Autumn Running in Maine

What made you who you are today?

Orange, red and yellow foliage blur past me as I run on the fresh sawdust trails behind my house. Those trails are my sanctuary, a place that altered my motivation, determination and outlook on life. Not only are those trails behind my house, it is also part of the junior high cross-country course. That course is where I won my first race and where I gained the confidence in myself that I can run. It wasn’t just sawdust I was running on but a pathway to my future directing me to my dreams.“My sport is your sport’s punishment” was the slogan I had on my cross country team t-shirt my freshman year of high school. I do not know the origin of this quote but I do know that it epitomizes a large part of my life. Whereas in other sports I’ve played, such as basketball or baseball, punishment would be issued in the form of running and sprints, there is no punishment in cross-country. That is the nature of the sport itself; my way of life.Since fifth grade I have actively participated in cross-country, indoor and outdoor track every season possible. Starting out as a decent runner, I soon realized that a lot of runners were ahead of the race with just natural talent alone. It made sense, because nobody in my family was athletic or possessed the physical attributes of a good runner. Quickly realizing that the only way to eliminate this deficit would involve training and hard work, I committed myself to intense training over the weekends; especially during the summer to strengthen my base and increase my competitiveness.Despite the natural deficit I was facing, my determination and efforts to become a better runner created a level playing field. Learning how the human body works, specifically how an athlete’s body works, has given me a wealth of knowledge about just what it takes to perform feats of athleticism, such as competing and training on the autumn trails I so fondly remember. This caused me to consider the determination it takes for people to complete physical therapy. Similar to my situation, taking small steps can be a several week training ordeal for some people who have suffered injuries. Given this, it seems that the only career path for myself is to give a similar opportunity to people who must overcome a greater deficit than I did. Thus my struggles and experiences helped shape my future career aspirations and lead me to a new route in realizing my future goals and dreams. Little did I know, during those long summer training days or during those colorful autumn races, it wasn’t simply sawdust I was running on, but a pathway to my future directing me to my dreams.

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