An Open Letter To My Teammate As He Prepares For Nationals

An Open Letter To My Teammate As He Prepares For Nationals

"It's okay to want something that terrifies you" -Alexi Pappas.
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The cold, frigid temperatures didn't stop you. You gave everything you had, every hill, every stride, every moment, you never gave up. You believed in yourself and knew what you had to do to get what you've been working for all season. You did it, you really did it.

Tears rolled down my face watching you accomplish the impossible. I've never been this emotional before watching somebody compete in a cross country race. You never seize to amaze me with your talents, all of your hard work this year has finally paid off. Coming off an injury over the summer, it's still hard to believe that somebody could have such an amazing comeback. You have been patient all season and finally got to show everybody what you can do.

When I first met you, I'm not going to lie, I was very intimidated by you. You were fast, tall and determined to make an impact on this team and the school. We were both new to the team last year and both were going through the same things. You became one of my first friends on campus, making sure I was handling the new environment well and kept me on my feet. I'll never forget all the long, crazy stories you've told me about all the road races you've ran and how excited you were to run in college. You told me some big dreams you had coming into the collegiate running scene and I got to watch you accomplish one of those dreams.

As you prepare for nationals, I want to share some advice with you, some things that I tell myself before races and some things you can take with you and remember all the way up to the moment you toe the line in Evansville, IN, to the moment you cross the finish line.

You are just as strong as everyone there. Go into the race with the mindset that you're going to be the next national champion, because you can. There is nothing wrong with telling yourself that you can win, you're physically fit and as coach would say "all the hay is in the barn". Everything will take care of itself, you just need to be mentally tough. If you tell yourself you can, you can. Running is a weird sport, who wants to go out and see who can run the fastest? Well, sadly, we do. It's a sport seeing who is the most mentally tough and who can fight through the pain the longest. Yes, running a personal best is a great feeling, but finishing a race is one of the biggest accomplishments anyone could every dream of.

Be thankful for your opportunity to run. This is every runner's dream to run at a big national meet. There's only so many times you will be able to run a collegiate cross country race, make every moment count. When you feel good, run faster and pass people. Don't hold yourself back to what you're capable of and hey, the faster you run, the faster you're done! Remember this summer when you were injured and had to take time off? That has made you even stronger mentally and physically, when the race gets tough and you feel like you can't go anymore, you can. Your body will carry you through. You have the potential to crush the competition if you believe.

Run your heart out and always remember the reason you run.

"The best pace is suicide pace and today feels like a good day to die." - Pre.

One last thing, I am so proud of all the things you have overcome as a runner and a person. Never in my life have I been so proud of somebody before. You have shown me and the team that anything is possible. It's crazy to think that you only started running last year. I admire your work ethic, how a day off to you means hours of cross training and not actually taking a day off. I look up to you, you have shown me what it's like to be a humble, kind, and loving human being. I can't thank you enough for the things you have brought to this team and how much you care about each and every one of us. You lead this team like nobody else can. The amount of love you have for the sport tops everyone else, running has shaped you to be the person you are today.

Congratulations and good luck in Evansville, you deserve this more than anybody.

"Don't be afraid to give up the good and go for the great." - Pre.

Cover Image Credit: Emily Daniels

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If You Wear XL T-Shirts And Shorts, You're The Woman Of My Dreams

Enough with the war on comfort!
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Comfortable can be sexy, simply put.

For some reason there are people complaining out there about the Southern college trend that has been happening the past few years: big t-shirts and shorts, also known as the "srat uniform." There seems to be a clash between the girls who dress "nice" most of the time and girls who dress for comfort. As a guy, I don't see what the big deal is?

For college in the South, there are two reasons to dress up: college football (Roll Tide) and date parties. Any other time, you can find a majority of the female population in shorts and a big t-shirt that makes it look like they're not wearing pants. As a man, I personally don't see anything wrong with this. I love being comfortable as much as the next person, and most guys find the baggy t-shirt and shorts outfit to be cute. There's always a time and place for dresses and rompers.

