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Out-Running My Mind

by Bryan Casey

Photo by Chris Karidis on Unsplash

High school is a time of change.

A frightening journey that takes developing, confused children and urges them to socialize. It's a four-year roller coaster of constant ups and downs. Students are labeled, and are defined by what they do. Some are popular, and others countdown the days until graduation and a few, like me, fall somewhere between the two. So, on my first day of high school, I went around to the different sports and club tables. And, like many, I obtained my four-year stamp. Runner.

Runner, why not? It’s an activity which anyone can do. Just pump your arms, move your legs, and you’ll be fine.

Being lucky enough to grow up in Upstate New York I had access to, well, nature. And what do you do with nature? You run through it. Every minute recorded on my watch, every mile added to my shoes, every drop of sweat down my back defined me; and I felt like I was able to obtain a sense of who I really was. Through this simple activity I gained life-long friends and I had something to look forward to during those eight hours of awkwardness.

However, things change, and our bodies and minds grow. Sometimes for better. And sometimes for worse.

When I raced my first race, I didn’t feel the stress. There was no pressure. My coach was reassuring, and my parents just wanted me to try my best. There were no standards. So, I just ran my race.

I kept my head up, my arms pumping, and my eyes forward. That’s a strategy in running, always keep your eyes focused on the next man in front of you and reel them in. Just like fishing.

Racing gave me this beautiful, intoxicating feeling, similar to when you were a child on the swing set. You’d scream at your parents, "higher, higher." Your mother, being a responsible adult, would keep you at a reasonable height, but your father. Fathers are different. Once in a while you’d get that one push, the seat would fall out from under you and it was like you were stranded in mid-air. Even as a child you knew you were destined to swing back down. But you’d push that thought aside and bask in the feeling. It was exhilarating. I loved it.