I had finally arrived at the field for the cross country meet. I hoped that I would represent the Bowerman cross country team well and my mind rapidly raced through thoughts. I encountered the presence of Matthew, a competitor and friend.
“Caden,” Matthew said after I talked to him about War Thunder, “this is depressing.”
“But, why?” I said jokingly.
“Uhh, Caden,” Matthew gave a depressed sigh.
I had often talked to him about Warthunder, a video game which concerned tanks and aircraft.
We walked over to the starting line. I prepared myself by imagining no one else racing and just me trying to beat my record. I carefully placed my shoes onto the ground during the final practice strides before the exhilarating race. I backed up behind the start line and was irritated as I looked downward. Many other kids were shorter than me and much slower than I was. I hoped the coach would ask them to move behind, for I didn’t want to trample them in an attempt to race closer to the front of the pack after the race will begin. My adrenaline raced. “On your mark, get set, BOOM!” The nerves on my face were startled to the presence of the wind rushing past. The grass squashed and compressed under my feet as I struggled to find my way around an annoying small kid. I passed him with disgust. The boundaries of the course gradually compressed as the runners began to separate into their own personal strides and paces. The first turn was slanting upward and I forcefully pushed off from the ground to make good time over the hill. The large group of competitors gradually became one long line. Thoughts rushed to my mind to quit or be lazy, but “No!” yelled a stubborn voice in my head. I would finish this race.
After nearly a mile my legs stretched out over the ground. I suddenly pushed upward, then I eased downward again. “Quick feet up, long strides down,” I thought. I decided to stride, but not wanting to waste too much energy. John was in the front, as usual, but another kid was tailing him persistently. I found a pace near another Bowerman kid who was pacing near another Bowerman kid just in front of him. Our group of Bowerman kids stayed at a fairly constant pace. I noticed crackling as I heard the grey gravel and the spikes of the shoes making contact. I gradually made my way across a gravel path.
The grass was green and the air was moist. “Go Owen!” I heard someone cry. The cries and shouts which I heard were extremely annoying and nerve wracking as well as the ringing bells which I had heard during a different time of the race. The shouts and cries seemed to me as ear bursting and extremely irritating. One coach shouted hysterically. Mr. Fagen, Matthew’s dad tried to encourage me to sprint, but my head shook hopelessly and uncooperatively. My mind was telling me not to sprint, but to keep a steady pace. The loud shouts and cries of people obnoxiously tore away my enthusiasm for the race. The finish line was close. I took another turn; I was going to make it!
My shoes touched the ground more often as I neared the finish line. It was the final stretch of grass before the run to the finish line. The overly emotional cries, cheers, and shouts were just too much. I passed the kid near whom I was pacing. My mind debated whether or not to sprint or slack. I decided to stride out and noticed that someone was behind me. I steadily kept my pace. My legs felt numb and I hoped I would make it to the finish line. I kept my pace across the grass. My numb face had less and less feeling and became cold. I gave a final burst of effort and crossed the finish line.
My lungs felt cold as I breathed heavily. I made my way to someone who would cut off the timer tag attached to the laces of one of my shoes. I found my way to my joyful mother who was proud of me for the effort I gave during the race. I remembered how Matthew wanted a milkshake from Burgerville, and if he broke twelve minutes, he would receive one. He did, and I also had one. After that I learned that I had beat my record by more than twenty seconds and Matthew had beaten his by over one minute! I am grateful that I persevered during that race, or Matthew might have passed me and I might not have had a new personal record.