Run! In This Golden Age!

The+Baldwin+2017+Spring+Track+and+Field+Team.+Author+Annie+Lin+%2720+pictured+third+from+the+right+-+Source%3A+Jen+Dietrich+%2717
The Baldwin 2017 Spring Track and Field Team. Author Annie Lin '20 pictured third from the right - Source: Jen Dietrich '17

The Baldwin 2017 Spring Track and Field Team. Author Annie Lin '20 pictured third from the right - Source: Jen Dietrich '17

The Baldwin 2017 Spring Track and Field Team. Author Annie Lin '20 pictured third from the right - Source: Jen Dietrich '17

Annie Lin '20, Staff Writer

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September 29, 2017

Back in those idle summer afternoons, I would sit on the soft grass enjoying a peaceful moment that only belonged to me. As school began, something occurred that reshaped my afternoon teatime. With sports shoes and a gallant stride forward, this event brought a new meaning to the grass on which I stood: To run and to gain my confidence.

My first running experience at Baldwin was last year when I joined the track team in the spring season. Then this fall, I joined cross country as a new milestone in my running career. Whether I am on the track preparing for the one-mile warm-up or aiming to make it to a stop sign during cross country, the running I did in middle school recurs in my mind. It’s like a film about the “Golden Old Days” composed of charming, nostalgic pieces: easy running practice in 7th and 8th grades, pleasant chatting and humming popular music, a race among friends at the end of practice.

Things changed after entering 9th grade at my old school. In the beginning, thanks to the hard practice in 7th and 8th grade, I was running fast and finishing the 800m test in just over three minutes. This impressive score only happened once or twice, though. In 9th Grade, I gave up running for a whole semester in the winter. The next time I stepped on the track, I was at a huge loss. The most important part of running is continuity. But I am a person with unceasing optimism. When I prepared myself to run again, I didn’t care what happened. It takes courage to try again when you find out you have dropped from the top rank to the bottom. With a huge time commitment of daily exhausting practices, I ultimately met my coach’s expectations. From then on, when I want to give up, I try to forget about my past achievements and motivate myself to grow as an athlete.

Last spring I tried something new and joined the track team. A benefit of running is that it brings me closer to great coaches and athletes. I can never forget my first time doing the one-mile warm-up. When I was about to finish the last lap, I could barely feel my legs, and my throat was dry. Then, I heard cheering, which was like the lit match that rekindled my faith to keep on running: “You got this, Annie!” “You’re almost there!” “Finish strong!” Crossing the finish line, there were high-fives, hugs, thumbs up, and “good jobs” from teammates and coaches. It was very moving for me. I almost came to a stop when I was only halfway done and the first group of teammates had passed me already with their regular, deep breath and firm, forward steps, but something told me not to give up. I adjusted my breath, paced myself, and with the encouragement from my teammates and coaches, I finished the hardest part of my track season.

It was the warmth from my coaches and peers that kept me on the team. It was not an easy decision because the practices continue to get harder each time. Our Coach, Ije, was really strict with us. For every run, regardless of the length, we were timed and were told ahead to finish within a certain amount of time. Sometimes we did a series of short-distance sprints, such as eight 200 meter dashes with one minute rest after each run. Ije would tell us that that type of run is more mental than physical. You could easily slow down after several laps, but, to improve, you have to trust yourself. Keep your legs moving. By the end of the season, I had gained both physical and mental strength.

The arrival of fall means the start of Cross Country season. Without knowing why, I always link Cross Country with the color gold. Perhaps it’s because the color of fall is also gold, but to me, this bright color represents Energy, Hope, and Success. There are already so many great memories from this season: first day of practice, first medal of the team, my first 2 miles, my first 5k, etc.

Besides the awards and prizes, this running has taught me great lessons. If you have ever tried to run uphill, you know how cross-country runners feel. On the downhill stretch, though,  you can fly with your eyes closed, as if the world is nothing but the smell of grass, the touch of wind, and you. You should never stop while doing hills. Once you stop, or even slow down to walk, your only desire is to lie down and take a rest. But you still need to pick up your strength and keep going. I truly appreciate my teammates’ courage when they keep running after seeing a huge hill, or after walking for a few seconds, they pick themselves up quickly. Their actions have demonstrated the meaning of real courage: to know that there might be something worse ahead, but to keep going anyway.

Running as a group, you learn from your teammates and appreciate their performance. But most importantly, you never get lost.

 

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Run! In This Golden Age!