"Let's run," she says to Amanda one day, but she doesn't run alongside the girl. She just takes off, barely conscious that she has already joined the legions of Pat's former players all over America who are spreading the urgency, breathing into thousands of teenage girls a new relationship with Time. She's barely aware that she's part of a capillary action, like the one that men have had with boys for generations, whose power is too vast to measure. She just takes off, determined to run seven-minute miles for 45 minutes, and Amanda gasps, running farther and harder than she ever dreamed she could, just trying to keep Michelle in sight.
A few weeks later Amanda goes to a high school track with a watch. We're talking about one girl now, remember, but we're not. We're talking about a wave. It's midday in the dead of summer. Amanda starts running and realizes after three laps that she has almost nothing left, and there's only one way to come close to Michelle's seven-minute mile. Her face turns scarlet, her body boils, and her stomach turns; Nature screams at her to stop. Instead, she sprints. She sprints the entire last lap.
The watch says 7:05 as she crosses the line. Amanda can't believe she ran that fast, and she laughs as she reels and vomits near the flagpole. She laughs.