Racing against time

My rise from rarely running to running daily


Holland Rainwater

At the annual CASA color run, sophomore Caden Rainwater treks on despite the rain.

Story by Caden Rainwater, staff writer

Everyone remembers the days of elementary school when everyone would test their speed against their friends for the honorable bragging rights. For me, the bragging rights were never in my hands, and in my mind, I was the slowest human being on the planet. Life was pretty rough.

The simple speed at which I ran defined how I carried myself. I never really gave up all athletics when I was younger; I just chose not to test my speed to avoid the judging eyes of my peers.

My seventh grade year, when I was living in Georgia, my sister began running for her high school cross-country team. I felt a little threatened by my sister’s running superiority, so I decided that I would get into shape by running. After close consideration, I was terrible.

I had the mindset that running was a terrible way to spend your time — the tolerance required by a runner was not worth the work.

After a cross-country move, an unsuccessful attempt at high school baseball and a very deep hole I had dug for myself, I needed an extracurricular activity that appropriately consumed all of my time.

A senior at the time, Will Harrell, invited me to go on one of the runs with the cross-country team. Of course, I immediately wrote back telling him that I’d come but not to have high hopes for me. After a strong start with the whole team, I spent the last four and a half miles of the five-mile run debating whether to quickly walk away or collapse at the finish line.

One long semester later, and the beautiful, relaxing summer began — or so I thought. I got a text from one of my friends telling me that they had started summer workouts with the cross-country team. I felt pretty well-rested from the run a couple months ago, so I told her I’d come out.

I consistently ran for about a week, and I experienced a well-known state of euphoria most runners refer to as a “runner’s high.” My speed no longer became a problem because I felt like I could run forever. I longed for a run; I didn’t simply avoid going to practice. Running was constantly on my mind.

For the first time in a very long time, I could do something that most people wouldn’t even try. Mile after mile I built endurance and speed.

Today, I continue my running with the team, and I’ve never felt more free from the judgment of others. I no longer ponder on the judgment of my peers because I run for the joy and experience, not to prove myself.