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Wind in the Leaves.

Posted on May 24 2009

So here I am sitting in front of my computer at 2:09 PM, waiting to get in my car and drive to Gilroy for CCS trials. The minutes feel like hours and the hours feel like days. I just want to run this damn race. I’ve been nervous since I got up at 9:46 this morning and I haven’t been able to really calm my nerves, so I decided to write about running because besides running, writing about it is the only thing that calms me.

The other day I was sitting in my car waiting for Natassa so that we could go for a walk, I sat there looking at this tree in the mid afternoon sun. The wind lifted its leaves ever so gently, the rays of sunlight bathed it in a warm golden glow. It was truly beautiful, but I didn’t feel like I was really there. I felt detached, as if I was just spectating it, not living it. Oh how I wanted to feel the leaves with my own hands, to tag the tree after a long run, to lay under it when the sun got too hot. My window was down, but I still wasn’t outside, I felt caged inside my car, like it was preventing me from enjoying the day. One needs to go outside and live life, not stay inside and look at nature taking its course everyday. Even if we were all dead, the wind would still play with the leaves, the sun would still shine over the hills, and the rain would still fall. We need to enjoy the beautiful things that nature has to offer, not try  to avoid them. It seems that every year new technologies come out, technologies with the purpose of shielding the user from the pure, unadulterated nature and creating a superficial form of entertainment. There is nothing more beautiful than watching the sun set from the highest hill, your shirt drenched in sweat, you short shorts gently flapping in the wind, and your eyes fixed on that bright heavenly sphere. Running purges you of all the stress that accumulates over the course of the day, and when you reach that peak you can finally let all of your emotions go and indulge yourself in the most beautiful sights the world has to offer.

To many people the only reason for waking up early is to get something done, to take a test, or to go to work. The sun will rise every day of the year for our whole lives, and yet we never seem to see it happen. We accept it as part of a routine and leave it unnoticed, we forget that it happens and take it for granted. One of the best feelings in the world is waking up when it is still dark, lacing up your running shoes and running to hills with the sole purpose of seeing the sun peak over the peaks of faraway mountains. Someone who wakes up early to get a run in so he won’t have to do it later isn’t a true runner, only one who wakes up at an absurd time just to see the amazing spectacle of the sun rising can call  himself a runner, not just someone who runs.

I often see people running around my neighborhood in a sort of trance, the feeling of pain all over their faces and I wonder to myself why they run. Do any of them truly love it? Or do they just run to “stay in shape”? Someone once said that the only reason he does Cross Country is to stay in shape, why on earth would you taint such a beautiful thing for your personal appearance? We run because we love it, we run just to run, not for any other cause. A run should never be forced as running is not a commitment, running is a love and love is something you keep coming back to, no matter how much it hurts. Running is the simplest way to enjoy life, you just slip your feet into those worn out shoes, take a few strides and after a couple hundred meters all your worries are gone, and for the remainder of your run all you have to worry about is drinking in as much life as humanly possible. There are no limits in running, you can go as far as you want, as fast as you want, as high as you want. All you have to do is truly love running and everything will come together.

I have one Cross Country season left, one season of meeting out by the shed left. Varun told me that the single greatest regret in his high school life was not joining Cross Country for the first three years and I didn’t know what to tell him. I wish he could feel exactly how I feel about cross country, I wish I could tell him how much I love Cross Country, how much I love meeting out by that shed, how much I love running away all the problems of the school day. I want him to know that Cross Country is simply the most amazing experience in the world, that Cross Country isn’t a sport for me, it’s my family, my love, my life. I want him to feel all the feelings I’ve felt during my three years in LHS XC, the runner’s high after a long hard run in the hills, the laughs we shared in Pepperdine, the cool feeling of Hank’s hot tub after running up Priya’s on the hottest summer days, the cool feeling of a slurpee after six miles in the summer sun, that amazing feeling when you cross the finish line at the end of a race, knowing you gave it everything you’ve got. I want him to feel like I did that day we got back from Hawaii, walking around school and seeing all the people who went and not being able to say anything to them, just smiling knowing no one else will share what we have shared in 4 days, not being able to talk about it until long after just because it was the most amazing trip I’ll ever take in my life. This post doesn’t do justice to Hawaii, nothing I ever write will, sometimes I just wish I could cut out my heart and spill the blood that runs through my veins all over the paper, only then will people know what it feels to be part of LHS XC.

I love the fourteen people that shared that trip with me, I love all the people that join Cross Country because they truly love to run, I love the people that run with me in the hills, at night, and at four in the morning. I love looking at my teammates after a long hard run and knowing that in their hearts they are in love.

Cross Country is my life, there was a beginning; that first Cupertino Long Loop I ran with Lum, and there will be an end next year. I’ve enjoyed every single step of the way so far and next year won’t be any different. I’ll never turn my back on the four amazing years of Cross Country I ran at Lynbrook, no matter what, I know that I’ll never find a love like this one again and the best thing about it is that that love will always be there, embedded deep in my heart every time I put on my dusty shoes. I just want to thank everyone that has made these the most amazing years of my life, those who always picked me up at the end of the run, those who always yelled “Woh Bundy!” in when we said “Vikes on three!” I’ll never forget you guys, and I hope you guys will never forget LHS XC.

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