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Run, Ellie, Run

October 6, 2011

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They trained in three-digit heat, on the hottest afternoons of the Northern California year. She had never liked running, but I like that like her sister before her she pushed herself to try something new and hard.

By the time the final meet came around, she knew there was not much glory left in it for her finishes in the back third of the pack. She wanted me to write her a note, saying she was sick and couldn't run. But I implored her, saying things that, years later, I wish someone had said to me: that it doesn't matter too much how you do, and that it's not for the person you are now that you should run. But it will make a difference later in how you view yourself, how you think about what you do and what you're able to do. So she ran.

When the spring rolled around, she didn't go for track and field. But her P.E. coach made them run the mile at least once a week anyway. And on those mornings, over the semester something interesting happened: her time kept dropping, from 11 minutes to 9, and finally down to about 8 minutes per mile by the last week. And that's when she decided that after all that misery she found that she "kinda liked running."