I once placed 4th in an 800m race – I was 12

When I was in grade 6 I went to a track and field meet. My school district had them every year and every kid in grade 4-8 had to participate, and the top 3 for each sport went to the district meet.

I was there for the 400m and another short run because I had placed 3rd in them both.

My mom took time of work to come watch. She always did for school events like this. I made the basketball team in grade 8 because I was 5 foot 9, and the championship games were at my sister’s high school so my mom took a long lunch and came to watch us and my sister got out of class to watch as well. They have always been supportive of my sports.

This year they decided to have the 800m for any girl in grade 6-8 that came to the meet, even if it wasn’t for running. You didn’t have to participate but they had time and the track was free and thought it was a great way to encourage us girls to keep at sports and running.

My mom told me I should try it.

They had stated that not many of us would finish it and that was okay, 800m at that age is hard. It was for fun, to try something new.

So I went up to the starting line with about 20 other girls, whose events had finished and were also waiting for the bus and the boys to finish, they had more events. And I remember taking it slow, like I did for 400m. We started losing girls around 200m, and then more at 400m, and then by 600m there was less than 10 of us left.

I wanted to give up. I wanted to quit. But every time I went past the start line I saw my mom and how proud she was. If I quit because I couldn’t do it any longer she would have still been happy with me for trying. That is my mom’s thing still. As long as I’m trying and don’t give up without attempting something, she is proud. She came to watch my first 10k race and I saw her around 7k and I was dying and wanted to stop but her face lit up when she saw me and I had to keep going.

So I kept going.

I’m sure I stopped to walked a bit. I had no formal running training. I didn’t run at this time. Only when we did the Terry Fox run once a year. But I biked a lot and was an active kid.

When we got close to the final lap there was only 4 of us left and I was at the back. I finished 4th out of 4. I was last. But I finished it. I ran 800m, after running 400m (where I don’t think I even finished top 10). You could say I was 4th out of 20. This is one memory I never want to lose. It’s what keeps me going when things get tough. I was a 12 year old that ran 800m for fun and placed 4th. I didn’t give up when it got tough, when my legs got tired. I kept looking at the finish line and kept trying.

Things have been tough lately and running is usually want helps clear my mind and give me some quiet time but I haven’t had time for running. I could make time at 6:30am if I could manage to get myself out of bed at that time, but I haven’t been sleeping well with the heat. So I’ve tried to adjust to allowing other things to clear my mind. Like soccer. It’s 55 minutes of focusing on a ball and my teammates and the other team. And I’m getting a lot better at it. Or biking. I have to focus on traffic for 35 minutes.

This weekend I’m going backpacking for three days, cell phone free. I’ve told my boss. I have to tell my family and a couple friends. I’m really looking forward to the break from everyone but my best friend and others on the trail.

The hiking is going to be tough but I know I can do it. I once placed 4th in my first 800m race. (Also track runs are boring.)

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