Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Question

At the moment, I am about halfway through my training for a February marathon.  This means I have a little less than 8 weeks to go until the race.  As long as that sounds to some, it does not sound like enough time for me to pull off the goal I have set for myself.  I have missed 2 weeks of training due to a sinus/ear infection and had one wacky week over the Christmas holiday where I skied, ran a little, but didn't get any quality workouts in.  I know, life happens, and we all diverge from our set plans once in a while.  But, for me, as a relatively competitive, though not elite runner, if I'm going to succeed on a personal level, I need to follow the plan as closely as possible.  At this point you could say I'm a bit concerned.  I haven't thrown in the towel just yet, but I have to be honest...running a marathon in Hyannis, MA (huh?) in February does not seem very appealing at the moment.  And it definitely doesn't seem too appealing if I know ahead of time that I'm not likely to hit my goal because I've been struggling with the training.  So, herein lies the question.  How many marathons will it take until I decide that my time isn't important and that I am running simply to enjoy the ride?  There are marathons in big, exciting cities like Austin and San Diego with bands playing at every mile.  There are marathons in Europe in beautiful cities I've never visited but would love to explore.  At what point do I pass over the cold, small, local race that I've chosen for the PR and decide to run just to run?  I guess the bigger question here is why I do these marathons at all.  Do I want a a personal best every time?  Well, yes, that would be ideal.  But, I also do them because I truly enjoy the training; all four months of it.  I like that I feel incredibly strong, both physically and mentally, througout the process.  I love the feeling of exhaustion at the peak of my training because I know how hard I've worked to get there.  I love talking about my plan with my coaches and my running partner.  I love buying gear that I normally wouldn't buy but can easily justify because I'm training for a marathon.  I love it all.  But, ultimately, if I'm going to be honest, yes, I do want the PR each time.  I realize this is not necessarily the right reason to race, but at this point, I truly believe I have more potential as a runner (and I'm not getting any younger) so I'm pushing myself to see how far I can get before I run just to run.  When will that be?  I have no idea.  And will running for the fun of it be fulfilling and make me happy?  Again, I have no idea.  I think and hope I'll know when it's time.  If I don't, hopefully my running partner will hammer it into me with her wise words that I lean on so heavily.  Until then, I will run to improve and I will hopefully continue to enjoy it along the way.  And I'm cool with that.  Though, I do have to say, given that it's 6 degrees out right now, the San Diego marathon is sounding REALLY good right now.  Maybe the time is near.  Maybe....

Listen to this:
Combat Baby - Metric  Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? - Metric


  1. That is an interesting question. I know that I skate because I love to skate, but my goals definitely add a lot of interest and motivation, and I wouldn't skate at all as much without my goals. I have wondered about what it would be like to be a runner, in that it seems like the only obvious goal is finishing time. Whereas for me, there are a lot of different areas like dance, freestyle, and moves (footwork) that I can test in and different factors (flow, expression, technical elements) to master, so even as I age I can advance in some areas. One of my friends who is a runner has branched out into different variations like trail running, doing the runs that have bands along the route, and so forth. I say if you think you can increase your PR, you want to do it, and as you say you aren't getting any younger, go for it while you can!

  2. It's definitely tricky in running when there isn't much to improve on beyond your time. Form, mileage, speed....sort of but not really. In the end, I think "going for it" while I have the desire and ability is the plan. I still love it and hope I always will. At some point, I'm thinking things will shift and when that comes I'll just see how it pans out from there. Thanks for chiming in, Mary!