I won. Best race ever. Only race I won. Ever.

No start line. No finish. No bib, chip, medal.

Just me and him. He lost.

15 years ago. More of a runner then. Had wheels.

New York, Central Park loop. 4:45 AM. June, predawn twilight. Lovely morning. Park magnificent, dressed up in spring glory.

Heading north past Met. Footsteps. Heavy, like clown feet. Bozo?  

WTF… why? Peace is evasive. Bozo intrudes. Peace gone.

He’s closing. Downhill by skating rink. He accelerates, slap, slap, slap.

Hills ahead. Turning west, then south. LOVE hills. A destroyer on hills. Short legs, big engine, I gobble hills.

He fades. A bit. Slap, slap, slap. Still there. Farther back, but hanging. Dick. Starting to hate Bozo.

Decision – he will not pass. Will die first.

Shift into next gear. Terrain rolls for couple miles. He gains on down. I pull away on up.

Passing Strawberry Fields. He gains. Few yards back. Slap, slap.

Another gear. Then another. Him too. He’s faster.  

I’m flying. He wants it. Bad. Right on me. Back right shoulder.

I dig deep. Searching. Will die first. Find another gear.

Huffing down my neck. Grudging respect. Bozo won’t quit. And hatred. Friggin HATE Bozo. Slap, slap, huff. He’s tough. I’m tougher.

How long can I hold? Will die first.

At bottom of Park, turn east again. Horse carriages. More people. All out sprint now. Heart gonna explode.

Then… slap, slap fades.

A quick glance, corner of eye. Hands on knees, heaving. Bozo puking in shrubs.

Elation! HR at least 200.

Turn north. Offer Bozo a one-finger salute. Still don’t like him.

Float north, effortless. Victorious. Incredulous. Only race I’ve won. Ever. Woulda died first.

What’s the point? Of this story… Of my determination? Of my NEED to win? Or not lose…

Where’s that come from? Why?

Still thinking through all this. Will offer some thoughts tomorrow. Thanks for reading this far.

Paul Reilly

Paul is the Owner and Founder of MidStrong. He created MidStrong in 2017 to train men and women in midlife who are busy with work and family to build muscle and burn fat so they can look and feel better than they did in their 20’s. MidStrong is making Functional Fitness training safe and fun, and inclusive. He and his wife, Julie also own and operate MidStrong locally, their bricks and mortar business, previously called ACCELERATED Strength & Balance. It is a boutique fitness center specializing in training folks in and around Westborough through the challenges of midlife for more than five years.