Morning workouts at The Island School are like a box of chocolates; you never really know what you are going to get. Every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday morning, we tend to have some really fun workouts. Tuesdays and Thursdays are track workouts; meaning that you work out with your selected group: either run track or swim track. One of the best workouts that I had here was during one of our first long track workouts. When I heard that we were going to go out 30 minutes and then come back in 30 minutes, I was stoked. I had not run more than four miles for at least four months. The run started off great; I was running 7:30 splits with the lead group. We were chugging along for a good 3 miles, until we reached the path to Deal’s Pointe. If you have never been to the Bahamas before, especially Eleuthera, you’ll know that it’s pretty flat here. The thing about the path to Deal’s Pointe is that it becomes really hilly out of nowhere. If you have ever watched WWE you know that scene where the announcer yells, “watch out, watch out, watch out, watch out!” Well, that’s what I thought in my head when I hit the path and saw all these random hills outta nowhere. That killed my run. Although these hills and random drops were hard, I persevered and toughed my way through it. In the end I managed to run just under eight miles. At home, these hills wouldn’t have been all that bad, but the intense heat of the Bahamas and the flat terrain we trained on in previous runs did not help you when you hit the hills at Deals Pointe!
Before coming to The Island School, I was dead set on running the half marathon. I had myself convinced. I run cross country at home and never had any interest in swimming. That all changed when I came here. When we tested the waters of both run and swim track, I really enjoyed run track. We watched the sun rise while we did partner sprints over the bridge. Overall, it was an incredible workout that I would have loved the opportunity to do for the next 100 days. The next morning, I remember thinking I was going to die of hyperthermia while slowly submerging myself in the coolness of the February water in Water Polo Cut. After realizing I was overreacting and it wasn’t actually that cold, we started swimming. I was instantly mesmerized by the opportunity to see all the sea life, and I actually enjoyed the swimming. I really did not see that coming. The next day came and it was time to decide whether I would stick with what was comfortable and do run track, or whether I would learn to start pushing myself and do something I knew I wasn’t good at and sign up for swim track. At the end of the day, I decided I would take a leap and do swim track. Since then, I have looked forward to having pole swims on Tuesdays and playing water polo on Fridays and all the days in between where we are just swimming laps and improving our skills. I have come a long way since the beginning and I am so thrilled for the 4-mile swim that is coming my way!
Every morning, all of Treehouse wakes up to the sound of my watch going off. This one morning, though, everybody woke up at 5:45. Slowly, everybody got out of bed, ready to start the day. All 53 of us met in the circle promptly at 6:00 AM, eager for what was to come. After the morning announcements, all of the runners huddled around the flagpole in preparation for the exercise ahead of us. I could almost feel the nerves and excitement of everybody as we waited for what was to come. Today was our first “super” long tracks. Two students led the group in stretches as we approached Queen’s Highway. As soon as we reached Queen’s Highway, I gave my buddy, Annie, a high five as we set our watches for an hour and a half run. I took a deep breath as Leigh said to go. As soon as we started running, my nerves from earlier disappeared. Annie and I kept a steady pace and talked for the next nine miles. As we rounded the turn into CEI, Annie and I both gained new energy as we sprinted our way over the bridge to the flagpole. As soon as I touched the flagpole at the end, I felt a huge sense of accomplishment. Nine miles was the longest I had ever run, and now I cannot wait for another challenge on the 13.1 mile half marathon.
So when I was deciding which AMX (Morning Exercise) track I wanted to commit to, the decision was both clear and incredibly difficult to make. I came to The Island School as a huge swimmer, in love with the sport. I also came here never having run more than a mile before. It would have been easy to do swim track, where it would be a breeze, but I decided to do run track, which was incredibly difficult for me. In the beginning, I dreaded the mornings that I would have to run. But soon I began to look forward to long track days where I would be running six or seven miles. I learned to love the burn. I was amazed by how both my body and my mentality were changing. I now really love running and am going to do it when I get home. This was an amazing opportunity that AMX gave to me.
AMX is a special experience. To be able to wake up each morning, watch a gorgeous Bahamian sunrise and take a run or a swim with your best friends. It’s difficult to wake up early every morning, but after while it becomes easy. Mentally you know that your goal is to run a half marathon or to swim four miles. Nothing is more driving than that. And at the end of the semester, when you get out of the water or cross the finish line, you know that everything you have been working for is has been worth it. And the reward is like no other.