Thomas Wolfe popularized the phrase “you can’t go home again” in the 1940 book of the same title. While I will never be the author that Wolfe was, throughout my life I’ve found the opposite to be true. I’ve returned to live in the same places, work in the same offices, and rekindle old friendships.
Today was one of the those moments when I returned home at many levels. For the first time since my bike accident, I spent the summer training for a half marathon and found myself home again, filled with the excitement and anxiety of the starting line.
This half marathon returned me to the familiar campus of the Air Force museum. As an Air Force historian I was once well versed in the staff and policies and life of the museum. The first plane I saw today was an F-15 from the 1st Fighter Wing I once served. Home again.
Running the race, I returned home to the liminal space of aspiration and reality. I trained to run the half in under two hours. After six miles, I was on a perfect pace to accomplish this and my seventh mile was the fastest of the race. Starting at mile eight, my legs turned to cement. Perhaps the penance of Market to Market had to be paid. Cardio-wise I was good to go, but my legs turned heavy and didn’t have the energy to maintain the pace to break two hours. I finished in 2:07.50
But I returned home: home to training, home to racing, home to a time equivalent to what I would’ve run pre-bike accident. While I didn’t hit the time goal I wanted, I have returned home to a place of health and strength.
Even after the race I found home in reuniting with a family of dear friends from New Mexico. The Sikora’s opened their home to my post race stink, fed me chili, and we shared the journeys of our lives.
There’s no place like home.