This wasn’t the way your senior season was supposed to end, on this mostly empty track at Parkway Central High School in St. Louis, just a few teammates, their parents and Coach along for the ride.
Neither was this the time trial. No, you wanted to be in that brand, spanking-new stadium in Oregon, racing against legitimate studs. By June, you yearned for the opportunity to compete among the absolute best as an 18-year-old. You wanted to be the youngest American to have performed at the U.S. Olympic Trials at your 400 meter distance.
Had that all gone to plan, you believe, you would have been the fastest of all-time at your age, maybe in the world. You would have earned that high school national record. And that would have triggered the confidence you would have needed to make a life-changing statement in front of all those professional athletes.
That would have been an honest-to-God privilege — realizing the Olympic dream. To be given the right to prove yourself in front of all those people.
And now, well, we’re here. The Age of Coronavirus.
That dream is now deferred, your routine gone, life changed. And you fear, maybe for the first time, in a way you’ve never done before. Sometimes you wonder what things you may have missed.
You’ve never been like that, holding on to past glory or future success. Remember a few years back when you let those fears determine your race before it even started? You took an L.
So OK, let’s do this again. Your teammates, their parents, your coach? Consider this a privilege to let loose for the next 400 meters. View it as an honor to be an insider among these people who have invested their time and patience with you.
Show them what you’ve been working on.
And if they already know what you’re capable of, remind them.
The date would have been June 18, the first round of the 400 meters at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon.
It’s harder to picture now, without the visual evidence, but 2020 was supposed to be the year of Justin Robinson.
The Hazelwood West High School senior, who turned 18 in March, had become the second-fastest athlete at 400 meters in high school history in June of 2019, running 44.84 seconds at the Great Southwest Classic, earning himself a World Athletics U18 record and a ticket to the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2020. Only Darrell Robinson, who ran 44.69 in 1982, had gone faster all-time as a high schooler.
“I was in New Mexico for that race when he ran it,” 5-time Olympic medalist and NBC Olympics sprint analyst Ato Boldon said. “He is a real talent.”
At just 5-feet-9 inches and 147 pounds, Robinson was the country’s most dominant high school quarter-miler across all of 2019, winning a New Balance Nationals Indoor title and going unbeaten across 10 competitions.
“I think what the sport has revealed to him,” Robinson’s sprint coach Sean Burris said, “is just how competitive he is. This was the first time something challenged him to his core.”
While Robinson certainly isn’t a household name yet, he’s definitely earning his stripes and his hometown of St. Louis is starting to take notice, with track and field fans in the state comparing him to the likes of Olympian Mike Rodgers, one of the city’s most prolific sprinters.
There was a chance — whatever percentage you want to attach to it — that Robinson could have become the youngest male in United States track and field history to earn a spot on the Olympic Team headed to Tokyo, whether outright or on a relay.
But then, poof. The coronavirus hit, and the Games were pushed back to 2021.
Robinson’s timeline grew a year longer. He’ll be a college freshman at Arizona State when the Trials return, at the somewhat-less-sexier age of 19.
“My friends ask me if he can make the Olympics and I honestly say to them, ‘It’s possible,’” said Tim Levine, who along with Burris first began coaching Robinson in the fall of 2016 at Hazelwood West. “It’s still really hard. It still means things would have to go well, and health and progression are a factor. But for a kid who didn’t run until his freshman year and to run 44.8 and split 43 (last year)? This is the first time where I believe it when I say it.”
Which brings us to the larger point: the American track and field audience connects with bright young stars. When Sydney McLaughlin reached the Olympics at 16 in 2016, it signaled the beginning of her historic journey — when she became the youngest athlete to qualify for the United States’ team since 1980 — and thrust her into the ranks of track and field’s best, a beautiful story of when youth met excellence.
Robinson certainly seemed capable of reaching those heights, too, as he began to work toward a critical juncture in his Olympic dream, a qualification to his first United States senior team. At 17, he was absolutely slicing through the all-time rankings, achieving performances typically reserved for men in college and beyond.
Sure, it wouldn’t have been easy, with the Michael Normans and Fred Kerleys of the world. A year from now, he may still have to run 43-point to even be in the picture for a spot on the team.
“That event is about to be a little nuts,” Boldon said. “44.0 didn’t (even) get a medal at Rio.”
