Get to Know Grinnell’s FRANK CANADY

 

Frank Canady-IC West-Grinnell courtesy Grinnell Athletics

Frank Canady-IC West-Grinnell
courtesy Grinnell Athletics

Cross-country has been over about two weeks now, and as such I’ve had plenty of time to think about my season. I honestly feel that it has probably been the most successful season I’ve had and without a doubt the most memorable. Regarding the latter, it’s mainly because I almost didn’t go out. Late in the summer, I developed IT band syndrome and it became painful to run even a few steps. I gave it a few days off and nothing seemed to work. I used a foam roller, ice bathed aggressively, took ibuprofen, and did seemingly everything else that should fix the problem. After two weeks with no progression, I called up a physical therapy clinic near my home (I live in Iowa City) called Performance Therapies. Even though I planned to see what they could do for me, I figured I wouldn’t be able to go out for the season and it would be a waste even if I did because there was absolutely no way I’d be in good enough shape to compete at the level I had hoped to compete. And to be honest, I’ve had other injuries since starting college and I felt like it was time to give it up since the injuries were really taking the fun away from the sport.         

 Regardless, I decided to give Performance Therapies a try. Within a week, I was fixed and running a little bit again. But I still had less than two weeks before I went back to school. At Grinnell, we place a lot of emphasis on the conference meet, and it had been my goal to win individually since I’d arrived on campus. I told myself that I had about 8 weeks to get back in shape, and that I thought I could win if I did everything absolutely right in that timeframe.

My first meet was all right. Not stellar, and I could tell I was still getting back in shape, but overall my performance was passable for that time in the season. My second meet was a little better. I really improved a lot in the third meet, and conference was only two weeks away. I was feeling ready, but the season had set itself up so that this year there would be stiff competition for the individual title.

 The day finally came, and when the gun went off, the race went out extremely fast. I didn’t think I was going to win early on but I worked my way up and ultimately it came down to me and one other runner. At 800 to go I thought I was going to lose, and the only thing keeping me in the race was that my opponent wasn’t putting any ground on me. At 400 to go, I got back up with him and started my kick. At 50 to go I looked down at the ground because I could see my shadow but couldn’t see anyone else’s, and I knew I had won.

 Despite achieving my goal, that wouldn’t be the best thing that happened to me that day. What meant just as much was that my team got the title back after losing it the year before. What meant even more than both wins was that literally every one of my teammates (as well as my opponent) congratulated me at some point soon after the race (and many did twice). While it certainly is nice to win, the conference meet showed me that I’m running with a really nice and supportive group of guys regardless of ability level, interest in the sport, or any difference you might think of. College is inherently a formative yet very difficult process (it really is “The Next Level” from high school), but being able to have a group of people to rely on is something that has been helpful to me beyond measure. At Grinnell, I’d like to think I’m someone who is known to take school very seriously but I will say, without regret, that running (and the people who make up the sport) has been as crucial a part of my education as any class I’ve ever taken. So while this season will probably be my most memorable in part because of what I was able to do, it will also remain distinct in my mind because of the people around me who helped me along the way.

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