DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

This is the section including my Imitation Piece. I chose to imitate Rios because I really enjoyed his style. I did not follow exactly what Rios did because I had to have some freedom in writing. I chose to write about running. I have been a runner for seven years now. In these seven years I have never written about running truly. I might have written about it for a small assignment maybe once but honestly I have never written something like this. This was my opportunity to really get in depth about running. I feel this was the perfect assignment to write about running.

I have titled this piece "Running: The Key to controlling your Mind" for two reasons. The first reason is in this piece I wrote about how in running you can change how you race by thinking. You want to go 

also it can help your mind 

I also included a video about running that talks about how running is mental. It is very breief but it gets the point across that running is mental. This video also includes tips on how to improve your running through mental training on your runs! 

Please enjoy! 

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.
DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Samantha Harbison

Intro to Writing

Prof. Sirois

November 11th, 2012


Running: The Key to controlling your mind

Different coaches have told me for years “Running is all mental”. You decide how well you are going to run. If you want it bad enough you will achieve what you set as your goal. Running is a mentality. Even when told over and over again, you never believe it until you realize it for yourself. Your brain prepares your body. It trains you to keep pushing when you don’t want to push any further. You tell yourself to keep going and somehow your body finds a way to keep going.

            This makes running sound easy, however, it’s not. You think; if I believe it, I can achieve it. When it comes down to it, when you are in the middle of a race and you are hitting the wall, your trained brain tells you to keep pushing.

            The lesson I learned from my coaches is what I try to convey to my own teammates. I always try to motivate them by talking about mental toughness. Running is so much more than a physical act. Once a runner has this realization they will be able to perform much better with their strong new mentality.  It changes running completely because you understand that you are in control of how you perform.  This understanding opens up endless possibility in controlling your future as a runner. A runner’s mentality is what gets you out of the bed at 6 am for that long run or gets you to finish a workout when you desperately want to stop.




When I was fifteen, I was a freshman running for my high school track team. I was seeded second in the fastest heat of the mile for the invitational.  I was seeded next to my best friend, Helen. At the time the fastest mile I had run was five minutes and twenty-two seconds. I had already qualified for our district meet, so this race was just to help me gain speed because I would be running the two-mile at our district meet. For Helen, this was one of her last chances to qualify for the mile at districts.

            The gun went off. It was like slow motion as I started. I was elbowed by my best friend and went straight to the back of the pack. Instantly I became so angry thinking; “how could she do that?” I was her best friend.

            As I stayed in the back of the pack I realized I was in last place. I thought to myself; “the race is already over”, but I couldn’t get over the fact that my best friend wanted something so badly that she thought she had to hurt me to get what she wanted. At the halfway point I heard my coach scream what she normally did when I was going slow, “SAMMY, KICK!!” Why not I thought to myself, why should I give up because one person wanted to step on me to get what they wanted? I was capable of running a very good time that day; all I had to do was push. I knew I would have to kick very hard to be able to get to a reasonable place in the race to please my coach, but I was already about five seconds slower than I should have been to get a personal record of five minutes and twenty seconds.

            As I rounded the corner I did something that a runner only does in extreme circumstances, when you are somewhere you shouldn’t be and for me, that was the back. I moved into lane two making my race longer than the girls I was passing in lane one. I passed about six girls in just 200 meters. By the end of the third lap I passed another four girls. Then, I had one lap left and I knew I had to push even harder. Within the next 200 meters I passed every girl but the top five. Coming around the corner, still in lane two, I passed every single girl. I kicked as hard as I could to win the race only to be beat out by a highly respected senior. She finished with a time of 5:17 and I finished with a 5:17.5, which was more than fine to me. I had no idea I could run that time with such a bad first half of the race.

            This is when I realized that running is “all mental”. You do still have to put the work in but as you race with mental toughness you can change the outcome with the right mindset. You have the ability to do anything you set your mind to.




Let me tell you another story. I have a friend who runs everyday, like I do now. She loves it more than anyone I know. This girl, Ella, had an uncle who was diagnosed with sarcoma. Things began to escalate quickly to the point that Ella’s uncle passed away. Ella was closest with her cousin, Elizabeth, who was the daughter of this uncle. They were best friends even though Ella lived in California and Elizabeth lived in Louisiana. The company her uncle worked for decided to put together a local 5k to raise money for her cousin’s family.  It was shortly after the funeral and Ella knew she couldn’t be there. She desperately wanted to be there with the rest of her extended family to comfort her cousins intermediate family. On the day of the 5k she was feeling anxious about not being able participate. Finally, she had an idea. She would go for a run. She left late in the afternoon, picked herself up and went for a run. She knew this would help her. She ran, and ran, and ran. It was a long run. She returned after dark.           

