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The alarm was blaring, not that I needed it, I had barely slept the whole night. I had been counting down the days with dread since my coach announced it. As the day crept closer, the knot in my stomach tightened. Today was the first meet of the cross country season. The lights flicked on in my room accompanied with my Mom's curt, "get up or you'll be late." Six thirty sharp.

"I bet nobody else is up at six-thirty on their Saturday,” I grumbled. I recoiled under the blanket, away from the light, seemingly as intense as the sun. However after the second time my Mom told me to wake up I knew I was just delaying the inevitable.

I clumsily got out of bed and put on my clothes. I ran downstairs, grabbed a granola bar, and rushed to the car. Apparently you have to be fifteen minutes early for a bus, or at least according to my Mom. Finally the bus came into view, and after my final attempt to skip the meet was thwarted, I slowly made my way to the bus. I climbed into a seat, happy for a chance to lay down after a sleepless night. There were people laughing and talking happily, I silently pondered the notion of actually being able to enjoy the day of the race. I doubted it. Time on the bus had slowed down to a nauseating pace. I guess the bus driver kindly decided to give me more time to enact disastrous scenarios, all ending in my embarrassment, and later failure.

After what seemed like hours, we finally pulled up to the course. The hill was teeming with runners from several teams. I asked myself how so many people could be runners from just three schools. As I hopped off the bus, happy to at least be outside, I realized we still had to walk the course. I really didn't want to see the place of my impending pain. We walked it, and it all seemed a blur of hills and dips. I couldn't even concentrate anyway. After we arrived back at the tent, I was too nervous to even sit down, so I had to resort to pacing around the tent to hide my anxiety. That was when a man with a megaphone said "Boys race twenty minutes." I thought I was going to be sick.

As we stretched and walked to the line I could barely hide my horror. As I stood shaking on the line, I couldn't hear what the man was saying, and trust me the megaphone was on full blast. When he said "Ready Set", I swear my heart skipped a beat, and the man held us there for a few more agonizing seconds until he yelled "GO." I quickly jumped off the line and fought for position. However to my surprise, after about a minute I fell into place and my breathing was under control. It almost felt peaceful. I was able to enjoy the crunch of leaves beneath my feet, or the call of a nearby bird. That was until I heard the roar of the athletes and the fans cheering on the runners, and with a burst of adrenaline, I broke across the finish line. I sat in disbelief on the grass. I had actually just finished my first race. My face couldn't even express the satisfaction I felt. As I walked back onto the bus, it hit me how tired I really was. I sat back down onto the seat of hours previous.

It was a good day.

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NDserpente said...
Mar. 30, 2013 at 10:29 am
This made me smile!  I had my first cross country race last year, and I was just as nervous as you were.  You're right, your heart does jump when the guy says "Ready...set...BANG!" I love the races, I can't wait for next season!
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