Jump, Step, Repeat This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Leaping through spring's monster imud puddles. Slushing my way through winter's snow, ice, and sleet. Marking my briskly created path with crunching autumn leaves. These are the typical journeys of a three-season high school runner. Namely, cross-country in the autumn, indoor track in winter, and outdoor track in spring.

I'm proud to say that I'm perfectly happy with all three of the running teams at my school. Sure, a lot of my teammates (including myself) complain about everything our coach does and doesn't do: our "gruesome" mileage, the strict, no-excuse-for-missing-practice policy, fellow teammates cutting short on their workouts, etc. But these are highly insignificant excuses for a mature mind. What's more, I've noticed that a lot of track runners my age seem to have allowed themselves to be distracted away from the ultimate purpose of running, which in itself is only a sub-division of health and fitness. Granted, running helps to control your weight. Stick with it and you'll be stronger and in much better shape than about 75% of high school kids today. But these are the obvious responses that everyone thinks of immediately. To me, running is much more.

First of all, just being part of a team has always felt great to me. Through good times and bad, the entire team is affected as a whole. When your coach gives a lecture on the lack of responsibility shown, when your 4 x 100 relay team sets a school record, every single member is going through it together. Just knowing that it's up to the individual to score points for the team always succeeds in motivating me to a slightly higher degree.

But I also treasure my identity as a unique individual through my running experiences. In the beginning, I never thought I'd be running miles and miles at a time. I certainly never thought I'd be enjoying such a crazy idea! But for three years now, running has become a dear friend. It helped me become more confident, outgoing, and open-minded. After spending countless hours in such a diverse and intriguing world, somewhere along the way I began to appreciate different views as beautiful ones.

So to all you potential runners out there, listen to me. Just give it a fair shot. By this I mean one week, minimum. Realistically, the novice runner is not going to be fond of his or her aches and ouches from day one's trot! You've got to free your mind of all past prejudices. Let your hard-working body get used to this new idea gradually.

In the meantime, close your eyes and picture yourself running, free from all and any worries, and in the midst of a most beautiful scene. The sun is just starting to set. You're pretty sure that you can make out the night's first star. And you happily notice how increasingly difficult it's becoming to differ between the true boundaries of the soaring horizon. To me, this is how I witness beauty in its simplest and purest of forms. Take my word for it. And with that in mind, I'll see you when the sun comes down. n


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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Clairepoetry said...
May 10, 2010 at 10:11 am
 i can tell why this was put in the magazine great job.!I
 
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