The Portland Marathon is 40 days away.
For the last six months or so I have been preaching my goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon. I would say to people that I would absolutely be pleased with just finishing my first marathon. But inside I knew that wasn’t the case.
3:14:59! It’s the only number that mattered. That’s the time I needed to post to qualify. Anything more than that I would have been disappointed. Yes, I know how stupid it sounds. But when you are so focused on something it doesn’t matter how ridiculous it sounds, it’s the only thing that matters. So I based my training plan on that number. In fact, I built my plan in a way that said I could go sub 3:00:00. In my first marathon. And even though I’ve only been running for less than 18 months.
Guess what happened? In fact, if you’re a runner (and odds are if you are reading this that means you are) you know exactly what happened. My body fell apart. My training completely came off the rails. I haven’t completed a full week of training in over a month. Many times just completed a single run is a challenge. No matter how much I eat or sleep I always seem to feel tired. Most importantly, it stopped being fun. In fact, it almost got to the point of being something I didn’t want to do. The inner dialogue I was having between this goal I wanted to achieve and the mental and physical crappiness I was feeling almost became too much.
The ego can be a bitch. It can put you in situations that cause you to do very stupid things. First thing you have to do is check that bastard at the door. I knew if I was completely honest with myself that what I was doing was stupid. I was letting my ego get the better of me. My ego had convinced me that the success I had earlier in the year could be expanded into areas of running that I really had no business going…at least not yet.
I love the movie Cool Runnings (note to self, need to watch again!). One of the best scenes is this one:
Irv: Derice, a gold medal is a wonderful thing. But if you’re not enough without one, you’ll never be enough *with* one.
Derice Bannock: Hey coach, how will I know if I’m enough?
Irv: When you cross that finish line tomorrow, you’ll know.
Sometimes just crossing the finish line is enough. It took a while, but I’m coming to terms with that. I’m going to run a freaking marathon! Less than 1% of the population can say that! And just because it’s going to take me an extra 15-20 minutes to do it should’t detract from that accomplishment.
This change in inner dialogue has been going on for a couple of weeks. I really missed having run when I ran. Or at least not feeling that it sucked. It was really hammered home to me during Hood to Coast. I had so much fun. Yeah, it was tough. But I enjoyed it. Yeah, my body still hurts. But it’s back to me loving that feeling. I think it’s the difference between putting yourself through pain to reach a goal that is attainable and doing the same thing for a goal that you had no business setting in the first place. Sometimes the journey itself needs to be the goal. Last year was not about me getting to a specific weight. It was about the journey to become a better, healthier person. I need to treat this marathon, and all future goals for that matter, the same way. It’s about the journey and what you become from it.
So, tonight I will be joining my Hood to Coast teammates at the track for Team in Training practice. This will be the first time I’ve joined them. I’ve already gotten a few emails from people saying how excited they are that I will be joining them. According to the training schedule I will be doing Yasso 800’s. And I’m going to enjoy every damn one of them.