I signed up to run a 5K with the rest of the Cooking Light staff, and I’m already sweating out of nervousness.

It’s sixth grade again, and my gym teacher is screaming across the field “Do your best!” as we all attempt to run a mile. The jocks are already done. They’re playing games in the middle of the field while they watch the rest of us drag our limp bodies around one more time. I’m not entirely sure if I’m exhausted from running or holding back sobs. I could feel the other kids watching me as I struggled. This was always the worst day of the year.

I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve finally found joy in staying fit. As long as it didn’t include the dreaded word that still gives me a stomach ache: competition. I have found an everlasting love and appreciation for yoga, surfing, and biking. I focus on my own achievements instead of focusing on what other people are doing better than me.

So here I am. Signing up for a race. Which is the quintessential word associated with competition. And why am I doing that to myself? Because it’s about time I realize that the only person judging me is myself. And if I look like a rabid dog that was set loose as I jog to the finish line then so be it! I’m doing this one for sixth grade Marie.

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