Stopping by the Beach on a Fall/Spring Evening

Seacliff Road in Ventura 9 November 2013
Off of Seacliff Road in Ventura 9 November 2013

The picture above was taken on 9-November, 2013.  It was the low point of that year, I was driving myself home after barely completing the Santa Barbara Marathon. I injured my knee during that race and was making the 2 1/2 hour drive.  Pain radiated from my knee every time I pressed the accelerator, I was positive that I needed surgery and trying to accept the fact that my running days might be over.

As the exits zoomed by I felt the need to pull off the freeway at Seacliff road in Ventura. The view along the freeway was breathtaking and I wanted to take a break before running into the Saturday night LA traffic.

Seacliff Road was completely unremarkable, but after a few turns I pulled right up to the beach. My knee could not support my weight so I took the picture from the car as I sat listening to the ocean. I had a moment there, a quiet, simple and peaceful and yet tormented moment.

Yesterday, on the way home from vacation, with my wife and daughter in the car, I traveled that same freeway and I pulled off along that same road. This time I parked the car and climbed down the rocks with micro-twinges of that November injury reminding me to take it easy.

When I hit the beach, I had the overwhelming desire to run.  I broke out into a full sprint down the sand.  It felt good physically, emotionally and spiritually.

The foot prints in the sand 18-April 2014
The foot prints in the sand 18-April 2014

A mentor of mine once pointed out that people either tend to move toward pleasure or away from pain.   I am about a week out from my next marathon.  I am not in the best physical condition.  I am having calf problems and it would be easy to just take a pass on this next race and walk away from the sunk costs of the race registration and the airfare.  Here’s the problem: I would rather  fail because of the injury than not show up because of the fear of the pain or the desire to avoid the expense of the hotel room.

I go back to that moment at the start of the Edinburgh Half Marathon when I decided to run in my leather dress shoes, because I knew the blisters would heal, but the regrets would last forever.  Whether that is stupid, pig-headed or God-willing, something perhaps more noble, I have come to the conclusion that’s what I do and that is who I am.

Sanding on the Edge of the Shore.
Sanding on the Edge of the Shore.
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Stopping by the Beach on a Fall/Spring Evening

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