I am just a poor boy.
Though my story’s seldom told,
I have squandered my resistance
For a pocketful of mumbles,
Such are promises
— the prophet paul simon
I’m running fartleks. Mostly just pushing the straights, coasting the turns, wondering why they had to be called fartleks. I’m not having that much fun. The problem with running hard is that it hurts. But I guess it’s what you do while chasing an elusive dream.
It’s an odd day on the track. A guy is here with his very pregnant wife and small child. He’s doing some sort of drills for what I guess will be a fire academy test or some such. Push-ups, timed miles, squats. I’m not sure about letting a 3-year-old work the stopwatch, but whatever gets you there, I suppose.
What appears to be the entire Class of 1965 of W.B. Ray High School comes out on the track as part of a school tour. Apparently the tour requires that they stand across all seven lanes. That’s OK; it’s their school. I’m just borrowing the track. Go, Texans!
A woman walks with a determined stride in Lane 5. Why would you choose Lane 5? Where are my index cards?
But mostly I’m smitten with the boxer.
He’s a young guy, maybe early 20s. Raz0r thin, all muscle. He’s wearing a well-worn Guerrero Boxing Club t-shirt. Shorts, cheap running shoes.
He’s running mile repeats, then the bleachers. Granted, our bleachers are only five rows, but he does them methodically, over and over and over and over and over and over and over. Then back to push another mile. Then bleachers over and over and over and over.
It’s easy to forget how hard athletes work. Not the big-league stars, but the little guy down the street pushing to be his best . I’m sure he doesn’t like running at all. It’s just something he has to do to stay upright in the fifth round. But he’s so determined. The problem with runs that hurt is that it hurts. But it’s just what you do while chasing an elusive dream.
I get in my fourth mile before the rain hits. It’s an OK run, faster than last week. I’m on my way. I don’t know where I’m going. I walk a quarter cooling off. He’s still there. Mile, bleachers, bleachers. Waiting for the bell to ring.
I don’t like boxing.
But I hope he kicks someone’s ass.