I do well when I have a target in front of me. Two points to draw a line between; what does it take to get from where I am now to where I want to be? When I don’t have a race to train for, I kind of float around; train here, there, whenever I want- less so much more than more so. But when I set a target, a goal race, I can connect the dots between here and there, I can build my fitness and focus. True, I don’t always meet my goals, but I do find that without setting concrete goal, a deadline – if you will – I won’t even make that step. Maybe I’ll start to move in that direction, but it won’t take much to ping me off course.
Now that I’m getting back into the swing of training, which is to say, I’m actually running more than three times a week, it’s time to set some points in the distance to inch towards. So, I signed up for a marathon. The goal: to successfully run a speedy-ish race in less than 20 weeks. This will be my first marathon in nearly 3 years. That’s a lot of years.
But, I did this last year, see. And the year before. Last year, in May, I signed up for a marathon, and trained with stellar mediocrity throughout the summer. As the race date approached, I decided to split the difference based on my training effort and life effort and halved the distance, deciding that I’d just race a half marathon as I toed the line next to all these superfit and fast uber-athletes that toed the line with me. And, although my ego took a blow because there’s no way I could have maintained the pace I wanted to for the entire 26.2 miles (because I barely hung on to that pace for 13.1), I realized something: it was fun.
So much stinkin’ fun. Half marathons are fun. Racing for less than half the time and actually feeling good after crossing the line is a strange phenomenon. And it made me realize something: I want to feel good, have fun, and be fast. Is that possible? Can I do all three of those things?
I’m going to try it, at least. What have I got to lose? I’ve got the training plan ironed out, a track less than 2 miles from my door, and a fire burning in my belly. So long as I’m having fun, I think I’ll be able to stay the course.