But for all the haters out there that call these girls in XL t-shirts and shorts lazy, you've got it all wrong.

There are 4 reasons why the girls who don the "srat uniform" have it all figured out.

1. Girls have it rough.

See, it's tough being a girl. I don't know from experience, but I hear it enough and I've seen it enough to know it's true. When girls aren't dealing with f***boys, periods or having to do their hair and makeup routinely, they are being overly criticized by our society. I think society owes girls a break, and that break comes in the comfortable baggy t-shirt and shorts.

2. Southern Not-So-Comfort(able) weather.

Also, for all of the haters, maybe y'all haven't noticed that it's hotter than Satan's balls in the South! Tight, dressy outfits and pants constrict the body and cause you to sweat. I'd rather see a dry girl in a baggy t-shirt than a girl drenched in sweat trying to look cute with her outfit.

3. Perfect doesn't exist.

It's admirable when a girl can unapologetically be herself. A girl in an XL t-shirt and shorts is a girl that is saying "yes, I may have just rolled out of bed and brushed my hair, but I'm here dammit." Social media tells us we all have to be the dolled up, most "perfect" version of ourselves all the time, so it's nice to experience that reality check.

4. Guys think it's cute, regardless.

9 times out of 10, guys in college do not care what you're wearing. Trust me, we aren't doing much better. You could probably put on a garbage bag and we still think you're cute. Any guy that dates a girl that dates a girl only because she dresses nicely all of the time is a shallow man. You're cute, you're comfortable, and that makes for a much better vibe. We all win.

So, in the battle of dressing "nice" and dressing comfortable, I think that the girls who wear an XL t-shirt and shorts chalk up a win in my record book. No, I'm not bashing on girls who have a true sense of style and wear nice clothing... that's a great thing in itself! But, this is college and there are more important things to focus on besides what we're wearing.

Ladies, wear your srat uniform with pride. Some us think it's cute :)

*I want to thank the beautiful ladies at the University of Alabama for inspiring this article.*

Cover Image Credit: Pinterest

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These Brands Have The Cruelty-Free Beauty Must-Haves For Summer 2018

Have you ever taken a look in your makeup bag?

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It's no secret that our pets mean the world to us, along with the other animals…the scaly ones included. It's also well known that many of us love our skin care and makeup.

But, did you ever stop to think if your cosmetics were pet-friendly?

It's really eye-opening when you go through your products and start looking up which ones test on animals, and which ones don't. Thankfully, when I sat down and did just that I found that my favorites were indeed cruelty-free!

So what are my go-to products?

Primer

I am, (un)fortunately, blessed with Italian skin…meaning I have a pore situation going on! Which is fine because I use NYX's Pore Filler. It goes on smooth and leaves a smooth finish. I will admit that I was a ride-or-die Benefit PoreFessional gal, but after finding out that Benefit is not cruelty free I made the switch to this less expensive and animal friendly dupe.

Foundation

My current love is Urban Decay's Naked Skin! It is perfect for this Florida heat I live and leaves my skin feeling covered and not weighed down.

Contour

Wet N' Wild's Contour Stick. It's cheap, pigments, easy, and, of course, cruelty-free!

Blush

Glossier's Cloud Paint! This stuff goes on like a dream, and stays pigmented all day!

Setting Powder

NYX's HD Finishing Powder – swirl it around onto my Morphe (also cruelty-free) Brush and set my face!

Eyeshadow

Tarte's Tartlette In Bloom palette is everything! So many stunning shades to choose from that are not only perfect for summer but perfect for all skin tones!

Mascara

NYX's Worth The Hype – I just love the application brush on this one!

Eyebrows

Anastasia's Brow Wiz! The name speaks for itself – truly a wiz and good to our furry friends…and the animals too!

Setting Spray

Urban Decay's All Nighter – truly an all nighter!

I know we all may see ourselves as just one person, but as one person, I am happy to be aware of the products I am buying and spread the word to help our animal friends! So next time you want to try a new product, do your research and see if it's worth it.

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