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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Lost athlete finds her sport

In high school, life can be overwhelming. But the college applications, SATs and AP tests do not even compare to the daunting task I had to complete last year. As an unathletic freshman, there were two words that haunted me: PE credits.

I reviewed my options. The actual PE class seemed equivalent to death, but it was my only choice during the fall season since I did not play any sports. I utterly hated the class: It demanded physical fitness and muscle, both of which I lacked. I somehow scraped by until November, when the soccer season started.

As a mere recreational player, I enjoyed the winter season; however, I knew that I would not play soccer again this year because I could not keep up with the more competitive players. Before I knew it, spring was approaching, and I was lost as to what to do.

I could not go back into that horrid PE class— I just couldn’t. After much deliberation and blackmail from my friends, I finally decided to join track, which was ironic because I hated running, or so I thought. 

Having never run over a mile in my life (and that was in middle school P.E. when no one actually tried), a long distance running sport scared me.

At first, I have to admit, it was hard. My body had to get used to running daily, and it protested loudly through the infamous pain of shin splints. But gradually, running started to grow on me. When I got over the physical demands, I actually started to enjoy distance runs. It all depends on the attitude you have when you run. If you complain about it or treat it apathetically, then obviously you won’t enjoy it.

During runs, I got to bond a lot with my teammates, and we motivated each other to keep going. I made some long-lasting friends in track, and I would have never gotten to know them if it weren’t for the shared “torture.”

Not only that, but also with the motivation from my teammates, I began to develop a desire to become more physically fit. Running is one of the best ways to exercise because it does not require any external equipment or new skills; it builds endurance and uses some major muscles including the leg, arm and core muscles. I cannot say I’m a fast runner; in fact, I’m far from it, but track gave me a reason to improve.

Track also taught me skills beyond the world of physical fitness. By jogging through the maze of Saratoga streets, I learned directions and memorized street names. Before joining track, I honestly didn’t even know what street Herriman was (and if you were like me a year ago, it’s the road our school is located on).

Somehow, I went from an unathletic slacker to a motivated runner. Now, even after the track season, I can actually go out for a run on my own just for the fun of it.

I especially love trail runs because I have the opportunity to connect with nature and enjoy some spectacular views and the feeling of wind blowing on my face. It is a great way to take a breather from my normal, hectic life.

And when it comes to the end of a run or race, the feeling of having finished strong and persevered through the entire run is simply indescribable.

This year, I’m enjoying that feeling again through cross country. I feel like the whole team has become a spirited family. Despite it being an individual sport, cross country brings us together since we share a common goal: to have fun.

Even though it started out as a daunting task, completing my PE credits is at the very back of my mind. It may have been my original motive, but I know running will be a part of me for the rest of my life. And maybe it took something as insignificant as PE credits to get me to realize that.

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