While I am writing this post I am drenched in sweat, panting, and furiously guzzling down water with my non-typing hand. I am even typing slower because my fingers are shaking from the adrenaline pumping through my body from today’s run. Before you congratulate me for my commitment to mankind’s oldest sport, you should know one thing. I only ran for 15 minutes.
A few years ago when I was in high school and people still listened to the Black Eyed Peas, I was a competitive runner. Cross Country and long distance track to be exact. I started out being the slowest runner on my team, but through a year of off-season training, dietary restrictions and gutsy will power, I became one of the top runners. All of this hard work was for the elusive Varsity letter which I received my Junior year. My coaches and teammates were impressed and flabbergasted. The girl who always came last and worked her way to the top is stuff you only see in sports movies. I was really proud of myself. Even though I didn’t do as well in my senior year of high school than I did in my junior year, I still carry that experience with me. Pushing my body beyond what I perceived were its limitations for Cross Country spilled over into other aspects of my life. I know that If I moved from the back of the pack to the front through goal setting, commitment and mental power in Cross Country, then I can apply that to my career ambitions as well. Part of the reason I have accomplished anything and am so ambitious is because of lessons learned on the grassy trails behind my high school.
I stopped running after I graduated high school. It felt good to eat chocolate without thinking how it would affect my running time. And without the hours devoted to exercise I had more time to work on my writing and design my escape plan from my hometown of Eau Claire, WI. Now, living in New York City, I am fairy active. I walk everywhere and work out a sweat on the elliptical in my dorm’s gym a few times a week. But something was missing. Before I joined school teams, I was in love with running. I loved to watch runners at track & field events (I am Jamaican. It is embedded in our DNA to love and celebrate running). And I loved how calm I became with every foot stroke on the ground during a solo run. But when it became competitive, running was no longer a love, instead it was quantified in split times and personal bests.
So today I went on a run. I wanted that love affair with running back. It felt good when I was running in the shade and I just about died in the sun. I am nowhere near the fitness level I had in high school and I don’t want to be. It felt good to run, to have that connection with my body again. It was nice not to have a goal and just explore as far as 15 minutes would take me. I don’t know if I will run tomorrow. Only time will tell.
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