A mass gathers on the athletic track. Stretching their legs, jogging and talking.
I hear talk about past injuries, training and the weather.
“How are your knees; hamstrings; hips?”
“How far did you run this week?”
The starter’s gun unleashes a centipede of runners. Legs pumping up and down. The running beast moves quietly around the track. As it nears me, I hear breathing and feet slapping the artificial surface.
The running peloton contains shorts and shirts of different colours, shapes and sizes. Everybody looks and runs differently. Everybody is doing the same thing differently. Everybody has a unique style. Everybody has a unique reason for running. A reason to run around a track as fast as possible. Everybody aims for their best.
And everybody has a method of motivation. I must catch that guy in front of me. I must prevent the guy behind me passing me. They said I couldn’t do this. I’ll show them. The time on the clock tells me to push my legs faster, make bigger strides, breathe deeper, relax my mind.
I must keep that string connecting me to the guy in front of me taut. I must keep that string tight. Not let it grow longer. This is the lap I must push myself.
The runners become muscles acting instinctually and naturally. Legs contracting rhythmically resembling a gazelle or horse or tiger. The runners don’t think about where to put their next step. They concentrate on acting instinctively. They concentrate on thinking about running. Not thinking of other things. Just running.
In the final straight the arms take over. They pump harder and faster. They swing bigger and bigger and power the runner across the finish line.
After running the runners lean on their knees and talk.
“I’ve got to get under 20 minutes.”
“What are you training for?”
“What have you got coming up?”
The throwers are loosely gathered on the field. An official with her notebook says a name and a thrower takes centre stage. The thrower smoothly and gracefully spins and turns and unleashes the flying discuss through the air to land and bounce. Eyes watch and mark its divot in the grass.
Another name is called and this time brute force and power propel the discus spinning towards getting measured.
“That was 25.67m.”
“I’m aiming for 26 m. I’ve gotta get it over 26m.”
All the throwers look younger than their passport age. They all look very fit and healthy. Not just physically healthy. They all behave mentally and socially healthy. They behave well. They are kind and considerate. They take turns and don’t cheat. They help others. They always say the right things at the right time.
They all have the confidence to find out more about themselves. By taking a risk. They all push themselves. They all aim to learn more about themselves by throwing further.
Next week I pick up the javelin.
One young guy looks like he is playing a different sport. He runs and runs and runs and launches the javelin into the stratosphere. It smoothly dives and neatly digs into the grass. Perfect.
He is proving that everybody has a different physical body, experience, technique, mental attitude and medical history. He has just proved that he belongs with us because he is different. All of us throwers are different but we are all aiming for the same thing. A good throw. Maybe even a PB.
I don’t’ receive a PB. I receive a PL. I receive a Personal Learning experience. I need to work out how I could have done better. How do I prepare for next time? How should I train? If I can work out what I should have done today I will have learnt something about throwing the javelin and myself.