I was standing at the ‘Start Line’, waiting to hear the gun shot. I could feel my heart beat racing, pounding and my stomach twist into a tight knot. It was not a new feeling. I have felt this way every time I have had to stand there and wait to hear the gun shot before I begin my cross-country.
I glance to my right and then to my left and make a swift glance at my competitors for a few seconds. I see fear in the eyes of few. I realize I must concentrate and visualize my race in my mind before I begin. I have done this everyday and I then close my eyes and pray that I am the first one to sit on the bench that is behind me and drink a glass of glucose water. There is a blast in the air and I hear the birds in the tree tops shriek and flap their wings while they fly away.
The race has begun and I hear the falling of footsteps which reminds me that I need to get ahead of the group for a great start and to avoid tripping over someone’s foot. I begin my initial trudge up the hill. My pace has slowed down and I begin to take longer strides. The first part of the race is an eerie phase. I can hear my breathing get louder and feel my cheeks get flushed. I am engulfed in hot air and I feel my knees go weak. I tell myself that I must go on. I lift my head up and I look straight ahead. I see the winding road and a yellow T-shirt ahead of me. I tell myself that before I reach the next curve I must cross the yellow T-shirt and I do it. As I run I begin to leave everyone behind and I look ahead and see a clear road. After I have completed a kilometer and a half I hear my footsteps fall flat with a thud. I realize I have reached the flat surface and from now on it’s going to be a run downhill. I try to loosen my muscles and I begin to take longer strides. Yet, I am conscious that my knees feel weak and I have got to still be in control lest, I get a pull in my side or have a tumble downhill. I enjoy this stage of my run as I take in the scene around me. I am running through a village and I see the smoke rising from the chimneys of the houses nearby. The smell in the air as I cross these houses tells me that they are preparing dinner. I see Badaga women leading their herds of cattle, chatting along in their language. I glance at my watch as I realize it must be late and I am running a race. I turn around and as far as I could see I see none of my competitors in a hot chase. It is now a race against my own time record. I cross the fields of carrots and I use my eyes to scan the ground below my feet. One wrong footstep and I could land in the stream flowing by. As I cross the small bridge I look into the clear stream and I see numerous tiny tadpoles glistening in the water. As I begin my last and final climb up the hill I feel my strides have become smaller, I can hear myself again breathing harder as I vent out a few moans. I look up and see the path way clearly while I smell the baking of bread. At that very moment I know that I have come to the end of my race. I am now so close to the dinning hall, the place where my race will come to an end. I make a dash to the ‘End Line’, amidst the cheers of spectators.
Yes, I am the first to sit on the bench and have a glass of glucose water. The glucose water tastes bitter and I spit it out. I lie down on the bench until the pounding in my head that I feel stops. I am famished and I walk into the dinning hall. I sit at the table and I begin munching on a bun and rainbow cake, sipping a glass of milk. It is a sweet taste to my bitter mouth as I enjoy it.
Like all good things must come to an end so shall this glorious and most exhilarating day.
Contribution from Sharon Vardon – Thank You Sharon for sharing your reflections on one of you daily cross country runs whilst at college. A great contribution on elaborating and sensitizing oneself to our five sense on things that we do everyday. The awareness of how these senses tingle within us. like any exercise the more we use and stretch it the more we would be tuned into the happenings of the surrounding, thus exhibiting that Cutting Edge. Cheers, once again Great Job. David Nair