As I ran through Kincaid Park stadium in Anchorage, one question passed through my head, "Why do I do this again?"
It's Saturday, again, which in my world means race day.
While most of my peers are relaxing at home or out watching movies, I chose to do something most of them would view as pure torture -- I run.
Most people don't view running as the most enjoyable of sports.
It can be monotonous, boring and even painful.
The training is time consuming and few people have the motivation to do it alone.
That's why joining my high school running team made things a little easier.
Here was a group of about 30 kids near my own age who are at least semi-enthusiastic about running.
I just show up and coach tells me what to do.
I didn't have to decide on my own workouts, and I need half of the self-motivation that is necessary to run over the summer.
This plan had one pit fall, the races.
I have never been much of a fan of races.
I hate giving up one of the only days of the week where I don't have to go to school.
My run may only take 25 minutes or less, but the pre-race activities seem to take forever.
The trip goes something like this: spend the night in Anchorage, worry, get up and go to Kincaid Park, worry, cheer for teammates, worry, warm up, worry, finally race and then ride the bus for two-hours to get home exhausted.
Yes, bus trips are fun, and I'm definitely one for team spirit, but I have a habit of stressing out just a bit over the results.
It's my nerves that kill me.
Except that once the gun goes off, everything changes for me.
It no longer matters to me if it's raining or not. I could care less!
Yes, I may have forgotten to clean the mud off the bottom of my spikes, and I may be wearing the ugliest shorts ever created, but at that moment none of that matters anymore, I'm just running.
That's all I have to do.
Set my sights on the person in front of me and catch her, then the next girl, and the next, until nothing I say to myself will make my body move any faster.
Time passes and the finish line nears.
People cheer but they're a blur.
Out of the haze I hear my dad whistling, and see my sister Katie taking pictures.
On some level I know I must be exhausted but all I feel is a sense of euphoria.
As I cross the line and look up at the clock I realize something.
It's not about winning or setting records, it's about finding out just how hard you can push.
It's about doing something hard and finding joy in it. It's the sense of accomplishment at the end of a race that you know you did your best in.
That's why I run.
This article is the opinion of Carol Clonan. Clonan is a junior at Skyview High School.
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