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Loving What I Hate

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It was only going to be to prove a point: that I could do what I set my mind and body to. I never thought that I would have made it through 3 meets in Cross country, but I have. I can honestly say, I feel more alive and healthy than I have in a long time. Who knew that something I never thought I could do would make me feel so great. Running has improved my health, and created a hobby that I love.

When I was in 8th grade, cross country was fun, but never spectacularly challenging. I was never the best on the team, but I figured it would be a good way to get in shape. When the season ended, my friends joked about high school cross country, talking about how hard it was and how our junior high practices paled in comparison. They laughed when I told them I would try cross country next year, and that's what made me really want to do it. Hopefully I would be able to handle it, and if not, I would quit.

Before I joined the high school cross country team I don’t think I ever understood the idea of pain from running. Starting in the summer practices, I soon learned what that meant. The first practice we ran on the bike path for what seemed to be an eternity. I could feel the pain in every part of my body, and boy did it hurt! I knew it would be hard, but never this hard. I lost all sense of time and space and my body cried for me to stop, but I couldn’t let myself down. I fought to finish the workout, burning every bit of energy that I didn’t have. Eventually I finished, but long after the others had, and then I knew I had a lot of work to do.

Every morning for the first week of practice I woke up in pain. Not only physical, but mental as well. I resented not only the thought of running, but just moving in general. Practices did not cease to be difficult, but every day I found myself coming back. It was a combination of pride and stubbornness that kept me going.

Every day I felt stronger and healthier, and I believe that running had made this happen. I began to breathe more deeply, and it seems like the climb to the 3rd floor is that much easier. I find more and more energy available for use in my daily life. I could not believe that running 2 hours a day could make me feel so much better in my life.

Now my cross country season is nearing its end, and I can run faster than I ever thought was possible. Just today I ran 11 miles, and only stopped when I had reached my destination. My coach gave the team a you-know-how-far-you’ve-come speech, and we had all earned it. From our last place finisher to our speed demon first place, we have all come so far. I know that I feel strong and proud because of how far I’ve come. I’d like to close with a quote by the great runner Steve Prefontaine: “Success isn't how far you got, but the distance you traveled from where you started.”





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