Hurdles

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I close my eyes and inhale deeply, trying to steady my frantic heart beat. The smell of the asphalt wafts into me, breathing life and exhilaration. This is my moment, what I live for. My senses slow down and become acute as I focus my vision down the track. From my low perspective down here on one knee, there is a rectangular tunnel of hurdles, lined one after another down 100 meters. I can do this. All of this is taking place within the short span of a few seconds, but with my slower, more perfected functions, the sound of the starting gun fire seems to take an eternity to reach my ears.
“Ready,” Says the coach. The runners on either side of me tense. I do the same. If my muscles had lungs, it seems like every one would be holding its breath right now.
“Set,” He says. In one fluid, simultaneous moment, we raise out of our starting blocks. I suddenly become aware of the stinging pain that resides on the surface of my knee, obviously tender from the pressure of resting it on the gravely track while waiting to start. His arm is raised above his head, ready to deliver the signal for me to take off. I dismiss the stinging sensation in my knee. I have more important things to concentrate on here; I wait for the gun shot…and wait a little longer. Time has slowed down even more than it already has. Is that possible? It seems life has stopped altogether. I start to feel a wave of faint panic. Is this guy gonna start or not? My muscles are still holding their breath, my adrenaline pumps through my veins, waiting to explode at the smallest hint of sound.
“CRACK!”
Time abruptly whips into fast forward, going much too quickly. “Csshh, Csshh, Csshh” is the chorus of my spiked cleats, ripping at the track, taking me to an unbelievable speed. Images blur past my eyes as I approach my first hurdle. “Csshh Csshh—“there is a pause in my noisy progress as I jump over the first hurdle, suspended the in the silent air. I come down gracefully and keep running, realizing I can see no one in front of me because I am in the lead. However, I do not relax; I can hear the faint scrapes of other cleats behind me. I dare not look to see how far behind as I approach another hurdle.

“Csshh Csshh—“
Jump.
“Csshh Csshh—“
Jump.
“Csshh Csshh—“
Jump.

That is the rhythm I live and breathe by, and it rarely deceives me. But now my lungs are burning, and my legs are getting shaky, but one more hurdle and…

I have won.





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blue comet said...
Aug. 20, 2008 at 1:24 am
I felt like I was running the hurdles!!!!
 
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