So far, the Lassiter senior hasn’t had much trouble filling her schedule. The one-time lacrosse player, who took up running to better her game, rose to become the top performer on the Lady Trojans’ cross country team.
While Ainslie has since dropped lacrosse from her calendar of events, she continues to run track in the spring and is a member of the swimming team as well.
“Sometimes, tryouts or a practice or something gets in the way,” the senior said. “For all three sports, it can be hard to balance what events are going on on what days, but I like it. I don’t like to have much down time.”
While Ainslie, the 2012 Marietta Daily Journal/Cobb County Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year doesn’t swim many distance races — like she runs distance events — she does feel that the cross-training helps.
“Swimming helps with not being on the roads so much and putting so much pressure on the legs,” Ainslie said. “And running builds of the endurance for swimming, so it definitely benefits both of them.”
More than being a member of her three teams, Ainslie is a leader. On both the cross country and the swim team, she was named a team captain.
“She is very well-rounded as far as leadership and ability,” Lassiter cross country coach Jim Reichenbach said. “She is very dedicated and works hard. She is very determined, also. That is one thing that drives her. She is very determined to excel.”
Ainslie admits that she sets high goals for herself — even if it means she can’t always reach them.
“I’m very driven, and I’m very competitive,” Ainslie said. “If I see someone pass me or do better than me, it fuels me. I didn’t meet all my goals this season, but I met a lot of them.”
Among the goals she did reach was winning a race, which she did at the Cobb County Championship.
“I’m proud of how my season went,” she said. “I knew it was my last season, and I set goals because I knew I wanted to go out as well as I could.”
Reichenbach said he has watched Ainslie improve over the past several seasons.
“She started being serious about running, actually, when she was a sophomore,” Reichenbach said. “But she has really improved in the last two years.”
Ainslie feels one of the best ways to gauge her improvement is to look at how she performed on the same course different years.
The county championships at the Cobb County Corps Property is one such race. This year, Ainslie won with a time of 18 minutes 45.87 seconds. When she ran the event as a sophomore, she finished sixth in 20:19.10.
“That was one of those races that I had done all four years on varsity, and it was cool to see how I progressed over my career,” Ainslie said. “When I ran my first races as a freshmen, I never thought I would be where I am today.”
Ainslie won’t be giving up running any time soon, having committed to run at Georgia next fall.