But let’s not sell him short. He can run with anyone. Since his sophomore season, Robinson has been near-prophetic in his goal-setting. At the beginning of his junior year last spring, he opened the notepad app on his iPhone and wrote down marks of 10.32, 20.40 and 44.6, and then saved them as his background.
“I looked at them every day,” said Robinson, whose junior year then saw personal-best times of 10.32, 20.98 and 44.84.
And yet, he’s not content with those exceptional performances either, now moving his sights to times of 10.1, 20.4 and Steve Lewis’ American U20 record of 43.87, which has stood for 32 years.
“I do have something to prove,” Robinson says.
One-hit times are one thing. But after securing a historic run at Great Southwest, he compounded that result with another, winning the USATF U20 men’s 400m championship in 45.59, which qualified him for his second straight international appearance.
Then in July, he scored another win in the 400m at the Pan American U20 Championships, winning in 45.04, then dropped an absolutely jaw-dropping 43.71 anchor for Team USA on its world-junior-record-setting 4x400. A few weeks later, he ran on the senior men’s Pan American 4x400 team in Peru, polishing off a near-identical 43.80 split.
“He just has the complete package when it comes to being a sprinter,” said Dion Miller, Arizona State’s head track and field coach. Miller, who’s been in contact with Robinson weekly in the time since, will take on the mission of leading this young talent into the future with the Sun Devils.
In all, Robinson broke 46 seconds four times in the open 400m in nine tries outdoors in 2019 -- which includes two prelims. No other high schooler broke 46 seconds once.
“In that field, at that meet, I wasn’t surprised,” Burris said of the Pan American U20 Championship wins, “because he had been doing those things all along. Those times were just reinforcements of what I already knew.”
But Burris also knows another thing: Robinson’s journey is just beginning.
By February, you’re back in the gym, readying for the season. Your right hip is bothering you slightly, but you know the little things will strengthen it, prepare it for the long run.
“What we’ve been trying to do is make sure we have his abductors and abdominal strength and glutes really strong,” Burris tells a reporter. “Sometimes he’s too fast for his body.”
First are dynamic drills, a series of hip-flexor and calf movements aimed to buoy the tendons and muscles. Then it’s over to the weight room, where you’ll incorporate lifts like the clean and jerk and the decline bench press.
“The challenge for me as a coach is to try to be patient with him and let him do things on his own timetable,” Burris continues.
You load 100 pounds on the bar, steady your feet and explode in one motion. Whoosh.
A muscular man in his 40s, the next mat over, watches on his rest cycle. Clearly impressed, he decides to repeat the same movement, only with a few more plates.
Okay, old man.
“Nice job on that,” you say.
“It wasn’t until I really started to lift weights that I became the athlete that I am today,” the older gentlemen, unprompted, begins to say.
Whoops. Didn’t realize this would happen.
You smile and nod politely. But you’re also thinking: You know it’s not the size of the dog, right?
“Some day when you get to my age,” the man continues, not realizing who the Olympic hopeful runner is before him. “You’ll get there. It takes time and patience and most of all persistence.”
OK, you nod again. He can get behind that last part.
January 18, 2020, was an interesting day. Robinson will remember it for the way he felt on the car ride back to the hotel with his father after being gut-punched with his first loss -- at least at a distance he was favored in -- in more than a year.
Tough love Byron came out.
“Hey, you got your ass beat. Deal with it.”
“But he was a high schooler!”
It’s not lost on Justin now that the challenges he will face in the years to come will only get stiffer, and they won’t come with a disclaimer of age. He knows that one historic moment at the age of 17 could be just that, a memory, if he doesn’t choose to move on and surpass it.
“Never underestimate anyone,” Robinson later said of his loss to high school senior Cameron Rose at The VA Showcase in the 300m. “Because as soon as you do that, it’s like ‘Oh, it’s too late.’”
There are prime examples he only needs referred to, like national high school record holders Darrell Robinson (outdoor) and Elzie Coleman (indoor), men who did not have Hollywood endings to their track careers, nor fame attached to them.
Early success and then poor decision-making at early ages only heightened that disconnect, and both suffered as a result, Darrell Robinson with mental health and Coleman with law enforcement. Sure, they both recovered decades later, but at what expense, and what lifetime did they miss?
