Reflections from the ‘lappee’ on the track

Pretty much everybody laps me.

When I hit the track at the Rec Center at Rowan University up to four to five mornings a week before work, it’s a given that people will pass me . . . and pass me . . . and pass me.

Tall young men who seem to run atop air; petite, ponytailed young women with iPod buds in their ears; folks around my middle age; and others with lots of gray outdistance me regularly. Oh, I can pretty much keep pace with a charming man born around the time my father first saw the world, but that’s because he chats me up, and talking, I think, siphons energy from leg muscles. And I did once pass some women who were about my age, but they were so busy socializing I don’t think they were focused on their exercise.

So there you have it: I am generally the lappee, not the lapper.

My tortoise-like mile-or-two mornings have given me time to observe this phenomenon and actually come to enjoy it, because I also have come to see the track as a very visual metaphor for life.

I can no more take the track at someone else’s pace than I can follow someone else’s life path. My slow walks suit me and have helped me meet a goal — since September I have lost about 60 pounds and I have become a convert to exercise, something I always have eschewed. I’ll never run a marathon, but hopefully my 20-or-so-minute mile will better my heart and my health. Likewise, many choices I’ve made in my life have been slow-lane kind of decisions that would not suit others; I’ll never be a jetsetter, and I’ll never put the dollar first. I may not live fancy, but I believe I live well.

So, I’ll hit the track again soon, my own little blue iPod plugged into my ear, strolling along to Springsteen or Motown or Van Morrison. People will pass me. And I’ll just be glad I’m taking the walk.

Patricia Quigley is a member of Incarnation Parish, Mantua.

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