As my junior year draws to a close, I sit and ponder the question of what I truly believe in. This question is difficult to answer considering I am not quite seventeen and I am pretty exhausted from studying for finals as well as from finishing various class projects that have absorbed my time and sapped my energy. Nevertheless, in the fog clouding my mind, I realize it takes a great deal of perseverance to continue working hard even when I’m mentally and physically spent. And it also dawns on me that I developed this skill while pounding out miles as a member of the Santa Monica High School Cross-Country and Track teams.
I am keenly aware that running is far from a glamorous or popular sport. There is nothing remotely sexy or endearing to watch a bunch of young women sweat bucketfuls, grit their teeth, and groan in pain from a stomach cramp. I’ve also been told several times how much running is ‘boring’ and how it ‘sucks’ because it shows the strength and will of women in the grittiest of situations…though its not a pretty picture. In fact, it can get quite nasty at times.
Yet, when I lettered varsity cross-country my freshman year as well as made All League for the Ocean League I felt I had accomplished something of an athletic variety. By the end of my sophomore year, I not only lettered varsity in cross-country and made All League a second time, I was named the Most Valuable Varsity Runner for Samo.
Now, it would have been easy, convenient and probably even better for me socially if I backed off after this point, but I would not feel right if I did not do my best at all costs. And so last summer I pushed myself even harder before my junior season in cross country. At the end of junior year I was named co-most valuable runner and captain of the Cross Country team. I also made All League a third time, but most importantly, I improved on all of my times from the year before.
I have one more season of cross-country as well as one more season of track before I graduate. I intend on pushing myself this summer on the most grueling training runs I can endure. I do have the option of taking it easy, but I won’t. I am going to push myself because cross-country has taught me that through hard work and determination one can reach their goals. After all, most things we accomplish in life are done without cheering crowds or with little reward but self satisfaction.
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