Robinson gets the general idea. But he says he isn’t worried about the pressures fantastic success may present. He’s not consumed by the idea of being a prodigy. He doesn’t seem himself as a larger-than-life character, a diva. He knows himself.
“If I do have a down year, quote-unquote, then I’ll just have to come back for it,” he said.
Since that loss, Robinson has reexamined his priorities, and his objectives. He’s responded well since then.
“I won’t lie about it,” said Robinson, who nonetheless ended up with a fantastic performance in Virginia, posting the fourth-best indoor 300-meter effort in 32.87. “I went in underestimating my opponent.”
The imperfections, in his mind, were an invaluable experience. Burris didn’t make the trip, meaning Robinson had to evaluate that race strategy on his own. He was forced to execute in real time; and he believes that will give him the physical compass to one day meet those demands again.
Just a few weeks later, Robinson once again faced adversity. In his warm-up at the Millrose Games, he tweaked his right hip so much that he feared it would keep him out of the professional 300-meter race against NCAA collegiate 400 meter hurdles record holder Rai Benjamin.
But like his state championship performance six months prior, he showed the willingness to compete in a situation that wasn’t stacked in his direction.
“I didn’t want to show people that I was scared to run the pros,” he said. “So I stayed in the race. I was fighting through it, the little aches and pains.”
Robinson ultimately didn’t have a second gear to challenge Benjamin, a professional athlete for Nike. But he also didn’t let anyone else beat him, posting a time of 33.17.
Burris and many others around him believe Robinson has the kind of DNA where he can survive in any situation, against men with NCAA finals, or Diamond League races under their belts. He doesn’t get distracted. Part of the strategy in 2020 was to challenge men in races where he wasn’t the favorite.
“If we wanted to win every race, every year, we can do that,” Burris said. “It’s very easy to create a scenario where we can go into every meet and win 100 percent of the races 100 percent of the time. But for me that was never really a consideration.”
Byron Robinson also saw that fight long before his son took on the sport in 2015. “He’s got what I had, and that’s that feeling of ‘I’ll run someone down,’” he said. “He has such a big heart.”
It’s that desire which is a critical reason as to why Robinson was such a hot commodity out of Hazelwood West for countless Division I universities. Being an athlete of Robinson’s capability is one thing — his five-star times recruit themselves — but you can’t teach someone to be a gym rat.
“When it comes to his dedication and his talent and his goals, he’s just an outstanding young man,” Arizona State’s Miller said.
For Robinson, the waning stages of the recruiting process were stressful. He took official visits to Houston, the University of Southern California, Baylor, and Arizona State, though the latter three were his final choices.
It still didn’t prevent coaches from countless programs from wiggling their way onto the phone bill, begging for in-home visits. That pressure, Justin says, ultimately made him feel slightly uncomfortable.
“There were coaches who were trying to convince my dad to go to another school,” Robinson said. “I told them, I don’t want to do a home visit with them. But they were still calling.”
While one of his good friends, Hasani Barr, went to Baylor, Robinson narrowed his choices down to USC and Arizona State, and he eventually sided with the Sun Devils, valuing the connection he made with Miller on two visits to the school — one made before Miller was head coach (which didn’t go well) and the other when he was.
While Byron was hoping his son would choose the tradition of USC, Robinson ultimately found an easiness to Tempe, Arizona, and was impressed by the school’s balance of academics and athletics — he saw the work tutors were doing with athletes in real-time.
“They were really engaged with it,” Robinson said of Arizona State.
“I can tell you, the recruitment process was a delight,” Miller said. “We dialogued throughout and he was up front with me and I was up front with him.”
Robinson’s choice ultimately represents a bet he’s making on Miller. And for what it’s worth, while the Arizona State coach can’t guarantee Olympic qualification or eventual gold medal glory, he believes in Robinson’s ability to make that next step, 100-percent.
“I’ve been fortunate to have some very talented runners, particularly in the 400 meters,” Miller said of one former athlete at Texas Tech, who eventually made a World Championships team in 2009. “I’ll say he reminds me of Gil Roberts. Gil ran 46 seconds and 20.6 out of high school, and Gil was the same way. Justin reminds me of him and his talents.”
That being said, Robinson is ready to create his own history.
The month of March is always the start of something special, and maybe it’s not coincidental that the beginning of track season coincides with your birthday on the 30th.
