Running Between The Lines

Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.

The Indoor 2010 3000m State Qualifier

Recollection of the things I do and do not remember from the pivotal race my senior year of high school in 2010. In the four 3000m races I ran prior to this one, I ran 10:35, making the same mistake every single time – going too early. In this race, the only one that season the truly mattered, I finally figured it out and qualified for track states for the first time.

It was before this race my coach Arnett introduced to me a simple combination of words that would one day come to define me not only as a runner, but as a person as well. “You need to have the patience to know when to go, and the strength to do it when it’s time”. 

Patience and Strength. 

I remember the line. I remember thinking the field was completely stacked against me. I remember looking to my left and right and up on the waterfall and seeing girls who had been destroying me all season. I remember hearing the gun go off. I don’t remember what happened next.

I remember being in 8th at one point, thinking there was no way I was getting myself out of this one. I remember about half way through hearing my coach shout to me that they were coming back and then looking ahead and realizing he was right. I don’t remember moving up. I remember taking the lead with 400 to go. I remember that with 150 to go my legs hurt the worst they ever have in my life. I remember hearing her come up on my shoulder. I don’t remember how I held her off.

I don’t remember getting from the track to the spot on the floor where I collapsed. I remember laying there for what seemed like hours, just breathing. I remember loving every breathe. I don’t remember how or when I finally got up. I remember hugging my coach. I remember calling home. I don’t remember the rest of the meet.

I remember it hitting me on the bus ride home. I remember smiling to myself saying a silent yes.

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[…] But even if the inaugural running with the laces was done on a whim due an overdose of Heps adrenaline, my continuing to wear them and their eventual place as a staple part of my race day attire was definitely not by chance or accident. I like the idea of having something that is especially reserved for race day. For some people, it is a favorite pre-race breakfast. For others it is a lucky pair of racing socks. For me, it is my laces (and my words). […]