My first foray into running took place from 1991-1996 when I ran cross country and track for middle and high school in North Kingstown. I had some natural talent but I never had the fire that a champion requires. By my senior year I was consistently 3rd on our varsity CC team. Looking back, I now realize that I could have achieved so much more had I worked harder. No doubt this is something many of us reflect on - the squandered gifts of our youth. Oh to return to those days and make good on our talents! Sadly it is not to be. Seth 1.0 is no more.
I am now Seth 2.0 - older, wiser (I s'pose) and with a luxurious beard that 1.0 could only dream of. In almost every aspect of my running I have bested my younger doppleganger. Seth 1.0 never ran more than 12 miles. He competed only in the 5k distance (save one attempt at the Newport 10k in which he blew up. He knew nothing of pacing for a race twice as long.) And Seth 1.0 ran only what was required of him by his training and his coach. There was little joy in his running.
Now I run because I love it. Because it makes me feel alive and lets me journey into the natural world and explore. And in doing so I've run farther than Seth 1.0 would ever have considered. 12 miles? Barely a long run for me now. 10k? I've run marathons and beyond.
Yet there is one record which Seth 1.0 still holds. One feat bestowed by the gifts of youth which I have yet to match. A 5k PR of 17:20. In his penultimate high school race - he peaked. During the State Meet at Bryant University he placed 17th overall and finished 1st for N.K.
Once I thought that this PR of my youth would never fall. I was running 21 minute 5ks - I could not compete with 1.0 at such a short fast race. The 5k was the realm of the young and virile. Now I know that is not the case. As I approach an 18 minute 5k, I see that this record too can fall. It will take much hard work - harder than my younger self cared to work - but I believe I can snatch this last feather from the cap of Seth 1.0. We shall see.