My first time running competitively was in 3rd grade. I ran cross country at St. John, for only about two years. After that, I stopped running competitively because I wanted to focus on basketball and volleyball. When I moved on to Lowell, I didn’t plan on doing a school sport, let alone running cross country and track. Since St. John is a small Catholic school, track and field wasn’t offered, so this was definitely new territory for me. A friend dragged me (literally) into joining cross country, but she got injured and quit, but I’ve stuck with it ever since.
Running is a physically enduring sport, as you have to train both aerobically and physically, but that is just half the battle. When you are running, mentality is a huge component as well because you’re mind is so powerful. Scientific studies have proven that when you feel like giving up, you’ve only used up about 30% of your energy. Therefore, having a positive mindset is important when running. Part of having determination and a good mindset is having the confidence to persevere through anything. When I run, I always try to make sure my mental strength is strong because I need to be the one encouraging myself to keep going.
Having perseverance means pushing yourself to keep going, even if it’s painful. In my experience with running, I have had some hard races, where I definitely felt like giving up. One example, was at the Westmoor Cross Country Invitational. I had already been injured with Runners’ Knee throughout cross country season and hills would usually aggravate my knees. Westmoor is one of the hilliest, if not the hilliest course, we race. There are several steep climbs which are full of dirt, which make it slipping a frequent risk. There is also a hill that is akin to running straight up a mountain- it is so steep!
During the race, my knees started to hurt and I started limping. I could’ve dropped out of the race, but I knew I had to finish because I was one of the five varsity girls running for Lowell in this race and in order for a team to get a score, at least five runners had to finish. Despite my pain, I managed to persevere and finish the last half mile of the race. As I limped across the finish line, I didn’t know how to feel. I was in tremendous pain, but I was also so proud of myself for persevering and finishing the race for my team. My determination and mindset allowed me to be able to make it to the State Championships and compete. It was a huge opportunity to be able to run against some of the best and well known schools in California!
Applying this perseverance to my everyday life is important because it allows me to get things done, such as schoolwork and other projects. Also, it has built my character. If you are having a hard time working on something, pushing yourself to get through it, instead of giving up, remember that the experience is an opportunity to experience a new level of accomplishment, as well as building your lifelong habit of persevering through hardships. I encourage you to keep working on developing your healthy mindset because it will pay off! People will look up to you and maybe even follow in your footsteps. Inspire yourself and others, you never know what may happen!