Bang! The gun goes off and you are racing for the lead position, with everyone trying to take the same place as you - first. You take the lead gasping for air, a breath of the frigid fall air. You enter the woods, a single trail covered with loose rocks, the spikes on the bottom of your shoes sliding across them, making it nearly impossible to run. Your arms and hands are arctic cool to the touch, but your chest and legs are warm. People are constantly trying to pass; you fend them off and maintain your position with a quick burst of speed.
You pull away from the lead pack and become your own leader pushing yourself to win. No one else is around you. No noise except your spikes hitting the hard-packed frozen ground, the sound of your breathing, and in the distance a faint pounding of someone's feet hitting the ground - the way you like it. The hill slowly begins to come into sight. Soon you are at the base of what appears to be a mountain touching the clouds.You run up the path slowly gaining altitude. The hill feels as though it has taken hours to conquer when it is only seconds. You finally reach the top and your knees feel like Jello. However, you somehow are able to continue; you round the corner and the beautiful descent is ahead. Feeling the cool wind against your sweat-covered body, you go at an impressive speed. You reach the bottom and in the distance can see a white banner, possibly the finish line. Due to your exhaustion, you think that your eyes may be deceiving you, but as you get closer you can clearly see that it is the finish.
People line both sides of the trail; you can see their mouths moving, and you know that they are cheering, but because of the concentration, they appear to be silent. Your legs are giving their last bit of energy pleading to stop this torture, they feel like they are on fire. When you cross the finish line and stop, your whole body seems to calm and thank you, knowing its battle is over and the next part is victory. When the trophy is handed to you, and it says "First," it is worth all the pain. Also, knowing that no one else is better than you is sweet. l
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.