With the Boston Marathon bombings seemingly a lifetime behind us, it's amazing how fast life can move, I've had the time to ponder the question, "What if?".
What if I had ended up running the marathon? People keep telling me, "but you're much faster than the 4 hours the bombs exploded at". True, but, because I was injured I had started to modify my expectations. Up until three weeks before the race I was still determined to run. Since I had lost a few key weeks of training I figured I could run it in around 4 hours comfortably. I would start in the first wave and cross the start about two minutes after the gun. If I ended up being slower than I planned I could have been crossing the finish line right around the 4:09 mark.
Even if I had been there though, no runners were hurt by the blasts. But what if my family had been there to watch me finish? They could have been standing on the sidelines with all those other people when it happened. Or maybe I could have finished it a bit faster than expected and joined them at the finish to wait for our other friends. There are so many possibilities.
Or what if we had ended up sending the kids to school and just Jen and I decided to go in to town to watch the finish. That was something that we had discussed and it could have gone that way if we hadn't ended up wanting to bring the kids out with us. We've done that before so there is no reason why we wouldn't have this time.
In the end, none of that happened though. The problem with What Ifs is that they can never happen, they are only questions. I didn't run, I wasn't at the finish, and everyone I know is fine. Speculating about what could have been is a deep rabbit hole that can lead to dark places. It can never serve a good purpose.
I still wish I could have run that marathon, even knowing what took place, but I didn't. With all these What Ifs floating around, the fact that I didn't get to run maybe isn't such a bad thing after all.