Jess Pereira has been running in pain since her freshman season.
Shin splints and a cinder track have proven to be a bad combination for her.
"There hasn't been a time she's run the last two years when she hasn't been in pain," Palmerton track coach Mike Gombert said of his senior standout. "But it hasn't affected her times."
It also hasn't affected where she finishes in most Colonial League and District 11 Class 2A races the last two years.
The senior has six gold medals and two silvers at the last two league meets and is the defending district 2A champion in the three sprints (100, 200, 400).
Pereira is embarking on a new journey at this season's district meet, which is today and Thursday at Blue Mountain High School starting each day at 2:30 p.m.
Palmerton is now in Class 3A for the two-year period that began in 2012-13, meaning Pereira is facing new competition.
And so are the other 3A runners.
"It's definitely a lot more challenges," she said. "The times are a lot lower in 3A."
Palmerton is the smallest 3A school. It is right on the cutoff line with 268 girls in grades 9-11. Pereira and the rest of the Blue Bombers will be battling the likes of Parkland (1,146 girls), Easton (1,075) and Liberty (1,055).
It should provide excitement for the fans. Pereira will face Pottsville's Sarah Lombel in the 100, Easton's Kiana Farrar in the 200 and Pocono Mountain West's Temmi Adensanya in the 400. Pereira is the top seed in the 200 and 400, and is second in the 100.
There are other classification changes that will add some thrills.
Bethlehem Catholic's boys and girls are 3A, meaning the defending girls district 400 and 1,600 relay champs will be dealing with the LVC again plus the Mountain Valley Conference and others from the Schuylkill League and Colonial League.
Lexi Reightler, Jade Kubitsky and Mara Blanchard are back from the relays. Blanchard also will be a factor in the 100 and pole vault (D11 2A defending champ).
Tamaqua's boys are 3A, meaning Eric Hertzog and Bethlehem Catholic's Tyler Horton will go head-to-head in the 110s hurdles.
The Saucon Valley girls are down to 2A, meaning standout distance runner Elizabeth Chikotas will not be facing Pottsville's Paige Stoner at districts and the District One studs at states.
Pereira is one of those unusual athletes, a Division I talent in two sports. Ranked fifth in her class, she is headed to the University of North Carolina to play field hockey and major in bio-medical engineering.
The Blue Bomber's first track experience came as a fifth-grade during the annual track and field day. She set the elementary school record in the 200.
Despite that success, she loved softball and seemed destined to follow her mother, Cindy, who played softball at Palmerton.
"My parents told me to try track [in ninth grade]," Pereira said. "They saw my potential."