One day in college seven years ago I went out for a quick run. A 3 or 4 mile loop around Charlottesville. 9 miles a later, I returned home and told GPSH that yes, that entire time, I'd been running. It was that day that I first thought I wanted to run a marathon. It took three more years before I mustered up the courage to sign-up for one; however since that day in November 2003, I haven't looked back. Every year a marathon. (And who knows... perhaps this year, there will be two...)
I am currently in the best shape of my life. And well on my way to setting - at a minimum - another marathon PR. And I am on the brink of becoming a Boston Qualifier... Forging through old personal limits and defining new ones every day. Physically, mentally, and emotionally. In my new home, San Francisco, I really am (following MMG's orders and) living the Henry David Thoreau quote, "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined." (Love you, MMG.)
Today was my first long run in a while. Back-to-back business trips and out of town guests took priority the past few weeks. I wasn't sure I'd be able to keep up with the group for an entire 14 miles, today. However much to my chagrin, I did fine. And my plans to only run an easy ten turned into twelve and then fourteen and then sixteen. I was feeling great. That beautiful runner's high struck me somewhere around Mile 12. Up in the Presidio, along Lincoln Blvd, overlooking Baker Beach and the Pacific Ocean. I felt the tingling. And I felt my lips turn up, exposing my teeth and dimples. My eyes crinkled, and my chest swelled. I sighed. And beamed from the accomplishment of knowing I will not regret these miles, this morning, or this day.
The sweetness of the high didn't last very long. For slightly further up the road, we passed a Memorial created by several runners in honor of Ashlyn Dyer, a woman killed in a fatal hit and run several weeks ago while running in the Presidio. Placed at the location of the accident were wreaths and several pairs of running shoes - potent reminders of how quickly everything can be taken away from us. She was only twenty-seven... And I couldn't help but wonder if moments before she was hit, she also stared out at the ocean, smiling and sighing, content with her morning miles, and hopeful of the day to follow.
I have ten weeks left until San Diego. Seventy days and counting. Seventy days to surprise myself by what I can accomplish. Seventy days... Let's make them count.