It is early morning; the sun is just rising over the horizon. My heart quickly, steadily beats with the touch of my feet. My breath creates a small cloud with every unison heavy breath. My feet lightly hit the pavement and keep me moving forward with a steady pace. Every stress, every worry suddenly seems non-existent. It’s just me and the road.
I have run ever since I could walk. My life is devoted to running. I ran sprints all throughout school and loved it! I changed my eating habits, worked out on and off season, and at practice I put out my whole heart, working towards the next tenth of a second off my time. I set up all my future plans with running included in all of it.
Then it happened; it was state my senior year and I was determined to medal. I ran the preliminary heat of the 200 meter dash and the Highland runner who had beaten me all year was in my heat. I gave it all I had, fighting not only for a spot in the Finals heat but also for our school record. I had a great start and as we were finishing, I realized I was neck-in-neck with the Highland girl. She ended up passing me, but I still qualified for finals!
The next day was one of the most exciting and nerve-wracking moments of my life. My heart was pounding harder than ever. I took in deep, slow breaths trying to calm myself down. Suddenly, I heard the gun-man call us to our blocks. “Runners! Take Your Marks… Set!” “Bang!” and we were off! My start was one of the greatest I’d ever had, but after about 75 meters that was it… I tried pushing harder, telling my legs to go faster but I couldn’t. As I finished, I saw my dreams flash before my eyes. The other girls crossed the finish line and I started to cry as I slowly let up at the line, knowing it was over. I slowly walked back to reality, realizing my dreams were crushed in an instant. I was so angry! “What if I had worked that much harder? What if…” I cried not only tears of pain, but of a broken heart and dream. I swore I wouldn’t run again.
But now as life goes on, I DO continue to run. I use it as a stress relief and break from life. When life gets me down, I grab a pair of shoes and let the road lead me. When I look back, it hurts, but I realize the race changed my life. It was a trial that changed me and helped me grow. I will compete again, probably just for fun, but I have to continue, because running is my life; I cannot live without it. I believe in running; it has made me who I am today.
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