There are three things I’ve learned about myself from running, I look really terrible in puke green, my worst fear is having to take off my sweatpants. But most importantly I learned how to use the phrase, “Make yourself better.”
I’m not going to say that it was windy and cold and the air smelled like sweat. That would be cliché, everyone starts their stories with a setting. Instead, I’ll tell you that my heart was beating at a million times a minute and adrenaline pumped through my veins. I walked slowly, stretching my calves. High knees and lunges. Warm-ups that seemed to freeze me even more in the Antarctic-like conditions. Around me, everyone was huddled under umbrellas and I wished with my entire soul that I could join thAem.
“Are you ready to go?” A friend asked. No, of course not. Will I ever be ready? Actually I’d feel better if we had a very long cry session.
“Yup.” I muttered sadly. It was also accompanied by a deep breath of anticipation. We hustled over, rubbing our arms to prevent the cold. Of course nothing could have stopped the bone chilling wind at that point.
“Runners to your marks!” The man with the gun always has a boomingly deep voice. One foot at a time went back into the blocks. Breathe. One breath in and one breath out. Just don’t forget to breathe, I told myself. I placed my hands flat across the line. Breathe. “Set!” Butt up in the air, leg at a ninety degree angle, face looking down at the track. Breathe. “Go!”
It’s funny how you never remember a race after running it. It’s like a memory black out, you know you’ve run the race but you can’t actually recall exactly what events led you up to the finish line. I had a few revelatory flashes of memory. My dad yelling at me to keep my arms straight, seeing the girl in front of me, and willing with all my might that my legs would go faster. My body...