Could 2013 Really be Gone Already?
I remember as a kid that once school started, it was forever before summer vacation arrived. A school year was beyond my small brain to measure – it just kept going until I couldn’t take it anymore and then it went on even longer. Eventually summer would come where the freedom from teachers and homework left a lot of time for playing baseball which could mean anything from bouncing a ball off of a wall to playing one-on-one with a friend on the nearby high school field with a spongy rubber ball. But even those summer days crawled along at such a slow pace that I would wonder if fall was ever going to arrive.
Somewhere that all changed. Each new year represents a smaller percentage of the total time we have been alive, so maybe time just seems to move faster. Somewhere in junior high school I started changing classes during the day and schedules during the year. Suddenly, the year was broken into smaller periods that kept ending before I was ready for them. Somehow each year seemed to move by just a little faster until now they seem to roll over almost every month. I am sure the pace of life – always racing the deadlines with a pocket full of technology keeps us from noticing just how fast the earth turns until we see the Happy New Year signs ahead.
So what happened to 2013? In October of 2012, I received my Parkinson’s diagnosis. I blinked and I was back at the Movement Disorders Center at Shands talking to my doctor for a series of checkups, including an annual one. The good news was I scored just about as well as I did at my first follow up check up thanks to some excellent treatment that included an awful lot of meds. I took to heart their admonishments – “don’t stop exercising.” (I know you find that hard to believe.)
It was a very good year for the running community. I think the total number of race finishers was probably down just a little bit from recent years, but membership in the Gulf Winds Track Club hit an all time high and it seemed like a great year for new people to step up and contribute. Felton Wright was not a new person, but he took control of the helm as President and has had an outstanding year improving the procedures and operations of the club. The community again supported a record number of races – more than 170, I believe. Many were not as well organized or as large as a professional team might want, but they introduced a lot of new people to running and to race directing.
I remember limping over the 30K course on Old Centerville Road in January as I tried recovering from yet another hamstring injury. I blinked again though and I was gliding through one of my most satisfying marathons ever in Burlington, Vermont in May. It was one of my slowest ever, but it was good enough to claim a spot at the Boston Marathon this year and it happened the same morning that a long time friend, Reid Vannoy succumbed to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. We had walked some hard miles together as the disease drained his strength and his will. So many others have battled some very difficult times this year as cancer and other diseases have left their marks. In addition many took on the burden of caring for aging parents as their health deteriorated. Of course it didn’t take so long for that hamstring to start acting up again.
We all have a great chance to look back at 2013 by attending the Gulf Winds Track Club Annual Awards Presentation on January 18, 2013 at Goodwood Museum and Gardens. The doors will open for social time at 5:30 p.m. and awards and stories will begin around 6:00 p.m.
Perhaps the most important lesson learned watching the ebb and flow of life as time keeps passing at an ever increasing speed is to find the time and the will to do the things you want to do when you can. The next time you blink, the opportunity may have passed, visible only in the distance through the rearview mirror.