A little treat for ya

>> Friday, March 21, 2008

In between legitimate posts, I'll throw this in. I was cleaning up a couple (that's right, more than one) flash drives, and I found this paper I had written my first year in college. You can almost feel your hair getting blown around while reading it!

Running was part of my life. I had begun as a young 12 year-old at my middle school, slowly improving and progressing, with the occasional stand-still as injuries were acquired. I loved it. I loved the feeling of nausea after a good, hard workout. It felt even better after your body took the liberty of relieving your stomach of its contents because of that workout. All of that training seemed to culminate on the day I had my final race of my high school career.

It was a wonderfully warm day. I sat in the center of the track, stretching, just moments before the final call for the one mile race. I had run the race numerous times before, and normally would not be nervous, but this time was different. It was Districts, marking the first time I would be there to run, and not simply to keep time and cheer my teammates on. My mind was excited and prepared for the race. My stomach had different ideas. It seemed as if at every moment, it wanted to go in the opposite direction of the rest of my body. “Last call, Men’s 1600 Meter race.” My stomach tried running again.

I nodded to my friend, Kent, whom I would be racing against. We trotted over the lush grass, and walked on to the track. The aroma of splintered rubber tires rose to our noses, and we soaked it in. It excited us, helped prepare us for the forthcoming adventure. I looked around at the other runners. Some were doing free squats; others were on their tip-toes, as if they were straining to see over a crowd.

The crowd was giving support with their voices. Over them, I heard the bear-like growl of my coach, Bob Neal, yelling for me: “C’mon Steve Jenkins! Use those calves of a Goddess!” I smirked once more at the defining expression of my coach. Many others were yelling, friends and family alike, all trying to lend their strength to us through their voices. We drifted toward the waterfall start as the yelling continued. “Runners take their marks!” We settled in closely, that runner’s crowd of twenty. “Get set,” crowed the starter. Muscles tensed, arms drew back. “Go!”

We burst forth as if a pack of wolves closing in on their prey. Kent and I were at the front of the pack, quickly establishing our school, Hillcrest, as the Alpha Male. Close on our tails, craving that leadership, were two runners, one from Skyline and the other from Rigby. I was not about to lose leadership, and as we rounded 200 meters, my brother ran along the side of the track and encouraged me to maintain the Alpha position. 275 meters; the crowds grew louder as we neared completion of the initial lap of four. Again, Bob Neal barreled out, “Let’s go Steve Jenkins! C’mon Kent Shirley!” also encouraging us to stay in front.

One lap down, three to go. The group was thinning noticeably now. By the time the second lap was finished, there were gaps between runners, as if nature was taking its course and thinning the weak from the strong. My pack had been reduced to four: Me, the Alpha male, and three others, struggling to dethrone me. “No way” I thought. This was my time to shine, and I was not about to let some lesser animal usurp my power in front of everybody. 1125…1150 meters down, and the cheers continue. Nearing the final lap, the crowd began to get hysterical as they tried to force their energy upon us.

I cross the 1200 meter marker with Skyline close on my tail. Kent trailed by a small margin, still eager for leadership. The bell sounded, signaling the final lap. Only 400 meters left until my superiority was final. “I can’t let the others pass me, I must stay strong.” It was a line repeated in my mind over and over. 220 meters comes and goes, and my brother runs along once more. “Keep going!” he cheered. “It’s time to kick it in.” “But I’m really tired,” my mind came. I had slipped. With that small slip, my mind began falling ever so slowly, and my body responded by slowing down.

Skyline and Kent caught up, and took the outside lane to begin passing. “NO!” my mind screamed. At that moment, it all made sense. I needed that constant pressure to perform at my peak. That was what I had been missing throughout the years; someone to truly compete against. I had been stuck somewhere in the middle where I had stopped caring, and did not try. Now that I was in the front, that all changed, though. My mind immediately recovered from the slip and refocused. 125 meters left, and I gave it my all. The finish line neared, and quickly passed. I had defeated Skyline by over one second, showing that I had not given up. I walked off the track that day truly knowing what I needed to succeed.


Eric March 24, 2008 at 10:17 AM  

I really liked that story. However, I think should have added this final sentence. "Also, I puked."

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