Below is my first written narrative essay of the school year and before you read yes, I also always pictured the word “essay” As a writing excerpt from a state exam (Where you read a irrelevant essay and answer questions about the prompt). I never understood until now that a simple passage, thought or journal entry could be considered a type of essay. Writing this narrative essay was special to me because this topic has been an inspiration and a huge reason why Michelle and I even funded the theme of the blog in the first place. This essay was written as a reflection of the tough times and raw emotion that any athlete goes through, through the mind of a high school athlete. I hope that whoever stumbles upon this essay or even this blog can read with an open mind/ heart and interpret it to their life experiences. Enjoy.
Many would not take into account something so common being walking as a privilege or blessing but in the world of running it means everything to an athlete. We were commencing towards our season opener only two weeks away and no one on our team had ever felt more prepared. We had sacrificed ninety percent of our summer, making it to practice every morning at seven thirty in the morning and sticking it out on grueling Saturday morning hill workouts. All of us knew we were all working toward one common end goal: being the best.
This triumph came with an abrupt halt. As quick as the celebration of hard work had entered the atmosphere, I was hit with a pang of reality. The team had started heading back from our fifteen mile run when suddenly, the top of my foot shot at me with an unbearable pain. It was almost unexplainable. I finished the run hypothesizing that the pain was caused due to my shoelaces tightening and applying burdening pressure to my foot. I was almost certain that the pain would subside in a day and I could return the next day. My expectations were placed into check when I was unable to walk for the next two days. Every time I took a step on my right foot, I was received with agonizing pain. It’s a terrible and shocking feeling knowing that you have to watch everyone get better and not be able to be apart of the process. Even if I didn’t run, I still came out and supported my teammates at practice, but the sense of frustration grew each day.
During the two tedious long weeks of sitting out, I was left with fear to consume me. I wasn’t able to work on my foot. This was one injury I just had to wait out. I was stuck in a terrible state of fear for my season and everything I had ever worked for. It can only be explained as having long months of hard work and passion taken away from you in a matter of seconds. It was fear from a possible foot stress fracture in my toe. Once a runner at any level gets these specific injuries it’s almost a guarantee that they’ll never be any faster than they were when they recover. I had heard rumors about incredibly strong dedicated girls who have the misfortune of an injury and eventually give up on themselves. As a runner you have to understand that injuries are inevitable and it’s bound to happen to you no matter how much experience you have. The harder you train always equals the higher chances of getting injured, and the sport becomes a tango of events that could happen and change in a matter of seconds.
So where does that leave me? I was able to walk after two weeks but running came back hard. You can be gone for four days and feel like you’ve been gone a month. Running isn’t a sport that you can quickly pick up again and take off where you left. This is a sport where dedicated patient years of practicing eventually get you to your goal. It’s an exciting feeling knowing that there will always be room for easy improvement. Dribbling, hitting, and spiking a ball are not required to exceed. All that is needed is a strong mental work ethic. You’ve got to want it for yourself more than anyone else. Getting back into the rhythm of high mileage was a challenge. There were days when I couldn’t keep up and had to drop out from workouts completely out of air, but that’s the beauty of the sport in all of this. It does not matter how fast you can run, but how much effort you are willing to put in to get healthy. It’s a self-conscious decision that you make to become a better runner and a better person.
While I could’ve been complaining about how slow I had become it became a driven force to excel in everything I did. If the team were running five miles, I would run six. If coach told us to do eights sprints on the track, I was doing nine. That’s the mentality that has helped me in everything I have done. I give the most sincere gratitude to my injury, because I had to experience the worst to realize the appreciation for my passion.