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DP Younginger Nov 2014
My shoelaces flap side to side like one of those car-dealership inflatables arms-
My veiny stompers pump puddles of pure procrastination from perceptive sprinting-
Underneath the tune-buds, I cannot hear my sneakers scraping the scrap rocks of gravel-
To my left- a hooting owl habitats itself in a hushed game of charades-
To my right- a slick tree frog flies freely from a lofty leaf and lands in the lagoon-
Elapsed images of elastic languages fill my mind with everlasting wisdom-
Entertained by the watercolors, my canvas curdles and secedes the state of mind-
Pressing harder- the curtain continues to close as I chase the condescending daylight-
Pressing softer- the tuner in my temple turns into a terrorizing shriek from my tibia-
Grace Apr 2014
You my friend love to run more than anyone I know
You run so fast your body has to catch up and when it can't it slows you down pulling a hamstring
Then the other
And then your left one again

You had bruises for months trailing up and down your legs-your battle wounds

Weeks upon weeks of stretching
Icing massaging caring bracing eating
Trying so hard to sooth the pain
So bad it hurt to sit
Slowly but surely your legs came back
A tedious process of long nights and good mornings

One day you were new again
In the sweltering heat you taught  your legs what it felt like to run
And they loved it
The months flew by chasing you down
You were unstoppable getting first and second a states in the winter

Things were looking up and you started to get anxious about college who would choose you?
But in the end, you chose them
You are an official member of OSU
Proud to be a buckeye

Outdoor season started and you are oh so careful
Spending an hour every day before practice to warm up slowly to not repeat last year's trial
Hours spent after practice to ice and stretch hoping that this horrendous day would ever come again

Today I watched you
I was sprinting on the field while you were meticulously counting and calculating your speed and steps by doing drills
Our brothers strides by-racing each other in the 600
You strode along their side-beating them all when you started to limp

Your eyes turned glossy
Your face crumpled in despair
I to you asking if you were ok

You looked at me like a deer in headlights
To scared to tell me-hoping that the devil couldn't possibly come back to haunt you
Your eyes told me everything
Two pops and a pull

Very bad
But it's your right leg- your good leg

The emotions hit you like you were on a bumpy roller coaster
What did you do wrong?
What variables didn't add up?
Why you?

I wanted so badly to comfort you
To hug you
But it would put you in so much pain
Who knew that a hug could do so much harm?
I helped you to the trainer
Every step was another test and another reminder

Why can something you love so much it hurts you?
Why should someone so good feel the pain of a pulled muscle?
Grace Mar 2014
“Oh, you're a sprinter” they say
“you aren't really a runner”

Long distance people don't understand you see
They don't know what a pulling hamstring feels like
They don't know what running with pure adrenaline feels like
They don't know what not being able to breath while running feels like

You see, we sprinters have it down to a science
Practicing starts before the race is key
Pre race rituals are the law
If we don't warm up enough or warm up too much or forget to stretch one muscle
We could be out for the season

Sign in. Warm up some more

They call my race
I pull off my pants and shake out my legs
Double knot my spikes
Finally, my jacket comes off
I step up to the start and set my blocks

My brain becomes so numb with nervousness, the motions become mechanical
Two foot lengths away from the line, first block
Three foot lengths away from the line, second block
Bring my first block up two clicks
My second up three

“Runners, take your marks.”
Tuck jump
Shake out my legs
I tell myself “Remember: low, and drive”
Because there is too much to think about all at once
I lower myself on my knees
Wipe my hands on my spandex
Double check that my shirt is tucked in, my spikes are tied
Shake out my right leg and place it in the block
Shake out my left leg and place it in the block, toes barely touching the ground
Place my hands as close to the line as possible-about two inches to each side of my shoulders
I look down, check my blocks
Look up, at the finish-I will be there in less than a minute
If all goes as planned
I swing my hair so it's on my left side
Head down, look at my hands
Shoulders parallel with my arms and perpendicular to the ground
Just like practice

“Get set”
My heart is pounding
I can’t hear anything
I slowly raise my hips
It takes less than one second to become perfect
Just like practice


I shoot out of the blocks
Left arm jerks forward and my right thrashes back
I pull my stride in, getting into perfect form
Just like practice

I tune out all of the screams around me
The voices inside my head telling me to slow down
You're running too fast
You're about to pull a muscle
Give up already

But I keep running because I don't care about the voices in my head or the sprinters beside me
I race against time
An irrevocable substance that will always win

I finish the race, maybe not my best, but I did alright for my first meet in a year.
Finally eyeing my time I let go of the breath I have subconsciously been holding
I ran my best and now my lungs are reminded what it's like to taste air

Long distance runners don’t have to worry about any of this
They just have to make sure their toes aren't touching the line
Theres no science involved
If they warm up too long or not enough, it may cost them a few seconds
Seconds are all we have

Ever wonder why long distance runners are so nice to each other and sprinters aren't?
Because before every race we sprinters are too nervous to talk to one another
Everyone is silently praying that the  person next to them won’t toss their cookies
Then again, maybe its better if they did because I might have a better shot at getting first
After the race, I am too stunned-too out of breath to realize what just happened
Or to talk to the person next to me

Sprinters only have a mere couple of seconds to prove themselves
Long distance runners can take their time
They have at least two laps to prove themselves
Sometimes even sixteen

I don’t realize that I love racing
That I love not being able to breathe
Until I cross that finish line
And then I want to do it all over again
Grace Mar 2014
I try to control every variable
Just like an experiment
Like a mad scientist
If something goes wrong it could cost some blood
A hamstring
My shins

My heart is pounding like a runaway train
Chugging along and always speeding up that it sometimes trips over itself in my chest

I tune out everything except for the official

I set my blocks
I am already trying to catch my breath to calm the butterflies in my stomach
I wipe my hands on my spandex
They're covered in sweat

I let out a shaky breath. Telling myself "You know the drill"

"Ladies stand in your lanes"
I do a couple tuck jumps
Double check my spikes, my hair
I shake out my hands hoping to wipe off the nervousness
But know deep inside my heart that it's the only thing keeping me sane

"On your marks"
A sour taste forms in my mouth
All I can do now is think about my start
Another variable I become the master of
Low and drive
I get on my trembling hands as I slide my feet in the blocks
I inhale-my breath quivering
I peer ahead at the finish line in front of me
It's so close yet oh so far away

Is there a word for when all of your potential energy instantly turns into kinetic?
All of your nervousness turning to pure adrenaline?

Is there a word for that split second after the gun goes off?
For what it feels like when my muscles stretch and scream for oxygen?
My mind goes blank
I can't hear any of the yelling or my runaway heartbeat
I don't think about who's beside me

This race isn't about the competitors next to me
It's the clock
That irrevocable tick that means almost everything
That horrendous voice inside my head saying I am too tired
Slow down
My legs weren't made for this
But I know deep down inside that it's my brain trying giving up

I keep running because I don't care about the voices in my head or the sprinters beside me
I race against time
An irrevocable substance that will always win
But I was born to run

Is there a word for when your brain gives up and you are running with pure adrenaline and heart?

Is there a word for running so fast time slows down? You can hear your mothers pleads, your fathers coaching, your friends reassurance as you pass by but it doesn't even process until after you are done

You can feel every millisecond in your toes when you spikes dig into the track

You can feel everything that could have gone wrong but somehow went right and you don't even register it until after

I make it to the finish line in one piece
My muscles are tight and my lungs are trying to catch up with my racing heart
My head is pounding and I don't remember what just happened
But I get a feeling that it was something wonderful
I can't find a word for it

I wish there was because  I would have already said it by now

— The End —