a day at track practice

I start at the back of the pack during warm-up.

And then comes the last lap.

Coach blows the whistle, and then I morph into a bird flying fastest. I speed up, and up some more, until I am flying down the back straightaway catching the boys. I swoop in around the curve.fullsizerender-copy-15

I feel my legs burning up with the heat of work. More force, more distance, more work.

But I do not slow down.

More work, more focus. I speed up and catch the boys at the finish.

 


During drills I keep my arms placid at ninety and stay up on my toes.

I spell p-a-t-i-e-n-c-e while doing skips to the rhythm of lift-up-down-lift-up-down. lift-up-down, my legs work. lift-up-down, lift-up-down– to every drill, a different rhythm.


Then come the strides.

I leave stillness for another day and step forward fast and far, but with smoothness, each step a silent sound.


During the workout, I run within myself; I am my own timekeeper.

With each repetition, I forget more and more that there are people running next to me, and I begin counting in my head when I get tired.

With each repetition, I feel more and more tired. I sweat and I smell.

With each repetition, I push harder and harder, and I keep a steady rhythm going so I know my pace.

With each repetition, I try to focus more on my form. Arms at ninety, up on my toes, I pretend that I am a seabird- nimble, resilient. And so I imagine flying above the waves of an ocean, for miles and miles on salt, water, and air.


As I cool down, I imagine that the wind is still salty and that I am swooping down onto the shore, back to the track.

My feet hum from the tiredness of my work, and I am reminded that I am human, and that the bird is a fantastical illusion I had momentarily fled to in my concentration at a transient tempo, a time whilst running that I have never been able to define.

p-a-t-i-e-n-c-e, I whisper. I will fly again tomorrow, and then maybe, maybe, I will become the timekeeper once again.

fullsizerender-copy-24