My wife and I ran a half-marathon a couple of weeks ago and I had a very unique experience. It occurred at about mile 5 when we were almost to the turn around point, and I could see the lead runners headed back for home. As I saw them it took me back several years to a place and time where I was that guy...I was one of the lead runners. No, I was never an All American athlete, but I was much better than your average road runner. I consistently finished in the top 10 in most road races, but not on this day.
On October 27, 2012 I was long removed from the fall of 1986. And instead of weighting in at around 145 to 150 lbs I'm guessing I would weigh in at around 190 to 195 lbs. And I was far from leading the pack. Yet for a moment, just for a moment, I was transported back to a faster and significantly lighter place in time. I could clearly see that skinny kid with a great mullet in 1986. My stride was long and my pace was closer to 5 minutes a mile than the 9 minute mile I was trudging through at that moment. It was an awesome experience, because for that moment..I was young, fast, and skinny again and I could actually appreciate it! It was one of those awesome moments in life where I was literally dreaming with my eyes wide open! And then the tears welled up in my eyes as I was transported back to the here and now. I'm still not clear if those were tears of joy or sadness, and I'm not sure that it matters. I know that you are thinking that I am going to use this as an illustration for some kind of life lesson, and you would be right.
It could have been very easy for me to get discouraged when I returned from my brief out of body experience to the here amd now. Let's face it, I had just returned from a moment in time where I could proudly run with my shirt off to a moment in time were I could possibly benefit from a sports bra! So I could have gotten discouraged, and then slowed down as I jiggled my way to the finish line, but that isn't what happened. At that moment I remembered a plaque that Lisa Dolin gave to me in the 10th grade which said, "The race is not always to the swift, but to those who keep on running" (based on Ecclesiastes 9:11). So I puffed up my ever expanding chest, and went for it. I didn't set any records, but I finished strong and that is a great accomplishment in running and in life.