There are times when I wish that God would be more specific about this whole new body thing, the body we are going to have when we get to heaven. Frankly, this 56 year old body sucks, even while what I have isn’t half bad for a guy my age. Give me the body that I had when I was 18 and the mind that I have now, I will be completely satisfied for eternity.
My ego likes to remember what I was like when I was 16-17 years old (and a little older), when I was in the throes of my obsession with running. While I wish that I would have been a little more committed to excellence, I loved to run and it showed. By the time I was a junior in high school, I was one of the best middle distance runners in the state of Illinois and with the body that went with that talent. Colleges took notice, but not enough. I wasn’t that good, even though I was good enough to be setting school records in my events, on a team that would place second in State my senior year.
I wish that my memory could still remind me what it was like to be that way. I was 6 feet tall, 160 pounds, with little to no body fat, a powerful runner without experience. I could have been a lot better with what I had been blessed with, but maturity escaped me in a way that limited my potential. Holy cow was I strong, though. The local community college track coach sent his runners out to try to convince me to run with their team after I graduated.
I tried. It was tough. I practiced with them, found out what it was really like to run with serious athletes.
Bruce Springsteen has built a career around reminding us about our glory days. I could write about them, bore people to death with them, and I probably have.
My body has changed over the years. No longer do I have that muscled, lean body. It’s something that seems like it never existed. Yet, cycling has brought me back to a close representation of previous glory at times. Never again will I achieve what I once had.
Does it matter? No.
Yet the young man still runs inside of me at times.