They say timing is everything. But really, it’s not. It’s all about finishing.
I’ve just completed Round 1 in the Year of Fleshman©. It was a course on the canal that I ran once in a previous life. Out and back, dirt, flat, not much to it. Sorta like running back on the Corpus course without the pelicans.
It’s odd. As I plod toward the turnaround, I watch the first guy on the way back, then the second, then a bunch, and then everyone. And then me. But that’s OK. I’m somewhere between threshold and death on the HR, alternating between a trot and a stroll and an untimely death. It’s a good, honest effort, a baseline to see if I can get faster. 40:13, a 13:11 pace with a 146 hr. I’m OK with it.
I cross the finish, collect my 30-pound finisher’s medal (what the hell is it with 5k medals these days?) and hang around. They have bagels with peanut butter, which probably violates the KRG code, but they’re good, in a creepy smooth peanut butter way. And if they’re not from Brooklyn, they’re just bread with a hole anyhow. Might as well deface them.
I marvel at the old guy in the Spider Man costume. You have to be fast to run in a Spider Man costume. He is. I bask in the warm, fuzzy feeling of a small race, that camaraderie of a virtual community for an hour or so on a cool Saturday morning. I hang out at the waterfall. Who knew we had a waterfall? And then I meander back to the finish line to watch the last peeps come in.
And there he is.
A mom has been running with a baby stroller, pushing a kid who does not have her own bib and therefore I assume is a bandit. AND the kid is in front of the woman, which must mean she has been pacing her the entire race. As I’m about to lodge an Official Protest, her husband meets her about 30 yards from the finish line with her son.
He’s just your average kid — tiny jogging suit, cool running shoes, big smile, goofy haircut. He has Down syndrome, but he doesn’t much care at the moment. Dad lets him go, and he runs out to greet Mom. She takes his hand and they run in together. It’s a short race, but he owns it. He’s so damn excited to be running. He trots triumphantly over the finish line. Hugs all around. He finished his own little race. The crabby old introvert’s heart melts for the millionth time.
You don’t get to choose your cards in life; you can only play the hand you’re dealt. A speedster in a Spider Man suit, an old guy with a failing heart, a kid with a lifetime of challenges ahead of him. In the end, the time doesn’t matter. All that matters is making it to the finish line the best you can. And he did. We all did.
Good race, kid.
But I’m still reporting your sister for banditing.