I feel all the pressure of the race lift off my
shoulders as I sprint down the home stretch and across the finish line.
“I hope I place well,” I think. The kids' triathlon at the local
pool/park is a part of me now. Every year, in the spring, the
triathletes line up for the race.
I stand by the bleachers. I’m in the first heat. I begin to feel
worried: “Will I make it? Can I finish?” We hop into the freezing water
and wait for the whistle. I notice that I am not the only tense one
there. The piercing screech of the whistle throws us into a mad rush to
swim three laps. Everyone else is ahead of me. “I’ve gotta pick up the
pace,” I think. My arms pump freight trains in the water. The pool
gleams, clear blue water, the water rippling and frothing, as the
athletes power through it like bulldozers. I finally catch up on the
last lap. We all jump out of the water beginning the sprint to the
I reach my bike and quickly dry off while putting on my shoes. I grab my
helmet off the handle bars and strap it on. The buckles click all around
me as I hop on my bike. I place my feet on the pedals and push. The race
is on. I keep it slow, until I reach the main path. I speed past bikers
all around me. Click, click, whiz, the gears spin faster and faster. The
woods fly by, blurry trees speed past. I dread the hill, towering above,
steep and dangerous. I shift down as I reach the hill, preparing for the
climb. After what seems like hours, I reach the top. I look out at the
clear blue sky, but only for a moment as I continue my ride. I bike the
loop through the streets until it empties out onto the top of the hill.
I swoop down the hill like a diving falcon. I sweep past bikers from the
heats after me, as they bike up the hill. I take no time to bike through
the wooded paths and back to the bike stop. I hop off my bike and run it
to my spot. I unstrap my helmet and hook it onto my bike. Now I run.
I jog down the path to the field. My legs feel like jelly, not used to
running after the long bike ride. Gradually they adjust. The run is
short, just a mile, one lap through the woods. I circle around the field
for the final stretch. The sun smiles down at me from its throne in the
clear blue sky. I finish my loop and near the gravel path, the home
stretch. The gravel crunches under my feet as I pound down the path. The
faint trees cast shadows over the path. The blare of the crowd can be
heard through the woods. My sweaty hands swing back and forth as I
prepare to cross the finish line. The sweet taste of accomplishment
flicks onto my tongue amidst the aroma of sweat.
The crowd cheers, “Go, go, go, go.” I cross the finish line as the
announcer calls out my name and number. I feel a sense of completeness
after the race. I am handed a participation medal as I wander around.
There are food stands set up. Oranges and bananas draw me in like a fish
to a worm. I grab one of each as I look around for my parents. They find
me first. They call my name and I navigate over to them. We find our
car, and drive home. Even though the pressure can be incredibly
stressful, hard work will prevail in the end.