Empty Miles This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   I wake up every morning to see bright sunlight streaming through my windows, gathering in shimmering pools on the dingy rug and reflecting off the dully gleaming trophies in my shelf. Below the trophies hang medals, plaques, and ribbons; memorabilia accumulated throughout five years of running competitively. Anyone entering my bedroom would assume I was a champion, a SOMEBODY among the hordes of high school athletes who participate in cross-country or track. Despite the collection of awards, my running sneakers sit neglected in a dark, dusty corner of my closet, their well-worn treads the only testimony to the hours spent endlessly running; through the dead heat of summer, autumn leaves, frigid winds, and icy roads, and the muddy haze of spring. For five short years the joy of running flowed through my blood, took over my life. Even as I relaxed, ate dinner, or studied, I could feel the pavement beneath my feet and the wind against my face as I soared up a tough hill or floated along a winding trail.

The feeling of pushing myself to the limit, struggling to overcome personal barriers and then moving on, stronger than ever, creates a temporary euphoria which, when gone, leaves behind a muddle of empty miles and a bitterness toward what might have been. Now, on the rare occasions when I manage to lace up my running sneakers, I'll find myself plodding wearily along the road dismally wondering what happened to the little girl who ran simply for the love of it. l


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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