1500

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a poetic account of my experience running the 1500 meter race.

Submitted: July 27, 2014

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Submitted: July 27, 2014

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1500

Hot 

Bright

Glaring

We step out from under the tent

Onto the concrete

The penguin-like waddle

The clatter and crunch of spikes

Up to the track-wait!

The others race by

Gasping 

Burning

Fighting

They pass

We cross

Finally! we can walk again

Across the turf

20 

30

40

Numbers for other athletes

Lines for other competitors

There are others ahead

Boys 

Girls

Preteens and teens

Running

Standing

Stretching

Talking

Waiting

Waiting to run

The starter stands at the edge of the track

Calling out numbers as the others go by

"80!" 

"82! 83!"

"86!"

We join the waiters

The others finish

We watch

The heats ahead move onto the track

Lining up on the waterfall

The starter preps them

"Okay, ladies!"

"You can cut in whenever you like."

"Runners to your mark!" 

The thunder of the gun

Rolling to the hills

The cloud of smoke

They run

Over a dozen girls

All eleven or twelve

Fighting for space

Fighting for place

We watch

They begin to spread out

The leaders streaking ahead

The stragglers slowly losing ground

They pass each other

They are passed by each other

They pass the stands

They pass the coaches

"Go!"

"Move up!"

"Pass her!"

They pass the starter

"78!"

"81!"

They finish

And the next heat moves up

"Runners to your mark!"

The gun

High

Cracking

Banging

And they begin again

Worry sets in

Gut-clenching terror

We don't know why

Some say fear of failure

Some say fear of embarrassment

But nobody knows why

We have to drink water

Go to the bathroom

"I don't want to do this."

Then it's our turn

We step onto the track

Glaring

Bright

Hot

We shiver from fear

From icy breezes

The starter preps us

Old

Sunglasses

Red cap

Red sports coat

Black earmuffs

"Okay, step up to the curved line, please."

Crackling through speakers

"Runners to your mark!"

Waiting 

Waiting

Keep breathing

The gun

We run

We are on a time limit

One hundred meters

Less than twenty seconds

Then the curve

All in lane one

Keep on the leader

Pace yourself!

Now for the time

54

55

We have time

Around the curve

Coaches yelling

"Move up!"

"Stay with him!"

"You can pass him!"

We pass each other

We are passed by each other

Down the straightaway

Cheering from the stands

Unintelligible

Yet it works

We know they want us to succeed

The timer

2:19

2:20

We are losing time

Around the curve

"2:39! 2:40!"

We analyze these times

May we slow down?

Must we speed up?

We pass the coaches

We pass each other

Exhaustion sets in

Tears come

Ice on our cheeks

Our lungs scraped dry

The straightaway

The timer

3:40

3:41

We must speed up

Almost done

The last lap

"4:00! 4:01!"

We fight for place

The straightaway is a timer

One hundred meters

Less than twenty seconds

The curve approaches

We run

Flat out

We are passing them

Can we win?

No! they are passing us

Five of us

All want first

The straightaway

The stands

Tears 

Burning

Scraping

Nausea sets in

Pass him!

Don't let him pass you!

The timer

4:56

4:57

Must go faster!

Can't!

Must stop!

4:58

4:59

We cross

We slow

We stop

Legs burning

Chest burning

Stomach churning

Stumbling away

Towards the table

The people with the cooler

We drink

Fighting for breath

We high-five

"Good job."

"Good run."

Panting 

Hurting

Others finish

Stragglers

We walk away

Back across the concrete

Back to the tent


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