I find myself in the midst of a transition – life changing – moment. Following years of being a slow runner, I am gradually transitioning into accepting myself as a slow bicycle rider.
My running resumé includes two marathons, a ten miler, and numerous shorter races. Many times I have assumed the essential role of last runner, literally just strides ahead of the flashing lights on the emergency vehicle sweeping the event.
Sometimes I’m quizzed, ” What was your finishing time? What is your pace?” I explain that I have absolutely no idea, adding that ” if I feel like going out for lunch or dinner and a good brew afterwards … I win!” Truth is I do remember the time of one of my runs. On my very first organized run, the Motorola Austin Marathon, I tore up the course in a blistering 5 hours flat. Surely the swiftest finishers had long since showered and changed clothes.
During one memorable running of The Alien Chase, a race walker and I talked – as we covered the entire course at an identical speed. It temporarily embarrassed me to compare myself to an 85-year-old who could walk as fast as I could run. But my emotion abruptly turned to pride after I overheard him explaining how he traveled by bicycle everywhere he went, not even owning a car, including a yearly round trip ride from Roswell to Latin America.
All worldly pursuits have but one inevitable end, which is sorrow: acquisitions end in dispersion; buildings end in destruction; meetings , in separation; births, in death … Confronted by the uncouth specter of old age, disease, and death, we are thrown back upon the present, on this moment, here, right now, for that is all there is. And surely that is the paradise of children, that they are at rest in the present, like frogs and rabbits.