A sign of true pals:
The Flying Matzes had an aid station in Sacramento. I was planning a track run in South Tejas and asked if they could stock it for me. An hour later, Dew and Oreos. Amazing.
Just trying to walk sub-15. A nice day. Football boys on the field. Much testosterone. Large guys yells across field to larger guy, “You’re such a bitch!!!” Is that even proper football terminology? Apparently not, because the other guy comes towar him. “You can’t call me a bitch,” he says ominously. “I wasn’t talking about you,” the first guy offers meekly. “I was talking about him.” He points to a small guy standing next to him. They apparently agree that the little guy is a bitch. The little guy does not disagree. Good to know that nothing much has changed in the 40 years since I was a teenager.
I’m mostly walking, so the football game is fine entertainment. These guys are graceful athletes. Feels like they’re the high school team sneaking in a workout, but I won’t tell. This football game is for fun, not for glory. I wish all sport could be like that.
As I hit the 4-mile mark, the usual assortment of walkers and joggers is joined by two people I haven’t seen before. One is a shortish spark plug guy, accompanied by a tall, athletic-looking woman. I want their index card explaining what their story is. Soon enough, I get it.
He is coaching her. They go through a warmup jog and some stretches. I wonder what he could possibly show her. He’s not much to look at. Then they launch into their first 100.
He comes by in a blur. Think Tyson Gay with a tailwind. He’s a natural sprinter. Head up, body leaning forward, pistons for hands. He flows in that way gifted runners do. Seconds later, the woman comes by. She’s OK, but has that mortal gait. I still don’t know what he can teach her. Run faster, dammit!!! It must be hard to be a rocket and try tweak a diesel. But speed is relative, I suppose. Likely a second cousin.
It’s a different world, the 100-meter sprint. I’m in the 6-mile stroll. It’s OK. I’m slowly but surely giving up. Running is just a memory. But it’s a lovely day. I have all the Mountain Dew and Oreos I could ever want. And I’m still trying. I’m making my own gift. One mile at a time …