I’m headed back to Charelston, SC on Thursday morning. A trip that will hopefully end with me powering down the Cooper River Bridge back into downtown from Mount Pleasant and across the finish line of the Cooper River Bridge Run 10K.
It will be the largest (by number of runners) footrace that I will have ever participated in. Close to 40,000 athletes. What once was going to be a “feature race” for my 2011 year, is now one that after five weeks of no running, I am just hoping to make it to the finish with my knee no worse for wear.
Perhaps this will be the “run” where I start my way back to full health and with 8-9 months left in the year, I can still salvage some of the key races I was hoping to participate in. Most notably the ING NYC Marathon in November. What should be my final event of the year.
But heading back to Charleston also means a chance to see my Parents for the first time since they came out to Austin in December to meet their granddaughter Landry. I’ll be able to see my Niece and her two daughters as well as connect with my good friend and amputee runner Richard post race.
All great stuff.
This will also be my first trip back to Charleston since I traveled back to be with my best friend Keith after his wife passed away suddenly last August in an accident. Just a few short weeks before I would become a new Dad and two weeks to the day before we lost Dom. That August 4th trip is one I will never forget.
I’ll have a chance to spend time with Landry’s Godfather Keith and his two boys Garris and Fuller. Instead of services and sadness – hopefully this trip will be filled with Soccer practice, joy and laughter.
Last August was a tough, tough time. A lot of questions were raised with very few answers.
As a matter of fact, I’m no closer all these months later to knowing why those things happened to people that I care about deeply, and what it all means for the rest of us left behind.
Running provides me with a lot of things. Clarity, renewed spirit, sense of self, accomplishment, self-evaluation. Sometimes joy and happiness. Sometimes it provides me with a feeling of defeat. Even failure.
All very powerful emotions and experiences that as we get older come along with less and less frequency. I think that is one of the reasons that I feel so “alive” when I am running and racing. It is a moment when you are truly “living”, not merely watching life tick by.
Sadly it sometimes takes the loss of something very dear to you that makes you realize just how much it meant to you all along.
So perhaps it is fitting that I am not 100% locked and loaded for the CRBR this year.
Maybe, just maybe this race is supposed to be difficult for me.
It could be that by racing it at less than my best I am going to be humbled on Saturday morning – like only this sport can do at times. It may be that I won’t know what this trip is really all about until I crest the top of the bridge more than 200 feet over the Cooper River Below and glance over my left shoulder to the rising sun in the East.
Maybe that is the moment when it is all going to make sense. When the events of last summer finally come into focus.
I hope so as answers thus far have been pretty tough to come by. One thing is for certain, no matter what the clock says when I cross the finish line – it will be the very best that I could do that day. In the end, if that is the litmus test that we use to judge ourselves day in and day out – we have no choice but to call that a “win”.
Off to Charleston we go. Can’t wait.