I wanted to be a famous athlete. Not for the recognition but because of what it represents, winning.
Today is Saturday, long run day. Typically, I run two or three shorter runs in the week, early morning runs on the trails around my home. It’s a training schedule I’ve stuck with more or less consistently for thirty years.
Back then, runners on the roads of North Wales were a rare sight. Cars would slow down, sometimes a moron would shout lewd suggestions out of a window wound all the way down. Sometimes they’d turn the car around for a second pass. Sometimes they’d pull off the road up ahead and wait for me to run by. Once, a man leaned out of his car to slap me as I passed.
I haven’t won a race yet. I’ve never placed last either, this is the real miracle. I wanted to win, and for a long time, I tried hard to place higher. Speed work took me so far, ageing into another category should one day get me the rest of the way.
Today, I was in a rare mood. You might recognise it; I felt strong, intentional. I can’t create this feeling, it just happens. It feels like I’ve reached out and touched a moment.
When I run, my mind drifts from this thing to that, chores, kids, work. Not so much today. Today was for asking questions and for answering, well.
Will I win?
Twenty years ago, it was hard to imagine I’d ever run again. My family was told to come to the ICU where I’d been since my emergency surgery. I was too out of it to know the worry I was putting them through, and for a long time, they didn’t tell me about the phone call from the hospital.
I remember the anaesthesiologist stopping by with some excellent drugs for my nausea. He asked me what I was doing, I said stretching as best I could. Three weeks later I went out for a short run with the dog.
All running is winning. That’s the truth, my truth.