They (you know, “they”) say that America is a land of second chances. Classic cars (see the Pontiac Firebird pictured above and, if you really like classic cars, check out these photos) are exactly that — a second chance that someone has given a car that could easily have ended up a small metal cube in a junk yard. To own and truly appreciate a classic car takes time, money and often hard work to restore (and sometimes even improve) the car to its previous luster. That’s the backdrop, but this post isn’t about cars, it’s about running.
In October, I ran the Milwaukee Marathon. I did well and finished the 26.2 mile course in three hours and twenty-seven seconds (3:00:27). I was only 57 minutes off the current world record (give or take), but breaking the world record wasn’t my goal. I was trying, have been trying for a number of years, to break three hours in the marathon. My previous best was 3:01 (three hours, one minute) in 2003. To get as close as I did after a difficult eight years (the difficulties of which go beyond the scope of this post) was both exhilarating and disappointing.
So, now, it is November. I have recovered from Milwaukee and while my past history has always been about waiting until next year (as tired a phrase as any in sports), I am not waiting. I am (waiting) in the sense that my next marathon is January 15, 2012 (in Houston, the day after the Olympic Trials Marathon), but the wait is a short one. Never in my history as a marathon runner (about 15 years) have I run two marathons) so close to one other on the calendar. My thought was “why not?” If I feel healthy — I do. If I can do the training — I am. Then, I can do the race — I will.
If you made it this far, let me tie this all together. Classic cars, my running, maybe that interest rate you didn’t grab when you thought it wasn’t as low as things could go, are all great examples of second chances and the great things that can come from them. I literally saw my goal escape my grasp in Milwaukee. I rounded a curve, had the finish line in striking distance, and then saw the clock roll over from 2:59 to three hours (3:00). It was discouraging, but I am not giving up. I am taking a second chance to finish the job. You can too.