I didn’t bother with an alarm this morning. Allowing my body to find its own way back to conscious living after yesterday’s race. And so with the sun further above the horizon and the first stream of commuters already on their way to work I stumble into my recovery run.
Others seem somewhat taken aback and appear to gawk at my hampered gait. Mocking me with their effortless guile at staying upright all while maneuvering one foot in front of the other.
Show offs! I bet they didn’t run a marathon yesterday.
Like an old clunker, my engine is stuck in first gear but at least I’m moving. And steadily my body finds a second gear as my gross motor movements become more fluid and less Frankenstein-stalking-the-villagers.
My mind starts humming now too. Already tweaking preps for my next marathon. For there will always be a next marathon — God willing — and thus there will always be another chance to better myself. To be a better marathoner. And more importantly to perhaps be a better person.
We learn things as runners, don’t we? No matter our speeds or distances. Things that carry over and affect other areas of our lives. Like perseverance and determination. Like community spirit. Like appreciation for what we can do, all the while dreaming and striving for more.
As I head back for home my pace and stride are now normal and if I were a different kind of man it would be me now who would gawk at those who had witnessed my earlier movements. Instead though I smile sweetly.
Looking into their eyes I think to myself:
I know something you don’t know….
And I learned it from running.
It’s not how we start. It’s how we finish.