Tuesday, September 2, 2014

FROM MARCO ISLAND TO MARGARITAVILLE

The iconic balladeer of our time crooned from the steamy stage in Hershey, Pennsylvania: "Yes, it's been quite a summer!"

On Labor Day weekend there was no better way to celebrate the unofficial end of summer than to listen to Jimmy Buffett, as the ageless ambassador of summer lead the crowd through songs we all knew.

Nestled in the hills of central Pennsylvania, we pregamed with thousands of Parrotheads, many of whom expressed envy as we swilled our Yuengling Oktoberfest beer brewed, literally, right down the street.

The worst injury of my 38-year running career, a double hamstring tendon tear, rendered m feebly lame as I went for a run with my running friend of 25 years, John Ausherman, at my daughter Kelly's wedding at Dewey Beach, Delaware in mid-May. It appeared as though it was, for me, going to be a long, slow summer.

Some excellent physical therapy and more stretching than I had done than I had done in my previous 37 running years began to take effect when my wife and I vacationed at beautiful Marco Island, Florida in July.

In August, training runs in the 9:30 range had been pared to an 8:30 clip, and track mile intervals dropped into the sevens. A far cry from where I was when I crashed to the concrete in May 2013, but steps in the right direction nevertheless.

So, as another season of running came to a close, I achieved what we all strive for in our sport: improvement. And that improvement is relative. I will never run the rimes I clocked in my 20s and 30s, and I may never run a 3:04 marathon as I did three weeks before I tore my hamstring, but I AM improving.

I urge all of you to watch the video of Admiral McCracken's 2014 commencement address at the University of Texas, delivered in May.

The former Navy SEAL explains to his audience that when a SEAL candidate can no longer endure the training, he rings a special bell, which signifies his resignation.

McCracken tells the graduates: "In life, NEVER ring the bell."

I'm borrowing the Admiral's words when I tell you as a runner, "Never ring the bell!"

I don't intend to, and neither should you. You can overcome any adversity, injury or illness. You can always reach a personal best.

You can make each summer, "Quite a summer," and you can do it for the other three seasons as well.

Never despair. Never give up

Each day we get out there to do what we love, every day we take to the roads or the trails, we are in Margaritaville.

                                               Buffett concert with Lindsay and Ray Richards