Racing is life, and anything that happens before or after is just waiting.
— Don Winkley
He’s at the gym again today. Must be a Saturday routine.
One of the most prolific ultrarunners in American history. On a recumbent bike behind me. Just pedaling along on a Saturday evening.
I’m running on treadmill no. 3. He’s switching to an elliptical trainer. We’ve done this dance before. I never cease to be amazed. It’s him.
I’ve seen him here several times and wrote about him once, wondering if it was really him. Today there’s no doubt.
I’m wearing a 1993 Run in the Sun 8k shirt. He’s wearing his Trans-America race shirt. I’m guessing if you ever want to compete in a Battle of the Running T-shirts, just show up with your Trans-Am shirt. Contest over.
I give up after a couple of miles, the victim of an ill-advised ice cream binge in the early afternoon. When will I ever learn? He’s still going at a leisurely pace as I leave.
It’s my weird little Twilight Zone, a Saturday night tradition. A reminder of how odd life is. The guy you grew up worshiping is a row away. When I was a semi-serious ultrarunner in my early 30s, he existed only on the pages of Ultrarunning magazine. I always thought he was black and white. But he actually seems quite colorful. And close. So close.
He ran 201 miles in 48 hours. Me? I ran two. Not quite 48 hours.
See you next Saturday. Maybe I’ll throw in a third mile to impress him.
Life is funny …