The first reaction when you tell someone you run every day is, "ew," because no one likes running. Our bodies dislike discomfort. However, cross-country attracts people who love a challenge for the sake of a challenge. I first decided to join so I could get out my house and not be forced to study. Hilariously, I was actually super confused freshman year because I thought cross country was a skiing event, but it eventually made sense. I remembered how confused my friends were when I showed up to the first team bonding event of cross country. They all had the same question: "Wait, Vicky, you're running cross country???" With hesitancy, I answered, "yeah, I am." Little did I know then that joining this team would end up being one of the best decisions I made in high school.
As I marched into my last season, I decided that I would make this one my best. I began the summer running every day and sometimes even twice a day so I could meet the expected mileage for the week. I ran a total of 304.08 miles in the span of 10 weeks. With one of the leading mileages on the team and as a senior, I inherently took on the role of vital leadership upon this team along with a few other classmates.
However, my summer of high mileage led me to peak during our pre-season. From that point on, I went through several injuries and I was unable to hit the times and mileage as I did before. Soon enough, I was unable to even finish a 5k race without falling unconscious. I was no longer among the top 7 on the team. In fact, I fell to be our #12 girl. Then, our athletic trainer pulled me out of practice because my health was at risk.
My season had fallen short and I could not understand why, because I thought that I had done all the small things right. I could not bear the fact that this was how my season was going to end, especially after my summer of hard work. Even though I was not allowed to run at practice until further clearance, I came to practice anyways to do core and drills with everyone else. Afterward, while everyone went on their runs, I would go to the trainer's and run on my own at home. It was hard to make a comeback, especially injury after injury. Despite these setbacks, with the new medication, a strong mindset, and the support that my team and coaches gave me, I finally started to regain the confidence and fitness I had during my peak.
During the county championship race, despite the pain running through my body, I remembered the amount of dedication I put into this season and how I wasn't going to let this temporary pain hold me back for this could be my last 5k race of my high school career. At last, I was able to set a personal and season record, finishing within the top 20 of my race.
Like a cross-country race, life throws you twists and turns, hills, and obstacles, injuries. Cross country has taught me to focus and take things one step at a time, as well the definitions of perseverance, hard work, and discipline. And with that, I end this with a pun: don't let life pass by, we're runners.