Posted by: Joe English | October 15, 2013

Reaction — Proud and Feeling Lucky to be in the Game

running-advice-bugI know that many people wonder if I make up the runners that I talk about in my posts. I promise they are real people. Today my friend Cat, who was mentioned in last week’s post about making the most of what you did in your training, adds her reaction to the post. Cat is a great woman and I think her perspective comes through loud and clear: she’s happy to be in the game!

I’m writing to confess that I am the ill-prepared marathoner from Coach Joe’s recent blog post. He’s right. I should be proud, as should anyone who completes a marathon or any significant goal. My response was tentative not just because I could have trained more (ahem, trained at all) or that I could have pushed myself for a better time, but because I know I got lucky.

You see, I know better. This was my third time showing up at the starting line fit (ish) but otherwise ill-prepared. Even with proper training, finishing in good health is not always possible for everyone and it’s not something I intend to take for granted.

Out there on marathon day, one of the many signs I enjoyed read simply, “Someday you won’t be able to do this. Today is not that day!” It made me think about all the people who would have liked to be able to run that day but couldn’t for one reason or another. I thought about people who worked really hard to be there — people like my friend Chris who lost nearly half his body weight in that last two years and transformed himself into a marathoner and a healthy, active dad. I thought about people who used to run but can’t anymore as the years have taken their toll on them. And at the end of it all, I felt incredible gratitude to reside in a body that is currently able to do so many things.

Everyone who runs has a story and the finish line can mean many different things. For me, this finish line served as an indicator that I’m on track for other goals. Pacing is everything and I’ve got a killer 5hr shuffle to call upon! In a nutshell, my current “fitness” goal is simply to be ready for fun and adventure, now and for as long as possible. I want to push myself to make the most of my health while I have it while staying injury free. I want gas in the tank for my 80’s and beyond.

This marathon also reminded me of how lucky I am not only to have a healthy body, but to have the time and resources to dedicate to recreation. And when injury or tragedy could take us out of the race at any moment, it’s a privilege just to run.

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