Monday, September 25, 2006

Many Victories

I learn by doing and am inspired by watching.

At first it was just one. Shirtless, lean, and gliding. His feet barely making a sound as they touched the ground. Swiftly he moved, gracefully he ran towards me up the hill. In a blink he was passed me and then the path was clear. I pedaled on. Then where was another runner a minute behind. His long hair bouncing off of his shoulders. Then two more, then three, then many in a row. All running the same direction in a grand chase. The runners of the Tour de Fleurs 20K of Dallas were crossing the halfway mark.

I pedaled my bike towards them. Me on the road, they on the path. Perched from my bike I could see their faces. Some were expressionless with unblinking eyes focused forward. Others grimaced and moved their heads side to side in rhythm with their stride.

Soon the line of runners became packs. The gliding ones were now few and the pounders dominated and moved around the lake. Some wore earphones while others talked. They moved on until the walkers could be seen. Slowly moving but moving just the same.

Each had a story to tell. Well, I think they did. How many hours were spent training for this day? How many family members and friends did they share about this race? Did they have nay-sayers or supporters or both?

(Show them your mettle. Let them know you are the stuff of integrity!)

I continued to ride counter to their direction and eventually came to their finish line. A crowd gathered and a band played top-forty. They ran towards the finish. The young and old. Men and women. The thin and thick. Each determined to complete the task. The runners began to trickle through the finishing chute and the trickle became a steady stream as the spectators cheered. Some looked relaxed and others looked ill. All looked relieved that it was over. They kept comming. The old and the young. Women and men. The thick and thin. Each happy to complete the distance.

The overall winners had been determined and surely those on the road after two hours knew this but they ran as if they were claiming the prize. The sweat on their faces didn’t cover their glow. Each crossing of the line was a victory. A moment of truth, an enduring truth, that they had met the challenge and tried. Courage defined.

The wreath may not be placed on their heads but I know it's in their hearts.

I’m inspired by what I see, indeed, and am learned from what I do. On this day I was both and I won something too.

Stay tuned…

39 Days to My First Ironman

8 comments:

Iron Pol said...

I'll bite and try to post a comment, and fight through to the end.

A co-worker showed up to cheer people on during the marathon I ran, this weekend. After watching at mile 9, she went to mile 19. She commented that some of the people going by looked like the walking dead. She questioned if they would finish in time, and why they would be out there.

I pointed out that probably 98% of all runners have no preconceived notions of winning. They run at their pace, for their own reasons. If winning were the only reason to run, races would have very little participation.

Iron Pol said...

Just FYI, for me, at least, it worked as normal.

TriBoomer said...

Pol,

I agree. I'm reminded that victory is not only to the fleet of feet.

commodore said...

I think what your writing about the 'pounders' out there or what I call 'the grinders' is so true and you hit a sub current about knowing they didn't podium but still running toward their prize. Good stuff

Veeg said...

Beautiful!

Greyhound said...

I had some similar thoughts in watching the swim bike and run at IMWI this year. As the athletes became older or bigger or slower at the end of the bell curve, there never was any condescension. I would see someone, occasionally lock eyes for a moment, and wonder, "I wonder what that person's story is. I wonder what brought them here. I bet if we sat down after the race, they have a hell of a story to tell."

Papa Louie said...

So true of the many victories! Let us all run with endurance.

fe-lady said...

Very nice story. Isn't it great to be on the other side for a change and cheer them on? I know I enjoy being a spectator at events just about as much as a participant! (The only thing about watching, is that I come home hoarse from yelling encouragment and cheering!)