Photo taken at: West Windsor, Vermont
In races of all kinds, there’s always a push to finish strong. Most runners conserve that little energy to turbo boost at the last quarter mile. While it’s exhilarating to watch that strong finish, I’ve always been enamored by those who trudge in slowly, with almost no display of gratification as they cross the line.
Today as I stood behind the finish line watching runners slowly trickle in, one particular runner swept the ground away from beneath my feet. The clock froze at 03:04am as he limped across the line. Pale face, headlamp off and no support crew. All he did was turn around, looked at the finish line for that bleak second, stopped his watch and plopped on the ground. I could sense he was frozen in time and so was I. Wonder what was grinding in his mind. Was he happy he finished the run? Was he in pain? Did he know he’d finished? Was he just soaking it all in? Or was he contemplating what to do next? Why was he all alone there? I heavily resisted the urge to go speak to him and let him savor the moment. Some questions are better left unanswered.
Volunteering at the VT100 this weekend has truly been an experience. Way different from last year. Last year I was predominantly taking care of the runners needs and ended up pacing a gentleman for about 17 miles. This year, I ended up primarily taking care of parking duties, closing out the camp and fixing a support van’s flat tire. Nothing beyond the call of duty. But if I were to steal one snapshot from this weekend, it would be that brief moment at the finish line where I seemed to connect with that runner.
The Wapack and Back 50 miler earlier this year was a reasonable goal I’d set for myself. Something that I put in a ton of effort for but miserably failed. I let my practical side easily override my neural urges and THAT is something I want to breach. Someday I’d like to cross a bold finish line. Something that I demarcate myself. And when I do that, I want to have invested everything that I could in my realms into it, and go beyond that. Only then will I possibly start scraping the surface…
Not all finish lines are the same…