One hundred and fifty girls from all over the state. They gather on the line beside me. I can hear them breathing, and this only makes my stomach hurt more. We are running the Northwest Classic on the State course. The course starts out with a 100 meter sprint and then a horrendous hill. My goal was to get in the top ten, which meant I was going to have to dart out in the start and stick with the pact. My friend who was running with me on my team was planning to do the exact same thing. The weather was cold with a slight breeze, the kind of weather that I thrive in. 

I stood there waiting for the gun to go off. It goes off, and my nerves slammed through the roof. I darted out, and I knew that I had never started a race this fast. Well, I guess this is a good time to experiment. I get in the pack of about eight or nine girls. I stick in the back, and fight for survival. The hill came, and I could feel my legs screaming as I hit the top. Relax, I told myself. Relax and breathe.

The first mile comes, and I look at my watch, 6:51. Knowing me, this was way too fast, and I knew in about eight minutes, I would feel it. I sustained my pace, and kept my eyes on the girl in front of me. We hit the hill again, and by now I can feel that first mile. I tell myself, I will be okay, I will live. I hit the hill, and I'm thinking not so much. I finish the last hill, and my lungs are fighting for air. I feel like I'm suffocating. Relax, but I can't. I slow down, and focus on getting my breath back. Being a runner, you know that your breath never actually comes back in the end, not until you are done. I don't think about that.

At the end of the race, we circle around a pond. As I ran, I could feel the sun beating on my back, why did it get so hot? I could feel my stomach turning. My body ached, and I just focused on finishing. We hit the last 300 meters, and I tried to speed up, but my legs were dead. The last 200 meters, I suddenly felt like I was going to throw up, and sure enough, the girl in front of me did. Then my stomach lurched, luckily there was nothing in my stomach. I finished the last 100 at a sluggish pace, and when I hit the finish line, I slid.

I had the blurry vision, and a guy pulled me to the side. With all the evidence, I had fought hard. I had placed ninth. Even though my time wasn't the best, I knew that I had fought the whole way through, and that made me proud.

My advice is trying something new every race to see if it works. Starting out fast, or finishing hard, running one mile faster than another.  

Whatever works the best, do that at districts! Hope everyone is having a good season!