14 April 2013

Fork in the Road

QUICK NOTE:  I am safe, and all the people I know that were running or at the event are also safe.  I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of concern and thank you all.  Pray for the victims and their families.  I will write more shortly.

I was out for a run last weekend with Darling Daughter the Younger when I came upon a fork in the road, so I took it.  No, there’s nothing really deep, philosophical, or even poetic about this.  There really was a fork in the road, and it struck me as rather amusing, so yes, I did circle back and retrieve it, just so I could say what I reeled off in that first sentence.  Kind of a “bear left” joke, if you may.  But hey, if nothing else, I saved a few ounces of metal from the trash by rerouting it to my recycle bin – after the requisite photo op, of course (roadway simulated in this image, items on driveway are closer than they appear, use only as directed).

But could you imagine me not taking the opportunity to turn a bit of junk into something that is deep, philosophical, and even poetic?  When I recounted milestones in my last posting, I neglected to mention that the day our Toxic Trio tore up the roads of Weston, I also hit an anniversary, completing eight years of running since rejoining the sport back in ‘oh-five, and embarking on my ninth trip running around the sun.  Eight years ago I dropped to a walk and couldn’t make it up the hills on a short local loop.  And now the Boston Marathon looms tomorrow, this time my seventh Boston and nineteenth marathon overall, not counting the unofficial ones done in training.  There was a fork in the road back in the winter of ‘oh-five, and I took it.  I returned to the world of running.  I truly had no idea of the effect of that decision.  Family and work are perpetual, but free time and “directed adventures” are now oh-so-directed.  Life is entirely different, and yes, better.

The training is in the can now; there’s nothing more that can be done save a consultation with Ms. R. Ruiz about how to dramatically improve one’s Boston time.  A week back, Toxic Trio training partner Problem Child and I hammered out a set of ten Yasso eight-hundreds, nailing our target two-fifties within two seconds either way, on a windy and tough day, putting the final nail in the confidence portion of our Boston preparations.  So after the Martha’s Vineyard personal best, the Boston Tune-Up personal best, that killer long run, and that final bit on the track, there’s nothing more that can be done.  I’d prefer that a few of the sore bits weren’t so sore, but that’s life.  The gun goes off in under twenty hours.

The usual pre-Boston publicity storm was a little lighter this year, my newspaper coverage allotment having been more than used up on quotes and pictures in stories honoring Rocket John.  So be it, he deserved those column inches far more than I.  But the local cable TV station did get into the fun this year, refining a good half hour of raw interview into a nicely packaged two-and-a-half minute video you can enjoy here.  I was relieved that their artful editing so effectively eliminated my ramblings.

The usual pre-Boston expo wanderings were a little heavier this year, heavier in the number of elite runners we had the chance to meet and greet.  Darling Daughter the Younger plotted the strategy, and we embarked on a whirlwind tour that would tire the most jaded mall bargain hunter.  Save for Kara and Shalane, who’s lines were beyond our tolerance for another wait, we had a fine time chit-chatting with Meb, Desi, and DDtY’s uber-favorite, Ryan Hall.  Add to that a number of encounters with friends along the way, and our now-traditional traipse to the finish line, and the mood is now set to get back to that finish line as quickly as possible.

But the best part of all this is how, after eight years on the roads, now seven Bostons, and uncountable races, workouts, casual runs, and of course, donuts, those encounters with friends at the expo are just the tip of this wonderful community of companions in the running world.  In that time, my circle within that larger universe has continually expanded, including more and more wonderful people I wouldn’t have met otherwise, enriching my life beyond any wildest expectations when I made that choice to hit the roads in the spring of ‘oh-five.

Sadly, one of them is missing this year, and this Boston will be dedicated to him, Rocket John, bib 10581, that won’t record a finish.  The price we pay for living in a rich and wide circle of friends is the greater likelihood of loss within that circle, but I’d never trade away the gain to avoid that loss.  I will, however, honor John with some sort of back-bib memorial, and I’ll be looking hard when passing through the Wellesley Scream Tunnel for a sign that a mutual friend has planted there for me, but mostly for him.

When you see that fork in the road, take it, unless, of course, you’re mid-race and it’s not part of the course.  Any other time though, you never know where it might lead you.  It will almost certainly be interesting, and chances are it will be good.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Gary,

    Many of John's friends and family are watching your posts now wondering if you are okay after yesterday's events. Please let us know that you and your family are okay.



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