The time of the year with a deep meaning
There are a lot of things I think about when I think about a Fall Saturday morning. I think about football (Go Dawgs). I think about the temperature dropping (unless you are like me and live in South Georgia where it is so hot you can fry an egg on the sidewalk). I also think about Saturday morning runs with my dad. Until I moved to college a couple of years ago, I spent almost every Saturday morning running on the dirt roads near my house with my dad. We run year round, but Fall is definitely our favorite time of the year to run. Thinking about our Fall Saturday morning runs, my mind is flooded with memories of the fields filled with snow white cotton, cow pastures, and canopies of trees above us (with the leaves constantly falling on us). It is just a picture perfect area to run. My dad would say every Saturday, "Wow, it is so beautiful out here. I would love to take a picture of this". The scenery might be picture perfect, but the run itself was not (for me anyways).
My dad has been a runner all his life. I started running when I was in the 8th grade, but prior to that my dad would always try to convince me to join him on a run. He did convince (force) me to run a 5k race (3.1 miles) with him when I was only six years old. We finished the race in 45 minutes. I won my age division (9 years and younger) and won a trophy, but I hate every minute of it. I told my dad I was never doing that again.
Fast forward to the summer of 2013. This was the summer before my 8th grade year, and I wanted to get involved in more at school. My dad suggested I join the cross-country team. Even though I said I would never run again, I still decided to give it a shot. I cried after my first practice. I could not run a mile without crying. I was miserable. I told my dad I didn't want to start the school year on the team, and I wanted to quit. The first time I went to my dad telling him I didn't want to run anymore, he told me, "Do not focus on how far the run is. Focus on the next step". He would constantly remind me this. He also remind me, "One step at a time will get you to the finish line". He has always told me how the challenges I come across in life are similar to the challenges I face in a run.
I ran with my dad every Saturday that Fall. I would remind him every Saturday that I was one Saturday closer to never running cross country again. I did not quit running after my 8th grade season. I eventually signed up for track and ran all through out high school. I still run to this day (just for "fun" now). I look back on all the Saturdays in the Fall of my 8th grade year and find it hard to believe that same girl who cried and struggled all that time has now completed countless amounts of 5k's, 10k's, two half-marathons, and two marathons. Yes, the girl who couldn't run a mile did that.
Through the years, I've learned the first step is the hardest, but if you start and keep at it, you can accomplish goals that seem out of reach. I have learned to let frustration motivate me to make positive changes. I've learned all this just from running. I used to think my dad was crazy for saying how the challenges in running and in life are similar. It is so true. When I started college, I was struggling big time. Not because I was homesick, but I did not think I could make it here. I let the challenges and frustrations I faced during my first year of college motivate me to make the most of my struggles. I am not thriving by no means right now, but I am happy to say I am doing a hell of a lot better than I was one year ago today. Through all those Saturdays in the Fall running with my dad, I found the determination necessary to complete a run is the same determination required for any challenge I face in life.