From the time I was just a young girl, sports have always been an important part of my life.
For many years, I played tennis, golf, swim, and dance. As a child, it was easy to participate in so many activities, but as I got older, it became much harder. I had to come to the decision to choose what I truly wanted to do, and gymnastics was my number one option.
I had always loved the thrill of flipping and jumping; it seemed to be the perfect sport to fit my crazy personality. For about nine years of my life, gymnastics was always a part of my daily routine.
In eighth grade, I made the decision to quit the sport I had always loved. It didn’t seem to fit me anymore, and going to practice became a burden bearing on my shoulders like a heavy weight. My last practice was tough, especially because I didn’t know where to go from there.
There was no time to pick up a new activity, but there was something that I had always wished to take more seriously: running.
No matter where I was or what my age was, I had always loved to run. My long legs and strong endurance provided a perfect base for me to become a distance runner, and it was something that came easily to me as a young girl.
At gymnastics practices, running would be a part of our conditioning. Most girls seemed to hate it, but it was something I asked to do nearly every day. I held the ability to run for miles without running out of steam, so when my best friend asked me to join the cross country team with her, it seemed like the golden opportunity.
From the very moment I walked into my first cross country practice freshman year, I fell in love with running and all it has to offer. The simplicity of the sport fits my busy life, and the immense challenges it carries along its back make me a stronger person.
It is, without a doubt, the most challenging physical task I have ever done. There is nobody forcing you to continue going; it is all on you. At any given moment, you could stop, but it teaches you the determination and strength to overcome the negative thoughts.
The freedom running gives you is a powerful feeling. You can run anywhere in the world at any time. You don’t need a ball or a helmet; all you need is a positive mindset.
Often times during the school year, I may head into practice upset or discouraged, but by the end of the run, all of those feelings have been washed out of my mind. They are simply erased by a single activity.
Running is freedom. Running is power. Running is my escape.