Running is hallowed. It should be approached with a reverence. Being one of man’s most basic attributes it should also include after all, just a touch of irreverence. I think that pretty well sums up RGS readers. Damned serious about the art, individualized enough for hubris.
I’m back to very little running. Four days a week for the last couple, 11 and 17 miles. Savoring every stride. Only unbuckling the mental straight jacket for ever so brief stints. A recent Saturday had me running with Twin Rivers YMCA Freedom Run Race Director Blaine Schmidt. On his home course. With a couple of “hills” disguised as overpasses. It was my first run in 10 weeks and the challenge of 4.5 miles was both exhilarating and daunting. Blaine too just returning from injury. My 14 years seniority and the initial overpass presented the first degree of separation. He on up ahead, Linda next, me trailing on the hind one.
Out into the countryside surrounding Valley, you may as well be 100 miles from Omaha. Both runners ahead looking strong and confident. Me finally going to the Only Thing I Know to Be Real. And the gap began shrinking. The second and larger of the two overpasses a mile and a half up there. Calculating every stride. Every breath. Every heartbeat. Every moment. Honest. Real. I’m with them now at the base of the hill, determined. Exhorting as I rush past, “Attack the hill!” My alarming approach wakening Blaine and giving Linda smile. He not yet fully aware of what’s inside my head, she knowing and happy for me.
To the crest, I gave it my best. My vainglory lasting but an instant. Blaine, with his 6’+ frame striding downhill, now pulling away again. A patient Linda, never more than 3 steps arrears going up, choosing her kill point one step beyond the apex, twin braids flying behind as she passed us both. And away they were.
But here’s the Deal With Real. You either Have It or you Don’t. Knowing as I watched them pull off that we were roughly 1.25 miles from completing the circuitous route. If you’ve got it then you know what happened next. If you don’t, then you won’t.
Question: IS THAT ALL YOU GOT?
Rebirth. Rejuvenation. Rejoice: NO! I HAVE MORE!
Another query: WILL YOU GO?
Determination. Confidence. Ecstacy. YES! AND NOW!
I worked my way back up to them and that last mile of my first run back answered every question that had been rolling around in my head for the last 10 weeks. You can take the boy out of the race but you can’t take the race out of the boy!