            This run took away all her negative emotions. She just ran. It was in this run that her problems just floated away. Death was a concept she understood, how to deal with it was a different story. She knew after this run that even though we may not understand what to do about it all we can do is try to feel better by calming ourselves down. We have to realize that it is something that happens and that all we can do is try to get through it. This run helped her to deal with this death in her family. Even though she couldn’t be with her cousin that day she felt better. It was as if she knew everything would be okay.




With the emotions in running comes an amazing support group.

            I have had countless races where I have not performed to what either I or my coach believed I was capable of. In each race that I did not perform well, I felt terrible about myself because I knew I could have done better if I fixed this or that. But with every runner whether you are on a team or not, there is always someone who will be there for you. It could be your competitor, your best friend, your mother, or even a random stranger that give you words of wisdom when you are down.

            I have had bad races each year I have trained. During my sophomore year I had more than an average amount of bad races. Around February, I had mononucleosis, the flu, and pink eye all within a month. This happened where I was at the top of my game and was performing better than I had or would in my entire high school career. It destroyed the rest of my year.

            My parents tried to comfort me saying I would come back from mono but it would take time. My coach tried the same approach as well as my doctors and friends. My teammates were just as supportive. Even competitors talked me through this emotional period. Everyone tried to make me feel better. It was great knowing I had people who truly cared about me to help me get back to where I was before I got sick. 

            In February of my sophomore year, one day specifically stands out to me. It was the day after my sixteenth birthday. I was very upset because I had been excited for two months and had an amazing opportunity to run in such a competitive race but I messed it up. It was before I knew I had mono the past two months. However, I did know I had the flu and pink eye. Each took a toll on me and so I assumed they caused me to perform poorly. It felt like I would never be ready to run. The race just made me feel even worse.

            A boy named Ned talked me out of quitting track. I was so sick of not performing well after having worked so hard. I just wanted to race well again. He knew how I was feeling but convinced me to keep going.

            He reminded me I had so much talent, ability, and passion for running and quitting wouldn’t make me feel better. He also told me I had worked so hard til then and to not give up. I knew deep down Ned was right and so I continued to run competitively. The support group I have found in track has kept me going when I was not performing well. It has taught me I can always keep trying and to never give up. I knew a few bad races couldn’t keep me down. I felt unstoppable from the support from my track community. They had always been there for me as I would be there for them. 

            Non-runners always ask me “Why do you run? It’s not even fun!”            They also say             “It’s so boring!” But no matter what I say, it would never make sense to them. They could never understand running without trying it themselves.

            “Running is a way to relax. All you have to worry about is putting on foot in front of the other. Running is fun because you are in control. You can talk with friends or run alone to clear your mind.” I would explain. They try to understand why I put myself through all the pain and how I could just go out and run anything from three to ten miles. They do not understand this lifestyle. You plan your entire day around your run. You have to actively keep yourself going with training even when it gets tough. It is not going to be easy every day but this is the lifestyle I have chosen. I would not be the same person without running. It makes my day structured yet it is the only way I can relax. Running makes me who I am.




They want to understand how. They want to know why.

            Running is more than a physical act- it’s a mental ability. Running clears your head, its how I work through different kind of emotions. It is a community of people who will support you no matter how you perform. Running is a lifestyle. It is my freedom.

            You have to teach your brain to put yourself through this training everyday of your life. There is no easy path to success, only a hard rugged one. This training will help you on the days you are down.

            It will pick you out of bed, get you dressed, tie your shoes, and kick you out the door. The emotional relief you can get will bring you back to running. It will clear your mind and free you of your burdens. This form of meditation just focuses you in on one thing; running. It may not be easy, and you may hate it some days, but deep down you know you love it.

            Each day I ask myself “Why do you run?” This is my own tool to remind myself that I love what I am doing. I have to love it or I have to stop, but I love this lifestyle.






Works Consulted


Rios, Alberto. “Translating Translation: Finding the Beginning.” Ways of Reading: An             Anthology for Writers. David Bartholomae and Anthony Petrosky. Boston:             Bedford/St. Martin’s DATE. 506-508. Print.


Tellman, “Running for Beginners: Running is Mostly Mental.” Youtube. Youtube.  12             Aug. 2009. Web. 11 Nov. 2012.








DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.