I carry my blocks out to my starting position in lane four and drive them into the track.

"Runners to your mark!"

My friend takes a seat behind me with his feet on the blocks so that they don't fly out from under me when i start.

I quickly stretch one last time and hop a few times to get the jitters out...

... to no avail. Nothing gets rid of them.

I take my place in the blocks, winding myself up for the start.

"Set!"

BANG

I shoot out of the blocks, trying not to trip over myself.

I stay with the rest of the pack on the first turn.

"You're doing good Erik. Just need to stay with the pack"

The first hundred meters are behind me as i come out of the first turn.

"Alright, let's give ourselves some room. Widen the gap"

My legs pump just hard enough to push me a little ahead of the pack.

"Good job. Just stay this far ahead, and you'll be fine"

The second turn waits just fifty meters ahead.

"Ok. You can do this, you're almost halfway there."

I reach the second turn. The footsteps of my competitors grow louder.

"Just keep the distance. You'll be fine"

The footsteps continue to get louder as i near the halfway point of the turn.

"No, not again. Please not again."

Meter 250. My legs grow heavier. I am instantaneously passed by 7 seven people.

"Come on Erik! Kick in those god damn afterburners!"

I come out of the second turn. Only a hundred meters stand between me and the finish line.

My vision begins to tunnel. All I can see is the end of my lane.

"No! Dammit! Ok, just finish the race."

"Pain is only an illusion. Pain is only an illusion. Pain is..."

25 meters later, my legs are Jello. My shoes have turned to concrete.

The final 75 meters continue in much the same way. My feet growing heavier and my legs growing weaker.

At last, I stumble across the finish line. My stomach tries repeatedly to jump out of my mouth.

I carry myself to the central field and collapse on the ground.

"It's ok Erik. At least you tried. How many other people actually bothered to run this damn event? Not too many."

"It's not that bad..."

"You'll get em next time."




"Besides, every race has to have a last place"

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