“On your marks,” I ran up to the line and then the gun went off…
I sprinted out of the line of about 11 girls, we were all like predators trying to be the first one to get prey. I was so nervous. I put one foot in front of another, knowing that if I get under three minutes I would make my coach ecstatic, and I also would be amazed if I could get under three minutes. I would be so happy, honestly, I would be shocked. I only got under 3 minute, last year, for only one or two races (which isn’t that much.) Last race, which was at the Armory, which was one of the fastest tracks in the whole United States, maybe even the world. I ran a 3:06, if I was going to run under 3 minutes I would need to take off 6 seconds, which is really hard to do for your second meet of the season. If I was going to be able to do this I need to make sure I was on pace. Which was under 40 seconds per lap (or just under 3 minutes.)
Before the 800. My coach talked to me, I didn’t know why at the time, but I think he wanted me to get mentally prepared for the race which was in New Haven at Floyd Little Athletics Center, this was where most of our meets were held.
“Hey Sydney,” he started. “How are you feeling?” This is how Coah Matt, who was the head coach of the Danbury Hatters team, the team I was on, started every meet. He wanted to make sure I was good and nothing hurt. I have never been injured since I started running with this team, I needed to make sure that
I was feeling fine, I was kinda tired but nothing hurt and I was excited for the race. “I’m feeling great,” I said back to him. I was a jumble of emotions, nervous but also super excited to run this race. This race was the race where people were just doing time trials. This was my first event out of three, so I needed to make sure I tried my hardest. The three were all in a row. First the 800. Then the 400. And lastly the 1600. The 400 I was the least excited for because it was my worst event.
“That’s great, Can I talk to you?” He asked.
I was scared.
What was he going to ask me? Why did he want to talk to me? Why not anyone else? It was strange. He never wanted to talk to me. I thought for some time and I realized he probably wanted to talk to me about the race, so I said “ yeah…” I was still nervous.
“Okay so about the 800,” he said. I had a huge sigh of relief. Now I wasn’t scared, I was excited, I knew I could get a personal record, if I tried. He continued, “you should really be trying to get under 3 minutes today.” I was scared, I didn’t know if I really could get under 3 minutes for the 800. I had never done under 3 minutes in the 800 indoors. “Which is only 40 seconds per lap.”
“ Okay,” I said with a smile on my face. I knew I could do this but, it would be challenging. “I’m up for it, I just want you to be yelling the times out at me.” Which would help me a lot because I wasn’t wearing my watch, which usually gave me the time on it, and I also wanted to make sure I was on my pace.
I sprinted, passing one by one until I got into second place. I tried to make sure I was below my pace that I needed to be at. I stayed on her tail, like a lion chasing a gazelle, for a lap and a half. I took a breath in and then let it out, I did it again. But this time closing my eyes and moving my arms even more than I was before. I needed to win this race. It would make me and everyone on my team super happy. I was focused. I couldn’t think.
I heard my coach yell out “35 seconds.” I was on pace I knew that I was going to be able to do it.
Then, out of nowhere, I was side-by-side with her. Yes, The Person in First Place. I heard my team cheering for me and I knew I had to do this.
I passed her.
My team cheered even louder. I had another 2 laps left.
I heard my coach yell “38 seconds.” I was under my pace. I knew that I was going to get under 3 minutes. I couldn’t think at all, I was putting in my all. I needed to start to make sure that this pace wasn’t too fast or too slow. I needed to make sure it was perfect.
Another whole lap went by so fast, like a bumble bee zipping past you on a hot summer day. I heard my coach yell out again, “39 seconds.” one second slower, I thought as I started to pick up speed, I was kind of upset with the time but I knew it was going to be under 3 minutes, unless I got like a minute for the last lap.
I breathed in and then back out, the feeling of being in first place was mine. I knew that no one was going to be able to take this feeling away from me. And if they did. I would only go faster. I took another deep breath in and then back out. I continued to run, faster and faster until I couldn’t feel my legs, I knew that I was going to do this and I knew that this was going to be harder to keep my pace.
I was about 15 meters ahead of everyone else. I wanted to make that more. I put one foot in front of another, and soon enough the finish line was getting further and further away from me. I took one more step and I had crossed it. The shock came to me, I just finished that race. During the race I didn’t even think about being in first place, all I wanted to do was to make sure that I got under 3 minutes. I was panting like a dog and I walked as slow as a snail over to the in field, where my coach was, I was trying to keep myself on my feet.
“Sydney, You did it!” He started.
I wasn’t thinking. And said “what did I do?” I was so tired.
“You got 2 minutets and 53 seconds!”
“Oh my god, really!” I exclaimed. I was shocked, I really didn’t think that I was going to pull that off.
“Yeah Sydney! You just did that!” We finished the conversation because I had no clue what to say.
Then, I saw my old track and field coach, her name was Coach Gale, she was my coach on my first track team, which was the Danbury Flyers, she was a great coach, she was strict but she was nice and she wanted the best for everyone on her team. “You Did a Great Job!!” she said as she gave me a hug. It was so awkward.
“Thanks,” I said to her. I was happy to see her again after our team broke up, but I love my teammates, and my coaches, nothing could replace them, they are like a second family.
I asked Coach Corso “Should I do the 400? It is right after this and I didn’t know if I should do it or not.”
“Lets see how you feel,” he said.
I said, “okay.” But I knew that I was going to do the 400 even if it killed me.
And I walked away feeling excited that I finished in 1st. I started to get ready for the 400.