The Distance Runner Dynamic
My mind flashed back to the beginning of the race… we were all bunched together and biding our time, each man thinking his own tactical alternatives, each in easy stride, each believing he could win…
The first wall came at five miles, and I fought the urges that creep into the mind – hey, I’ve been here! Just keep running…the lungs will stop burning…the aches will abate… a simple peace will settle into my long pace…soon, now…keep running!
The first wall gave way, and I felt a serenity, my mind now fully focused on staying with my strategy…I needed to keep the field behind me, to build the distance between me and the rest of the pack…the paper cup of water handed to me I sipped and threw the rest onto my face…
A race official ahead was holding up a sign – ‘Twelve Miles’…twelve miles suddenly became an unreachable goal as the sign triggered another wall I had to go through. This time, the wall brought flames inside my lungs…my pace slowed and my feet seemed to have weights on them…my stomach cramped along with my legs and I felt that this was the race I was not to finish…some kind soul handed me water…then, other kind souls gave me water, threw cup after cup of water on my body and face – now in total denial with my mind…been here, keep going, you can make it…
A gentle zephyr caressed my body and my breathing became not so desperate…I burst through the wall…my chest was now only a dull ache, and I could go on…again, I felt an incredible high, like I could run forever, and, as in previous races, I thought about the damage I might be bringing to my body…thought about my wife and the champagne dinner we would share…
A race official waved another sign – ‘two miles’ – a smile came to break up the grimace on my face…then, I heard the sound of running shoes coming up behind and to the side of me…I glanced to my left, and it was one of the world’s greatest distance runners…for several strides, we were side by side, staring straight ahead at a distant finish line…he moved ahead of me by inches, and I thought to myself, ‘this is my race to win’, not his…I stumbled, almost went down, but, somehow stayed up, somehow reached deep into my soul and miraculously caught up and went ahead of a world champion…
The world champion was on my heels as I broke the tape and collapsed some ten feet ahead.
All of a sudden another body’s arms were wrapped around me, hugging me, patting my back…the world champion couldn’t speak at the moment but he smiled and ran his hand through my hair…after some seconds passed, he turned, lay spread-eagled on his back, glanced at me, smiled again, and said: ‘I thought I had you! What a great race you ran’…we laid there, our breathing little by little becoming more normal…’Guess what!’ he said jubilantly, ‘You broke my record…and, I broke my record…you, my friend, are one tough grinder’!
Flash Fiction by Billy Ray Chitwood – December 4, 2015
I ran recreationally, made it seven miles one time…most usually, one to three miles… I did experience the dreaded ‘Wall’ and felt at one point that I could run for hours. I’m a competitor, but not in the same league as the great distance runners…not even close!
I wrote the above ‘flash fiction’ piece for a good friend, Dr. Timothy Tays, a former great distance runner for the University of Kansas. Dr. Tim recently wrote a book about his races and his life – Check out his book at Amazon and view the many 5-Star Reviews… You will not be disappointed – it’s a book about running but it has some important life lessons… Also, Dr. Tim is a clinical psychologist, practicing in Scottsdale, Arizona, and he helps many people… Here’s his book details:
Amazon.com – goo.gl/xUn6E6
SEE THE 5-STAR REVIEWS OF THIS BOOK:
Amazon.com – goo.gl/DDb4tA
One last thought… Dr. Tim is working on a new book that he is very excited about…he will let us know when he launches THE CHAMELEON COMPLEX. Please be looking for it…
Dr. Tim is on Twitter – twitter.com/timothytays – @timothytays
SOME LINKS FOR BILLY RAY CHITWOOD:
goo.gl/nqdjPB – My website: bio and books.