Maybe it’s all predestined, the way your happiness interconnects with this sport. You never really gave it a second thought, or maybe it’s just instinctual: Races make you hungry. Your mood seems to swell upward around that idea, even if you don’t race until April.
There are other things, of course, less obvious. There’s the way the weather changes. Or maybe it’s the distinctive scent of the track that draws you in. Those variables can only mean one thing, track season is in full swing.
You know March is a time for important training sequences, that these weeks are driven by purpose. Give respect to every rep.
But your outdoor opener is going to be a good one, and you’re ready for it: A meet in Grenada on April 4 against professionals. Then there are invitationals planned in Arizona (Sun Devil Classic), California (Mt. SAC) and maybe one or two more before your big week at the Trials.
Your thoughts turn to your goals. Maybe you could hit 44 again?
Then again, you don’t want to get ahead of yourself.
Take pride in the process, you think.
Let’s begin where all tales about exceptional young athletes do: With the origin story.
The first time Robinson won a race.
The way the 18-year-old remembers it, back in 2016, it was the fourth of July and he was preparing to enter Hazelwood West High School as a freshman.
Robinson’s cousin, BJ Croft, was fresh off his team’s fourth-place finish at the MSHSAA Class 5 Championships that spring — the best placement in school history — and he had an air of confidence about him. So he challenged his younger cousin head-on, man-up, for the title of fastest-family-member.
Robinson’s father, Byron, had run at Norfolk State University and East St. Louis High in the ‘90s — crazy enough, he was even roommates with Burris — so there was family history to think about, but Justin, a talented football player, hadn’t really taken to track and field just yet. Was it worth it?
At the time, he stood just 5-foot-4 and a buck 20, the youngest of three siblings, but he wasn’t about to back down from a challenge. Robinson wore a certain confidence to him, too. So they lined up, flat-soled shoes side-by-side, family members peering in the distance.
“I beat him,” Robinson said. “And (BJ) comes back ‘That’s not a real race. We were running on grass.’”
What, he needed more proof?
“So I said to him, ‘Okay dude, I’ll run track then.’”
Roughly six months later, Levine, the high school coach in his second year leading Hazelwood West, saw Robinson for the first time indoors. He entered him in a high school section of the 400m at the University of Missouri.
“As a coach, you see someone who runs a 54 and you’re excited about him,” Levine said. “It’s not like 54 is that special at that age, but you could see even at that age his desire. Every race after that, the times just started dropping.”
Levine and Burris like to think Croft’s role was a major influence in the early stages of Robinson’s beginning. Were it not for the cousin, would all of this have played out like it did?
“BJ was an all-state athlete,” Levine said. “He brought it out of him.”
Of course, Croft never held a grudge for that loss. Instead, he invited Robinson into his inner circle and played a huge part in his cousin’s early growth. The following spring, Robinson hit 21.77 on the clock for 200m and 48.03 for 400m, both top 15 marks in the freshman class nationwide.
“The older guys took me under their wing when I was younger,” Robinson said. “(BJ) always made sure I came to every practice and didn’t miss anything.”
And then came the progression, like a whiff of smoke. As a sophomore, Robinson officially broke out in a big way, lowering his 200m best to 21.39 and his 400m to 46.20, which were part of multiple efforts at those time-tiers in 2018.
More importantly, though, he became next-level in big races, qualifying for the World U20 Championships in Finland after a fourth-place finish at the USATF Junior Championships at the age of 16. The crazy part about that, Robinson remembers, is that he wasn’t even 100-percent. Hip was bothering him. He almost didn’t even line up.
“I went to a chiropractor the day before the race to get loosened up, and she dug too deep in my hip and it triggered something,” he said. “I tried to go out on the track on that day and I couldn’t, so I was like ‘Woah.’ We done left. We didn’t want anyone to see me like that. I didn’t want to show anyone any weakness.”
Still, he returned a day later and stepped to the line. Why? He wasn’t going to pass up a chance to represent Team USA.
But halfway into the final, he remembers being nearly last.
“I said, ‘Forget it’ at that point,” he said. “If my hip was gonna hurt, it’s gonna hurt. I just went.”
Robinson ultimately finished fourth, grabbing a spot on USA’s relay team, which also consisted of Howard Fields, Matthew Boling, and Elija Godwin.
