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You’ve been training for months
for a certain moment
all instinct
all physical
all motion.

Your nerves are ringing
adrenaline spiking.
You can feel the ground
and your heart beating.
Your head is spinning
as you glimpse the others racing past.

They’re a blur—gone in a second.
You shudder; that’ll be you
much too soon.

You go through the motions
Warming up, chilling out.
The team is there for you
and they’ve done it before.

Then, finally.
You line up—middle of the pack.
Crouched forward, bent down,
foot out, tensed for the shot.

Everything is f r o z e n.

Shot goes off, mind is blank.
No rationality
only instinct, and fear, and pain.

Race mode is different.

The first 400 are death
You think you can’t make it
Focus on moving, and staying upright
Don’t get speared by the spikes.

You’ve got to break out
But your lungs beg you to stop.
You don’t listen.

Lengthen your stride,
quicken your steps.
There is no excuse for slowing down.
You can’t quit, you can’t slow—
stay in the race, and go out fighting.

Keep up with your pack.
Run with the people
you always have.
They’ll be there for you
as you will be for them.
You can’t afford to disappoint.

There are no words spoken
but the breathing, the strides, the strength
tell a different story.

The whole race is a blur.
There is no thinking
Just you,
and the earth.
Your mind
and your body.

The only thing you can do
is run.
It’s all you can do
to run.

The last 400 is a struggle
just like the first.
It’s a bitter fight
between your brain
and your body.

You must push back all reason
and all pain
and give it all you’ve got.

Finally, your foot crosses over the line.
You’ve made it, it’s done, you’re finished.
As you stumble through,
your lungs are burning
your legs are aching
your body is shaking.

But you are filled with triumph
an incredible feeling.

You take the water
the best liquid in the world
and find your team.
Absolutely beaming.

Racing is hell
but it’s worth it in the end.
You’d do it again in a heartbeat
a second
a footstep.

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