If not burning out is my goal, I am definitely suceeding
Somewhere past Rhode Island but a long way from Philadelphia, my thoughts drift from my book and to the scenery passing by my window outside the train. "Once A Runner" falls open in my lap, and as I skim over the words I can't help but think back to the half marathon I had run days earlier. It was a smart race, a challenging course, my asthma acted up on that last hill. Are those excuses? Facts? What am I trying to convince myself of? Who am I trying to prove myself to?
I think back to the race. In the end it all comes down to numbers. Time. Non-runners have no concept of what it takes to maintin a pace for any number of miles. But time, to them, is something they can comprehend although they don't understand.
"How did you do?" They will ask me at work tomorrow.
"I had fun, the course was challenging but I enjoyed it, it was great"
"But what was your time?" They will want to know
"2:10:39" I will say even though I know it means nothing to them, I know they don't get it. All they hear is "not as fast as last time"
They don't know all the factors that go into your final time. Training, weather, elevation, preperation, and even if you do everything perfectly you never know what curve balls could be thrown to you during the race. Anyone could have a bad race. And I wouldn't even classify this race as bad. I thought it was great! Despite all that I still feel as though I let people down. I can't help that think because I have such a passion for running, that people expect a lot of me. They don't understand how some beginer can be faster than someone who's been at it for years. Fast and Slow are useless terms. I know this. But race results are not given in "smart" or "reckless". They are not sorted by "time taken to recover" and they don't list out "ran even splits every mile" or "went out of the gate too fast and paid for it in the second half"
I am aware, at this point, that I am simply starting off into space with an open book on my lap. I get lost in the words, "the trial of miles", the motions of running. My thoughts drift back to hot summer nights running intercals on the river. I will never stop loving running. And I have to remind myself that running, like life, is a journey not a destination. It's about every hour, week and month you get to run. Sometimes we get so caught up in the end goal we forget about everything else. I forget that I have managed to run for eight striaght months now with out an injury *knock on wood*. I forget that I have run myself into the best shape I have been in in almost two years. I forget that I have run some kick butt hills, and those hills in turn have kicked my butt into shape. I forget that this is just a stepping stone on the path to the main event. The Philadelphia Marathon.
So I will take this 2:10:39. I will take the fast recovery. I will be back at the gym by Tuesday, and back to running by Thursday. And when it comes time to start marathon training I will be ready, just as full of passion and energy for running as always.