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By , Oakland, MI
100 meters to the finish. I stride further. My legs cycle faster. Faster. The line blurs. My mind slows.

It’s May. I see the hospital. I see the X-ray. I see the crack clear down my bone. “It’s a stress fracture,” they say. I understand the words, but I can’t grasp the meaning. “Too much running,” they say. “Three months off,” they say. “Find a new sport,” they say. But my bone is already fractured, and I won’t let my heart go too.

The days tick by like the chain on my bike. Summer running turned into summer biking this year. I peddle thinking of those who are out running, my competitors, my teammates. The first I will not let get ahead. The second, I will not let down. I peddle faster, rotation after rotation, dreaming of the day I put my feet back on the ground. Back on the roads. Back on the trails. Back where they belong. I bike harder everyday discovering new land, a new activity, but soon enough it’s three months later.

The first steps feel foreign, but with each, familiarity returns. Three weeks pass and it’s race day. I gather the girls to hand out quotes and to lead warm up. We jog, we stretch, we discuss goals, and we head out to the start line. Together we stand, each foot brushing the chalky line. I flash a smile to each teammate. The time has come. The official stands in the field and raises his arm. The gun goes off. We run. I feel free racing again. My muscles tense, blood circulates, my mind lost in the moment. With 3 miles down I’m nearing the end. Around the curve and I’m 100 meters to the finish. I stride further. My legs cycle faster. Faster. The line blurs. My mind slows, and I see all the moments leading up to this day.

I cross. A smile spreads across my face. I worked for this moment to prove to others, to prove to myself that nothing can keep me from my goals. The clock proves I’ve hit the desired time, but crossing that line, I am more than a time. Resting, biking, leading warm up, racing, being there every step, or rotation, of the way, is what defines me. It’s this spirit, determination that lives with me and is there from the gun to the line.



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