I have never been the fastest. I have, on occasion, been the last one standing. Tenacity doesn't always get you a blue ribbon, but it does give you the opportunity to see who else will win the trophy in successive years. I keep running in hopes that there might be an award where someone steps out of the bushes and puts a hand on my shoulder and says, "That's enough. You can stop now."
But that probably won't make me stop anyway. I can remember running laps around the backstops at Columbine Elementary School. Somewhere in there I was asked to run with my shoulder pads clacking around the practice field at North Boulder Park. And then there was the seemingly endless circuits around the quarter mile loop at Centennial Junior High. In high school, there wasn't a lot of running. During this period, my aerobic exercise was primarily marching.
It wasn't until near the end of my freshman year in college that running became a thing again. My father asked me if I wanted to run a "ten K." Having been brought up in the 1970's here in America, I had heard of the metric system, but had no real sense of what I was being asked to do. To prepare, I began to run around the perimeter of the campus of Colorado College. I had no idea of the distance I was covering. I simply maintained the idea that I should keep going until I reached the end. Surely someone would step out of the bushes and tell me to stop.
This did not happen. Instead, when I reached the end of the race course, I was ushered through a chute where my time, such as it was, got logged in with the rest of the cattle in front of and behind me. Yes, there were a number of folks who came in behind me that day. I tried not to be smug about this as I made my up into the stands. Still moving. And as I made my meandering way toward whatever my final destination might be, I was accosted by a number of well-meaning individuals who stuck fliers for yet another ten K into my face as I became increasingly aware that there was no actual finish line.
The race would go on. And on.
These days when I am out continuing to exert myself, I get passed on the left by someone younger or at least more sprightly as I chug along. Waiting for someone to step out of the bushes and tell me that's enough.