This I Believe

Karissa - santa monica, California
Entered on June 19, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: sports
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“This I Believe”

I believe in running. I believe in long runs on sunny afternoons, along the coast headed from school. I believe in lacing up my sneakers, pulling back my hair, and just running.

On weekdays at about two-thirty in the afternoon, I make my way to my high school’s locker room to change out of my everyday tee-shirt-and-jeans combo into mini, tight blue spandex running shorts and a white tee. Then I lace up my Asics and head out the door to the exclusive, runners-only off campus gate where I search for my best friend, and running partner, to exchange dreadful looks wondering, “How far do you think we’ll go today?”

If I’m having a stressful day, if I feel I need to let loose, if need to be out in the sun for a while, if I want to catch up with a friend, if I’m sick of being stuck in a classroom all day, if I wanna tan a little, or if I’m training for an upcoming race, I can always look to long-distance running for comfort. I’ll simply head down to the locker rooms at Santa Monica High School.

It’s everyday that I regret asking my coach what he has planned for us to run. He always seems to expect me to run more than I had anticipated. Even after weekends when I hope to ease into my running mileage, my coach starts my week out with five or seven miles on Monday.

But I’m grateful I can run. I run for those who can’t. I’m proud of myself and my strong lungs and the endurance in my legs, not to mention the flattering shape they’ve taken since the summer of 2005 when I began this sport. I hold a love-hate relationship with the tan line of my shorts, and no matter how short they go, the streak across my legs is invincible. If only our races were as short as our shorts.

When my friends and I are out under the sun, in the rain, or running against wind, we take our journey step by step. We pace ourselves, so as not to get a cramp. And we’re mindful of bathrooms and local watering holes, just in case. There’s something about the sport that I love most of all the others I have played. You can’t ask me, or any of my lady runner friends why we do it, but if you asked my coach he’d say, “Because it feels so good when you’re done!”

I believe running offers me many lessons. I’ve learned to take care of my body and to be more conscious of what I put into it. I sleep more now, I drink more water, I’m healthier, I’ve made new friends, and without my team I don’t know if I’d still be in it today. Any sport that can offer this much is worth participating in. I’ll simply head down to the locker rooms at Santa Monica High School.