What I’m Looking For – Line 5

I have run

My legs were starting to burn now, that deep burn where it starts with just a twinge down by the bones and quickly grows into a raging fire that spreads relentlessly. Being in the lead helped a little, but only a little.

I was trying to control my breathing rate, knowing that I only had one lap left to run. I could see most of the runners in front of me, I’d lapped a couple on the second lap and a cluster at the end of the third; and I was pretty sure that I was coming up on the rest of the field – that they weren’t catching me.

Just this fourth lap to go.

I could feel my breathing starting to get away from me now. The desperate need to suck air overcoming my ability to regulate the pace of my breaths. Just a half a lap. Ignore the panic. Ignore the pain. Just a half a lap more.

My feet were starting to protest now, sharp pain with each impact. Like I wasn’t even wearing shoes. It just felt like “slap, slap, slap” as I came around the last corner.

The pain in my legs had climbed up to my hips. My arms were burning. My chest was burning. Just a few more steps. I gave up on moderating my breathing, I started to just suck air as hard and fast as I could. I pushed, and then pushed harder, the sooner I crossed that line, the sooner I could stop. Just a few more steps

I spread my arms out as the tape hit my waist. I felt my legs slow like I was running in concrete. My neck stopped holding up my head, and then my arms flopped down at my sides like dead things. I headed towards the aid station, walking off the effort, keeping the blood flowing to my legs.

I’m not ashamed to admit I threw up. I wish I had gotten closer to the trash can, but oh well.

As I was bracing my hands on my knees while bent over in a yoga pose called “the yakking runner” I heard coach Fermantez calling my name as he ran over to me. “Nicky! Nicky!” (he was the only person not in my family that ever called me that) “You broke the school record! You shattered it!”

I can honestly say I didn’t understand a word he said to me, and not just because of his Hawaiian accent. No oxygen for the brain means no comprehension of language, simple concept.

It turns out, I had taken 38 seconds off the former school record for the mile. Second place that day came in 44 seconds behind me, and my new record stood for more than ten years. Athletically, it was probably my proudest moment so far.

[Word Count: 475]

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One thought on “What I’m Looking For – Line 5

  1. I actually hit a last-inning game-winning home run once – one of my two career homers in 5-12 year-old Dixie Youth baseball. Mobbed at the plate. That was pretty cool. But other than that? Dude, I HAVE no athletically proud moments! 😀

    Thinking back on my own (mediocre) baseball experiences…dude that is TOTALLY an athletically proud moment!

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