The sharp pain struck my knee with every thud to the concrete below my Nike Pegasus shoes. I clenched my teeth in agony and high fived a few spectators in the street. I heard the crowd at the finish line over the loud speaker announcing runners who crossed before me but could not see the glorious end point. Dragging my feet around the corner, I glaced up to see balloons and dozens of people lined up along the final gate. I picked my feet up off the ground and sprinted for the finish. My legs riveted with pain as I crossed the finish. My whole body shook as it tried to maintain temperature. I fought to control the tears as they welled up in my eyes. My family asked me to pose for pictures but only got a few before the stream of tears flowed down my face. I crossed through the shoot confused, shaking, and cold. My Aunt found me wandering around like a lost duckling and walked me over to the medical tent. The doctors rushed me onto a cot and rubbed my legs while my body shook from the shade.
And I did it all over again the year after.