I don’t recall gnats on treadmill No. 4. But I have 300 running companions as I set out on my 5 miler, part of the Lit Chick 18-Week Training Plan.
It’s 80 degrees and the 301 of us are running the road course next to the Y. The usual Saturday crowd of runners, cyclists and baby strollers is out. Great vibes.
The gnats eventually lose interest in me and move on to a guy running in his triathlon suit (why would you run in a triathlon suit except on race day?) so I have the road to myself.
Click and Clack are shocked when an elderly woman tells them that her grandson says the Mini-Cooper is a chick car. Their producer drives a Mini-Cooper. This amuses them greatly.
All in all, a painless run, just the way the day-before long run is supposed to be. Life is good.
As I walk back to the car along the sidewalk next to the Y, a kid who appears to be about 6 is walking with his mom. He’s sporting a medal from the swim meet that has just concluded.
I got a medal! He tells her. Yes, you did, she replies.
They called out my name! Did you hear them call out my name? Yes, I did, she replies.
Remember you didn’t want to swim the medley, she asks. I think you won because you swam the medley. (A subtle reminder that it’s always wise to listen to Mom. It flies right over his head.)
I got a medal! He says again, and stops to inspect it just to make sure.
Maybe it’s something we forget as we get old. The joy of athletics, of pushing ourselves, the simple pleasure of accomplishment. In the end, whatever speed we are, we’re all winners.
As it turns out, I placed first in today’s Ahwatukee Y 5 mile Invitational. It’s not quite a medal, but still. The first-place prize: A chocolate Frosty.
Long may we run.