One year ago, I was the fittest and fastest I have ever been. Race day couldn't come soon enough and the flat and fast Chicago Marathon course made promises of a new and impressive personal best.
My training had gone precisely to plan. In the 12 weeks leading up to race day, I had run over 1,800K averaging over 150K a week including several big mileage weeks of 175+K. Four weeks out, I won the Milton Half-marathon in 1:13 flat which further suggested I was ready for a big result. Expectations were clearly established.
With two weeks to go, the taper presented some much needed time to rest and recover. It also presented time to reflect and assess, dream and aspire. How fast could I possibly go? Anticipation rose.
With nothing to lose and everything to gain, I lined up, the gun went off, and it began. I ran and raced through the streets of Chicago greeted and cheered by thousands of supporters. Early I felt good, later I felt great but then, as always, I just wanted it to be over...
I crossed the line in 2:34:13. A personal best of some two and a half minutes. First came relief, satisfaction followed, celebrations, albeit brief, then reflection. Finally, regret and remorse.
One year later, returning from injury, barely running and with no thought of racing, I am so far removed from that day. Here, now, I can't help but wonder if I'll ever run that fast again.
Looking back to the days, weeks and months that led to that moment, I wish I would have enjoyed the process more and emphasized the outcome less.
The day before the race is the greatest day of all. There is excitement and expectation. Nervousness and fear. There are goals, dreams and aspirations. There is no regret, no remorse, no reflection. Only anticipation of what might be.