Senior track and field athlete Isabella Narvaez has been a stud sprinter for the Blue for the past three years. Narvaez has broken numerous records at Wellesley and won an individual NEWMAC championship in the 400m in 2015. Her speed is impressive but her athleticism is defined by her work ethic. Narvaez was just named the Wellesley Strength & Conditioning Athlete of the Month, an award given to one athlete out of all of the varsity athletes who exemplifies hard work. This work ethic transfers off the field where Narvaez excels in the classroom as a Biology major and Psychology minor.
As a pre-med student and a track star, Narvaez, gave me a glimpse into this lifestyle that forces discipline and organization. “Athletics does not allow you to procrastinate,” said Narvaez. Having two labs each semester along with a grueling training schedule compels her to finish homework as soon as she gets it.
During the off-season in the fall, timetables are less structured, “I have more time to do my readings, go to office hours and just spend time with myself,” Narvaez reflected. Since she loves the outdoors, Narvaez spends a lot of her time running around the lake or exploring nearby towns. She makes it a point to work out every day, even when not in season, in an attempt to prepare herself mentally and physically for when track season approaches.
Being a morning person, Narvaez works as much as she can before class, as the evening brings with it the exhaustion of practice and the general desire to go to bed early. On the weekends, she prefers staying in with tea, pajamas and a movie, and always makes sure to get seven to eight hours of sleep every night.
When season rolls around, Narvaez says, “It’s a totally different mentality. I become more conscious of how I utilize my time.” Meets happen every Saturday and homework has to be done in any free time available. Practice is for two hours, five days a week and workouts alternate between sprints, endurance training and lifting. Even though this routine does get exhausting and monotonous at times, Narvaez insists that her coaches and teammates make going to practice worth it. “Practice is like a happy bubble- in those two hours I forget all about work and put in my 110% into every rep, alongside my teammates.” Narvaez feels that there is a certain magic in this repetitive daily cycle. “The more you do something, the better you get at it”, Narvaez says. When asked what keeps her going, she answered, “I always want to keep improving that’s how I measure success. I thrive on competing against myself and breaking my own records.”
Having friends who are mostly athletes, Narvaez knows that they understand her routine and relate to it. She enjoys running into them at the KSC and seeing that they are all working as hard as she is. Even though maintaining this rigid lifestyle becomes tough at times, Narvaez sets her priorities straight. She knows that family comes first, followed by school and sports. Most importantly, she always remembers to prioritize herself somewhere in between.
In the midst of all this athletic chaos, Narvaez still makes time to do the things she loves, which vary from going on day trips with friends, to attending the Charles Regatta every year, “When the whole of Cambridge lights up,” she reminisces fondly. This year, Narvaez will be volunteering in the emergency department at the Wellesley Hospital. It’s a miracle how she does so much and still has time for all her meals. Her fervent advice to all athletes is, “Just have fun. Don’t let your commitment to being an athlete stop you from doing other things you love or want to try out. If you really want to do something, it is completely possible to make the time for it.” Even though she is still learning to cope today, she believes that the key to making this life work is to want it really badly, and to stay patient, persevering and determined through it all.