The Race

December 12, 2012
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When we arrived, it was 60 degrees and raining. We came out of the bus and huddled under our tarp, waiting for the time that we could get out and begin to warm up. Eventually the sun warmed up the area a bit, and we came out to watch varsity or the underclassmen race.

Before we knew it, we had fifty minutes before the race. We knew because the announcer enjoys shouting it out of the speakers at every chance he has. I finished my banana, ate some soy beans and drank some water, and found some friends to start a warm up. We started jogging lazily just as forty minutes were called.

We went slowly, preparing ourselves mentally and physically, stretching and feeling for any soreness. Once that was done, we began to speed into a decent warm up pace and do a three mile, twenty minute loop.

When we got back, twenty minutes were called, and we began to change into our racing spikes. We laced in our time chips as we made sure we knew which box we started in and how many racers were there. The answers were: box 21 and 700 runners in that race. Fun.

We walked over to our box and began strides, long fast runs down the field to get our speed prepared. Soon there were ten minutes left, time for the speech and a team cheer. Today’s speech was about not caring about our time, but beating anyone in front of you. The cheer began with an inaudible whisper, that slowly built up into a murmur and then the words could be heard as we slowly got up in tune with the cheer “The brothers, the brothers. The jungle, the jungle.” By now it had built up into a roar, and we did a last stride back into our box.

Two minutes were called. We did a little stretching. (Not much stretching can be done with 700 people cramped together.) By now we could see the referee in the center of our path as he called one minute. We tensed up. Then he called thirty seconds. Some people swore from nervousness. Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five... Bang! and the rumble of 1,400 legs accompanied me with the familiar pain in my legs.

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