Laying down in bed the night before the meet was always nerve wracking, wondering who was going to show up to the meet the next day. The drive over to the track was often long and silent. Often thinking of every outcome of each race could drive a runner insane. Finally arriving and seeing all the athletes, spectators, and the crowd. The roar of the announcer echoing through the stadium. I stepped on the track hoping to see a few familiar faces. The cold breeze blowing against my tracksuit. I began to warm up and tuned out
I ran as fast as I could, I was tired but knew that I had to keep going. The sun shone down ferociously making it very bright and torrid. I felt sweat drip from just above my brow into my right eye. My eye began to get a burning sensation just as I turned the corner. My muscles ached, but I knew I had to shift into overdrive and pick up the pace. I started to run faster and faster. I began to get the feeling like I was about to throw up, but knew that I couldn’t stop now. I continued to sprint to the finish, and just as I crossed the finish line I looked to the clock and noticed that I set a new PR. The feeling of happiness that swelled up inside me took me back to the practice on the tuesday of the previous week: That day it was hot as fire
“Now everybody turn to your left, now your right. I see, and you all see an abundance of members, but by the end of season this team will not be this big. Not because of my fault, but because of your own inability to want to work hard and improve. Some of you will finish this season and some of you will say, ‘I quit.’ You determine your fate. Welcome to the Monmouth-Roseville Cross Country team. I’m your coach Samuel, but you can call me Sam.” I had finally met my coach.
Feeling exhausted, I focus on my breathing. I breath in through my nose and then out through my mouth, breath in and out. Repeat. After passing the mile mark, my coach is shrieking for me to relax, because I am on my way to qualify for cross country states. The top twenty girls qualify, and I have been dreaming of this day since freshman year. All I have to do is hold my position, and then I am golden. Suddenly, my legs begin to feel like jello. My running partner slowly fades ahead of me, and I cannot keep up. It feels like I am running backwards as the rest of my teammates pass me one by one. Fighting fatigue, I tell myself I am finishing this race, whether or not I have to crawl like a turtle to do so. I am crossing that finish line.
The weather is perfect for racing: not too hot, not too humid, not too windy. I dash down the twisted trails in the woods, trying not to stumble on the gnarled roots protruding from the dirt. My spikes puncture the soft earth with every stride, and my legs repeatedly pound on the ground, soreness surging through them. As sweat trickles down my face and dirt smears across my aching calves, I ascend a steep hill, trying to bring forth the strength I have accumulated throughout endless hours of practice. Now that I am nearing the final two hundred meters, I must force my body to begin sprinting. Breathing heavily, I dart for the imminent finish line, trying to beat the uninterrupted tick of the timer. Even though the crowd surrounds all around me, I can barely hear their animated cheers, because all I can focus on is crossing the line before the girl next to me. I can feel adrenaline surging through my body, and I widen my stride to cap off the remaining distance. When I glance at my Garmin watch, a new personal best time flashes across the screen. I realize that all of the gruelling work I have put in is worth the final result: happiness. (Snapshot Lead)
“Good Job keep going, you can do it, run run faster, you got this!” These were the words coming from the audience as I was finishing my last 100 meters in the cold, pouring, rain during sectionals. I was in second place in my heat and my heart was thumping and I couldn't see through the water stains on my glasses, but I heard someone someone breathing hard and their spikes hitting the track as they ran behind me and I knew I had to push even harder.I remembered the rough trading I had in practice and knew I could do it.
