My calves and thighs are aching. Sweat is running down my back and neck. I still have two miles to go to finish the seven mile race. They always say it gets easier to run the distance, but that’s never been true for me. I ran cross country in high school and now college, and I still question why I do it. I love the thrill though. The wind going through my hair. My lungs burning from the cold. My number and jersey flapping in the wind.
I have long legs and arms. I’m lean and muscular. The cross country coach in high school saw me one day and asked me to join the team. He said I was meant to run, and he was right. I had been running since I was a little girl and had always loved the feeling.
Once I started running competitively, the feeling of crossing the finish line felt even better. Everyone cheering. It was wonderful, and now I only had another mile and a half left to go, separating me from that feeling. I keep running and running. I had to make it.
Now, I was running at Penn State for a full scholarship. My high school coach always told me I was good, but it wasn’t until the college recruiters came that I believed her. That’s why I kept going because I knew I was good enough to win this. I got a full scholarship didn’t I? That’s what I always had to ask myself, and it pushed me forward even after I didn’t think I could keep going.
I was down to only a mile now. I don’t stop running. I could feel the sudden burst of energy that I always got as I got closer to the finish line. I knew I was second right now. I had only seen one other girl pass me, and I knew the rest of the runners were behind me. I had to try and catch up to the girl in first place, so I started running faster. It was easier now because the path had changed to pavement instead of uneven grass. I could see her now. She wasn’t too far ahead. I sped up even more, and I was only two or three feet behind now. She was slowing down. She started too fast in the beginning and was too tired now to keep up her pace.
I passed her, and I could tell she was too exhausted to try and catch up to me. I had less than half a mile to go, and I was going to finish in first place. I loved the sound of my feet pounding the pavement. The finish line was in sight now. I kept running. Less than a quarter of a mile now. I passed trees and road signs and finally, the finish line. I heard everyone cheering for me, and I knew that I had done well. I was meant to run.