FRIDAY FEATURED FRIEND
"Special"
I had a couple of people in mind for my Friday Featured Friend but I decided to change it up and introduce someone who's pretty special me and more than just a "Friday Friend".  My little bambino, Nia! "The Nia" is what we call her and she just started her first year of high school and immediately joined the Cross Country team which took me by surprise.

Nia had "no interest" in running because of a bad experience she had with Track and Field years ago and she "LOVED" soccer!  She had been playing soccer for nearly 7 years and did not want to give it up.  But with high school fast approaching and not much effort was being put into soccer, she decided to do something a little different.
  
The season officially started last weekend.  Nia has already made the Varsity team by putting in miles over the summer.  She admitted 2 weeks ago, "Cross Country was the best decision and soccer is no longer my favorite sport.". . .I have to tell you, I nearly fell over on my own two feet when I heard that!
At 14 years of age, Nia is loving high school right now.  She is meeting new people and hitting the books hard because she has big dreams of going to an Ivy League School.  Nia and the team run every day after school with 2-3 hard tempo runs per week, a track workout and recovery run to help them prepare for their meets.

The biggest thing that Nia is trying to do right now is NOT get injured.  "I have to watch my pace and make sure I am doing what Coach told me to do.  I don't want to get hurt and the season has barely started."  At 14 years of age, girls are still growing upward and outward.  So, it is very important to protect the IT band and knees.  How? First, running in the proper training shoes is key, static stretching after practice or before bed time is very beneficial and using "The Stick" helps Nia recover faster by directly loosing up her muscles.

Nia loves fashion, Taylor Swift and reading.  She has the most fun when she is hanging with her girlfriends and Mom is no where in site.  Watching this girl run is "poetry in motion" and I am not just saying that because she is my daughter.  When you see someone doing something that they truly enjoy doing, it definitely shows in every move they make.  I have never seen her more happy and relaxed when competing and that's what makes her my "special" Friday Featured Friend. . .OH. . .the "daughter thing" helped too! Happy Running!