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“Today is supposed to be gorgeous one, sunny sky…” My eyes popped open, arm swung over almost immediately turning off the alarm, and I jumped out of bed. It was the start of a new day, Regional day, and I was ready; I’d gotten a great night of sleep and felt alert. I slipped on my uniform and headed downstairs for some oats! I was hungry and it was time to fuel up, I had a long day ahead of me and some big goals, one being… to make history and be the first boys program in our county to be back-to-back region champions.
I met up with my team for a short meeting to get ready and focused for the race. I could see in everyone else’s eyes that they were also ready to go, hungry for the race ahead.
“Remember what we were ranked at the start of the season, eighth… they thought we weren’t gonna do anything this season after losing our seniors. Well this is the day we show the state what we’re made of, earn some respect, and prove them wrong. This is what we’ve trained for all summer and all fall, this is our course, this is the day we make history.” said my coach, Jeff Vincent. He was right, it was our day, and no one was going to take that away from us. We had lost 4 seniors, 3 of which were on our top 5, but it didn’t matter because we were just as good as the year before; we had worked hard all season, harder than I had ever worked in my whole life.
Our team did a couple warm ups, ran the course, which I knew like the back of my hand, and cheered the girls on during their race. I had to stay calm, focused, but not get too worked up; every ounce of energy mattered. I also had to stay hydrated and out of the sun, but inside to stay warm. I was thinking about everything too much.
“Just chill out.” I told myself.
Back inside everyone stretched, put their numbers and spikes on, and stayed warm. At least we were inside and out of the wind, an advantage over the other teams.
It was time, first call for our race was just announced, and everyone headed to the starting line.
“Good luck Christine!” yelled a few of my friends.
Our team did a few stride outs and pickups, trying to stay warm and get our legs ready to go. I felt like I was going to get sick, my nerves were going crazy, warming up seemed like it took forever.
“SECOND CALL BOYS VARSITY!” yelled the official.
We all huddled up for a prayer and our team chant.
“Please god, help me run well today, no matter what happens, put wings on my feet and let me fly.” I said to myself.
“What are we…HUNGRY! What are we…HUNGRY! Ahhhh! Short shorts!” we yelled.
It was official I was ready to go, an extreme adrenaline rush hit me and I stepped to the line. As I glanced over at the teams we were up against I made eye contact with a few of my opponents, looking into their eyes I could see they were also hungry to win; this race wasn’t going to be easy, we had a battle in our hands.
“Good luck boys, lets tear it up out there.” I said to the other guys.
“Ok boys, 3 command start. Everyone take a step back.” said the official. The whistle blew and I stepped to the line.
“On your marks.” the official said.
“BOOM!” the gun sounded.
Everyone was off, and it was a fast start. I usually start off slower than most people and try to keep a good pace, unlike most who kill the first half of the race and die at the end, but today I felt strong and stayed with the pack.
Before I knew it I had reached the first mile already.
“5:15!” Jeff yelled. I couldn’t believe it, 5:15, that was extremely fast for a 5k! but my feeling of accomplishment was soon gone, because right in front of me was the course’s biggest hill and the real pain was about to begin. I got on my toes and ran as hard as I could, fighting up this seemingly never ending peak.
“Don’t give up, no matter how hard it hurts, just keep moving forward. Do this for the seniors, this is their last regionals, you can’t give up.” said the little voice in my head. So I kept moving forward, never giving up, I ran past opponents, teammates, past the cheering crowd, and down the straight stretch towards the finish line. The finish was right in front of me, and my teammate Kevin even closer. I put it in my highest gear, shortened my stride, and ran as hard I could; trying to catch Kevin. The gap became closer and closer, I almost had him! but the finish line came too early. I gasped for air and tried to keep my balance the best I could.
“Good job.” I said to several of the other runners, exchanging high fives.
“Hurry up, the awards ceremony is about to start!” said Jeff. I hobbled over to the awards with what energy I had left. First up were the girls, who got second to Sayre. The boys were up now.
“The 2010 Region 5A champions... the boys from Timberland County!” We had done it, back-to-back region champions! the first boys program in Timberland County had ever seen! The feeling was amazing, like nothing I’d ever experienced before! We went up and claimed our trophy. Looking around I could see how happy everyone was, like something out of a movie. If only that moment could have lasted forever.
Region day taught me a few things about life, one being that hard work pays off; training all summer and fall definitely had. Another, was that great moments come rarely in life, so enjoy them while you can. I finished the day running a new personal record of 18:19 on our intense course and ran third for the team, helping us to win another Regional Championship. The season was almost over, but my running career wasn’t; this was only the start of a dynasty for Timberland County Cross Country