My personal life has taken a major shift over the past couple of months, and as part of that change, I have been working to find new people and places to intercept along the journey of life.
Our PhD cohort group met for drinks and snacks at The Top (a somewhat upscale Gainesville eatery) and from there I drove north to Gator Tales, where I joined my running club buddies to watch the Olympic marathon telecast.
The photo at left is none other than Johnny O'Mara and David Bailey, taken sometime in the mid 1980's near Simi Valley, California. Bailey and O'Mara were pioneers in the fitness movement in motocross, and the pair pushed each other to world class performance.
I can remember several evenings where everyone was showered and ready to step out for dinner, and Johnny would come up missing; he'd sneak out the back and jam in another quick run, just to say he had the biggest mileage on the day. All epic stuff, and it was my portal on how the best of the best challenged themselves to achieve excellence.
I was just an average dude with average abilities, but I never lost site of what David and Johnny taught me...how to make the most of the package.
Fast forward about 25 years, and I'm sitting with Ian and Carrie, two new runners in the Gainesville Track Club. Ian is headed to the Marine Corps Marathon, and Carrie just started jogging about a month ago.
We chatted while the men's marathon unfolded, and over time, I started talking about my marathon PR of 3:21 in 1986, and my 10K PR of 37:02 around the same time. But, I then realized that the evening was more about Ian and Carrie, and the here and now. Running is real time, we do it just as I did this morning - with passion and enjoyment.
World class is wonderful, but so is a new runner coming into the sport. It's a rewarding life, and running is a big component of making it that way.
That's where I came from, and that's how I know where I'm going.