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Eye Opener

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I yawned as I hopped off the last step of the bus. I had woken early that morning, and had not been able to sleep on the long ride from Riverside High, thinking about that day’s race, the Eye Opener. I had never raced in a state-wide race before, over thirty high school teams ran, along with quite a few colleges too. The rest of my team and I unloaded the bus, and set up our tent close to a grove of pine trees. There, we relaxed and waited for our race patiently.
“Start warming up,” Coach told us, roughly forty-five minutes after we arrived. We jogged about a half-mile down the course, then stopped and stretched. After finishing our stretches, we headed over to the starting line. We did a few stride outs while we waited for the race to start. Next, we lined up in our box, eager for the race to begin. A man walked to the middle of the field.
“There will be two commands,” his voice boomed, “Runners set, then the gun. If you hear another shot, return to the starting line to start again.” My heart raced as I primed my legs to race.
“Runners set!” the man shouted. Bam! The gun fired, and he rushed out of our way. Adrenaline rushed through my veins as I darted through the mass of runners. As I rounded the first turn our varsity guys’ team greeted me with heartening shouts. Then, in what felt like only one minute, I arrived at the one mile mark.
“6:10,” a man declared as I ran by. I tried to ignore him, but my legs began to burn as I realized I had run a mile and still had two to go. I slowed down my pace, for I knew the second mile the worst of all three. Minutes later, I felt horrible. My legs ached, feeling like lead blocks. My vision kept blurring as sweat dripped down into my eyes, and my arms felt as if they would fall off if I swung them one more time. My lungs burned with each breath I took, and my heart pounded. Supportive shouts from teammates and family kept me going, but only just barely as I reached the two mile mark.
As I passed it, something changed. My pain vanished. I slowly sped up, passing other runners. Every time I passed one, I sped up a tad bit more. Soon I spotted Bryant, a fellow Riverside runner. Focusing on him, I soon found myself passing him too. As I did, I noticed Kevin, another Riverside runner, further up. I knew he ran a sub twenty-four minute 5k, and realized that I had taken this race extremely fast. For some reason this made me smile as I hit the three mile point and I broke into a dead sprint as I climbed the final hill. I heard shouts from all sides, one telling me to pass someone and another telling that person to stay in front of me. I sprinted as a person does when they break through all barriers, and glanced up as I reached the finish line. 23:35, a new personal best.
I stopped, and felt like I would die. I heard people telling me to keep walking, and without realizing it I did. Soon my parents were congratulating me, telling me how great I had done. I heard them dimly, still zoned out. All I could think about was how I had shattered my previous time by over two minutes. I smiled again, and headed off to run my cool down.
I have never had as much fun as I did running that day, and I have never felt as I did that day when I broke through the barriers holding me back. I will always remember that my body has no limits, I just have to push myself and I can accomplish anything.





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