August 16th, 2008

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Reflections

The oldest person to win an olympic marathon just crossed the line.

I remember when I ran competitively. When I was 27 I could run a mile in 5:14. She ran a 5:16 at mile 16 miles into the race. But that's not what moved me.

Bruce Springsteen has a song, "Glory Days", it's a bittersweet commentary on how we look back, from a life more ordinary, on the deeds of our youth.

Bullshit. I did recall the sensation of being, far and away the first to come in on a 2-mile course (11:31, mixed terrain). I don't look back and think, "that was my moment of glory,", rather I think... I did that.

Watching her, leading the pack for a long, and mentally arduous, 10 miles on her own; unable to look back, lest she see the pack gaining on her, worrying that she'd broken too soon and would be overtaken (I've done that), and just plugging away.

That's the secret. That's what moves me about the Olymics... not the Phelps of the world; who dominate their field, but the people who strive, who maintain. Who have not just the talent and ability, but who use the last bits of strength, experience and, yes, will, to just be there.

That some of them win, is icing on the cake.

(p.s. just after I hit post, the 41 year old swimmer who is the oldest to medal, got a silver 1/100th shy of the gold; she's my age; glory days indeed)