A Passion With Many Blessings This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     As a result of my running I have collected over 100 pairs of shoes, soiled socks and clothespins from bib numbers. I have more medals and plaques than I know what to do with. My sports watch has become my most fashionable accessory, and I proudly show off my tan lines. I am one of the few people who actually enjoys the pain that running causes. Some of my friends think I am crazy, bestowing on me nicknames like The Machine. I know the taste of my sweat and I do not laugh anymore when I hear the word fartlek (a Swedish training term). I have consumed far too many Powerbars and I have had the importance of hydrating drilled into my head. Niketown is like a shrine, and one of the best gifts I could ever receive is a new pair of running shoes. All joking aside, running has taught me a lot about family, life and me.

Oprah Winfrey described it perfectly when she said, “Running is the biggest metaphor for life because you get out of it what you put in.” This has to be one of the most important things I have realized through my running. It has taught me that the sky is the limit if you are willing to shed blood, sweat and tears along the way. I have also learned that you can never dream too big because dreams can become reality if you are willing to make a few sacrifices.

Running has taught me the value of discipline and dedication and the importance of prioritizing my life. From running, pain has become my friend and companion. It is something I have learned to work through, and even love. Along with pain, I have learned that when you think you cannot continue any longer, you really can. You are stronger than you realize. The thing is, running is as much a mental challenge as a physical one. I thrive on its challenge, the thrill of competition, and the runner’s high. Running, without a doubt, has brought out my competitive side.

In addition to establishing the importance of perseverance, discipline and sacrifice, running has provided me with the opportunity to meet extraordinary people. My coaches have been enormous motivators in my life, second only to my parents. They have taught me never to underestimate my abilities, to have self-confidence, and to push myself. I realize now my only limits I are those I set for myself. With the help of coaches, I have become a student of the sport, a true track junkie. I know that I was blessed when given the opportunity to work with my coaches.

My teammates have also been a wonderful force in my life. They have instilled in me the importance of support and picking each other up when the going gets tough. There have been days when I would not have made it through a workout without them.

Running has also shown me how blessed I am to have supportive parents; they have been there at every meet, rain or shine. And lastly, the running community has introduced me to so many remarkable students who are also obsessed with the sport. With them I share a common ground and in many of them I have found friends for life.

Sure, my collection of medals and plaques is nice, but nothing compares to the lessons, the friends, the memories and the moments I have had through running. Running is that time, that hour, when nothing else matters. The world somehow stops and all the stress of my life is gone. It’s an escape that I will always have since the roads are open to anyone. Running is not just a pastime, passion or a love; running has helped shape and define who I am.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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