Feats Don’t Fail Me Now…

A friend of mine from high school stopped by recently. We’ve kept in touch through the years, our birthdays being a day apart. We once pretended to be journalists in Key West during the Freedom Floatilia, that’s a good one. I was in his wedding and not long after, there was that time with the golf carts. A good friend.

I’ve always learned a lot from Ben. He was a runner when not a lot of others were. Ran track, Cross Country and the like. I mean this guy was into it. Big time. I credit him with exposing me to that competitive world on feet.

These days, folks our age get together, it ultimately ends up a talk about life, seems to be expected I guess. The topic arose in a conversation around a banner posted in someone’s front yard- “How do you want to be remembered?”

Ben likened it to the mile race in track. “‘Vers,” he said (a corruption on my name from high school, I’ll explain later,) “Life expectancy for a reasonably fit individual hovers around 80 years old. That’s once around the track every 20 years, so how’re you running yours? ‘Vers?”

In the early days, my friend introduced me to the world of track and field. Names like Bannister, Liquori and Ryun were Ben’s idols. How they ran, how they competed. Their feats. Did you know, the first human to break the 4 minute mile was Roger Bannister in 1954? Jim Ryun was the first high schooler to break the 4 minute mile in 1964, followed by Marty Liquori in 1967.

I was fairly athletic in high school, I ran track. I remember conditioning, the calisthenics, and my least favorite, the mile run at the end of the day. To help, Ben would give me pacing advice. Always referencing famous strategies he would suggest, “Follow close behind the pacer, resting when they do, then make your move on the last lap and kick, just like Liquori!”

So back to the question: How are you going to run it, ‘Vers? That last lap?

In my life, the first lap started out well, but the second handed me a disaster and the third has been pure recovery. Hmmm? I guess the bigger question one should ask at this point of the race is: how do you want to be remembered?

For me? The kick is in.

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