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Just Another Race

I feel sick. Nothing new, this part always makes me sick. My feet twitch. I bounce up and down on my tiptoes. A whistle blows. I walk upto my mark on the track. Two white lines stretch out ahead of me. The track seems so long. I want to back out. But I guess I’ll regret it later. I keep bouncing, awaiting the announcer’s signal. If you ask me what hell is, I’d say hell is standing at your track, waiting for a race to start. “On your mark!” I hate that voice. Trembling, I place one leg on the track, still not taking my eye of the track. It’s better to look down, but I’m so nervous I always forget. All my competitors look so sure of themselves. I have to remind myself that they’re all probably feeling the same as me. “Get set”. Almost time now. I take a deep breath. Now or never. I steady myself, just as I hear the gunshot. “GO!”
Bursting out, I feel a rush of wind. My legs hit the track, one after the other, as I push myself forward. One lap. That’s it. Four hundred metres. The whole race takes about a minute. I can do it. At least, I hope I can. By the end of the first hundred metres, my legs hurt. I can barely breathe. ‘The first hundred’s the worst,’ I tell myself. A straight stretch lies before me. Running, I inch closer to the girl in front of me. The race has a staggered start, meaning girls in the outer curve start ahead. So I’m pretty confident about catching up to this girl. But I’m equally confident of a girl behind catching up. You can never take anything for granted in a race.
I mark myself by the numerous white markings on the track. ‘One marking at a time. Just keep running till you reach that marking. Good, now the marking ahead...’ But I can’t keep running like this, my legs hurt. ‘Yes you can, you’re halfway through.’
My conflicting thoughts always carry out the same argument among themselves. I don’t try to hold them back. Not only do they motivate me, but also give me something to think about when I run. I like thinking. I know why, it always calms me down. But right now, I don’t know how I could ever like running. Running makes me sick before a race, it nearly kills me during one and the disappointment of losing can sting for a long time after the race. I guess it’s all for the winning.
Entering the final stretch, I am in the lead. Hearing the thumping of footsteps right behind me, I push myself harder. Faster. My heart is hammering in my chest and my legs are cursing me, but suddenly I don’t care. I finally remember why I love running so much. Breaking the finish line, I let myself fall onto the track. Everything hurts, but quite frankly, I couldn’t care. If you ask me what heaven is, I’ll say it’s the feeling of exhaustion after a race, a feeling of satisfaction with your own performance. The praise and medals don’t hurt either.





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