The coach made us run extra harder, which many people did not enjoy. I ran thinking, if I run hard enough, I will run the greatest 2-mile, the distance we have to run in the league finals, I have ever ran. We would run intervals, 1 lap, 2 laps, 3 laps, 4 laps, and vice versa. We would also run up and down stairs and run track laps until we felt like puking. The week passed by fast as we practiced, and the league finals was just up ahead now. The weekend before the meet, wasn’t much, but for most of the weekend, I had butterflies in my stomach multiplying every second the meet got closer. My dad told me not to worry, which I thought was silly, because this was a huge meet. I got a lot of rest sleeping, and finally, the day had come. The day of the cross country league
I approached that year’s conditioning with a pessimistic attitude and wondered why was I doing this when I’m not going to run in meets. Just like the year before, I assumed that conditioning and practicing would be obsolete. I braced myself for another disappointing year. Every winter day after school, I braced myself against the cold with a hope that this season would be different. I went into the first day of practice feeling in shape and optimistic. But just like freshman year, there was no preparing for the ache and suffering of the first practice. With the season approaching, our coach timed us to determine who would run in meets. Our coach divided us into groups based on how fast she thought we were. When a senior saw that I was in the first, slower group, he said that I belonged in the faster group with them. Hearing that compliment from a senior changed my outlook on the season might go. As the first track meet approached, we split off into groups so we could perfect our technique based on the event we were running. As I was jogging around the track wondering whether this year was going to be the same as last year, our coach summoned me over to perfect baton handoffs for the 4x100 meter relay. As the realization hit me that I was going to compete, I thought, “I’m not going to relinquish this spot because I labored profusely to attain
“Okay girls one more run until practice ends, don’t forget about our competition on Saturday.” My coach Angie said.
The clamor of a gunshot resounds amongst the silent crowd; your feet bounce off the starting blocks, and with a sense of vigor you have never shown before. You soar toward the finish line, only to come in last place. At the end of the track meet, you are bequeathed a medal as a testament to your participation, and a reminder that although you lost you still get a trophy. As the year continues you accumulate a multitude of these awards; you decide that you should stop trying to improve your performance, because after all you still get rewarded when you lose. The track season comes to a close you're given a varsity letter for your participation, and from that moment on you begin to believe that even if you fail you deserve a reward. You go on to live a lackluster never reaching your full potential, and what more could someone ask from you especially since you participated. Toward the last years of your far from spectacular existence, you begin to question where your award for barely living life is, because after all you’ve been taught you always get a prize once you finish a race.
At this meet, instead of a gun, they fire a cannon. The cannon fired and we were off. I felt super slow this meet. I was mad I thought I was going to get a worse time than Bob Schul again. I ran through the race passing people, letting the energy from the crowd keep me going because hearing someone yell for me when I’m running I feel so much better. Eventually I got down this small hill and I saw the finish line about 200 meters ahead. The clock was in the 17’s and I got really excited because for me, this was really good. I was sprinting as fast as my legs could go. I thought I was going to fall on my face because I couldn’t control my legs anymore. I ended up with a time of 18:08. A PR by a minute and a half, that would stand most of the season. No matter how slow I was, and how much my speed was made fun of at practice, I still got high-fives and congratulations after a meet. The rest of the meet was fun because we all hung out, waiting for the award and eating the really good buttered parmesan pasta. Greenville was not death, it was the best.
I was never the person who would stay for anything for long let alone participate, i especially wasn’t athletic whatsoever, until the middle of my 9th grade year when my best friend moved to San Francisco, this was a turning point in my life. I became depressed and so i joined my school’s Track and Field team. I never enjoyed running nor did it to lose weight but that all didn’t matter when i had to run 6 miles as a warm-up. I have never been trained to do a non-stop mile let alone 6 miles. As the team started the warm up, I was very nervous since i was the slowest in the entire team, as i got closer to a stop light that head to my house i remember thinking “ if this light turns red I’ll go straight home and never go back, but if it stays
At about 8:10, my teammates and I warmed up and stayed hydrated because our race began in an hour. When we were done warming up, we went to get our team pictures to remember this great moment we all shared. The pictures took up another twenty minutes, so by the time we were done it was already forty minutes until my race. Nerves started to sink in again once the girls race started, my coach came to say some encouraging words to keep me focused and relaxed, but his words did little to relieve the
But my dad was there encouraging me to keep going and not to stop and because of him I didn't stop. Even though I didn’t stop, I was getting discouraged as it felt as if the race would go on forever but then I caught a glimpse of the finish line. It was still half mile away but seeing it filled me with the resolve that told I could finish this race. From that moment I knew I wasn’t going to ever think about stopping until I crossed that finish line. I powered through that last half mile with my dad and sprinted across the finish. I wasn’t disappointed that I didn’t place, I was more
I turned the corner, and there I saw it: the finish line. Flanked on both sides with rows of spectators cheering and screaming, it waited before me. Thank God this race was over. I have never run so hard in my life! Yet I knew in the back of my mind that this was one of my worst races I had ever run. This was the race we had all been training for. This was what we’ve been looking forward to for the past year, and we blew it.