Running & Beginning
Running & Beginning
by Patrick Reed
When the gun goes off, practicality takes over. The jitters I have been battling and cajoling over the past weeks are suddenly irrelevant, and ALL that matters [in the Universe] is the race and getting it done. The first footstrikes are those of the daily training run: creaky, sluggish, and maybe even a bit forlorn, though this day skittish. The reality of the race and the dreamed-of goal is not yet present. I know only the hard truths of the stubborn pavement, the upward-sloping dirt trail and the steely concussions of the track. Yes! The race is on —
“In the end, the final stretch of the race is not wholly agony after all, but rather a muddle of dreaming towards glory, holding back heartbreak, pressing through pain, and longing for all of it — at once.”
But this is only the beginning. And the race starts so slyly that it nearly betrays the agony of mile 22, the poverty of mile 33 and the tragedy of the final stretch — which, in the end, is not wholly agony after all, but rather the muddle of dreaming towards glory, holding back heartbreak, pressing through pain, and longing for all of it — at once.
In truth, we each begin anew every day – as we begin every run and every waking effort. But raceday seems extra special. And raceday beckons. The clock ticks towards midnight on a Friday, and the race is Sunday morning — at 6 a.m.!
Then, I will set out again on the familiar path of new beginning. I will strive again for my best – as the sun rises before white clouds, behind vineyard-stitched hills. Though indifferent grapevines will yawn at my race-prowess and concern, and even at my excellence — nevertheless, I see that I race for something more than mundane.
But, when does the beginning end? Such a silly, profound query… Do we start at maturity, or race from the halfway point?? By no means! We all must start at the beginning boundary so that we may finish. Any who jump in mid-course have cheated destiny.
So what does it mean to begin? It conveys honesty, modesty and humility. To start a thing.
I start a new course in less than 30 hours. And I will see how my training has fared. The Marathon — though no Ultra — still betrays the blemishes of the underprepared and the pretender. I hope to be no charlatan, but rather the runner whose integrity proves itself by a speed run over a distance marked.
All the best on your race-day!
image credit: catalysttherapies.com