| Nate was a nice 20 year-old in my office who fancied himself a
fast runner. He'd been getting all spun up to run and I was
helpless while trying to have children. Now that we found my
problem wasn't exercise...I could run again. The first day in
Roswell I ran with him and he smoked me. We ran in the hottest
part of the day and I soon stopped and let him go. I ran for
two weeks, and on the last day in Roswell I asked Nate to run
with me again...I needed a challenge.
I just wanted to keep pace with him as long as I could (he claimed he was running sub-5 minute miles) to show him this old horse could still gallop and for six miles, unknown to me, he'd been trying to drop me. The pace got faster and faster but he couldn't do it. I think I surprised him...I initiated a sprint at the finish...which he won...but we had a hundred yards, so I took off again, and he won again...but then, after we stopped panting he said,"Sergeant Paul, you're not old!" Those were some of the sweetest words I ever heard. After a month of training I tried the weekly races at Spokane Raceway. Strangely, after being off the bike so long without any really hard training, I kept up very well. I even went with a few breakaways, and here you can see me running down a breakaway alone at 30 miles an hour. I got sixth place and respect of all the riders. They asked me to come back again. Up to that time, it was the best I'd done in a criterium stateside. I was very aggressive, and mixing it up with the leaders was a blast. My weakness, bicycle handling, didn't come into play because the turns were banked, and we could hit them at top speed without slowing. Fun...very, very fun--like being born again.
I had power but was heavy and a six-mile climb with sections of 20% grade was too much for a guy who hadn't ridden much all year. By the first climb I was dead last, and my gear shifters were messing up, causing me to slow as the chain skipped all over the place, sapping my momentum. At one point I had to dismount the bicycle just to see what the heck was going on. I got dizzy and had to slow down, costing even more time. I was usually in the top third of the field in this race, but this year I could barely make the finish. I passed two riders on a downhill, which I'd never done before (My skill had improved), so I was third from last after the second climb and another fast downhill. It was one of the most embarrassing races ever.
A few days later, I ran my first 5K run in over a year, and it was the first time in my life I couldn't break a 6-minute mile. My time was 19:02, but I'd still nabbed second place. I'd been slowing down every year since I'd been married, but I could always break 18 minutes. Now my marraige was melting, and I had no control over it. We'd been going to marriage counseling but it didn't seem to help. And I suddenly took a physical nose-dive.
On August 19, 1993, our beloved uncle, Benjamin J. Paul(photo), died in Denver, Colorado at the age of 67 after a long struggle with gangrene. He was an odd man, but we loved him and his never-ending hospitality. We will miss him always.