Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Sliding Into San Diego

I heard from an old friend this week. Remember the movie Sliding Doors with Gywneth Paltrow? One extra step, one more minute, one more phone call, and your life could take a memorable turn ...

I started running in 2002. In 2003 I was doing 5Ks. Then I got "workforce reduced" from my dot-bomb job. A local firm found me off dice and offered me a consulting gig at Yum! Brands. I flew up to Louisville, headquarters for Colonel Sanders, to meet my client. In his office, this was his screen saver.

I distinctly remember that this was when the seed was first planted, that maybe, just maybe there's an outside chance a marathon could creep into the realm of remote possibilities for me. It didn't grow much at first, but it just sat there and annoyed me for months, 5K after 5K, a constant self-imposed reminder to sh*t or get off the pot. Finally in 2004, almost a year later, I started training for a half, which pushed me beyond my 6 mile limit at the time. I ran The Half in Dallas, and when that was done, I signed up for San Diego.

On June 5, 2005, the journey that started on a desktop image in Louisville finally ended on the asphalt at Balboa Park, as I waited in the pre-dawn darkness on a cool, crisp southern California morning. I thought of all the people I knew, but now knew differently, for they had all gutted out this experience, each in their own way - MS at the Flying Pig, JM at Disney, RM at Marine Corps, TP at Little Rock, JC at NYC, and LB at White Rock. I wondered what their journeys had been like, how they endured their long runs in training, how they ran while others slept, how they rested while other played. In due course I would start the last leg of my adventure, and a starting line picture to call my own, complete with runnin' Elvis-es. If you look closely beneath the balloons, I'm pretty sure I'm in there somewhere. Thanks again MS, for the Flying Pig that started it all.

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