I can, with a whole heart, confess that training these past two days have been harder than any track practice I ever partook in, in high school. I’ve collapsed at the door of our apartment each day, laid on the carpet, and dealt with the same cramp in a muscle that I’ve never had cramps in.
I suppose you can call this progress.
I’ve been working hard on developing a stride, or the spacing between my legs when moving down the track. Embarrassingly, I do not have a stride to speak of. Even at 6’5 I move as if I’m 5’1, it’s actually a terrible site to behold. Today was another hot, muggy day on the track. I spent time just working through a few mile intervals, just to say that I was on the track (my legs felt like pillars of rocks, I mean horrible, horrible exhaustion in them). On my way out to the gym afterwards, completely soaked to the skin in sweat, I stumbled across a former high school classmate. She was on her way to cross country practice at the high school that I train at, as their women’s head coach.
This woman, while in high school, would lap me during the two mile run at practice. In fact, during the state two mile event she went on to lap a large chunk of the field. For growing up in a school without a cross country program she was the ideal distance runner. She eventually ran in college, became an All American, ran sub-5:00.00 miles, and just excelled at everything that came natural to a runner. She wasn’t a rival to me, she was a reminder of how far I was behind everyone else in life.
After a quirky look, she recognized me walking back to my car. We spoke briefly about marriage, her being unaware of what life was for me only a few years ago. She’s a teacher, happily married for two years, still runs and is loving life. She was kind, just as she had always been. She asked if I was getting back into shape, a slight hit to my pride, and I responded with my quest over the next two years. I didn’t talk much about my life because truthfully, aside from my beautiful wife (who I did talk about), I realized that there wasn’t much for me to talk about. I lost my job at Subway after ten years, I substitute taught, I was just released from my job earlier this week…it’s a bit more upsetting versus the person who has been happily teaching for five years in the same district.
On my way out to my second round of training, at the gym, I pondered down the road at the notion of being the kid that refuses to grow up and accept reality. As I come across, slowly, more people that I went to high school with I’m realizing how many of them grew up, got their acts together, and live a meaningful life. They have steady jobs, raising families, and enjoying the contentment of the life that they’ve been given.
I couldn’t help but silently wonder, “Where did I go wrong?” We all know the loaded answers that are associated with this, but between an absolutely grueling training session, and seeing someone that just had the advantage over me in every aspect of life then (and now), it just finishing the process of wiping me out after a surprisingly stressful week.
Long, slow run tomorrow morning? Perhaps, only if the pillars haven’t started to crumble yet.