Aaron Lanzel hasn't completed his last lap.
The 1999 Eisenhower state champion in the 800 meters ran in the Olympics trials in 2004. He came up a couple of seconds short of reaching the final of the 1,500 meters in Sacramento, Calif.
After that, the Sugar Grove-native began his career in the U.S. Navy, deployed as a pilot in Iraq, Japan and Djibouti, no less.
"I guess I always had hoped I might be able to get the time and opportunity to train again," said Lanzel. "Through the years, every year I've competed in some sort of race, like the National Cross Country Championships."
For Lanzel, running has been a "huge stress relief," he said.
Where ever he was at, he'd try to squeak runs in - even if it was 2 or 3 a.m. in Iraq while wearing a headlamp.
But he hasn't had the time to train properly - until now.
He's currently in Annapolis, Md., teaching and managing facilities. And training again with the Navy track team and his former college coach.
At 31 years of age, Lanzel wants to give the Olympic trials another try.
"For any runner to get to that level; it's hard to get there and be turned away," he said. "You're left wondering, 'Do I still have the motivation?' And I always go back to, 'Yes.' I think it'll always be there.
"I don't want to leave any stone unturned," he said. "I want to do it right and see where I can go with it."
He's tried to keep his training under wraps to avoid the questions:
"Why are you still doing this?"
"What are you going to get more out of it?"
"One more second?"
"He's very quiet and humble," said his mother, Ann Lanzel, of Sugar Grove.
Part of that comes from his former coaches at Eisenhower High School, including Bob Bacchetti and Darlene Beach.
"There was a work ethic instilled in me (at a young age)," said Aaron. "Only for the sake of doing things the best that I can. I might be able to do a little better."
Part of his training also comes from Warren County.
"(Route) 957 and all the back roads," he said. "Those back roads and those hills have some great training."
Those back roads, and his former Eisenhower teammates, have helped lead him to this:
"It's a quest," said his mother. "He's never stopped running, and his goals have continued every day. I'm so proud of just his character and he's had this dream forever."
His first step is to qualify for the 2012 U.S. Olympics Trials in late June in Eugene, Oregon. The top 30 times in the country are selected, or the automatic standard time of 3 minutes and 39 seconds in the 1,500 meters qualifies. A 3:39 1,500 is like running a 3:56 mile, according to Lanzel.
Eight years ago, Lanzel had qualified for the Olympic trials with a 1,500-meter time of slightly over 3:40. He finished ninth in the second heat of the 1,500-meter run at the trials in 3:44.05, but only the top six advanced to the final.
Time is a "pure measure" of a runner, he said, no matter your age or experience.
His mother can remember he and his sister running barefoot all over an acre of land surrounding their home.
"It's just a blur," she said. "He was just full of joy. It's in him. It was in him even as a little kid."