A good race

I never really wanted to be any kind of committed athlete before my freshman year in high school. Growing up in an area where athletics were extremely competitive, I knew people who succeeded by holding a mentality of animosity—by hating their competition. Although I enjoyed sports, this left me with a negative view of competition and I didn’t want to be a part of it.

As I entered my freshman year in high school, though, I discovered a sport I absolutely loved: cross-country running. Because I had switched to a new school and was seeing better motives in those around me, I realized that if it was possible for athletes around me to push for excellence, it was also possible for me. I felt spiritually inspired. I had the motivation to work, gained confidence, learned what I could do, and began to excel that year.

Because of the hard work and success during my freshman year, I went into my sophomore year expecting that the experience would be naturally easier. To be honest, I even started expecting an easy ride through all of my races! Although I knew I would need to work hard, for some reason I didn’t think the season would be challenging and I didn’t feel the strong desire for success that I had before. Cross-country races require you to run for around 20–25 minutes as hard as you can, but I felt absolutely no motivation to run at a pace that required effort. Soon, once I realized I was not running well enough to be competitive, I settled into a routine of not doing my best. I didn’t know why I should bother trying harder or going faster, and questioned the point of running at all. I was miserable.

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Don’t believe the ghost stories
October 31, 2011

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