Finding Peace with your Journey !
I was out running today with one of my former high school athletes home for a long weekend from College, now enjoying great success as a freshman competitive Collegiate runner. We enjoyed a relaxing run on a gorgeous late Winter's day that felt more like the prelude to Spring. We reminisced about some of our workouts and his learning in the time of our tenure and he was very gracious in thanking me again for the education on all things running that I was able to provide for him and in return I explained to him that he was the poster child for enthusiastic disciplined learning and training, a sponge with a never ending thirst to learn about all things physiological and psychological pertaining to training and racing.
During the course of our run he made mention that he knew I had retired from racing last year but he wondered if perhaps I had (or might) change(d) my mind and as such if I had thought about any races for this year. I explained that I was very comfortable with my decision after twenty-six years of racing and that I was enjoying my 'retirement' running...I also told him that I understood that this maybe very hard to reconcile to someone such as him because he is just starting out on his racing career and therefore through this prism it would be hard to understand the concept of voluntarily stopping racing when I am blessed to be able to still run at an effective level and he agreed.
At this point this young man asked me if I had any regrets in my career? An interesting question. As we ran leisurely along I thought about the question and I said yes, to some extent. He asked what? I said perhaps the fact that at the very height of my career I herniated a disc in my back which left me in no doubt that it cost me the chance to run a sub 4.10 mile in 1999 and a sub 2.30 marathon at the end of 1998. Nothing will ever convince me that those two times were not achievable for me based upon a resume of training that had taken place, in particularly between 1996-1998. However, there was an addendum to my answer and that was this. If I had to choose between achieving those potential times but at the expense of actual factual history of winning the 35-39 age group Nike World Games 1500 meters after six months of singularly focused training for this one event, this one race taking place at the mecca of USA track running in tracktown USA on the home track of my idol Steve Prefontaine with all the history that I submerged myself in and was inspired by for nearly a decade then the answer is an emphatic no- I was totally at peace with the way my history was written and played out !
My former student asked me if I had run every race and run every run in every part of the world that I wanted to. Again I answered that one cannot run everywhere but that I achieved more than I could ever have dreamed or wished for, running in some incredible locations from Europe, to Hawaii, to Florida, to the forests and waterfalls of California to Central Park and to the Carriage trails in Bar Harbor Maine and many places in between and raced in incredible places on track, road and trail from rural Washington to Oregon, California, New Mexico, New York, Boston, Hawaii, Europe and so much more....my thirst is quenched, I am not greedy and I am more than satisfied, I am at total peace and harmony with my journey, meeting some amazing people along the way, running some hellacious workouts and races and in the words of the great Coach, Bob Glover, I learned to 'find the peace inside of pain'.....I encourage you to please do the same and may you find the same satisfaction, peace and harmony as I was blessed to do.
I retired on my terms, healthy and riding off into the 'retiring running ' sunset and delighted and blessed to do so....
Walk in peace and let the good times roll !