10 Minutes

January 6, 2010
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I was standing at a white faded line that was streaked across the long starting line. Under the white line was chunks of ripped up grass and dirt, the ground looked as though it hadn’t been cared for in a while. My legs were numb and had the same tingling feeling like they always do when I’m shivering. My teeth wouldn’t stop slamming, they continued to make sound even though I had tried to silence them.

High pitch screams that came from the wind that sounded like an alto trying to sing soprano in chorus. There were butterflies in my stomach that wouldn’t stop fluttering. They flew higher and higher as the time drew closer. My heart was pounding as quickly as it possibly could against my chest. Fear.

“10 minutes ladies”

Exclaimed a man through a long extensive speakerphone, bundled in a heated fur coat, and brown ski pants.

Starring down the line I scanned my competition looking at each runner, and guessing what place she would most likely come in. Looking down the line into every box, you’re able to gaze into everyone’s eyes and see what emotions were running through there head at the time. I knew that if anyone was to look into my eyes all they would see would be fear, and excitement.

“5 minutes ladies”

The time was passing so slow, it seemed as if the clock had suddenly froze right before my race, just to torture me. A man in a white and red ski coat paced up and down the line pointed his finger at every one of us, and saying what number we were. The butterflies were increasing in numbers in my stomach, and then suddenly they didn’t feel like light butterflies anymore. They were soon enough 90 pounds weights each.

“1 minute left ladies, tie your shoe laces up as tight as you possibly can, and there will be three commands so be ready. I will shout ready and a small siren will go off, that is when you should step off the line. The second command will be set where I am going to raise a red flag, and when the red flag reaches the top the gun will sound.”

Those 90 pounds of weights transformed into pounds of canons building up inside of me, ready to blow at any second. I looked to my left and managed to whisper a silent good luck through my numb lips to the shivering girl standing next to me. I took a quick glance back at my Mom to see if she was watching me. As always she was with a large smile stretched across her face, and through her slamming of teeth she pronounced a warm good luck to me.

At that exact moment the siren started to ring, it sounded like the kind on top of a police car. I slowly moved my foot back behind the starting line feeling as heavy as a rock, since the numbness of my foot didn’t get any better. The flag rose at a pace of a turtle because it seemed, as it was hours later that the man in the fur coat and brown ski pants shot the gun. The gun gave off a sound I had never heard before, and I will always remember the unique sound that it had.

The reaction speed of the runners varied between some runners who took off at a extremely high speed the moment the gun was shot, and other runners who chose to take in the moment of the gun shot, watch everyone else leave the starting line, and then start to run.

Runners came and went through out the whole race, some stayed in front of me the whole time, and some stayed behind me the whole time. Then there was always the strays that continued to fall behind and some how climbed back up and finished the race strong. It was Reno, Nevada so no one was expecting the course to be flat and the air to be outstanding. But my Dad had said an hour before the race started that everyone was running in the same running conditions, so it is fair to everyone.

The whole race I was spaced out thinking about what an enormously talented runner named Sara Hall had said the night before at the opening ceremonies.

“While you’re running I know everyone including me thinks about the same question over and over, why do I put my body through this?”

Turning the last corner of the race, I felt as though I could suddenly collapse at any second. My legs were out of energy, because running on the snow felt like running on the sand at a beach. You’re moving your legs as fast as you can possibly make them move, but at the same time it looks like you’re running in place.

A hundred yards from the finish line I ran not caring if I collapsed at the end because I knew that the faster I run, the faster I am done. I looked to my left and caught a quick glimpse of my Mom shrieking,

“Go Cate!”

The clock was moving faster than it had at the start, speeding through the seconds. The finish line was 4 blue mats lined up on top of the snow. A banner was stretched between two black poles. The banner read FINISH in blue, bold, capital letters. The banner never seemed to be coming any closer to me as the clock raced on. Suddenly I was passing the entire shrieking crowd, and was stepping on to the blue carpet that was laid on top of the feet of snow.

I was standing directly under the banner, feeling dizzy as stars were frequently crossing my eyes. Lying down on the frozen snow with snowflakes melting on my tongue. I experienced the answer that Sara Hall preached to everyone the night before.

“When you look back on the race you realize the reason you put yourself and your body through the pain and hardship of the race, it’s because you love the sport. Passion is what keeps you going.”

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This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

Cate A. said...
Jan. 27, 2010 at 9:26 pm
Any Comments?
Crazysophie1432 said...
Jan. 16, 2010 at 1:19 pm
Great Memoir!
Hope it gets published!
Samatha said...
Jan. 16, 2010 at 1:15 pm
This article is great, i do not do cross country but i can still relate to the feelings you had when you wrote this, and how nervous you were when you were standing at the starting line! I really like this memoir and i hope it gets posted in the magazine so many other people get the chance to read it!
Thanks so much
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