Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Dead Last

First off let me say that I do not really enjoy writing Narration.... But I had to for my English class so I thought I'd share with you all. :)

“That first day, she was walking! And now she’s going to Nationals…” Coach Roddy said as he encouraged another budding runner. To excel in a sport, career, or any endeavor in general it takes determination and hard work. It is not all beauty, medals, and crossing the finish line. There is much pain, training, and failure that first presents itself before success is even remotely visible. My freshman year of high school I decided to run track. I was not at all prepared for the training that lay ahead nor for the disappointments, failures, and challenges I would face. However, with these same challenges, came a deep motivation to push harder and be better that I will carry with me. I was able to overcome injuries and numerous obstacles and compete at a higher level than I dreamed possible. This is a story about failure, but ultimately about determination and success. It is about finishing dead last, and getting back up to do it again and again until finally you are no longer last.

When I first joined my school track team, I can vividly recall one early morning as I began a three-mile run. Three miles! I had never run for that long in my life. I was slow, tired, and could hardly breath. I just wanted to stop and walk the rest of the way, but my coach was running right beside me. Just leave and let me stop, I thought. Coach Roddy expected me to keep running. Willing my legs to keep moving I eventually finished those three miles and although extremely tired, I felt proud for finishing. Thus began my running career.

After that first track season Coach Roddy invited me to come run on his club team and compete in the summer so as not to loose valuable training. I decided to join, but knew because of our family situation I’d have to pay for it myself. I mowed lawns and babysat all summer to pay for the club and the meets. It was hard, but so rewarding. I went to many meets that summer and did not win a single one. I finished dead last or close almost every race. It was depressing at times, but I decided to use those losses to propel me forward. I would not go down without a fight.

In the fall as I began Cross Country I had painful shin splints. This is acute pain in the shin and lower leg caused by continuous running and not having enough muscle to handle it. My legs were too weak for what I was doing. I began doing specific exercises to strengthen those parts of my legs and feet, but refused to quit running. I often ran with my lower legs wrapped up to ease the pain and hobbled around like a penguin after finishing a run.

Soon my legs strengthened and I began gaining speed. The endurance I had built up from training on the off seasons was showing. As the next Track season rolled around, I began doing well at meets. I ran varsity at most meets and medaled at many. I was close to the top. I frequently trained with the guys as many of the girls could not keep up. I kept pushing to do better. I remember distinctly one afternoon practice in which we had a particularly hard workout. As I was coming around the corner of the track on my last lap I felt sick. I had a cramp that simply would not go away, but I knew that quitting was not an option. I tried so hard to get through the last hundred meters but the curdling food from several hours before simply would not stay in my stomach. I vomited into the grass. I wiped my mouth and finished the run. Never give up.

This past summer, going into my junior year, I competed in the Junior Olympics. This time I did not finish last, but it nevertheless was not easy. My competitors were devoted. They had all put blood, sweat, and tears into running just as I had. At the first qualifying meet I qualified in all of my events. The second qualifying meet narrowed it down a bit as I only qualified it in two events, but I won one. That is a feeling I cannot describe. Achieving something you have worked so hard for is so much better than simply receiving it. At the National Meet, which was the Junior Olympics, I placed 8th earning myself a place up on the medal stand. Success is hard. It comes with failures, and hardships. I will continue to race after my dreams, even if I come in dead last.