XC- How it broke me, fixed me, beat me down and built me up, all in one season

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
In middle school- such a long time ago- I joined the XC team, only find myself amidst the miles and miles of running.

Submitted: November 09, 2012

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Submitted: November 09, 2012





How it broke me, fixed me, beat me down, and built me up, all in one season.


This year has so far been filled with new experiences, good and bad. One of the best experiences was, funnily enough, disguised as a curse. My brother came into middle school planning to participate in cross-country, and I have to admit, I scoffed at him. For three years, my track coaches had been trying to convince me to do cross country- “You’ll love it!” they said. “It will do you wonders!” Of course, I didn’t believe them just out of sheer pigheadedness. The idea of running 2 ½ miles every day—minimum—seemed outrageous. But suddenly, after years of being worn down my coaches, parents, and friends, I agreed to do cross-country.

 The first week would be my definition of personal torture- and we were just warming up. Even without leaving school grounds, the team ran around and around the perimeter of the grounds, going and going until I was sure I was going to die. My lungs hurt, my legs were burning, my knee hurt like crazy, and I was ready to throw in the towel. But I didn’t. In fact, I came back the next week, and the next, and the next, until suddenly, I found my rhythm. Breathe in, step, step, breathe out. Repeat. Some people say that while they’re running, they think about the day, but not me. When I’m focused and ready to go, down to a T, I am silent, inside and out. I wipe my mind blank; no philosophical questions or wonderings about the day inside my brain, no, nothing except ways to run as fast and take the smartest route you can. Breathe in, step, step, breathe out. I guess you could say I zone out, just keeping my eyes locked on the horizon, not even watching the others around me. Of course, when I have to stay competitive, I focus on one at a time, and as my coach would say, “Pick ‘em off!”

 Running, at first, was like being sent down under (You know where!), but slowly, I began to look forward to it. Losing myself in myself was something I had never experienced until then, and it was new and exhilarating. After each race or practice, that I’m-going-to-die feeling washed over me, but that was just physical. Inside, I was glowing. Some call it Runner’s High, that feeling you can’t match with anything else, that bright, happy, giddiness that stays inside you even after you hop in the shower after your run. Some just call “that finishing feeling”, but I don’t have a name for it. It’s a feeling, something you can’t match or explain. So why do I run six miles on a hot day, going up and down hills with the repetition of a crazy person? I do it for the feeling at the end; because all in all, isn’t that the feeling we’re working for in life? That sheer joy at having given your all, and being left with nothing but yet feeling so fulfilled. I’ve found that I like myself best hunched over, breathing hard, dripping in sweat, having given everything I had and then a little more than that. Speaking from experience, I have never been so impressed with humans as when they stand up after having been beaten down. I know I almost want to impress myself, in a way, because even though my body is dead, I can find myself standing up, brushing myself off, and getting ready to run again.Breathe in, step, step, breathe out. Finish.

© Copyright 2019 Elizabeth Martin. All rights reserved.

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