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My Pair of Perseverence

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A Pair of Perseverance


“Do you really need sneakers this badly?” my mom asked as she pulled into Famous Footwear.


“Yeah,” I replied. “I need good ones to run in.”


I had just joined the cross country team this fall and had no prior athletic experience whatsoever. Having never played a sport or participated in any strenuous physical activities, I wasn’t fit or even capable of running one third of a mile. Why cross country? Simply, I wanted to join this no-cut team to meet new people and have the bragging rights that came with being an athlete.


I had just started my first week of practice. My only pair of sneakers were three-year old, black, ripped-at-the-seams, and practically-falling-apart shoes that my mom had purchased since they had abided by the dress code. My shoes were meant for anything but long-distance running. They had no arch support, the soles were completely worn down, and were too small. I needed a better pair since these shoes would carry me through everything, symbolizing my perseverance.


On the first day of practice, I stood awkwardly in my beat-up shoes amongst my new teammates, who eagerly chatted about their summer affairs. Soon after, I met the coach, who beamed with excitement as he talked about what cross country was like. Later, the team began their routine stretching workout. As we stretched, the coach checked our sneakers, making sure they were appropriate running material. As he came around, everyone pointed to their newly bought, vibrantly colored sneakers. When he approached me, he hesitantly questioned me about my sneakers. I told him that I would soon be buying new ones.


The team quickly got moving as we started our first practice of the season. We ran intervals: running a total of three and each lap quicker than the last. As the word “Go!” was shouted by my enthusiastic coach, my teammates sprinted off the starting line. The older members quickly led the way as I gradually fell behind the rest of the group. They chattered and ran with ease, while I panted and began to tire. My feet started to ache and my legs had developed a burning sensation.


Practically crumpling to the ground, I barely finished the first interval. Red marks accentuated the results of my pinching old sneakers. My lungs felt were on fire and felt like they were being deprived of air. Why couldn’t I have bought new shoes beforehand? I might’ve been able to run with the others. Realizing my shoes were not the only problem, I inhaled deeply, trying to restore the lost air. I felt the burn through my legs and knots developing in my stomach.


While everyone began their last interval, I began my second. As the last, “Go!” was exclaimed, I thought to myself, “This is the last one. You can surely finish this.” Halfway through, I was breathless, my legs increased its burning sensation, my feet were in even more pain, and my ambition slowly faded. I watched as the other girls quickly made their way to the end line. Stopping to catch my breath, I began to walk, wincing at every step.


Walking, I thought to myself, “Why aren't you running, May? Who cares if your feet hurt, your legs feel like they’re on fire, you’re sick to your stomach, or you’re dying for air? Sure your shoes aren’t running material, but you can still make them run! Forget about everything and just run!” With my worn-out sneakers and last bit of breath and energy, I desperately sprinted toward them. Collapsing to the ground, I blamed my shoes for causing me all this pain and trouble. However, I was glad that in spite of it all I was able to overcome it and finish.


As practices continued on and races began, my endurance slowly grew and my pace quickened. Building up my strength and my ambition, I gradually pushed myself and strived to overcome my physical limits. Although there were days when I had questioned my choice of joining cross country, I am glad that I continued on. The feeling of accomplishing each race gave me confidence and motivated me to push myself even further.


I realized that cross country isn’t easy, it’ll never be. That’s why you need perseverance, to get you through the race of life. I believe that perseverance is like a pair of shoes, going with you through every step of the journey. Perseverance helps you jump through any puddle you come across and gives you the strength to run past the top of the hill. Sometimes you’ll trip or fall, but perseverance puts you right back on your feet, ready to keep going. It runs with you through the pouring rain and dances with you in the warm sunlight. Perseverance, along with a good pair of shoes, will help you through any journey, give you a little push when you feel like giving up, and take you anywhere.




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