Miles from nowhere
I guess I’ll take my time
Oh yeah, to reach there
— the prophet yusuf islam
I go out today and can only muster a mile, and at a pace that would leave me in the dust if walking with the old couples making their loops at the mall. All hope is lost.
And then I realize the answer to being able to cover only a mile: I’ll be a miler!!!
The mile. I’ve always thought it held a certain magic after reading Parker’s “Once a Runner,” the epic tale of Quenton Cassidy and his chase for the perfect mile. That stirring quote: “The back of her neck smelled like a parakeet’s tummy, sweet hay and fluff.” Which has nothing to do with running, but I think we had a parakeet when I was a kid. It’s all starting to make sense.
If I can only muster a mile, then I can muster my best mile. Today’s 22:38 must surely be worth something, right? So I looked for the American record. I didn’t bother looking up the world record, guessing it likely was held by some Papua New Guinea guy. They export their excess palm oil and coffee, you know. How are you supposed to compete with a guy who has unlimited palm oil and coffee?
But as it turns out, the current world record for my age group, 60-64, is held by an American (note to self: cancel palm oil IV drip). I was pleasantly surprised that the record appears to be quite attainable.
Apparently, a guy in Colorado was thinking the same thing as I was. Dan King of Boulder, 61. He focused on the mile during the pandemic, and on Aug. 29 took a shot at the record held by a guy in New Zealand, if that’s a real place, and if so, I hope they can explain what they did with the Old Zealand.
According to Runner’s World, which I haven’t actually read since the Mary Decker days, Mr. King clocked a 4:49.08 at a track meet in Columbia, S.C., to claim the record.
He had two pacers, which I found appropriate because the movie “Wayne’s World” also featured two Pacers, and I always thought Joe Perry was a fine guitarist although the whole Bugs Bunny in a dress thing was a little creepy.
So there’s my target. 4:49.08. Piece. of. Cake.
∎ I’m not sure Mo would let me buy a Pacer, much less two of them. She wants a Subaru. Mo is weird. Although I’ve never asked about her views on Bugs Bunny in a dress.
∎ All of the tracks are still closed here because of the pandemic, making proper mile workouts impossible unless your name is Emily Sisson. Mine is not.
∎ Saying “piece of cake” makes me want cake, which likely will slow me down.
∎ My left shoe has a hole in the top, a possible wind drag at high speeds.
∎ Oh, also, my current mile pace is 22:38, which is roughly an hour or so slower than Mr. King’s record. I suppose that’s why he’s called the King. Or possibly it’s because that’s his name.
I find solace in another “Once a Runner” quote: “These fundamental imbalances led them into concentric circles of ever decreasing size: a nautilus shell of their discontent.” Parker is kinda weird. Likely too much palm oil. That’s likely why I was never interested in the mile. Plus, I’m slow. I have no idea if I had a nautilus shell when I was a kid.
So that’s that. I’m a miler. Just gotta knock 18 minutes off of my mile time to reach glory, and a possible cover in the Runner’s World Papua New Guinea edition.
The Trial of Miles; Miles of Trials. It’s on.
Or maybe I’ll just hang out at the mall and race the elderly couples.
Guess I’ll take my time, oh yeah, to reach there …
desert vista, 9 a.m., 91
121, 0.59, 1.4, v34