I have a death plan. I bet you don’t have one of those. I’m not talking about a living will, although I sort of think death plan would be a more apt name for those documents. I’m referring to my grand exit strategy.
I know that dwelling on such thoughts is morbid. And I can lean melancholy at times, but I’m goal oriented. I had a really good six mile run today and I still feel the vigor from the trail. And yet, I couldn’t help thinking about how I intend to die over the course of those six miles. And I think that’s perfectly normal for a sixty-year-old. A cancer here, a heart surgery there, the passing of one’s parents; whether you measure it in years or miles, it starts to add up.
I’m going to die gloriously on the runner’s field of battle. During a marathon or perhaps a mountain trail run. Ideally, a well-planned race so that there will be paramedics standing by to collect my body. My heart will be beating at max, until it’s not. My eyes will be wide shut, staring at a mountain sunset. I’ll lay down to rest in an alpine meadow and know the race is over.
I’ll admit, I’ve been planning this for a while. I think about it every time I sign those waivers as a part of online race registrations. Every time I run with abandon down a steep mountain trail slope. Stumbling over a rock is one thing running uphill but tripping over a tree root on the downhill can be a death-defying tumble. I somersaulted into a ravine once while running down the amphitheater trail in Boulder, shirtless with my car key in my hand. Fortunately, a bed of poison oak broke my fall.
To be sure, this is a long-term plan. I’d like to enjoy a few more podium finishes before I go and at my current pace of conditioning, I’ll need to still be running and racing in my eighties to win my age bracket. But like I said, I’m a planner. I have three marathons on my calendar for 2023 – Austin in February, the Colorado Marathon in May and the Boulder Marathon next October. Any one of those could finish me off, but I feel like I have many more miles to go before I sleep.