To prepare for my 20th marathon, I ran 9 miles yesterday.
Well, to be more accurate, I ran and walked the miles.
With a milestone marathon in December, friends have wanted to know when and what was my fastest of the 19 so far.
I’ve lost track, so I had to Google to find out. I knew it was in the same city where my daughter was born, but before she was born. As the years go by and numbers accumulate, especially after one becomes a parent, one sometimes needs to double check.
The city and time were correct: a 3:40 in Scranton, Pennsylvania, at the Steamtown Marathon! The number of years ago, though, a bit fuzzy. Now I know: 12.
I ran a 3:40 in 2005.
It might have been my 8th or 9th marathon. I’m not exactly sure. What I do know for sure is that I never ran a faster marathon.
But 3:40 is a nice number to remember. Of course I did not realize at the time it would be my fastest marathon. Nor did I know that five years later, the person for whom I wake up every morning, my daughter, would be born in Scranton. But she was, and Scranton, a city I’ve only been to twice, will always be one of my favorite places on our earth.
So what does the title of this post mean? Isn’t recalibrating an unusual word?
Not for athletes slowing down!
I ran a few more marathons after Steamtown under four hours. Then I took a year off from distance running. When I came back, I accepted that I needed to adjust expectations, that finishing a marathon under five hours was fine.
Now, approaching my 20th marathon, guess what?
If I finish under six hours, as I just barely did for my 19th, I’m grateful.
I’m still out there. Just like yesterday, when I ran/walked 9 miles, my legs at times felt like they did 12 years ago, even if for only a few minutes.
But muscle memories, like many consistent, fond memories, bring joy even if that joy is fleeting.
I know 10 years from now, when we are deciding on a college for Ellen, what I will remember most will be the moments of joy, that all the training, all the perseverance, was worth every mile.