Wake Up

By
My mind seems to race as I battle down the hill. My mind, on the edge of complete collapse, is remarkably clear. This is a race not only against the typical competitor, but against myself. A way to see how long one can endure the pain and exhaustion that comes with wanting something and having the ability to say victory it is truly yours.



The road, a true enemy in its own right, changes from a decline to a sharp slope, then morphs yet again into a long straight away. My cross-country coach is screaming and yelling, trying to give us that extra push. It's a push that you can't fully attain by yourself; you can only get a taste of it, a glimpse. It's the will to keep striving toward the finish line, long after you have started debating with yourself, asking yourself to just stop running, to just let the pain go away.



A sharp wind blows and as I inhale the cold air cuts deep into my throat. This is a feeling that not many people experience in their life, when you voluntarily exhaust your body of all that it needs to survive, and you slowly feel it breaking down. Every incline becomes a little harder to run up, every decline takes you faster than you can control. Before you realize it you don't have control of the most basic things. Yet in the back of my mind I ask myself what if I kept going. How would every second differ from the one before it? I learn more about myself each second I persevere. It brings a tingling sensation feeling down my spine, yet terrifies me at the same time.



I clearly understand that I have reached my limit, I can't continue for much longer. But if I have reached my limit, why is it that I have just taken another step, and then another, and I have the energy to jump over a pot hole? I chuckle as I see my coaches waving and screaming, trying to make the incoherent blur of their words as encouraging as possible. At the same time I begin to realize how foolish I have been. Who am I to say I have nothing left? I owe it to myself to keep running, to push my limits and see what I'm made of. This road will not get the best of me, nor will the men to my left and right.



Fifty meters left in the race as my lungs welcome another long and brisk breeze. It keeps me focused on the task at hand. This is a lesson that will be not soon forgotten, my legs continue striving forward long after I step over the plastic finish line. I've crossed into a new word. As I glance back at the starting point of the race, I recall the boy that began running an uphill race, and the new man that finished, on top of the world.





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