what running will look like for her after the Olympic Trials and as she continues to progress in med school.
And right now, she’s not sure what the future will hold.
She is certain that she will continue to run, and may even progress into distance events like the 5k (funny how for some the 5k is a distance event, and for some of us the 5k is too short and painful!), but the future is still really cloudy at this point.
Tips From the Pros
When I asked Rebecca for a tip to share with those of us that will never run as an elite that we can incorporate into our running to help us get over whatever hump may be in front of us, and her tip was to make sure that running stays fun.
That doesn’t mean you can’t still take your running and your goals seriously, but you need to continue to find joy in the sport.
If the joy is gone and running becomes a chore, it’s time to step back and reassess the reasons you’re running.
There Will Always Be Others That are Better Than You
One of the things that Rebecca has learned as a runner is the fact that there are always runners that will be better than she is.
There are those that run faster and/or farther, and by accepting that as a fact it continues to push her to work harder and improve.
And she’s seen the same thing in medical school as well. There are other students that are smarter or that work harder, and instead of viewing them as competition she sees them as inspiration to study harder and improve herself.
Competition isn’t a bad thing if you use it to motivate yourself to do better, in running or in any other avenue of your life.
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