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Have you ever set your expectations so low that there was no chance you could fail? I ran in a race once where I did exactly that. I convinced myself that I was never going to win in a million years. Was it just to protect myself from that feeling of failure? Here’s a poem about what happened.

I’m never going to win this
I’ll maybe aim top three
There’s loads of people here
Who look hungrier than me
With their lycra shorts
And poker faces
Bodies made
For winning races
I’m just running for the fun
But some of these
were born to run
I’ll stretch a bit
it’s not long now
Focus my mind
Remember how
I won a race at
School before
I’ll aim top three
Maybe top four
Break my PB
That would be nice
I take deep breaths
First once, then twice
A tension coils
Up inside
The time has come
I move to slide
My feet into
The sloping blocks
A silence falls
Starting gun cocked
Each heart beat
Hammering my chest
And glancing left
I see the rest
All hardened muscle
Eyes of steel
Survey each other
Like a meal
Sweat and blood
And bone and skin
Set for war
And built to win
A gunshot sounds
The feet start pounding
From the blocks
A peace surrounding
Me as I get
In my stride
Round the first bend
We smoothly glide
Two boys already
Lead the way
But at that rate
They’ll never stay there
I feel each leg
Rise and fall
Nothing else
Matters at all
Mind and body
Only run
I’m feeling good
I’m having fun
Two more try
to bridge the gap
As we close in
on the second lap
I am 100 yards behind
Not going to win
But I don’t mind
I’m in the groove
I’m feeling great
My heartbeat
At a steady rate
On the back straight
I pick up speed
Adrenaline
Begins to feed
My brain
With it’s first
Grain of doubt
The four ahead
Are running out
Of energy
It’s very clear
The closest of them
Coming near
Heavy breathe
And tired limb
You know I might
I might just win
And as I round the final bend
Up in the stands I hear my friends
They shout my name
I pound the track
I’m sprinting now
Wind at my back
I’m into third place
Second now
Fifty to go
And then somehow
I am ahead
I’m going to win
A magic tingles
Through my skin
I had not
In a million years
Prepared my ears
To hear these cheers
To win for me
So unexpected
Expectations
Stand corrected
Imagine what
I could achieve
If only I would
Just believe

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