So this story is coming from a conversation me and one of my friends had when we were talking about cross country practice. We were discussing meets (which we have one the next day), and she suddenly started describing how she talked with her limbs while she runs. (“I was really close behind you, I was keeping you in my sight, and I told my legs to go faster, but they just said no, and after that I lost you.”) This was just my inspiration. And keep in mind that this is fictional, but it is also pretty true.
The starter raises the flag and the gun. My nerves slow to a stop as I run through the course in my head. I tell myself that I can do this and I won’t die. Then, when all of us are still, the gun fires and off everyone goes, starting out fast for the first three steps and then slowly easing into their 5k pace (at least, that’s what I do). We push and shove and trip through each other. And then that’s that. Running like this for another 23-ish minutes, my brain thinks, You’ve got this. My lungs breathe in and out, controlled. We’ve got this, they say. My legs hit the ground, pulling me along, keeping me going. We’ve got this, they say. My arms pump, fueling my legs. We’ve got this, they say. But it only goes downhill from here, my brain thinks.
1st K. My legs are starting to complain. Why do we have to do this? They say. Can’t the arms do something? They are doing something, my brain thinks. Wouldn’t your job be harder if they weren’t pumping? I guess, they say, and keep on going. My stomach complains too, just to get in on the action. Ahhh, those pushups. Were they really helpful? I’m sore, it says. And hungry, it adds.
2nd K. My thighs do not like these hills. Ahhhhhh! It screams as I sprint up a hill, passing two girls on the way. My lungs don’t handle the situation much better. Wheeeeewww! They say, pumping back and forth even harder at the extra work. You’ve got this! My brain thinks. Do we? My lungs question.
3rd K. Okay! Everyone, pep talk. I know this is where everyone dies, but you’ve got to hang in here with me, my brain says to everyone. Oh… kay… my lungs say, wheezing harder than ever. My ab muscles yell at my brain. Hey, this isn’t cool! Not cool at all! They yell, clenching hard in anger. My arms aren’t doing so hot either. We… we can make it… they say tightly, and I realize they’ve made their way all the way up my chest. My brain shoves them down again, and they complain loudly.
4th K. Nope. Just quit now, my brain tells me. This is it! My legs yell. My stomach sloshes angrily. My lungs moan, as that’s all they can do because they’re working so hard. My calves scream. My abs clench and yell at the same time. My arms weave their way slowly back up, but this time, I’m too tired to shove them down. But I will NOT quit, I think. My brain backs away from these thoughts and huffs in frustration.
5th K. We’re almost done, says my brain. It took a whole five minutes of convincing to get my brain back in on the action. My other limbs, however, are taking quite a bit longer. No, make it stop! Says my legs, in tears. Oh, wait… Everyone says at once. I see the finish line… says my brain quietly, in awe. I SEE IT! I yell. Everyone pumps harder than ever. My legs scream and my arms scream and my lungs can’t because they’re working too hard. My brain screams, but not with hard work. My brain screams at everyone to get a move on. My abs yell, but not out of anger. And finally, the moment everyone was waiting for… I cross the finish line and collapse on the ground. My legs and arms and abs and lungs moan, but my brain cheers. Everyone, it says... We got a personal record!