After I finished the Pittsburgh Marathon, I was left with a conundrum. I love to run marathons, and when I run them just for fun – with n time goals or other pressure – it seems as though I am lucky enough to be able to run several a year without worrying about injury.
I love to run marathons for fun. I love the camaraderie of the start line. The kindness of the volunteers. And the overwhelming joy and pride event on every runner’s face at the finish line.
But there is also a part of me that yearns to see what more I can do on the race course. Can I go faster? Can I PR? Can I (dare I say it) BQ?
So far, I have run 23 marathons and only 4 times have I run for a time goal. On those 4 occasions, I hit my time goal twice and crashed and burned the other two times. The joy of accomplishment is equally matched by the crushing disappointment that occurs when I don’t hit my goal.
Hence my conundrum. Do I keep on just doing what I have been doing? Running marathons for fun, with no time goals, and no pressure? Or do I try to pick up the pace and risk the possibility of disappointment? Or worse, injury.
I’ve been puzzling over this conundrum for a few days and what finally tipped my hat was imagining that it was my daughter who was struggling with this same issue. What if she came to me and told me that she had a goal she was interested in but that she was afraid to work toward it because of the possibility that she might fail. Yeah, it was kind of a no brainer.
And so, here I am. Ready to take a deep breath and say the words out loud.
This fall, I am going to run the Steamtown Marathon. And I am hoping to break 4:00:00.
Wish me luck!