This I Believe

Samantha - Fort. Atkinson, Iowa
Entered on May 26, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: sports, work

I believe that dedication and perseverance are the elements that make us successful.

“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’”- Muhammad Ali

Those are words that I have chosen to live by. I am no Olympic gold medalist, not quite a Boston marathon runner, and far from being a world champion. I am a high school runner striving for perfection

Through my years of running in high school track and cross country, I’ve learned the concepts of determination and will, but have yet to find the motivation and dedication I need to achieve them.

During my first year of cross country, I went out with the mind set that I was going to do well. I was going to train, as my coach would say, like a monster. But that dream soon faded as I came to realize that it was more work than I was willing to do. I was belittled by the runners who would run by me and literally finish a mile ahead of me, and then complain to their coaches how their time was to slow. I was envious of the runners who always got to break the tape as they crossed the finish line first. I wanted to be a champion right away; I wanted to break that tape at the finish line, but I didn’t want to have to train like they did. I didn’t want to have to run endless miles at 5:30 a mile everyday; I didn’t want to run 12×400’s in less than 80 seconds. My moments of trial and error made my motivation dwindle ending my dream to be the runner I wanted to be, and leaving me to be the runner I was.

But I did not fail, I had succeeded in trying, and as I took part in the track and field team the following season, I had my heart set to prepare and become the monster. I chose to run those 12x400s and those 5:30 miles. I ran every practice with dedication and completed my weigh lifting training feeling successful. My dedication and will paid off as I became a varsity runner for my school. I ran in meets against other schools with every intention of winning. Even if I did not always win that did not matter; I knew that failure would only make me stronger.

I have run through pain and sickness. I have run through shifting hips and shin splints. I have run through rain and blazing sun. And the pain of every moment that I have run has been more than worth it as I experience the pleasure of breaking the tape before me as I cross the finish line. It is for those moments that I know that training and dedication do pay off, for as someone once said, “Success for an athlete follows many years of hard work and dedication.”