Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A memory

Eight years ago I stayed after school for a club, then headed up to the track to run. It was cold out, but I didn't have any real running gear, so I wore a sweatshirt and gym shorts. I stretched, jogged two laps, and stretched some more. Then I started some repeats from a workout from the track coach to help prepare me for spring track.

I didn't have a stopwatch, nor could I judge what 80% effort was, as dictated by the workout, so I just ran. After each interval, I stopped and walked.

It was getting dark, and deer had wandered within the fence around the track. As I came around the bend at the 200m mark on one of the intervals, I startled them, and they scattered. Most leaped over the fence, but one just ran alongside it, parallel to the straightaway, where I was sprinting. I heard its hooves behind me, and I surged faster -- faster than I had ever run before -- and as I did, the deer pulled up alongside of me, and we were running side by side. I didn't think about anything. I was just flying over the track with the deer. There was nothing but the sound of its hooves and my breathing. Then I fell behind, the deer leaping away to the gate at the end of the straightaway, and I was left alone, panting, and feeling more exhilarated than I ever had before.

This memory always flits through my mind at this time of year, when the days get shorter and colder. It reminds me of those evenings alone at the track when, even if I didn't become a track star, I did become a runner.

No comments: