my fascination for running began in high school. as a freshman, i was persuaded by friends to join the cross-country team. everyday after school, we would lace up our shoes and hit the streets, running anywhere between 2 and 6 miles, depending on what our coach had planned for us on that day. i remember completing a 6 mile run back then, and feeling like i had conquered the world.
as i got older and moved on from organized school sports, i always seemed to go back to running as my main source of exercise. the distances may have varied, as did the rewards afterward, (if you're really curious about the rewards, ask me about it sometime) but the motion itself stayed the same...one step at a time.
like i said, running is a fascination, but certainly not a love. quite often, i find it a chore to run...to train. the one thing that seems to keep my legs moving is the desire to accomplish a goal that i've set for myself. last year, as i was training for my first marathon, it was very difficult to wake up before 5:00am and run. nothing about me wanted to leave the comfort of my cozy bed for the humid mornings and stray dogs that the dark streets had to offer. i got up and ran in the morning for one reason, to accomplish that goal...to cross the finish line after 26.2 miles.
so, last year on november 15th, i crossed the finish line...i got a medal placed around my neck...i ran a marathon. when asked immediately afterward if i'd ever do it again, my quick response was "absolutely not". well, apparently time makes for cloudy memories. sure, i will remember the pain my body felt, and my mental strength running on fumes as i ran the last miles, but i've witnessed something else since then...i went to africa and saw starving, diseased, dying children without electricity, heat, or running water...and i now realize that a few hours of suffering on my part is nothing compared to the constant despair that they call everyday life. if by me running a few painful miles helps make a difference, it gives each of those aches and pains a purpose far greater than any medal could show.
true, there is much to do, but i believe there is something i can do, one step at a time.
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