Flash in the Pan
A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights
American Mind Over Matter
by Mary Glatz
Having a little free time one brisk Kyiv March morning, I left my hotel for a late winter urban run, past the big hotels with the domed roofs and gilded medieval trappings, past the still frozen lake and out in to the large park. I was there doing some consulting for an international agency, a sideline I was pursuing since my retirement a few years earlier. I needed a break from the long week of meetings in stuffy rooms trying to move draconian attitudes into the present.
It was exhilarating to be in unknown territory and breathe in the crisp, cold air as I studied the other runners I passed, most of them younger, leaner, faster than me and exuding an air of belonging. I huffed out two miles, clocked on my watch at my standard 20 minutes per mile pace, very slow, but at the age of 63 this was the best jog I could muster.
When I was younger, I ran with more ease. Now I worked hard at it, moving every part of my body, breathing deeply, trying to keep all the body parts relaxed and moving forward, feeling the burn, remembering to keep the spine and head tall, pumping arms to get some waist action to attack that spreading plague of middle age bulge. My daughter, a tall thin marathoner now with two daughters of her own, used to tease me about this pace, claiming that it was impossible to "run" that slow. I always told her, "Anything is possible, honey."
I was warmed up and glowing at the two-mile mark, endorphins kicking in and feet feeling like they were flying as I turned to run the two miles back. As I passed a restaurant on the lake, there appeared to be some kind of event, with lots of people coming and going, busses loading and unloading. Suddenly I heard a shout, "Hey! Walking for America, looking good!" I turned to see a man hanging out of a bus window. I smiled, responding with the "arms akimbo at the finish line" salute and turned back around to continue on. He yelled again, this time laughing, "Looking sexy, looking great, keep it up, we get it, America!"
This time I didn't turn around, just smiled to myself, "Wow, looking sexy, hmmm…," as I jogged on toward my hotel. Then a thought blocked everything else out, "Wait, what did he mean, ‘walking for America'? I'm running..." As I approached the first big hotel on the street, I struggled to pick up my pace and made it a point to look into the large dark glass windows reflecting the sunlight and the sidewalk. An elderly white blonde-haired woman walking briskly by looked back at me. I smiled deeply at that woman in the glass and told her, "Yeah, you are looking good, I get it too."
Mary Glatz remembers and writes in Westminster, CO.
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