Teylar Adelsberger didn’t begin running until her junior year of high school. During her first track practice, she cried because she missed playing soccer with her friends so much.
“Soccer was one of my primary sports growing up,” admits Adelsberger, “But on the varsity team, I knew my talent wasn’t good enough to get much playing time. I’m really competitive so I knew I would have to find another sport.”
Luckily, Adelsberger’s high school track coach recognized that her tears meant that she had a passion he could harness into a love for speed. He advised her to stick with track and trust the process.
Her coach was right. In her first year competing, Adelsberger was eighth in the 1600 meter run at the Missouri State Championship.
“Driving home from that meet, I told my coach I wanted to run cross-country too. My coach knew I was on a total high, so he actually made me write it down so I couldn’t back out,” remembers Adelsberger.
Her senior year, she was talented enough to attract the attention of the track coach at the University of Missouri, where she was accepted for college. Usually in a Division I track program, athletes have been training and competing for years, and it’s rare for a “walk-on” like Adelsberger to make the traveling team or varsity squad.
“I knew I wasn’t as fast as a lot of the other D-1 runners, but I’m very competitive,” said Adelsberger. “I knew what I wanted to do and I set certain goals for myself. I made myself do all the little extra things outside of practice, like make sure my nutrition was on target and that I got enough sleep.”
She also went to the gym and weight room on her own to build strength and visited a nutritionist.
“I knew the basics, like protein should be this much of your plate and vegetables should be this much of your plate. But, well, how big is that plate?”
Like many distance runners, Teylar needed to eat more, and she found when she ate more, she felt better and put on more muscle.
“For me, it was realizing how much fuel I needed. I really like food so the fact that I was eating more and it had positive results was a wonderful correlation. There are lots of small and fast runners and that’s awesome. I want to be fast too but I’ve always prided myself on being really strong.”
Teylar’s commitment to doing her own thing worked. She got really strong and she also got really, really fast.
“Everything started paying off – the nutrition, the sleep, the weight training, and the agility drills,” said Adelsberger. “I could handle higher mileage without getting injured and by my junior year I was trusting the process. I just started to believe that I belonged at these big races and that I could handle certain workouts. I allowed that the scary pace I needed to run was something I could get comfortably uncomfortable with.”
In her junior year, she ran 10:12 in the 3000 meter steeplechase, 16:21 in the 5K, and 4:54 in the mile. In her senior year, she helped the Mizzou cross-country team qualify for the NCAA Division 1 Championship race.
“Before going to NCAAs, I liked track a lot better than cross-country. But qualifying as a team and competing with the best runners in the country helped grow my love for the dirt.”
After graduation, Adelsberger began a graduate program in positive coaching, which combines the science of coaching with sports psychology, mindfulness, and visualization. She is still in Columbia, Missouri, where she is helping with the Mizzou track and cross-country teams and earning the necessary credentials so that she finds her own spot in collegiate coaching.
Given her penchant for strength, it’s no surprise that Adelsberger found Megan Flanagan’s Strong Runner Chick community.
“I really liked what she was doing and wanted to see if I could help out in some way.”
Through the program, she discovered that Flanagan was competing in the 2017 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship in Kualoa Ranch on Oahu.
“I thought that sounded like fun, so I signed up too.”
Unfortunately, a couple of months before the race, Adelsberger discovered she had a stress reaction in the neck of her femur bone and needed to take eight weeks off from running. Rather than pull out of the race, Adelsberger jumped in the pool.
“I made it a goal to get in eight hours of cross-training a week,” said Adelsberger who admitted she wasn’t a fan of the pool or the bike. “I wanted to take a day off, so it worked out to about 90 minutes a day of being on the bike and in the pool, working on building lung capacity.”
It’s not everyone who can stop running for eight weeks and still take third place in the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship. But once Adelsberger sets her mind to something, she won’t give up. In December, she finished behind Dani Moreno and Giselle Slotboom in the 21K trail run which she finished in 1:43:46.
Adelsberger still loves the track and will definitely be back out there for another steeplechase or a 5K, but she’s exploring the trails and longer distances as well. Right now, she is training for the Boston Marathon in April, which she qualified for in her attempt.
“My motto is right here, right now, because that’s all I can control,” said Adelsberger. “I’m making sure that what I’m doing is right for me, but I’m still figuring out the big goals. Do I want to have fun or is there something else I want to achieve?”
Luckily for Adelsberger, there doesn’t seem to be anything she can’t do once she sets her mind to it.