Good writing, with a strong point and with life oozing out.


October 12, 2007

Our return flight from New Mexico included a short stop in Chicago, where quite a few people were shuffling through the airport while wearing Chicago Marathon T-shirts, everyone muttering about the ridiculous heat. Apparently, temperatures in the high 80s necessitated the cancellation of the race after 4 hours.

As we were getting on our plane for DC, I ran into an old friend. A runner. Now, we weren’t running buddies, though he was always a huge encouragement to my running– we were neighbors and friends. Though he was always gracious and self-effacing, I knew better than to ever suggest that we run together: on my very fastest day, I couldn’t possibly keep up with him on his slowest day.

We smiled and nodded as I realized what his presence in Chicago meant.

“How was it?,” I said, lowering my eyes and my expectations.
“Terrible,” he said, French accent still rich after 10 years in this country.
“I heard about the heat…”
“I did not finish. I was trying to qualify for the Olympic trials with a 2:22, and I ran 1:13 for the half, so I stopped at 14 miles.”
I cringed at the thought. He’s not a quitter, which must mean that he has another race in mind to get his qualifier.
“No, today was my last chance…”

What to say?

“It is just a race,” he shrugged, but we both knew he didn’t mean it.

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