The Meet This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   I closed my eyes trying not to notice the turning of my stomach and the fact that all sorts of doubts and fears were running through my head about a million miles an hour. That was exactly the topic of worry - running. It was December fifteenth, the night of the first indoor track meet, and my first ever. This was a day that I had been worrying about for weeks, along with some other freshman girls. The thing was, I had no doubt in my mind that each could surprise themselves with their speed and endurance. On the other hand, each minute before my race became another minute to believe even more in my failure and the resulting embarrassment.

As I looked at the many seats behind me, I felt guilty that I would disappoint my team and let down my coach. I racked my brain for an idea, a way to escape this mess I had gotten myself into, but there was nothing. The fact was I was going to have to run the mile tonight whether I liked it or not. I hoped that the bus wouldn't stop, or that this whole thing was a dream. But sure enough, we came to an abrupt halt at the Boston University indoor track facility.

In previous years I had been here to watch my sister compete, but I was amazed how different the place looked when you had something to worry about. Now the air hurt my throat. I pictured my parents in the bleachers with disappointed sighs, and I saw myself on the track coming in laps behind the other competitors. I made the decision that I would get this one over with, and then I could work however hard I needed so the next meet wouldn't be such an embarrassment.

The mile was the first event and I signed in with the rest of the competitors. With only fifteen minutes to go, my brain became a massive puddle of anxiety. My thoughts were irrational and I began making frequent trips to the bathroom. My heart was pounding like I had already run the race, my vision was a blur, and anything anyone was saying to me seemed unimportant. My hands were shaking, and my legs felt like Jello. I felt undeserving of my bright white track shoes and Scituate title.

As my teammates approached the starting line, I woke up and realized I must have missed our call. The faces in the crowd blurred together and I felt a wave of dizziness as I stood up. How I was forced to the starting line so unwillingly, I do not know, but somehow I was there. Seconds later, the official called, "On your marks" and for what seemed like years, I awaited the long-feared sound of the gun.

Before I knew it I was halfway around the track, and what do you know, not too far behind anyone. But most importantly my nerves were gone; I had forgotten all about my predetermined failure, and in fact I had found within me a taste for competition. I realized that I could actually get used to this running thing.fl


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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