Yesterday was a beautiful November day here in northeastern Pennsylvania. The sky was blue, temperature hovered around fifty degrees, and the wind was calm.
I was happy to take my dogs for a long walk in the mountain behind my house. When I returned, I did some yard work, as leaves have formed numerous mountains around trees, bushes, and fences.
Not satisfied, and unwilling to go back inside on such a glorious day, I decided to get a jump on my Black Friday tradition by beginning to decorate the outside of my home with Christmas lights.
Meanwhile, my daughter, Kelly, and her husband Mike, along with several other good running friends were in Philadelphia, picking up their numbers for today's Philadelphia Marathon and Half Marathon.
A year ago, instead of walking the dogs and erecting Christmas lights, I was with them, preparing for the half marathon.
At that time, I had come full-circle from a hamstring tendon tear I suffered three weeks after the 2013 Boston Marathon.
In 2010, I crossed the finish line at Philly in a time of 2:58:52.
This time around, I'm recuperating from arthroscopic surgery, performed on my left knee (same leg as the hamstring tear) on November 10.
But in our world of competitive running, it's all relative.
When injury or illness cuts us down, we are faced with two distinct choices: we can give up, call it quits, and forfeit what makes us whole, or we can adjust and adapt.
For me right now, I have to temporarily forget about this time last year and adapt for the future, because, believe me, I'm not nearly ready to give up.
I have a friend who is running after he underwent open heart surgery two years ago, and another, who, one month ago, suffered a stroke at age 59. He and I will go for a walk today.
Goals need to be adapted, standards need to be reset, and the business of running can begin again.
Don't allow setbacks to get you down, either physically or mentally. No one is happy when injury, illness, or even age, impedes your times and training, but, inevitable, one of those things will strike all of us at sometime in our running careers.
When it does, use whatever techniques you possess in your arsenal to adjust and adapt. Walk, swim, cycle, or go to the gym. Slowly come back, realizing that all comebacks take time.
You may be hanging Christmas lights when you'd rather be running, but remember, it's all relative.