My heart hammers in my chest as the starting gun goes off. The moment I have been waiting for has finally come.
My feet automatically push off the start line as I join the mass of bodies all running down field towards the woods.
I am a Cross Country runner and I have been working all season for this moment.
I only have one chance, and if I fail I will not be able to continue on to Nationals. This is the State meet, the most important one of all.
All season I have been working towards the time I need to get in order to qualify for Nationals. This is my last chance.
The field disappears behind me as I push myself harder. My teammate is ahead of me. I need to catch up to her if I want to make it.
Balancing my breathing I push myself harder. The hills are my friend as my shoes dig into the gravel.
My teammate smiles as I catch her at the mile marker. She's in on my race plan.
Mile two my coach catches sight of me. I can see the happy surprise on his face. He expected to see my friend first, she is the fastest on the team after all.
Then mile three hits me like a stone wall. My breathing comes out in small gasps. My legs propel me forward more reluctant than the first two miles. I feel as if I am slowly dying.
Everything hurts as I pull myself up the last hill. It's the field again. Half a mile to the end and it's over. I try to push but everything in me is just about done. I won't be able to make it.
My legs feel as if they are ready to fall off. My heart feels like it is going to burst out of my chest. I worked this hard just to fail in the last quarter mile of the race.
The cheering of the team doesn't help like it usually does. I'm toast.
Then I hear a small voice beside me.
"Try and catch me!"
She says the words we joked around with during practice when we were prepping for this race. My teammate should pass me now and take the victory, but she isn't.
She is using her energy to encourage me. I look at her briefly and smile.
Her words give me a burst of energy and I push myself as fast as I can go. She is right on my heels.
"Come on, you can do it!" Her words push us past two competitors and we fly into the finish shoot. My feet hit the line before her's do.
Making it to the end we stop and gasp for air, feeling every mile of the race. I hug her happy to have just finished the race without giving up.
I can't believe I almost gave up. But she made sure that I didn't.
We both look up as we see we see one of the guys from our team run over to us. His smile is the largest I have ever seen from him.
"You guys made it! You did it!" He says clapping us on the back. Wait, what? "You made the time! You two are going to Nationals!"
I look at my friend and then back at him. We made it? Then it hits me. We made it! We both got the time!
Teamwork made it possible. We made it together.