Maria Serakos: Hitting the Trails

Maria Serakos, 12-13 La Salle High School, Yakima, WA

Just ask anyone who knows me well—it is no secret that I like to run. Five days a week I hit the trails, my legs carrying me across the earth and my mind losing itself in thought. This is my personal time, a time when I am able to ponder, process, and reflect on the things of importance in my life. It is a time for me to free myself of all worries and stresses and focus on my blessings.

Running has played a large role in my time so far as an LV. Despite my busy days at La Salle High School in Yakima, Washington, I make a conscious effort to incorporate running into my daily routine. Yes, this has meant many early mornings, but somehow I don’t mind waking up before the crack of dawn to log a few miles. There is something about the stillness of the morning that captivates me, instilling me with the energy to begin my day. And in addition to being my “me time,” my early morning runs are when I get some of my best lesson planning done, a definite plus for a sophomore religion teacher!

When I first heard about LVs Run, I knew this was something for me. Running a marathon has always been a personal goal, and being able to team up with the other LVs in support of a great cause was another incentive to run the big race itself. During my training not only was I personally preparing for running 26.2 miles, but I was also doing so in conjunction with the other LVs. Although we were separated by many miles, each of us was individually training for something that we would do together. While running in preparation for Tulsa, I often thought of my fellow LVs, knowing that somewhere at least one of them was likely running too.

My time on the trails has also been filled thinking about my time at La Salle. During the week it is easy to get caught up in the chaos of the school days, so my weekend long runs are a much-welcomed opportunity to step back and view things objectively. It is during these times that I am able to see the wondrous ways my students are impacting my life. While teaching I am so focused on doing what is best for my students that it is easy to overlook the blessing they are in my life.

My four months of training finally brought me to Tulsa. Despite the confidence I had at the starting line, I did not anticipate an injury that would surface halfway through the race. I was forced to walk the majority of my last ten miles, and at one point I briefly considered dropping out of the race entirely. Instantly after this thought crossed my mind, however, another one entered my head: my students. There was no possible way I was going to quit, I told myself, because my students would ask me how the race went when I returned to Yakima. And I was not going to tell them that I did not finish!

The immediacy of this thought made me realize that in addition to running this race in pursuit of a personal goal and supporting the LVs, I was doing this for my students, the boys and girls who truly have changed my life. It was their faces that I saw as I walked those last few miles; it is their voices, smiles, and energy that I continue to think about as I slowly start to hit the trails again.

Maria Serakos, 12-13, La Salle High School, Yakima, WA

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