I believe in running. I have never been an athletic person. I have virtually no coordination, no balance, and no real flexibility to speak of. Despite these things, however, I’ve tried a lot of sports. From the time that I was two until about the age of ten I took dance lessons. Twice a week I would put on my little pink ballet shoes and spend a few hours twirling around Miss Priscilla’s cramped dance studio. After eight years though, I got bored with the pirouettes and pliés and stopped taking lessons. Then in fourth grade I joined the park district’s softball team. I liked playing but by next season I had already moved on to something new. This time I wanted to be an ice skater. Although, as it turned out, my career as a professional ice skater was short-lived. At twelve years old and in the beginner stage of lessons, I just couldn’t endure the pain in my ankles or the humiliation of being shown up by five year olds. In eighth grade I had a momentary lapse of judgment and joined the school soccer team, but it was obvious after about a week that I wasn’t any good. It was then that I entered high school, completely sport free. When a few of my friends tried to recruit me to the cross-country team, I told them that they were insane and that I didn’t like to run…at all. But for some unknown reason when track season began in January, I was among the clusters of giggling freshmen signing their names on a long list, binding each of us to practice every day after school for the next four and a half months. It seemed completely absurd at the time, but I did it anyways.
Running is the one thing that I haven’t stopped believing in since then. I love the feeling I get after winning a race, but also after losing one. I love the rush of pure adrenaline when you kick into the last leg of a lap or the surge of exhaustion and relief when you finally finish, that makes you feel like you’re invincible. If I had known in eighth grade or even in fourth, that I could love a sport that I had hated for so long, I would have saved a lot of time, not to mention money. Running has changed me in more ways than I can count. I’ve become a stronger and better person because of it and that has made all the difference. This I believe.
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