Who's The Fastest?


I grew up in an era where the Western genre movie reigned. I remember nights at the drive-in watching John Wayne with a coonskin cap battling the Mexican Army at "The Alamo". Or, Saturdays were often spent in front of the TV watching old Western serials or maybe an old Randolph Scott movie.

One I remember in paricular was "The Fastest Gun Alive". In an online review it states "... Henry Ford plays a reformed gunfighter who is desperately trying to live down his reputation in a small town, living a very quiet, peaceful existence. But events unfold that reveal his identity, and soon Broderick Crawford, a fast-draw outlaw, comes to town to match skills with Ford."

There was always something to being the fastest kid in the neighborhood, whether it was quick drawing dime store revolvers from their plastic holsters, or racing the fastest kid on the block. Seems like everyone was always "gunning" for him or her. How many times did I hear as a kid, "I'll race ya!" and before we knew it we were sprinting at break neck speed to be the first.

At age 49, soon to be 50, those days are gone but not forgotten. Every time I toe the line at a race there is that same excitement. However, then reality sets in. Chances are, I will never win another race. Sometimes, I think about the pressure that must be on some Masters who are still fast -- how they always have someone a year or two younger "gunning" for them. Pressure, yes, but also exciting I'm sure.

The more I run barefoot, the more enjoyment I get out of just running barefoot. Maybe I am making excuses for my slower times the past couple of years since I have been running barefoot, but maybe I am finding a fulfillment that does not come from necessarily beating the next guy. Sure, I would still like to "place" occasionally, but to be honest, it does not give me the same satisfaction as merely the "journey" and the sensation that I am doing something that many can't or won't try. After all, when is enough, enough? If I won 25 more Age Group Awards, would that be enough? I don't think so. I would always be looking for MORE. I look at someone like Todd Byers who runs a heck of lot of marathons a year barefoot. Many of his times are at the 5 and 6 hour mark. However, my guess is that he is enjoying the journey a lot more because he is getting enjoyment from his barefooting, working with his Team in Training, or other reasons besides going "fast".

So I guess I will just keep enjoying my barefoot journeys with a logical sense of where I am on life's trail. However, occasionally something will engage in my brain and I'll say, "I'll race ya!" Doesn't mean that I am the "fastest gun alive", but what it does mean is that sometimes that child within just wants to play.

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