Quitting?

As I approach the end of the year I will write a summary type entry on Tuesday before I leave but I have been thinking about some stuff that I wanted to touch on. This year has reaffirmed in me my resolve not to quit anything. A tangential story will illustrate this.

My freshmen year of college I went out for the cross-country team. It is hard to express how ridiculous it was. Everyday was a challenge. I lay in my bed as much as possible when I wasn’t running and tried to pretend I wasn’t brutally sore. After the two week preseason my calves were rock-hard bundles of muscle and pain. I waited everyday that season to get injured and finally at the end I did. A stress fracture kept me off my legs for 6 weeks. I remember waking up in January to return for the start of indoor track. I was tired, still slightly injured. I had zero desire to face a new team and more brutal training. But I got up and slowly worked my way back to health. Every workout was hell. I remember nearly blacking out on the track during a few of them. Running with a grimace that would scare a witch was the penchant that first year. Despite the challenges I returned for a second year. I still struggled but glimpses of light entered. I experienced my first “good” run. I challenged others in races and workouts. My junior year I finally broke out. I set a one-minute personal record in cross-country. In the conference championship in track in April that year I got put in the 10,000 meters, almost as an afterthought. In the first race of the day, I got within a few meters of third place. My fifth place finish earned four points for my team that day and surprised coaches and teammates alike. My senior year was consistent with my junior year. No major breakthroughs but workouts were completely different. I was in control. I decided how hard it needed to be for me to benefit. In the spring I remembered my coach called a workout short because of weather and I argued with him. I knew I needed another set. Over four years, my hard work paid off. Quitting never does.

My collegiate running career lines up nicely with my experience this year. The beginning just sucked. Lots of reasons for this but the bottom line: it was a struggle. A daily one. I went day-by-day, weekend by weekend. I never seriously considered quitting but the thought certainly crossed my mind. It slowly got better. Never easy but better and better. And here I sit with only 5 days left and I am so thankful for this year. It has been good and positive and I’m tremendously grateful for everything that has happened. I would have been incredibly regretful if I had quit. There are of course times and situations you should leave and quit from. But this year for me was not one of them. and I’m happy to be telling you this now.

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