This isn't the greatest photo of the man, but I wanted an image nonetheless.
It's Brian Menaker, a PhD student in Sport Management at the University of Florida.
I met Brian a few weeks ago and noted he was wearing a Brooks warm-up jacket; Brooks is my #1 running sponsor and I had a thought at that time Brian could probably put it to the pavement.
Brian was warming up for a run at San Felasco trails just as I was wrapping up a 12-miler, so we stopped to talk. He recently won a local 15K race and was also tops by over six minutes in the local 1/2 marathon.
"I ran a 1:12," stated Brian. "I was chatting with two fast marathon runners at mile 12, I had a 1:10 in me."
Brian and old Tommy master competitor are worlds apart. While I trudge along and count the minutes, Brian doesn't wear a watch and checks his pulse at the vein in his neck...no fancy pulse watches for this dude.
I wondered how this guy knows how far and fast he is going. "It's just 'mobile waiting' for me," said Brian. "When I run I'm just waiting for it to finish, like waiting for a train or waiting for your clothes to finish in the dryer."
I've heard a bunch of stuff over 26 years of endurance sport. On many occasions, my compatriots on the trail tried to blow smoke up my heinie. But it this case I really had nothing to say and I'm not caught speechless often.
I have thought about fighting my way to the finish line, but never just biding time until the finish. This may be a new chapter in my life. The next time I need to stay out there 28 hours for a 100-miler, I'll just relax and wait for the finish to come to me.