Cuatrocientos (400)

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Lining up at the start, which is also the end,
I prepare myself mentally for flight,
and the orange man commands us to walk the bend.
I look ahead, observing each runner.
Doing my best to stay focused, I am interrupted by the gunner.
We take our places in our blocks, stern, nervous, anxious;
like horses in their stocks.
The pressure builds and I try to stay calm,
my stomach is a cage of birds,
and the pressure explodes like a bomb.
CRACK.
More like a whip, a harsh sting,
the exploding bomb sends me from my blocks,
and my ears ring.
A wave of shouts and cheers crashes behind me,
friends and family and coaches and others,
all the yelling for the glory.
The glorious exertion of such great energy,
a human reactor,
the power radiating from the five others and me.
Then everything is quite,
the only audible sound: sharp breath and spikes,
but the fight continues; a silent riot.
Embers in my legs begin to burn,
a start to the coming fire of the last stretch,
as we start the last turn.
The final push begins,
I slam the hammer down,
and work the rubber that has replaced my shins.
The fire consumes my whole being,
flying on pure perseverance, my body is screaming.
Crossing the finish line, I throw my arms back,
coming to a stumbling end, and finally stopping on the track.
When I think about the reason I love it,
I think to myself it is one of the greatest feelings
you can experience in less than a minute.
So I am called back down the bend,
to the starting line,
which is also
the end.





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