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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

View from the lane: the best dancer


In the previous “View from the lane,” I talked about my typical pre-race ritual before a track meet, which is an extensive process. But now, it is time to get the adrenaline fully flowing.

You are about to race, lined up next to girls that giggle and bounce with anxiety and/or excitement.

Do not forget to hit people with the baton who ask for your personal record —  obviously do not actually hit them, even though you want to. They deserve to be passed as well — you will pass them.

Instead of hitting people, you might decide to become a dancer right before your race. Dancers are exempt from pointless or prohibited conversation involving one’s PR. This is my preferred method of preparation. Right before I run the mile, I become a hopping Irish dancer and snap my fingers a lot. If you are rhythmic with your pre-race jittery, jelly jumpiness, it is probably going to be a good race for you.

Thus, the number one goal of racing is to aim to be the best dancer at the line. Winning and record-breaking will surely follow.

Eventually, after an eternity, the actual running part happens, and that is shorter than you expect unless your race is two miles or longer. My condolences go out to those unfortunate souls. Hopefully you are running the mile or something shorter.

After you rock your dancing, there is a gunshot and you are off.

You all coast off the line and lean into the curve. You strain into a staggered chorus of whipping ponytails, studded footsteps and anxious breaths. The line straightens out. Runners take a breath and relax, just for a moment.

Another curve, and runners slide into single file, angling for efficiency. Quick hip flicks crack legs like whips. You fixate on cycling whips in front of you. This goes on for a few minutes.

You pass people or you do not. Your legs keep cycling. Think tired and you will be tired; think faster and you will be faster. Cracking continues — you fly. Some people really fly. Some falter. You cross the line with no breath and jagged movements. Sit down.

Then, you are either really happy about the fact that you ran so fast and danced so well or you are not happy because you did not run so fast. If that is the case, you probably did not dance — shame on you. Regardless, you are finished finally and that is a great feeling, at least for now. You have another race at 3:40 p.m. It is 1:45  p.m. right now, and there is another race at 5:15 p.m.

So, the cycle begins again. Good luck remembering to put on your race stickers and calculating what and when you can eat before your next race, if the option of food is even applicable.

You see, running as a whole is not exactly effortless. There are parts of it that we enjoy and that come more easily to us than others. Meanwhile, there are some things we still do not know how to deal with.

Maybe the actual racing part is easiest for you, while the things that surround it like food, nerves, warming up, competitors, the restroom and other factors make your skin crawl. Or maybe the racing part is just so dreadful to you that you have no other choice but to preoccupy yourself with all sorts of pre-race rituals and obsessions so that you do not have room to psyche yourself out.

And it is also possible that you really are very relaxed about running and racing, and that meets and training are like little vacations for you. But personally, no matter how it might look like I am running effortlessly, I can tell you that it is not so easy. We do it for the parts that are fun to us, or maybe that is just me.

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