This I Believe

Jake - Orinda, California
Entered on September 18, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: sports

I am the captain of the Rogue Bucks, my high school Ultimate Frisbee team. The past two years I have been plagued with untimely injuries. I broke a rib before my first tournament sophomore year and played injured for the majority of the season. Junior year I did not miss a tournament, but frequent Charlie horses, that occurred on such a regular basis I could set my watch to, hindered my performance. This year I’ve vowed to stay in shape for the entire year, have an eight pack by graduation, and win the high school state championship tournament at UC Santa Cruz. Conditioning is imperative to accomplishing these goals.

To reach these objectives, I decided to take Friday morning runs. These runs would help keep me in shape and also allow me to arrive at school early enough to get a parking spot in the coveted Senior Lot.

The first Friday of school was my first weekly morning run. I awoke to Alice 97.3 on my alarm clock radio. Being blessed with 20/200 vision, I could not see the red digital numbers reading 6:00. I rolled out of bed and put my contacts in. Dressed to run, I opened the creaking front door and was greeted by the brisk morning air biting at my calves and face. I closed the door and started to run. Impressed at how quickly I reached the bottom of my quarter mile street, I quickened my pace. My mouth became dry as I continued to run because I did not drink any water before I left my house. Dryness crept further down my throat until it reached my lungs and my chest started to throb with each step I took.

I looked to the sky to take my mind off my fatigued body. The sun had yet to rise and the pink clouds looked like stretched balls of cotton candy. I focused on the yellow divider lines in the middle of the street. The yellow lines vanished on the newly paved road of Fiesta Circle, the halfway point of the run, so I was left without a distraction from my exhaustion. Determined to complete my run before blacking out, I pushed myself and sprinted up the hill where I spied my savior. As I wished I had a bottle of water, the whine of a sprinkler system being turned on grabbed my attention. One hundred yards ahead of me, a hydrating mist of water quenched the thirst of one family’s foliage. Somehow I managed to reach the sprinklers without thinking of moving my legs. Standing over one sprinkler head, I drenched my hair with the cool water, wet my mouth and swallowed as much water as I could then willed myself to continue.

I took one more break on my return trip and made it without passing out. At 6:30, I took a cold shower followed by a hearty breakfast, and parked in the Senior Lot. Now I drink water before my runs and in the recent weeks the runs have been increasingly easier.

To me, Fridays signify the beginning of the weekend. Now I start the weekend off on the right foot with a run. I believe in working towards a goal. I believe in not quitting. I believe in sprinklers. Most of all, I believe in Friday morning runs.