Yesterday my teammate and I ran the New Bedford half marathon in MA. We were using it as a "training run" in preparation for the Providence marathon in May. As we stood in line for the bathroom, we listened to a conversation between the two guys in front of us. One asked the other how what he was feeling about the race. His friend shrugged his shoulders and said, "I'm not expecting much because I haven't really been training." Right. I've said that before. Forty five minutes later we were waiting in line again and we heard a woman tell her friend, "I'm really only doing this so I can complete the race trilogy and get the jacket they give out for completing all three." I was beginning to see the pattern at this point. I started thinking of all the things I've dished out to a friend or myself (or a stranger) prior to a race to avoid potential disappointment:
~ My kid was up all night.
~ I haven't broken my new shoes in yet.
~ I was sick last week and I'm not quite over it.
~ I haven't run in a while because I've been really busy.
At the end of the race, if I had run a personal record (PR), none of those things would be mentioned again. I would just go home tired and happy. If not, then after the race I could easily come up with several additional things to explain what happened:
~ The wind was brutal.
~ I wasn't expecting those hills.
~ My blisters kicked in at mile 2.
~ My iPod died.
My teammate and I were disappointed with our performance yesterday. To be fair we had just run a 20 miler on Monday and we were both coming into the race with tired legs. Oh, but there it was again. We always want to run our best and we're secretly hoping for that PR. If it happens, we jump for joy. If it doesn't, well, in the words* of Tom Derderian, head coach of the Greater Boston Track Club, "life is worth living because you will have a good race next time. You are sure of it, so out the door you go". Next time, I'll try to leave the excuses behind.
Listen to this:
Hi-Fi Goon - Throw Me the Statue
*From New England Runner - Jan/Feb 2012