One Year Ago Today ….

Posted: April 18, 2011 in Motivation
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I don’t consider myself a “look back” kind of guy really.

Things that are behind you are there usually for a reason.  Opportunities in life present themselves to you, you process the information as best you can, make a decision and live with the consequences.

Good or bad.

You can “what if” things to death, but it doesn’t change the facts.  Things are the way they are.  It is up to us to decide what to do about it.  You can keep pushing or you can turtle under.  Those are the only real choices we have.  We decide.  We choose.

You can let things happen to you, or make things happen for you.

That’s pretty much the way I was raised when I was a kid, and it has stuck with me now as a 43 year old.  That is at least for another 3 months and 2 weeks anyway.

But this morning it is Patriot’s day in New England which means a few things.  The city of Boston is essentially closed for the day.  The Red Sox will be playing at Fenway and in about 30 minutes in the small town of Hopkinton, MA a gun will fire and the 115th running of the Boston Marathon will be underway.

I have a lot of friends running Boston this morning.  A race that a year ago I was fortunate enough to experience myself running in Bib 7929 out of the 7th starting corral.  I had approximately 1/3 of the field in front of me and 2/3 behind me.  I will never forget the sight of close to 7,000 marathoner’s heads bobbing in front of me down the hill out of the starting area.  No sounds that I can remember specifically other than the sound of feet on pavement.  But I remember the vivid colors stretching out before me for almost an entire mile.

The day was full of emotions as it was the first marathon of two in less than two weeks we would be running for Dom.  Dom was in Pittsburgh, undergoing cancer treatment at UPMC while I was out on the course.  He was following along electronically as the miles ticked by from Hopkinton to Boston.

It was by far the most difficult marathon I had run to that point in my life.

Only to be surpassed 13 days later in Pittsburgh, when my legs could not keep up with my heart and all that mattered was finishing the race and getting that medal to put around Dom’s neck.

More than $27,000 was raised to help Dom, Val, Sierra and Nico from friends, family and in many cases complete strangers from all over the world. 

A year later I now consider many of those individuals my good friends and some like the Brown family in Ohio, Brian Adkins in Chicago or Steve and Ally Speirs in Va. Beach – part of my family.  My runner family.

Amazing the difference that one-year can make.

Dom was still with us last April.

My good friend Keith’s wife Monica was still with us as well, raising Garris and Fuller down in Charleston, SC.

Little miss Landry was still growing inside her Momma’s belly.  I would not hold that bundle in my arms for another 4 months.

So today as I was pedaling along on the triathlon bike up on the trainer in the garage I looked back on last April and the Boston Marathon.

I came away feeling a sense of defeat last year as I was not able to run the race that I wanted.  I read the race report from that day – CLICK HERE – several times a month to remember just what falling short at a big race feels like.

The fact is that setback made me a much more determined runner.  I trained harder and became much, much faster since last April.

That is the way it is sometimes in life.  You learn more from the disappointments than you do from your successes.  It is always tough to remind yourself of that fact when you are in the heat of the moment.  But with some reflection, it is those tough days that define us.

They do not build character as much as they reveal it.

So as my friends race on from Hopkinton to Boston this morning without me, I’m happy to be here in Austin with my family.  I earned my way back to Boston for next Spring’s race – and an even more determined marathoner will stand among the 25,000+ runners next April.

I’ll still have the same initials on my shoes as I did a year ago and I’ll be running for many of the same reasons.  But when I hit Hereford Street a year from now and make that left turn onto Boylston I’ll be running toward another finish line – not away from the starting line.

Sometimes that makes all the difference.

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