Not far off was Burris, who was overlooking the final from the raised concrete at the University of Indiana’s track. Back home, most agree the 49-year-old’s coaching was the mojo that allowed Robinson to develop so much over that limited amount of time. To them, it was all a matter of science, and Burris was a trader for an investment firm.
For one, Levine said, Burris had previous experience coaching elite athletes. Roughly eight or nine years prior, the duo was at LaDue Horton Watkins High School. Burris worked specifically with Division I talents Samantha Levin, who went 2:06.74 in the 800m, and Montanae Speight, a 53.62 runner for 400m.
When Levine got the job at Hazelwood, he knew he needed an insider, someone who lived and breathed track.
“My favorite thing to do is to have 1-2 people on staff who are track savants. This is just what they love to do,” Levine said. “In high school you want people in the building who have a similar vision. That’s me and Burris.”
Burris, a single father of three and a man of few words, just had this way. When asked by athletes what they needed to do to hit the important times, he often just pointed to a chart. “Run this time, in these workouts — day after day after day — and you’ll have a chance.”
Robinson prescribed to that same theory. What times do I have to hit, coach?
Sometimes it was just simple mathematics. So they worked to hit those numbers, day after day. But then again, numbers couldn’t show desire. And Burris believed Robinson’s performance at the USATF U20 Championships was important in a way you could explain on a chart.
While Robinson may have felt fear, it was his instinct that got him back into the race — and it was instinct that helped drive his third leg in the 4x400 from seventh to second for Team USA at the World U20 Championships as a 16-year-old in 2018. He ran 44.8 seconds.
What separated Robinson from other athletes, Burris ultimately realized, was the work ethic. Where other athletes failed at the little things, Robinson did not. He was the walking definition of a gym rat, soaking up information like a sponge. Even if he was a bit prickly.
“In a lot of ways, we’ve been at multiple meets now, many with professional athletes,” Burris said. “And he’s ahead of them, just in the way he’s prepared himself for those situations.
“People ask me all the time. What’s the special thing about him versus all of the other kids I’ve worked with? I tell ‘em, ‘Justin has never missed a practice. Not once. Never.’ In my eyes, if you’re practicing, you can get better. You can learn.”
Nearly a year later, out of nowhere — after not breaking 45 that season just yet — Robinson swooped in for that solo 44 in New Mexico.
You might ask what workouts he achieved to position him for that historic race, but the honest-to-God truth is that he performed none.
He took a full week off following the state championships in Missouri. Then, after arriving in Albuquerque, he jumped on the track. Two days before the race, Robinson underwent his usual dynamic drills. Burris thought, Hey, why not, let’s just open him up.
He told Robinson to hit race pace for 320 meters.
First came the straightaway, then the curve, and then, like a tornado of legs, he scorched past the 300 meter mark in a reported 31 seconds.
What kind of world are we living in now? Your days are much different now, beginning and ending without much in between … only a lot more video games.
Those six-a-week practices with Coach — your place of peace — have been scaled back to three. Your local gym is closed. Teammates? Left for FaceTime calls. Should you do one more round of crunches? Guess so.
If we’re were being real, you’re frustrated — how can you achieve the Olympic dream by doing wind-sprints in your backyard?
But then again, by now, the end of April, you understand. Last week, Coach lost a family member to the coronavirus. Two of your teammate’s family members have been personally affected by it, too.
Have to be extra cautious around people now.
You know the coronavirus is all around you, even if you can’t see it or hear it. And you know the world is changing. The only important objective left? Keep yourself accountable and on the clock.
When 3:30 p.m. rolls around, there’s still track practice.
It was a clear day on May 25, 2019. When Robinson stepped through the gates at Columbia High School, knowing this was likely the final state championship meet of his career, few things felt more powerful than the idea of a team title.
From the day he first donned a Wildcats jersey in 2017, that was his mission, a piece of history at Hazelwood West.
That was the whole reason he gave up football, following his father Byron and his cousin BJ into track and field. His freshman season gave him a taste, with his first state title in the 400m. And then his sophomore year calcified those dreams, with Hazelwood West finishing sixth after his two state wins in the 200m and 400m and his third-place finishes in the 100m and 4x400m.
Hazelwood West hadn’t won a state title since 1985. And so Robinson knew his objective was to make sure that happened, even if the day would end up being the hardest athletic performance of his life: He needed wins in the 100m, 200m, 400m and 4x200m to make it happen.
