Saturday, August 18, 2012

Impermanence of people and things

I had a sernendipitous encounter with a running legend earlier in the week. My wife and I were walking our dog around Bassett Creek Park when we noticed the start of the Cooper High School alumni cross country meet.  As we were passing the runners were introducing themselves. One of the guys with graying hair and wearing a gray USA tea-shirt noted his name was Steve Plasencia, and that he was a 1974 Cooper graduate.  Steve Plasencia, did I hear that right?

This man, just a year older than I, had run the 10,000 meters for the United States in two Olympics.  He's run a 10K in 27:45 and a marathon in 2:12.51.  That marathon time is averaging nearly 5 minutes a mile for 26.1 miles. At age 40 Steve ran the 5,000 meters in 14:02, an American Master's record. That's smoking fast.

We didn't see the whole two mile race alumni race, but I did notice Steve was running right around fifth place.  Not bad for a 55 year-old, but definitely no where near the kind of pace he used to run years ago.  One can stay young and extremely fit for only so long.  In addition to his recreational running, Steve's the head track and field coach for the University of Minnesota.

Watching a running legend become more "human" was a reminder that nothing on this old earth is permanent; including jobs, status, family, home, neighbors, health and life.  If we just stop breathing within just a matter of minutes we, and our loved ones, will be reminded just how impermanent our life on this glorious earth is.

Sadly some of the longest lasting legacies many of us might leave behind are the plastic water bottles and styrofoam cups we've used for beverages. Huge islands have developed in our oceans of this floating junk. I don't think that this is the sort of permanent legacy that any of us want to be known for, is it?

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