I made a goal about 10 years ago to run the Boston Marathon and after chasing that dream for 5 years I qualified back in 2003. Soon after, I was deployed to Kuwait as a member (at the time) of the USAF. While in Kuwait I sustained a running injury and could not go to Boston that year.
After separating from the military I fell into some lifestyle traps which at the time seemed worthwhile. These changes were not conducive to training and over the course of 2-3 years I fell farther away from my goal of running Boston. As these stories go, eventually I let down just about everyone around me, most of all myself. Fortunately my wife was there for me, always encouraging and waiting for the time when I could return to the person I am when at my best.
About a year ago I started running again. Just 10 miles each week, fairly regularly... soon I was running for an hour, then two hours and then in May completed my first 50k distance run. At that race I set a course record, maybe because I did not know any better... maybe because I had found some secret, some source of inspiration which stemmed from the mystery within me. I knew this could lead me toward the best version of myself and I chose to follow this guide.
Since that time I have set my sights on qualifying for the Boston Marathon once again. This time, to toe the line and complete the famed course. So, this Saturday in Charlotte, NC I will be running with the memories of addiction trailing behind me, trying to catch up. I will never out run them, but rather I will go within my soul and use the best in me to do something great. That is, to face doubt with the courage I seek to renew each time out there. This running is not about anything other than finding the next challenge for ourselves.
I suspect there is meaning to every step each runner will take this weekend. My story is just one of those. My greatest hope is to run with this feeling inside and to then learn the lessons which are available. This is what life teaches. Stay engaged, keep your eyes open. Never stop.