Being a runner and pushing my body past its limits is something that has been a part of me since I was a little girl, challenging my friends to race on the playground. Running is a part of my identity, and has given me many athletic accolades, but it has also positively impacted my perspective on life and has laid the foundations of my character and moral values.
Because of track and field and cross country, my mental fortitude and outlook on life is decidedly different than those of my non-running peers. Taking a difficult math test or having to read pages of a dull biology text do not compare to the gut-wrenching pain of finishing an anchor leg of the 4x400m relay after a day of running two other races, my team trusting and depending on me to finish what they started, and win the race. The nerves of a high-stakes exam are nothing compared to the nerves of sitting in the blocks of my 400m race, with last year’s state champion in the lane next to me. These experiences as a runner will stick with me for the rest of my life, changing me for the better, strengthening my mind, and forcing me to put all of my problems and complaints into perspective. Because of doing hard things on the track, I can do hard things in life.
One’s perspective on life directly correlates into one’s values and morals as well. Running changed my personal perspectives on hardships in my own world, and as a result, that sphere of positive influence encompasses my view on world issues and problems. I may not be able to force everyone to see the benefits of running, but I can show everyone through my character and actions that taking a pragmatic approach to life’s troubles is beneficial and possible. I may not know with certainty what my future career path is, but I do know that I want to help people and to be a productive, useful person in this world, and if I can do that through my talents as a runner, even better.
It’s hard for me to imagine a future without this sport I love in my life, and my ultimate goal as a high school athlete is to secure the opportunity to run in college, and to continue to develop as a runner, as a teammate, and as a person.