Slow and Steady

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My heart rate increases and the sweat drips on the purple and white uniform. I take a sharp left turn, look around, and then notice that no one is near. I am lost. I reverse only to see other team mates following.

“Wrong way, I guess,” I say nonchalantly. They all groan and curse under their short breaths.

Coach Locke records my time. 19:56. I am a failure.

A year later, I run the same course. Except, I’m a more experienced more capable athlete. My head is held high for those two elongated miles and I refuse to let anyone pass. The pain bolts through my legs but I do not mind. I finish with a smile on my face. 15:26. Eighth overall. Perfect.

I’ve struggled throughout the past year to achieve the best time possible. I’ve PRed countless times, I’ve had numerous asthma attacks, and I’ve ran Rim Rock (the hardest cross country course in Kansas). I’ve survived it all. Now, on the injured list, I can look back on my performance and realize something: I love this sport.

Last year, however, was brutal. That twelve minute, slow jogging pace for warm ups were impossible. I was the “fat girl” running behind the pack everyone sees in movies and my average mile time was humiliating- just under nine minutes. Then, at random, my time slowly decreased.
"I'm strong, I'm fast, I'm well trained,” I repeated to myself before meets. Each race made my perseverance and confidence levels rise and I loved the feeling that kicked in afterwards. I wanted more; to improve more, to achieve more, to win more. I trained harder and felt greater pain than before. I didn’t stop when my body wanted to and I certainly took advantages of our weekend practices. Eventually, the work paid off on our first meet; I had made varsity. As always, slow and steady wins the race.





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