Around The Yard: Tyler Spear

Returning to for a second season, "Around The Yard: Life As A Harvard Student-Athlete" explores life away from the playing fields for select Harvard student-athletes through their own first-person narrative. For a full list of blog entries, click here.

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Tyler Spear
December 10, 2015

The amount of time that I spend on my sport is frightening. Between all of the running, stretching, foam rolling, massaging, lifting and other workouts that competing for Harvard’s cross country and track & field teams require, I’m essentially working a full time job. When I proudly detail to friends all of my early bedtimes, long practices, and other sacrifices that I make for running, people typically respond with something like: “You don’t go to parties? You eat healthy? That sounds like a death sentence! If I were told to live like you, I’d ask what I had done wrong to deserve such a punishment! Why do you even do it?”

When people ask why I run in college, I usually respond that I’d get myself in too much trouble if I didn’t have cross country and track to keep me in line. Although it’s a bit of a wisecrack, I think there’s more than just some truth to my response. The expectations of my coaches and teammates keep me accountable. If competitive racing weren’t a part of my regular life, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself; I’d probably get fat on Pinocchio’s Pizza and end up sleeping in Lamont Library a few too many times. Thankfully, everything I do revolves around running, and so athletics provides a structure to my day without which I’d be completely lost. As an athlete at Harvard, I’ve learned how to set a goal and dedicate myself to achieving it. In running, I have been forced to create for myself a system of accountability and I have become both independent and responsible while I’m essentially on my own at school.

I’ve just finished a two-week break from training at the end of a long Cross-Country season that started in early June. The past two weeks have been really great- I’ve had the freedom to do a lot of things that I normally don’t do, but now I’m ready to get back to running (especially with Finals right around the corner!). I was glad to take a break and see how the rest of Harvard’s student body lives, but I also really, truly love what I do, and I’m really thankful that I’m able to participate. Until you’ve competed as a collegiate athlete yourself, you can’t really understand why the process of becoming a better athlete is so addicting, or why I love to do it. One thing is clear—I owe a lot to running and am grateful for what running has given me.