Cory McGee is trying to catch her breath.

This summer, McGee ran for the Gators track and field team, participated at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships and represented the United States at the 2013 IAAF World Championships held in Moscow.

And she was taking online classes.

“I took my classes in Belgium, Austria and Russia,” McGee said.

Although her summer was busy, the experiences McGee brings back to Gainesville should prove valuable this season.

She advanced to the finals at nationals and competed among the best at the world championships.

“When I got to USAs this summer, I felt completely comfortable and relaxed,” McGee said. “I wasn’t out of my element. Going into this summer my priority was to make the final (at nationals).”

She was successful in her attempt.

Although McGee ran at youth world championships in the past, she said there was a drastic difference between the youth and adult worlds.

“They’re not interested in anything you’ve done before, because this is the first time that you really are facing off against the greatest in the world,” McGee said of her experience.

After sustaining an ankle injury last season, McGee redshirted her junior year during the women’s Southeastern Conference title run.

“I was injured two summers ago, the day after my trials, with an ankle,” McGee said. “I took a huge break, nearly two months off.”

This summer, her schedule was anything but slow.

“This year was the opposite end of the spectrum,” she said. “I took a week off.”

Now, her focus returns to cross country for the first time since her sophomore season.

After missing the first meet of the season at Western Carolina, McGee will sit out the 2013 Mountain Dew Invitational in Gainesville this coming Saturday. McGee is set to debut at the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational on October 19.

“I’m just not really ready to go yet,” she said. “I would not have made that decision had SECs not been here in Gainesville. Knowing that I’ll still get to run in Gainesville this year is what made it OK for me to miss the home meet.”

McGee’s return will be important for the Gators. With the departures of seniors Callie Cooper and Florence Ngetich, McGee will be leaned on by her teammates.

“Callie was always a constant person with attitude and work ethic,” McGee said.

“She was always there for moral support and keeping everyone motivated. Florence, on the other hand, was someone who came out and worked hard every day and did her thing. She set a tone.”

The women hope to repeat last year’s success. With McGee back in the fold, 2013 looks promising.

“I just hope to bring back some of the things I learned this summer,” she said. “I’m just trying to keep it fun more than anything.”

Follow Gordon Streisand on Twitter @GordonStreisand.

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