Thursday, August 27, 2009

"Show up and run" Marathoners

A new friend of mine recently wrote a new blog about running marathons.

First, you need to understand that she is a very accomplished runner. She has won marathons! Okay . . . so have I. But her's was a "real" marathons with more than one person running! But recently she wrote in her blog about her lack of recent competitiveness. Seems she realizes she is not running to her capability and has recently decided to re-dedicate herself to training.

Who can blame her? I mean, she is a really good runner with lot's of talent! But she did make one comment that has made me stop and think. Now, she was only talking about herself. She definitely wasn't passing any judgments on anyone else! But she did refer to "show up and run" marathoners. And she spoke of "returning from the "running dead."

Here is the rub . . . I am a "show up and run" marathoner. I train to finish a marathon . . . not to run my fastest possible. And even at my best I wasn't very good!! Best 5k of my life was a 20:01. Best marathon was a 3:58. Not very impressive! And today my marathon times hover around 5:30! Best time in the last few years is a 4:56, I believe. Could I run faster? Yes, I'm fairly sure I could. But my question is should I try?

In years past, I did really focus on my time. In fact, in my first marathon I was so disappointed in my performance I really didn't appreciate what I had accomplished. It took my second marathon to achieve my time goal and feel like I was a success. I worked hard . . . I trained hard . . . and I believe that I came close to my potential (I admit I never had much potential!)

But it was hard. Really hard. And I was often injured.

But today I just have fun. I NEVER freak over times. I never feel like a failure and rarely suffer from an injury.

Well, that's not quite true. I do feel like a failure when I'm on the edge of disqualification due to a cut-off time . . . something foreign to most of my running friends. I mean, I took a degree of pride in being the "last official finisher" of the Umstead Marathon last year. Hell . . . I had to really "book it" to stay in the race! And in my first 50k I was 10 minutes over their cut-off time, but they let me finish.

Positives of my current approach: 1) I can run the day after a race, 2) since I run races fairly often, I really don't do much real training, 3) I stop and take pictures along the way and have photo memories of almost every race I've run, and 4) I rarely suffer an injury.

But maybe I should try to do my best . . . maybe for just one race. Actually TRAIN to do my best. We'll see . . . I'm not converted yet! But I'm thinking . . .

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Littleton, North Carolina
World's Slowest Runner . . . well, at least in contention for the honor. Just your average "below average" runner.