Reasons to Run

Courtesy of Colleen Bromberger

Courtesy of Colleen Bromberger

Emma Archuleta adds being a member of the track team to her lsit of extracurriculars.

To discover your passion is a rare and beautiful thing.  For some, it takes a whole life to find what makes them truly happy, while for others, it falls right into their lap. For third-year public health major Emma Archuleta, she found that her passion in life was running, but she didn’t truly appreciate it until she was no longer on the team.

Archuleta’s passion for running began while competing in physical education races in middle school. However, she never took it seriously until high school, when she joined the varsity team her freshman year.

“Initially, I was nervous about competing because I never played team sports as a kid, so it was difficult to get used to the team dynamic,” Archuleta said. “But then I soon realized I loved it and it became something I looked forward to.”

During her high school career at Poway High in San Diego, she ran four years of cross country, as well as two years of track in her junior and senior year.

Despite excelling in her sport, Archuleta decided to focus on academics and based her decision to attend UC Irvine solely on the prestigious education.

However, during her freshman year, she discovered that she “missed camaraderie of the cross country team.” In search of the team aspect of sports, Archuleta joined the Triathlon Club at UCI, but soon realized it was not the same as competing on an n athletic team.

“People would always ask me why I didn’t go [out] for the cross country team,” Archuleta said. “I wasn’t sure if I could handle rigorous science courses along with running, but my friend made me realize that I would still be running regardless.”

So, during winter quarter of her freshman year at Irvine, she made the decision to talk to the cross country coaches. Having been involved with the Triathlon Club, Archuleta was confident she was in good enough shape togive it a shot.

“I didn’t just walk on the team, I worked really hard,” Archuleta said.

Coach Vince O’Boyle first allowed Archuleta to attend a few practices to see how she worked with the team. O’Boyle made sure the soon-to-be member of the cross country team remained in tip-top shape by completing a rigorous set of exercises and conditioning drills.

“When he saw I was in good shape, he had me come to some of the runs and workouts,” Archuleta said.

Although she didn’t officially join the team until her sophomore year, she continued attending the rest of the practices during winter and spring quarter.

With the addition of the cross country and track teams to her college resumé, Archuleta has become busier than ever, as she balanced her public health major and a double minor in biological sciences and political science.  Not to mention Archuleta is also a member of the Pre-Dental Society on-campus and has an internship at a dentist’s office and was a volunteer at Hoag Hospital.

“What gets me through it [is not only] being passionate for it all, but also having time management and making sacrifices,” Archuleta said.  “Sacrifices that include going to bed early on weekdays, not procrastinating on schoolwork and maintaining a set diet.”

While Archuleta lives a life that most college students cannot call normal, with practices seven days a week, Archuleta says, “It’s worth it because even if I wasn’t on a team, I would still be running, but the team aspect helps because it helps me stay focused.”

On Oct. 6, 2012, Archuleta finished first for UCI at the UC San Diego Triton Classic, finishing the 6K course at 23:57.9 and placing 42nd overall.

Shortly after, Archuleta realized she had hip problems, and although she finished the competition season, she did not go on to conference or the NCAA Championship races.

Archuleta learned that patience and overcoming adversity were more important. Still recovering, Archuleta is currently cross-training in preparation for upcoming track meets.