Why did you begin running?
In P.E. at middle school they had a thing where they gave out shirts. If girls ran a six- minute mile they got a shirt, if a boy ran a five-minute mile they got a shirt. I ran a six-minute mile. My coach said I should get a five-minute mile, so I raced some boys from the eighth grade. I was in seventh, and I got the five-minute mile and I set the school record. Once you’re good at things, you start pursuing them more. In eighth grade there was a school track meet. You didn’t have to train for it at all, but the high school coach would watch. I did well, so he told me I should try out for the cross country team.
Favorite Part about running
I love how raw it is. You can’t hide anything from anybody. If you watch runners, everyone makes fun of it like ‘why are you doing it?’ You’re putting yourself through pain and nobody really enjoys it. At the same time, it’s enjoyable because you watch people put everything they have on the line. No matter if they’re running a 6:30 mile or 4:30 mile. It’s cool to watch people put everything they have out there.
My senior year was my breakthrough year of running and I was on varsity all four years of high school. My senior year I wanted to be leading my team. When it came down to it there were two girls beating me on my team which was great, but I was frustrated because I wanted to be better and be leading the team. I didn’t know what to do so I decided one day that I wanted to climb/run up this mountain. By going through that pain I thought I’d be able to go through the pain to become the best. So I didn’t tell anyone where I was going. I went to the local mountain. I took off and started running. It was quite an adventure because I had one water bottle, one apple and it was probably a five hour round trip.
There was one part where the trail came to an end so I had to climb for a little bit because I didn’t take the right trail. I ended up climbing trails by myself. I was really finding myself in a way. Finding my running self. The first race after that, I was ready. If I could make those sacrifices outside of racing, I could make sacrifices within the race. I think about that even now. I can do hard things and it’s not beyond my reach to accomplish hard things. I think people underestimate themselves. You do what you think you can do.
Rituals before running
I feel more comfortable when I wear high black socks. I like to shower before my race because it makes me feel fresh and ready to go so I always do that without fail. I pray before every race, it’s a good reminder than my strength doesn’t come from me.
Talent outside of running
I like singing. My family is very musical; we jam at home a lot with instruments. I love surfing and rock climbing. Those are things I want to get really good at after I’m done running. I also love free diving. I like seeing how deep I can go. I have been down 40 feet.
Few people know
I love reading classic books and sci-fi books. The Count of Monte Cristo is my favorite.
What about Bob? My family loves that movie.
Also, What’s up Doc?
Favorite Song and Artist
(Sitting on) The Dock of the Bay-Otis Redding
Witchy Woman-The Eagles
Why come to BYU
Originally I wanted to be different and go somewhere else. In talking to my mom she told me that I’ll never have the opportunity again in my life, to live in a Mormon community like that. It will be a really cool experience to have people who are striving to be better people, have prayers before classes, have devotionals, and going to the singles wards. That was a big part of the decision and then also BYU has a good program. Here I can be the best runner I can be. Also it’s a good academic institution.
Who do you look up to?
My older sister, Jessie. I didn’t realize how many of my ideals come from her example. She is so relaxed about things. She puts people at ease. She is non-judgmental.
“Don’t pray for tasks equal to your powers, pray for powers equal to your tasks.”
I always think about this when I’m faced with a decision, “Keep up the Smith name.” That has always stuck with me because I think very highly of my parents and their reputation. It makes me want to be better, whether that’s making right decisions or just being better in general like being smarter, faster, etc.
Wildlife and Wild Land Conservation
If you could choose another sport to be good at, it would be…
I really want to be good at volleyball. I’m the only one in my family that’s not good. I’m 5-foot-3 and everyone else is taller. We play all the time at home on the beach.
One person you’d like to meet
If you could go anywhere, where would you go
I really want to travel through the Amazon. But backpacking South America would be rad as well.
Advice for younger runners
My advice is that great results come from a great work ethic. Being a hard worker builds more mental and physical strength than any talent will give you. Train hard. Race harder.