Nearly a year ago (no, not the last time I blogged, but close), I rode shotgun in my friend Dan’s car. Dan stretched out in the back nursing marathon legs, while his father drove us toward the Houston airport, one generous stop to drop me off before they continued on to Dallas.
On that day, we were at opposite ends of the training spectrum. Dan: pulling into the slip having just completed his goal race, the culmination of 12 hard months. Me: leaving port and hunkering down for the long voyage to the Boston Marathon start line.
Dan and I text and e-mail one another on a weekly (sometimes daily) basis. So, the conversation flowed just as you would think it might when two people who share the same passion for running get together in person.
We traded stories about mileage, workouts, numbers, paces, heel drops, elevation…we spoke to one another in an altogether different language but one in which we both spoke fluently.
For that car ride, I let myself drift to Dan’s position and embrace that moment when all the hard work had been done, the race had been run, and while you wanted to celebrate, you couldn’t help think: what’s next?
Now, 12 months later, I find myself in an almost “groundhog-day-like” position, though the landscape has shifted some. Dan and I (plus a handful of brothers in arms) will trade Houston for Phoenix. This time, he’ll swap 26.2 for the 13.1, and I’ll take aim at a PR. Once it’s over, our small fraternity will reconvene over beers and rehash it all in our adopted second language.
And the conversation will eventually turn toward “what’s next.” For Dan, I can’t say – perhaps moor his boat for a few weeks (or days) to let that satisfying ache of accomplishment linger until its inevitable transformation into, “how do I do it faster next time?” For me, I’ll (hopefully) savor that shiny PR, record the day’s miles in my log, then batten down the hatches to keep sailing toward that famous start line in a small Boston suburb.
Won’t you come along for the ride?