“It definitely was not easy,” Levine said. “Doing every event over one day.”
That certainly made things harder. Missouri was still healing following a devastating tornado that ripped through Jefferson City just a few days earlier, killing three. The massive twister crushed houses and everything in between, including the track facility where the state championships were held. Missouri’s state athletic association decided to split its three classifications into three one-day meets, with Robinson’s event, the Class 5 Championships, rerouted to Columbia.
Normally, it would have taken place over two days, giving Robinson time to perform in rounds and then rest, but that wasn’t the case this time.
“There was supposed to be no prelims,” Levine said. “But they ended up having prelims in the 1 and 2, so we had do that on one day.”
That worried Levine. He didn’t want to race Robinson that many times in one day, knowing his long-term future was far more important than a state team title.
He also didn’t want to predict what six races could do to his body, and he didn’t want to be on the wrong end of a career-ending injury. But Robinson urged him — no, he absolutely pleaded with him — to hand over the keys.
“Rounds, they’re nothing out of the ordinary for me,” Robinson said. “We do a fast workout and then 10-15 minutes later, we do another one. We practice like that.”
Robinson knew that part of his legacy would eventually be attached to something greater during his final year of track for Hazelwood West: That state championship banner. To be remembered as an all-time great, he knew he had to achieve all-time greatness. Win a state title as a junior, then pursue his Olympic dream outside high school track as a senior.
He accepted that path.
“He said no,” Levine said. “He said, ‘Put me in all of them.’”
So the dice was rolled. A strong Lee’s Summit North squad, led by talented jumper Devon Richardson, gave Hazelwood West its strongest push.
But Robinson was just too much. After gliding through the 100 meter preliminaries with the second fastest time, he wiped the field in the final with a Missouri Class 5 record, winning in a wind-legal 10.56 (-0.8) seconds.
Then the 400 meter final was the team’s game-changing event, with Robinson and teammate Brian Stiles going 1-2 in 46.30 and 47.91 seconds, respectively. That earned the Wildcats a total of 18 points. Robinson, in particular, was particularly motivated, as he erased 6-time state champion Domenik Peterson’s 16-year-old state record of 46.89 to become the Missouri all-class leader.
Later, in the 200m, Robinson fought off a strong charge from Lee’s Summit Micah Manning, winning by just five-hundredths of a second in 21.96 (-2.3).
The pièce-de-résistance was the team’s incredible 4x200 relay, which saw Robinson anchor the team in a finishing time of 1:26.44, a state-leading effort and a top-50 performance nationwide.
In all, his herculean day helped earn Hazelwood West that coveted state title with 66 points. The team was elated afterward, with Robinson joining his squad in celebration, a Polaroid snapshot of jumping bodies and high-pitched screams.
“I was told it would be the biggest moment of your life,” Robinson later said. “I was stoked about that. When people would ask me, would you miss it your senior year if you didn’t run in high school? I said, ‘As long as I have that state title,’ that’s all I wanted to do as a high schooler.”
Through it all, it would have been easy for a talented young teenager to believe in his ability, to proclaim to the masses how good he is after each win. But the typically reserved Robinson never displayed such an ounce of that bravado.
“Talk is cheap,” he said. “My actions will speak louder. My mom and dad taught me that. You don’t never have to start nothing, talk trash. Don’t do that. You put the work in, you put your effort in and you’ll be good. That speaks for itself.”
So do titles.
You don’t sense it at first, not when you first explode out of the blocks, your mind racing for the first time in nearly three months.
Nor do you feel it as you build-up over that next 100 meter stretch, blitzing past your teammate on the outside, your legs and arms compounding all that raw force, nearly five times your body weight, into the ground.
But that curve?
Oh man, the power.
This just feels different.
Watching from a distance, Coach tilts his head down at his watch.
Up until this point, a little over 20 seconds in, he’s been curious as to whether you’re even taking this workout serious enough — understandable considering everything the world has gone through in these last few months.
But now he changes his mind. He sees it.
That you’re finally pushing, maybe a bit too hard, but pushing nonetheless.
He realizes you’ve finally accepted this tiny moment, that you’re putting these seconds together, piecing together a memory.
In these final 10-plus seconds, you concentrate on nothing else, not your past or your future, your dreams or your setbacks.
You only see the finish line.