(Matysik was third at last year's FLRunners.com Invitational and runner-up at the 2A Cross Country Finals.)
Summer is often a time that can make or break runners. Throughout these months, many dedicated athletes continue to put the time and energy into their craft, however many decide the three-month long period is a time to relax and hang their spikes up. June, July, and August are instrumental to having a good cross country and/or track season. Nicole Matysik from Key West HS encompasses all the qualities an athlete needs to separate themselves from their competitors and compete at the next level.
Matysik, who finished as the 2A runner-up this past cross country season a junior is hoping to make her senior year the best one yet and end with a state title. This summer she is training and competing in Poland. One of the many reasons is because almost everyone in her family is Polish, and her ties run deep. Nicole has trained in Poland before, but this year she is thrilled to be competing as well.
An average day starts very early in the morning. She gets on a bus and rides to practice where an extensive warm-up and drill routine help her start her day. Each week Nicole has a long run, a tempo run, longer track intervals, weight training, and a few easy days mixed in between.One reason she enjoys running overseas is because of its diverse landscape. Even on easy runs, Nicole said there are always hills to conquer.
What's her favorite part about the whole experience?
"I really enjoy seeing the different style of training and racing here," she said. "A fresh perspective and new experiences are great. I get to see a lot of the big cities here because of races, which is super cool especially since I get to do it all with the girls from the team!"
Not only does she love competing with her team, but she also loves running in Poland because of the terrain and the amazing sights.
"Poland has beautiful trails, plenty of hills, world class stadiums, and the team up here is absolutely amazing to train with."
Since she is training with an elite group, she is also participating in many elite races. One of her goals this summer is to place well in the U18 3K National Championship race. Matysik does not have a specific time goal because she does not want to put constraints on her performance, but she hopes to perform well. In the upcoming cross country season, her goal is to leave it all out on the course, since it is her last year; her main focus is States.
Needless to say, Nicole Matysik is someone who is ready to conquer any obstacles that lie ahead. It is evident through her summer training that she is extremely serious about cross country and track, and she only wants to get better.