Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bosco House rules (pt 2)

I started to run and quickly shot to the front of the pack. I was in a full sprint. My legs were pumping and my hand swinging as fast as they could. The warm breeze blew by my face at an incredible speed.

I thought I had no equal on the track that day.

I heard the roar of the crowd as they cheered their favorite runner on and their favorite house. I streaked down the front straight-away – keeping my eyes on the upcoming turn. Spectator’s hands were pumping in the air – cheering, yelling – it was bacchanal.  

Being in front of the pack felt liberating. It seemed like I was all by myself in a field, running just for the fun of it.

A quick glance back revealed that I had pulled away from the group. That motivated me to run faster. Sweat started to drip down my forehead.

Seventy yards had gone by in a flash as I rounded the middle of the first turn. I was doing well and allowed a smile to cross my face. I had opened up a 10 yard lead and was beginning to tear down the back-straight.

I was still sprinting at top speed as I got to the 100 yard mark. I was going to win this race – I softly said to myself.

As an adult, I know what “hitting the wall” means. As an 11 year old, I was about to find out.

Shortly after hitting the 100 yard mark, my legs began to burn something terrible. They felt heavy as if someone filled them with caulking material. It happened very rapidly. It was like running through a curtain and coming out on the other side feeling like you just completed a marathon only after staying up all night drinking Johnny Walker and coconut water.

My breathing became labored. My arms that were pumping in unison earlier in the race began flailing. My strides became shorter and my head started tilting back. I was struggling. A look back revealed that the group behind me was approaching quickly.

I had hit the wall and it was going to get worse.

I continued on and when I reached the final turn, the first runner from the group in the back pulled along-side me. I caught him glance over to me as if to say, you probably forgot this is the 200 yard dash…see yah!

And with a glance, he pulled away. As much as I willed myself to go faster, my body responded with a resounding – No!

Another runner followed the first one and then another and then another. By the time we hit the final straight-away, and with the finish line in site – I was looking at the backs of 10 runners. They had all passed me like a peloton reeling in a break-away rider in the Tour de’ France.

My strategy was all wrong. I had used up all my energy early on and now I had none. All I wanted now was to hold on and not finish last.

There were still two runners behind me.  I needed for them to finish behind me in order to save face with Mr. Orosco and my classmates.

I steadied myself and concentrated on running. But it felt like I was running in cement carrying a fifty pound rucksack on my back. The two runners crept up slowly and passed me with 3 yards to go. The peloton had no mercy. I crossed the finish line in last place then immediately fell on the grass track.

I was spent, dejected, and defeated. I was breathing so hard that I thought my lungs were going to explode out of my chest. I saw little black spots in my vision – a sign I was about to pass out.

Mr. Orosco walked up to me and asked, “boy what were you doing out there?” I couldn’t respond. Who the hell was this looking over me? All I saw was a pair of large framed glasses on a round head with a bushy black beard.

“Mr. Orosco?” I replied like an exhausted runner being interviewed right after a 100 yard dash by a sports commentator. “I uhh uhh…was trying uhh uhh uhh…to uhh uhh, win the uhh uhh, race uhh uhh.”

Mr. Orosco explained, “You went out to fast. Use your brain son next time!”

I remained on the ground for about five minutes. The starter had to tell me to get up because the next race going to begin. I literally dragged myself to the sideline and laid on my back. I remember the white puffy clouds and how perfect they looked racing across the blue skies.

I had lost the race but learned that strategy is always important.

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