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" I can do itâ€¦ I can â€¦" I kept repeating this line over and over again
as I positioned myself at the starting point. The war of the crowd
seemed miles away and all that mattered was me, the track and the
clock. Time seemed to freeze for a split second as I began to crouch
to my starting position. It was an agonizing two seconds as I waited
for the splitting, piercing sound to erupt from the gun.
Now was that crucial moment. A decision that had kept my mind from
thinking anything else besides this race. I took half a second to
glance at my opponents on my right. These are the ones. The best of
this nation. The ones I had to beat. But what worried me was not the
other seven runners, but the clock, the record set back in
eighty-three. Yes, today, the twenty-year-old record would be no more,
and a new champion would be born.
My mind dangerously wandered off, breaking my concentration. What ifâ€¦?
It was racing with thoughts of uncertainties, fear and doubt.
Winning was not a problem, it was making a mark in today's event that
was the challenge. If I were to just simply run this race, it would be
like leaving my footprints along the beach. Tide and time would wash
away those marks - someone else may beat my timing some other time,
and I would be nothing. Or, I could imprint my hands onto the blocks
of semi-wet cement in Hollywood, and there, I would stay forever -
just like my name would be a new barrier for any other inspired
runner, aiming for a record.
The sun's heat beat down upon us, sending endless streams of torment
and torture. It was unusually hot, and it worried me even more. This
race was not against each other, it was a race against time.
A bead of sweat slipped down my forehead and trickled slowly down my
neck. At that instant, the gun exploded, sending a thunderous shock
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obstreperous reverberation of cheers and support.
I was oblivious to my surroundings now. My internal body clock told me
that I was going at a comfortable speed, each step taking me closer to
the finishing line, closer to that gold. But, it warned me about my
suppressed goal-to set a new record.
With only a hundred meter to go, I felt my legs give way. Lactic acid
filled my muscles and lethargy soon followed. My arms no longer swung
in full force, but were now moving sluggishly. Breathing seemed to be
almost impossible as my lungs begged for air. My eyes lifted off the
track and rested momentarily at the spectators' stand where they met
with the disappointed ones of my coach.
I knew what I had to do. The past two years of hard core training was
about to be flushed down the drain, if I did not put it to use right
here, right now. A dream I never once imagined was now chanced upon
the opportunity to be fulfilled. I could not afford to let it slip
past the grasp of my hands. I already had it; now I only had to hang
onto it, hold it dearly till I crossed the finishing line. I could not
let them down, not my coach, my friends, my family and especially
This was my life.
They say the mind is stronger than the body and what you believe, you
can achieve. I was about to put that theory into test. Telling myself
that I had to continue to strive forward, to overcome all obstacles
and win was no easy task. My legs had to be convinced that it felt no
pain, the lungs were forced to function properly and my arms had to
regain its full frontal force
In my mind, I began to chant, "Go, go, goâ€¦" These crucial moments
would later come to determine this stage of my life.
In an instant, my whole body started to lighten up. The pain was no
longer there, ankle-irons of lethargy soon faded. I was flying now,
and could probably skip across water if this stadium was to suddenly
be transformed into a silver lake. My toes barely touched the ground
and I felt no resistance; no force could hold me back. The wind
caressed my hair as I cut through it. The sun's surrounding heat had
no effect on me. I felt free.
Eighty-meters in front of me was the finishing line, the end to all my
pain. I struggled on, pushing myself beyond the limits of my legs.
Sweat poured profusely and stung my eye, but I ignored it; there was
too much at stake at risk to worry about a sore eye.
My mind was taking over. It was no longer my legs which ran the race,
but my mind. The world stood still, just for the split second when I
made that defining moment. No more pain was felt, only a sense of
pride, anguish and anxiety. With only fifty meters of track left under
my feet, I forced all of my remaining energy to continue to carry me
forward. This was the turning point at which my legs were strong
enough to finish the race at such speed, as they had never done
The last few meters of the race seemed never ending, and the finishing
tape seemed to keep its distance from me. I knew I was ahead, the
noises of the crowd cheered my name faithfully. Finally, I leapt at
the tape. All my effort was over. It all became a blur, then dark as I
collapsed onto the ground.
The next thing I knew was that I found myself lying in the shade, on a
stretcher no doubt. In my cracked vision, I saw running figures
heading toward me. Upon arrival, eloquence was delivered, sending
limitless sprouts of joy through me. I had done it!!