This past weekend, I went to Wisconsin to pace a friend for the last 38 miles of a hundred mile race. I was concerned that he would not be able to finish because he had just completed a 150 mile event two weeks prior. He did not make the cutoff time, in order to be allowed to finish, so the only running I got to do was the 5 or 6 miles I ran when I went out to find him. Also, I had run a little over two miles earlier in the day just to make sure I ran some. I've been running more miles recently, just because I can.
I was so disappointed when I was no longer able to run a sub 20 5k. For quite awhile, I was sure I would be able to get back to that place. A few more sessions of speedwork, a couple more tempo runs, just a little more effort and I would be back to the runner I had been. I didn't ever find the magic formula that would bring me back.
During the time when I was running out to find my friend and make sure he got back to the aid station, it occurred to me how very fortunate I am to be able to continue to do this thing, that has brought so many positive things into my life. I can't run a 5k or 10k in the time I once was able to but I was prepared to run and walk 38 miles. This is something I shouldn't take for granted. Many people are unable to do this and (rumor has it), I won't be able to do it forever.
As with many things I think about when I run, there is a larger context; this is applicable to so much more than running. There are many things that I am able to do, at this stage of my life, that I will not always be able to do. I have been fortunate.
The runner formerly known as King Coffee