5, 6, & 7) Cleveland, Memphis, and Prague
I've already posted my reflections on the Cleveland Marathon, and I don't want to repeat myself. But I would like to reflect on the whole of my experience with marathons over the last few years. And I'd also like to take a moment to try to frame my thoughts on what lies ahead.
Over the last 29 months, I've run five marathons. Because of that, I am in better physical condition than I've ever been in, in my life. I just turned 37 years old, and I feel better than I did 15 years ago. I've also used long distance runs to explore the city in which I live, and the places that I visit, in a way that I never could before. Countless new angles on the world around me have opened up through my wanderings. Running has helped me gain new insights into other individual people as well. Through talking with, and running with, other runners, I have learned more about their personal struggles and the ways in which they've worked through them. And I've learned things about myself, both positive and negative, that I don't believe I could have discovered any other way.
Running marathons has been the single best thing that I've done for myself in my life. And I am awed by the idea that there is much more to come.
I am going to run my sixth marathon exactly five months from today, in Memphis. From this vantage point, its difficult to say what exactly my goals will be for that race. I'll be able to get a more clear view of that when the training gets heavy this fall. But I'm looking forward to taking everything that that experience has to offer. And I plan to shave a number of minutes from the clock in the process.
Five months after Memphis, I'll be running a marathon in Prague. A good friend of mine is moving there, and I can't wait to explore the city with him, and with that race course.
In the meantime, I'll find a few shorter races to enjoy, and I'll also have countless other runs that don't involve a clock or any planned course at all. But I'm going to keep those marathons, both past and future, with me the whole way. Because that is where the prize is kept. That is where the growth and the light live. And even though I sometimes need to rest, that is the direction in which I always want to be moving.