I have been running pretty consistently since January. It feels so good. Last October when I was trying to get back into it, my pace was over 10:30 min per mile. I told myself I would NOT let that defeat me. I had been slower before.Hell, I had not been able to finish even one mile before. So I decided to be proud of that pace, and I was.
That's not to say I wasn't envious of faster runners. I was just satisfied and happy to be out there. It didn't matter the speed. Just that I kept at it. I knew speed along with distance would come as a reward for my consistency. My reward, for sticking with it. I am in this for the long haul. So that was fine with me. I could handle it.
I have mentioned getting lapped by senior citizens before, and I was not joking.
There was this one silver haired man in particular. He has inspired me so. Every time I tried my feet (if you will) at running, he was there, on that track. I would get there and he would be running. I would finish my mile, eventually, painstakingly, my two miles and he would still be running.
I would watch him with awe and envy. One day I would say to myself, I'll be like that man. I'll be the first one here and the last to leave. I'll be slim and strong. The young people will notice me and maybe snicker that I even bother to run at my age, but my steady feet and consistent pace will earn me their respect.
As time went on and the years fell away. I finally dared to call myself a runner. I would run 3-7 miles at that same track at a 8:10 min per mile pace. I was small, strong and steady. Sometimes I wouldn't see the old man for weeks. His absence was felt. I would worry. My dad and I would talk about our admiration for this gentleman, and how we just wanted to be like him.
One day after a long absence, I saw him, at the track. I said hello, and told him how I always saw him and missed him in his absence. Then he said to me, "I see you all the time too. There aren't that many women runner's here. You're very fast. Good for you, keep it up".
I couldn't believe my inspiration had ever noticed me. I was elated. We got into the track, nodded goodbye and got to our runs.
I got pregnant, ran most of my pregnancy, and then after my sons birth ran sporadically at best.
During all of this time he was missing. My dad and I would speculate on his whereabouts. We live in one if the most expensive cities, maybe he retired and moved. We hated to think anything else.
Two weeks ago (after the almost crap accident) we saw him. I was excited. I asked him where he'd been. He said they moved out of state, but he was back working in the area for the summer. I told him I'd been worried, he laughed and asked how I was. I told him about my son. He congratulated me. We parted ways for our respective runs.
Halfway we were side by side in our lanes, he looked over and smiled. "You still got it", he said. My heart swelled with joy. I said something stupid, when what I really wanted to do was gush about how much he inspired me and how he "still had it". I was too fast, now that I'd taken a minute off my pace, soon I was ahead of him again.
I ran four and and quarter miles that morning. When I left he was still running. I couldn't have been happier.