Charlotte Prouse is a London, Ont. native, NCAA gold medallist, and avid writer. On her blog, she’s opened up about many things running-related. Her latest post is titled, “Dear My Younger Self”. There, Prouse writes about what she’s learned from running, how she allowed it to negatively effect her, and what she would recommend her younger self do differently.
The University of New Mexico junior was a member of the school’s 2017 NCAA cross-country gold medal team. Prouse also claimed the silver medal in the NCAA steeplechase final this past June, running 9:45.45 and finishing just behind Allie Ostrander of Boise State, who won in 9:39.28. It was not an easy road for Prouse to reach her current level of success.
Prouse says this blog post was something she had sat on for a while. “I actually wrote this blog about a year ago, in the winter of my sophomore year. I’ve been tweaking it because it just didn’t feel done. It’s a new school year and I decided I would post it. I figured the post would never be perfect.”
The post was a note that Prouse wrote for herself to check in with how she was doing, and refer back to if she felt like she wasn’t happy with running. The steeplechaser entered the NCAA in 2015 at the University of Washington. She remained there for two years, but described those years as difficult. “I loved my freshman year, but my sophomore year was very different. In the end, Washington was not the place for me. I was not going to be happy and healthy there.”
Her blog opens with, “Running is not worth this much. Running is not worth eating yourself alive to feed a mindset that makes you feel not enough unless you are restricting yourself from a full life.” For Prouse, this touches on two things: food and lifestyle. Elite running is very all-encompassing, and if it isn’t monitored properly, it can consume you.
Prouse wrote this line to remind herself that, “Every little thing doesn’t have to be involved with training. Not only with food, but with life as well. The mindset of ‘everything I do has to be about running’ can’t control you.”
She continues, “Eating disorders, and some of the unhealthy behaviour associated with elite running are things people talk about talking about, but it still isn’t discussed enough.”
Prouse had just finished an early season workout when she spoke to us – she’s back in New Mexico and enjoying running again. “It definitely took me a while after my sophomore year to love running again. It was the fall of 2017 until I knew that I was doing it for the right reasons, and then took me through my transferring period to decide if I still wanted to run in the NCAA. I wasn’t sure if I could come out the other end happy and healthy.”
She continues, “Even now I check back in to make sure that I’m keeping my priorities in order, and putting health and happiness first. I’m feeling confident again that running is the right thing for me. I’m truly enjoying it.”
You can read Prouse’s full blog post here.