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My Inspiration

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The month of October came sooner than anybody had anticipated. The beautiful orange, red, and yellow leaves began to fall from the trees that towered over me. When the air began to feel cooler, I knew the big race was approaching. I remember how my hands would start to feel clammy and my head would throb from the mere thought of it. Was I ready to race? Was I ready to run until my legs were numb and I could not breathe any longer? But more importantly, was I ready for the success or failure that could come my way?

Growing up in a household where failure was unheard of I was always nervous to disappoint my brother, my mother, and more importantly my father. My dad was a tough and intellectual guy. He always expected the best from my brother and me, which drove me to try my hardest at everything I had ever done. And when success didn’t always come my way I was shunned. My mother looked at me as if I had committed a crime. As for my father, he gave me this look of disappointment which hurt me the most. Although it never felt good to let down my family, through this they created a competitive, hard working girl who only accepted victory and accomplishment.

Over the next several days I practiced harder than I ever practiced before. I ran for miles and miles. I looped around the gleaming pond in my backyard, and then through the dense forest that was filled with all kinds of wildlife. Often times I tripped over the squirrels and rats that ran out in front of me, but I got right back up and finished my trek through the serene woods. The sound of the grasshoppers peeping and the mockingbirds singing was the perfect melody to the thudding of my feet on the dry mud of the earth. As I came out of the forest my heart was racing and I felt the sweat dripping off of my body. My legs were telling me to stop running, but my heart said keep going because nothing spells out failure more than walking during a run. Soon the sun would set and I would be able to take in the picturesque orange and purple colors that were casted throughout the sky and reflected in my pond.

By the time I got home almost all of the colors of the sky would fade to gray and my father would look at me satisfied to know that I am trying so hard to prepare for my first race. My dad was a runner. He ran everyday despite how he felt. This instilled a drive in me to work up to running everyday like he did. The determination my father had was unlike any other, he was a creature different from everybody else, an animal that was hungry for victory. I compared all of the success in his running career to my few months of practice, and I began to feel extremely unprepared.

I woke up the next morning to my mother yelling, “Honey, come down for breakfast. You need to eat properly before your big race.” Before I even opened my eyes I felt my stomach drop and my heart began pounding like the sound of my feet running through the forest the day before. “Erika!” she shouted again, which that time had me running out of bed to the breakfast table.

I plopped down in my seat, sitting directly across from my father who stared at me with an anxious look. After I gobbled down my two waffles, he mumbled “It is time to leave for your race.” I left the table, threw my hair in a ponytail, and laced up my somewhat broken in running shoes.

The car ride to the park was silent except for the loud droning noise of the engine. “Good luck.” My father asserted as I left the car to walk to the start line. When I got out of the car I felt the cool fall breeze moving my ponytail, and as I got closer to the starting line the girls scowled at me, sending a chill down my spine.

When the announcer called for everybody to get ready at the starting line I thought of all the practice I put into this. In the back of my mind I saw my father’s face, and it was that face that would push me to the finish line.

The announcer yelled “Ready, set, go!” and fired a gun shot. I felt my legs take off hurriedly down the straightway of the luscious green grass. As the race progressed I wasn’t in first place and I wasn’t in last. My heart was beating so fast and the pattern of my breathing was exactly in unison with the girl next to me. I began to feel defeated, but my legs kept pushing forward with increasing strides. As the sweat rolled down my face I thought about how defeat does not exist in my book.

The finish line was approaching and by this time there were four girls ahead of me. I had to do it. I saw my mother and father in the distance. I bowed my head down and started sprinting forward. My body was so tired, I did not know if I was going to make it. So here I am ten feet away, with only one girl ahead of me. I let out a sigh. At this point my legs were numb and my breathing was so loud. I propelled forward, hit the finish line, and fell over. In that exact moment I felt peace as I laid there with my eyes closed, I still cannot remember if I was conscious or not. But what I do remember is waking up to the sweet grin of my dad’s face holding the gold medal. The triumph plummeted down my body almost as quickly as the sweat had, and in the blink of an eye I knew who helped me through this victory. He was standing right there in front of me.



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