In just under two weeks, I will hopefully turn 47. I ran the Music City Marathon today for the 12th year in a row. Early on in this running career, I tried to break the hour and forty minute mark, but only got as close as 1:41:21. There were years I thought I was prepared to challenge it, but heat one year and rain on another foiled my plan. So, I quit trying to crack the barrier. Then, last year, I paced a personal best, beating the old best by only three seconds. Today, I felt no need to reach for new goals… I wanted to enjoy the run. But, the weather was perfect, and my conditioning seemed solid. I ran my natural race, paced by what felt comfortable and sustainable. Then, at the ten mile mark, I made a calculation… I thought that if I reached mile twelve at 1:32 or so, I could push and possibly finish under one forty. At mile twelve, my stopwatch read 1:32:10… so, I picked up my pace just a little bit. Then, with the Woodland Street bridge between me and the finish line, I gave the best effort to sprint without throwing my body into a full cramp or shutdown. I felt solid, swift. When I crossed the finish line, I hit “stop” on my stopwatch… I glanced down and felt both high and letdown. I had achieved a new personal best, but I had fallen eight seconds short of finishing under one hour and forty minutes. Acceptance washed over me, but I sure wish that I could have back that last half mile… I’d bet I could have eked out a little more effort if I knew I needed an extra eight seconds. I also left a little time on the course to stop and hug and kiss my daughters and wife… my priorities are straight. It was a thoroughly enjoyed thirteen point one mile run.