Runner's Dream

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The time had come. The sun had been abusing us for the past two hours. Sweat was dripping down our faces like we had just showered. We all gathered at the starting line. It truly was a beautiful day. If we weren’t all so focused and concentrated on the task at hand we would have noticed the smell of freshly cut grass. The air was light and the grass was soft. We then heard the official come up to the line and say, “Runners on your mark, Go!”

Five weeks prior: The first day of Cross Country had arrived. I had decided to join the team mere days before. I showed up expecting some sympathy for being new. I received none. The car rolled up to the front of Fremd and I got out. I walked up to where all the other guys were. They were all talking about how many miles they had run over the summer. I was proud of running for a week before practice to get into shape. The seasoned runners had run well over 800 miles for entire summer. I had run less than 20. The coaches announced that we would be doing an easy run for the day. I was excited at that fact until they said the mileage we would be running for that easy day. “A nice easy 9 or 10 for the Varsity runners, and maybe 4 or 5 for the new guys,” the coach said. I immediately second guessed my decision to join Cross Country. I started to run and immediately fell to the back of the pack. After a mile or so I was so drenched in sweat that it looked like I had bathed with my clothes on. I managed to get back to Fremd alive, granted that I was one of the last ones back.

The second day of Cross Country was even harder. We were running a time trial. All of the seasoned runners were excited at the chance to prove themselves to the rest of the team. I sat there wondering what a time trial was. It turns out that we had to run as hard as we could for two miles. I figured that it couldn’t have been that hard. I would learn the hard way that it was very difficult. I started and immediately felt the after effects from the previous day’s run. I was sore everywhere. The first mile was like running with nails all over my legs. It was brutal. I managed to keep running for long enough to have the best runners finish the two miles as I was beginning my last half mile. I finished my two miles with a team worst 17 minutes and 8 seconds.

Two weeks prior: The first day of school arrived. I was actually growing accustomed to waking up at 6 AM to run and I was dreading running after a long, tiresome day. It turns out that the first day of school had the worst weather possible. It was pouring the entire day and we had to run in it. Luckily we were only going an easy three miles. My progress in the past two weeks had been staggering. I went from barely being able to run two miles to thinking three miles was easy.

Four days prior: The pain was excruciating. We had just run three miles of steep hills and my legs could barely keep the rest of my body up.

Three days prior: The pain had begun to subside. The only nails being dug into my leg were in my shins. We ran an easy four miles.

Day before: The coaches had a talk with all of us. They discussed the fact that Prospect was ranked #6 in the state. They discussed the classic encouragement. “We expect everyone to work together.” “If we all warm up as a team we will be successful.” “We want to start our season with a win.”

Day of the meet: The day went by agonizingly slow. I was so excited to finally be racing. After the bell had rung after 8th period we all proceeded to the locker room to get ready. After we had all changed we loaded up the bus to go to Prospect. Nobody talked on the way there. There was a level of apprehension on the bus I had not felt before in my Cross Country career. When we arrived at Prospect we were handed a map that had the three mile course drawn out for us. It looked like a 5 year old drew it. After we had sorted out the problem with the course itself we started to warm up. We did our typical stretches, run, and jog to warm up. Coach gathered us all for one last time before we started. He gave us some inspirational words that got all of us ready to run. The anticipation for the start of the race and the season made all of us oblivious to our surroundings. To us the football practice, the soccer games, the tennis matches, and the students leaving the school were distractions. We had our eyes on the prize and we were about to grasp it. Then the official decided it was time to start and said, “Runners on your mark, Go!”





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