Eight years ago I thought I had achieved my dream. Surging along the highway passing the 30km mark of the Beppu-Oita marathon and feeling great. I remember thinking;
â€œI’m going to nail this and go the Olympics!â€
Unfortunately the ’fade’ came and the marathon won the day. My result was respectable but would it be good enough to make the Australian Olympic team? Not wanting to take any chances I packed in 12 weeks of quality training and left Jess at 36 weeks and without a bathroom (but an ample laundry tub) to go ’chasing’ a faster time that would put the issue to bed. My chosen marathon was terrific little race the Italian City of Padova. Nice place and a really nice marathon. 42km from point to through rural hamlets and intensive agricultural land. It was the first, and only time I had been watched by cattle and farmers operating hay bailing machinery whilst running a top class marathon. I wasn’t there to make hay however and sadly the truth of the matter was revealed;
â€œYou just can’t keep firing the same bullet in the same holeâ€, is an apt description*.
I had no room for improvement after running a marathon 3 months before and wish as I might, running 3 minutes slower was a respectable run, but well outside what was required. During the afternoon of my Padova experiment I received a text from Ian Leitch, my coach and mentor;
â€œDon’t worry about it Scott. Just get on that plane and get back to Jess and your family. They need you nowâ€.
So I did. 6 weeks after my return Noah Westcott was born 8 years to this day, the first day of winter. Life exploded in a direction that Jess and I had wanted but had no idea about. As hard as it was it has been rich and fulfilling and we have been blessed with two more children in Finn and Frankie.
I don’t remember a lot of 2008. It was a blur of absolute highs and lows. I did not see the wonderful performance of the late Kenyan Sammy Wanjuru who destroyed the men’s marathon field in the Beijing heat. Preferring instead to ’go bush’ with Jess, Noah and good friends of ours where no technology could penetrate.
Sitting on the couch tonight watching the â€œBluesâ€ do battle with the â€œMaroonsâ€ with my 8 year old boy I am taken by how proud of him I am. He has made my life ’fuller’ and is as excited as anyone that â€œhis dadâ€ is going to the Olympics. He also wants to grow up to be a coach, run and put on athletics and running events like his old man. That sentiment itself blows me away.
Maybe I was in my physical prime 8 years ago and ready to perform at the highest stage. But the occasion would only be remembered by pictures on the wall and the stories told.
Call it fate, grand design or just sheer luck, this is where life has brought me and I wouldn’t change a thing!
*Bullet in the same hole quote favoured by Guy Walters who I have coached for the past 8 years from the age of 15. It’s probably the most philosophical thing I have ever heard him say but it rings true on so many levels.
Training today was a standard Wednesday long run. Nothing fancy. Just getting it done, mostly in the dark!
Picture courtesy of Melanie Pearce of Central West ABC. From L to R Frankie, Jess, Scott, Noah, Finn, Sue (mum)