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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Sports  |  House: Booksie Classic
Cross country practice in the desert summer. Arizona.

Submitted: February 26, 2012

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Submitted: February 26, 2012



My nerves tense up as everyone crowds around me. I feel the heat rise in waves from the concrete and the sun beats harshly above my head.

There's an electricity in the air as everyone gets giddy and restless and my heart pounds with anticipation. I shift my weight from one leg to the other before centering myself. I'm ready.

Coach blows the whistle, piercing the still, dry air and we all take off together.Subtly, we group ourselves into tight-nit clusters of twos and threes. One by one, larger groups of two or three little clustersbranch off, finding their own way.

Vanessa and I run closely together, following three other mini clusters. To any person walking by, we'd all look like one big, organized pack, given a set route to run.

But that's not so. Vanessa and I run very close to the other groups, but we run close enough for our arms to brush every now and then.

I listen t the rythmic, fast-paced footfalls of the others around me. Some steps land heavily, but others, like mine, only whisper across the desert floor. I can single out my footsteps if I focus on the stretch and pull of muscle over bone.

Slowly, a burn builds in the muscles of my legs, willing me to either stop or slow down. I don't listen to that urge. I know if I push myself and keep running, I'll reach a pleasant place no one else can bring me. No drug can take me to that perfect place. I run harder, pushing past the pain. No one can stop me. I'm a fighter and I'm going to win.

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