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...

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