In grade school I was always the oddball. Most kids loved recess and all the non-structured classes but I was different. I was the kid who would rather be by myself reading then participating in P.E. That’s probably why my P.E teacher and I never got along. I had always been the problem child in that class because I would get tired of getting picked on. I hated that class and teacher in grade school, but everything changed when I hit junior high.
All of my older siblings had run cross country under coach Young which was also my P.E teacher. At first I didn’t want to run but my grandma talked me into it so fall of my 7th grade year came along and I signed up for cross. It ended up being me and two other girls one of I disliked almost more than coach. The season started and I trained my butt off for the first meet. I crossed the finish line in tears, not because I was hurt but because I was so mentally and physically exhausted. I took 3rd at that race.
On the way home coach told me I did awesome and he was proud of me. I think that is when it really hit me that I was a runner. I had never heard him give anyone a compliment and never really felt like anyone was extremely proud of me.
I have been running ever since. That first year I placed top 5 in every race and I cried after all of them too, because it felt so wonderful to completely exhaust myself. Since then I have placed top 10 at state twice in cross country and top 20 in the 2 mile at state track once.
My coach and I still don’t get along in class and I think that is because of what class it is and not him. I have also learned that he is a completely different person during Cross than he is at school.
I don’t run just for competition though I also run for stress relief or even just for fun. This last summer right before Cross season started I got a knee injury and wasn’t able to run for awhile. I thought maybe I had lost running forever. That scared me I started to wonder if I would ever be able to call myself a runner again. That is when it hit me that I was more upset about the injury making it so I couldn’t run then I was about it hurting my body.
You know you are a runner when you have how many seconds you need to cut off to beat either a personal goal or someone else written on your mirror so you see it every morning, especially when injured. I did I had “30 seconds” written on my mirror and I woke up to it and cried every morning.
My coach when I became a freshman called me his little experiment, I never understood what he meant by that but I knew it was something good. When I got injured though I was worried that he might start thinking that his experiment had failed and he would give up on it. I was talking to him the other day after practice and he told me he was proud of me that after I got injured he was afraid his experiment had failed but I had just proved him wrong on that, and he was happy I did.
As a runner you are always afraid of injury but you also tell yourself that it could never happen to you, even though it easily could. If you don’t think and worry about injury than I don’t feel you are truly a runner.