The Race

June 15, 2011
Feel your heart pulsing
As you sail against the wind
Feel your thighs pounding
As your feet smash the pavement

Legs bustling in perfect time, like a metronome
Arms, swinging like a pendulum
Blazing sun beating down on your back
Sweat trickling down your nose

Glide through the air
Lighter than a feather
Devour the crowd’s roars
Relish the hurrah
You are a cheetah. A lion. A tiger.

People’s faces fly by
The wind sings to you,
“This is your victory,
You own this track”

Three years of training;
All leading up to this
“She’s gonna take it!”
The announcer, even rooting for you

Suddenly, your chest hits something solid
You look down, only to find pavement
A blur of vibrant sneakers shoots past you
And it sets in, like a 300-pound weight thrust on your shoulders

Suddenly, you are very, very heavy
Three years of training;
Significance fading now
Gone in the blink of an eye
Just. Like. That.

The training,
The dieting,
The effort,
The vanity!

Each set of push-ups and lunges,
Every jumping jack
Each loaded weight
Finally outruns you

Soaked in shame and sweat,
Dirty, tear-stained face,
Limp, useless body and all
You roll over to gaze up at the sky, once so bright and blue
Now gray and derisive

Feel your heart pumping, now with trepidation
You will never rise from the comforting concrete
You think,
Like a ship in the middle of a desolate ocean,
The race is lost… and now so am I.

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