Passing the Baton

I’ve been running for a longer time than I have the brain cells to remember, but I must have started around my oldest son’s age. Which would have made me a middle schooler. What I do remember in mental high-def was getting up super early before school—while it was still dark out—and cracking an egg into a glass, which I would drink before my run, its sliminess tempered by the dash of vermouth my dad suggested I add. 

Yes, this was the early eighties, and Rocky Balboa was my idol in all his raw egg chugging glory. And over the years, I can’t tell you how many times I have run up stairs or a hill imagining I was the Italian Stallion on his famous sprint up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the chords to “Gonna Fly Now” blasting through my head. Once, I even ran up those iconic steps myself, throwing my arms up in triumph when I got to the top.

But lately my runs have been harder and shorter, with me feeling more like the aging Rocky from his latest movie, Creed, and the only sound between my ears is the recurring ring of a four-letter word. STOP. 

I can’t help but wonder if I’m approaching the end of the line of finish lines.