Monday, March 12, 2012

in the beginning

Approach the track.  Step onto it and feel the surface beneath the racing shoes.  I can't be still.  I unconsciously shift my weight from foot to foot.  I shake my hands and arms out.  Shake them again.  It's taking forever to line up. 

Finally the official takes her position, shouts "on your MARK!" ,*tick* tick* tick* my heart is pounding.  She raises the gunless hand *TICK *TICK *TICK... my heart is ready to jump out of my chest.   *BANG!*

I'm breathing hard even though the race just started, the adrenaline is almost too much.  I'm still so jittery.  Eventually, I'll relax... eventually...

I ran track in high school and starts always made me nervous.  I was a sprinter, so my races were all finished in a minute or less.  I loved the relays though.  I always got the anchor position on our team since (a) starts made me nervous, and (b) I was the fastest of the sprinters. 

My good friend Debbie always ran the start position because (a) she couldn't stand waiting for the baton to get to her, and (b) she was second fastest of the sprinters.

My other good friend Carolyn (of cow-tipping fail fame) always ran second or third position because (a) she was a strong and methodical sprinter, and (b) she was third fastest.

The final position was... was... whomever.  We only had three sprinters on our track team, and there were no 3-legged relays.  Sometimes Sherri the distance runner would jog up and hand me the baton.  Other times it was Anita the big shot-putter or similar. 

This always made for some interesting fun - especially for me because, unless something really strange occurred during the race, it was guaranteed that at least ONE girl would be ahead of me by the time I got the baton.  There was very little pressure on me, and having someone ahead gave me something to chase like the fake bunny at the dog track!

By the halfway mark, it's a comfortable lead, but I haven't settled down yet.  Is it too much speed?  The race is still young.

Bell lap and the lead has grown even more.  It's hardly even a race anymore, yet I'm still a bit of a wreck.

The final sixty yards and my nerves have transformed to a bit of befuddlement.  I feel like I can finally relax.

"Is he just running really fast or is everyone else really slow?", I say to Magnum.

Wolfgang crosses the finish line first, nearly a hundred yards ahead of the next guy. 

His first track meet of the season was on Saturday.  There were two heats for the boys' 1600 meters, and he was assigned to the slower one.  He ended up 5th place overall.

He was happy with his race, but wishes he would have had someone to push him.  Maybe he would have broken 5 minutes.  As for me, I agree that he was in the wrong heat this time, but I don't know if my jitters can take a close race. 

They're actually worse now that I'm a mom spectator!


  1. It's definitely hard being on the sidelines watching your children compete.
    I understand completely how he feels about having someone push him, though. I'd much rather play sports or games with people who are better than me, so I can improve. Then when I beat them, it's that much more rewarding! Sounds like you enjoyed the rush of trying to catch up to someone as well. I'm curious if you are a cheer-out-loud sort of mom, or are you a sit-quietly-while-wringing-your-hands kind of mom. (I'm the second - which doesn't release jitters very well.)

    1. It's interesting, I know I ran faster in those relays because we were always behind. And yes, I'm a sit-quietly-and-wring-the-hands mom!

  2. Congratulations to Wolfgang on his first track meet! Following in the footsteps of his mother ^^.

    I also did track back in sophomore year in high school! I have really long legs and I was one of the top female runners in the school for a while. Then of course, I dropped out of track the next year because of severe depression related to school stuff.

    I know what you mean about the nervous feeling right at the beginning. Where your heart is pounding out of your chest and you get the sudden jitters xD.

    1. Hey, something else we have in common! Sorry about the severe depression, though. I hope you've come through it for good!

  3. Nice to see Wolfgang is following in his mom's footsteps. It can be nerve wracking to compete in a relay like that and even harder being a spectator on the sidelines. It does help to have someone pushing us during a race to force us to stretch beyond our comfort level. Congrats to Wolfgang!

    I ran track a few times since I had the long legs, just never the speed for it. I was more of an LSD runner, but never really took it up seriously.

  4. Oh I COMPLETELY agree that being the mom of a sporty person is harder than doing the sport yourself! I will go through an entire roll of Tums during a baseball game. At least I'm getting my calcium, right?

  5. Congrats to your Wolfgang! How awesome!

  6. A sprinter then, a long distance runner now. You have good genes; genes that have been passed to your son.

    I enjoyed the story - to the point of feeling a nerve of mine twitch. We never get over these things, do we? First we feel it, then we feel it through our kids. :)

  7. I'm not surprised Wolfgang has taken after you in this regard. You have a passion for running. It was bound to be passed on to the kids. Congrats to Wolfgang on his success!