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Mark, Set, Bang!

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It’s cold, your muscles are tense, and your heart is pounding; you have all you can do to stay loose. The announcer announces the first call for the girls’ 200 meter dash. You’re not ready! You need to warm-up, become pumped-up! Not only do you need to be physically ready but mentally as well.

“Spikes—check, sweats—check, music—check, determination—check.” That’s all you’re thinking. Nothing else can be on your mind. Commit yourself, and become one with the track! You’re going through your warm-up, loosening every muscle, and preparing to run your heart out! The people around you slowly fade away. You are the only one left in your mind. Stretch your legs well; pulling something at this point could be critical. Excels are next. They are most important of all. Your blood begins to flow, you are prepared for speed, and of course- you explode out of the blocks! “Second call girls 200 meter dash!” It’s time to head over. You don’t walk-you shuffle jog; it keeps your muscles warm. They ask you for your name, heat, and lane number. No hesitation in your voice, you answer with total confidence! You’re in heat eight, lane five.

It’s time. Put your spikes on. Listen to your music a little while longer; it enters you in the zone and helps you to do what you do best—RUN! It’s almost your time. You’re in the last heat, the fastest heat. Your nerves are present—heart is pounding. Tell yourself you shouldn’t be nervous; you’ve done this all before. The girls you’re running with, they have nothing on you. “Third and final call for the girls’ 200 meter dash!” Get your blocks, your time has come. Show that college scout what you can do! Nothing can slow you down now!

Your blocks are on the track. You set them down, one step back from the starting line. It’s time to set your blocks, one foot in from the right—two feet in from the left. You’re done setting up before anyone else. At this time, you start to practice springing out of your blocks! You think of your coach. She’s always yelling “BANG!” You know what she wants, now make her proud. Show her what you can do! The others are ready. You stand there, and wait for the starter. “Runners to your mark,” he says. You step in front of your blocks and do three jumps. Loosen up, it’s a fast sprint! Stretch your legs back and become comfy in your blocks. Put your left knee down, sit up straight, brush off your hands, and fix your pony tail. Don’t look around; it’ll break your focus. Go back down. Position your hands right behind the white line. Push up on your fingertips and exhale slowly. You are in the zone! It’s quiet,, and you’re determined.
Lean forward in your blocks- very slowly. You’re waiting, waiting for the starter to yell “set!” Your heart is pounding; adrenaline is flowing through your veins! “Set,” says the starter. Lift your butt high in the air. Your head is down, but your eyes are slightly looking forward. Your heart is beating faster than ever! Anxiety is building up; all you want to do is sprint! Exhale slowly one more time. “BANG!” The gun goes off. You explode out of your blocks, thrusting your right arm out in front of you to give you speed. All you are thinking is bang, step over-strike down, and repeat! All eight lanes are filled. Every girl wanting that number one placing!
The curve is coming up. This is your favorite part of the race. Go into it, sprint your fastest, and bang; slingshot right through the curve! You’re gliding through the air, while running your heart out. The curve has passed, onto the straight away. You can feel the others gaining on you. Don’t look back, it would ruin your concentration or even get you disqualified! Now is not the time to make an amateur mistake. You’re almost to the finish line. By this time, you’re body is getting tired. You have all you can do to stick it out till the end! Arms, arms, arms! Get your arms swinging! Once your legs become tired your arms are the only thing keeping you going! Push yourself it’ll be over in 12 seconds! The last 100 meters is a straight shot. The finish line is in your vision! You can see your coach. She’s screaming, “Arms use your arms! Don’t let her push in front of you!” You can hear the crowd cheering. Push yourself, don’t give up now! Step over-strike down, step over-strike down! Think like a sprinter! Use your energy! Your competition is right next to you!
You’re neck and neck with Middle Border Conference champ of last year! Don’t let her pull ahead of you. You’ve got this! 50 meters left! You’re hitting a wall, but you need to push through it! It’s going to be a close one you’re near the finish line. Your legs are tired; your arms are slowing down. You lean slightly forward, just enough to come in first place! You’ve done it! Your heart is pounding; you are out of breath! Every ounce of energy in you has been used; that’s how sprinters work! You now have to regain your strength.
Lift your arms above your head; it keeps your lungs open, for better air circulation. Your heart beat slowly calms down, and your breathing returns to normal. You shake the other runners’ hands, saying good job! You walk yourself back to your teammates; they all congratulate you, saying your form was spectacular! Nerves are still in your system, you won your heat, but did you get first overall? You pace back and forth, and wait for the announcer to call off the results. Your coach tells you not to worry, you did great! You sit down, relax your muscles, and wait.
The announcer comes on! “Results for the girls, 200 meter dash,” he starts with third place and makes his way up to first. You can’t take the suspense, it’s killing you. But finally, at last, your name is said! First place Regional Champ! You’ve done it! You’re going crazy; your heart is pounding, just like it was when you were in your blocks! Tears of happiness stream down your face; of course they’re not tears of sadness! Your coach is proud, your parents are proud, and most importantly YOU are proud! You’ve worked hard every day to earn this spot and you’ve finally done it!
You remember that college scout that was watching you. He is very pleased with your running, and says you have great potential. He wants to meet with you more to discuss your choice of college, and a possible training routine to keep you in shape for up-coming meets. You can’t believe what you’re hearing! Could this day become any better?! Of course it can, you’re Regional Champ, and this means you move on to Sectionals! You can celebrate now but come Monday, you’re back to your focus and training your hardest! It starts all over… step over-strike down!





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