Do Over

Reverb14 is a prompt-a-day series for the month of December designed to reflect on 2014 and project hopes and dreams for 2015.  Throughout December,SarahKat and I will post each day with a new prompt.  Join us by writing, orjoin us by reading.   Follow us on Twitter @project_reverb and #reverb14.

Do Over Hindsight is the one thing we never benefit from in the present.  Is there one moment you wish that you could do-over?

I ran a really shitty marathon in Big Sur in April. It was a Bucket List Race — one of those races you sign up for because you just have to run it.  I was badly injured and Big Sur was and is a tough marathon regardless of whether one is injured or not (basically, 26.2 miles of Highway 1 on the Pacific Coast).  I was also inexplicably sick to my stomach throughout the course, maybe because of the pain of my shredded hip; maybe because I knew it could be my last marathon, and I was struggling to cope with that.

IMG_3108

I enjoyed it, immensely.

But if I could do it over?

I’d take more time. I’d enjoy it even more than I did.

It still might be my last marathon. So I wouldn’t be so maudlin about the whole affair. I wouldn’t go back to Carmel, Monterey, Big Sur trying to chase down the things that I missed; the life that I had had there years ago.

I would go to celebrate the race for itself.IMG_3120

No one is ever going to take away the fact that I’ve run 14 marathons — but I guess I didn’t know that when I was facing down the Big Sur start. At the time, I felt like if I wasn’t actively racing, even just plodding at a terribly slow place with one working hip, that meant that I was no longer a runner; no longer a Marathoner. It felt like I would have to give up a part of my identity that had been so hard-fought, and hard-won, and fiercely guarded.

Running has been one of those things that does not come naturally to me, but that I do for myself. Because it’s not easy, it’s more rewarding.

If I’d known, before I crossed the Bixby Bridge, that I would still be a marathoner after Big Sur, I would’ve had a happier heart on the day of what might be my last marathon start. So while I like to live my life with no regrets; no longing; no desire for do-overs, I wouldn’t mind a second chance at those hills with a lighter step.

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  1. As I am in my seventies and having been a runner in my mid-thirties to fifties I know that feeling of wanting another shot. Being somewhat obsessive back in the day(early 80’s), I had a tendency to over-train and for all of my very, very satisfying finishes I had more than one empty tank finish. Half-marathons were my sweet spot. I trained for and ran one 25k and that was slightly more than I bargained for. It was still glorious though because my goal was under 2 hours and I ran 1:54. Later I wondered if had incorporated a tapering module to the final week or so, could I have broken 1:50. That was in Spring and later in Summer I ran a half and I was hooked……for years. Even at the end of my running I always wanted one more shot and like you, I think I should have just been more in the moment, savoring the joy of the trip and the celebration of the destination. Final run or no. Slainte’. Have great holidays.

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