Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Derby Marathon - Part 2: Reflections

I have a huge mix of emotions around this marathon...

Going into it, I questioned my motives. Why do I want to qualify for Boston? I really dislike running with a watch and running hard in general. What the heck?!! Why do I want to do this? I think it came down to this... I want to experience Boston - arguably the most prestigious road race in the country. I want to say "I did it" in all manner of ways - "I did it" in that I showed myself I could do it, "I did it" for bragging rights too. This is something that challenges me. Admittedly, sometimes it's hard for me to find a challenge. Maybe it's a selfish goal.

During the race when it started to totally suck, I found myself asking the same question again. When the cursing started, I decided this was a totally stupid idea and it just wasn't worth pursuing anymore. I wasn't having any fun... and why do I run? Because I enjoy it. I wasn't enjoying myself anymore. The training was too regimented. There were days I just wanted to explore a trail rather than work on speed. It just wasn't fun.

The last time I was this serious about running for time, I was a college freshman running road races on my own. I ran mostly 10Ks then. I would get frustrated with my times. It got to the point where if I felt like I was too slow at the 2 mile mark I would throw in the towel and just gut out another miserable 4.2 miles to get done. Needless to say, I got burned out. Since I was running on my own, I eventually just quit and became the on again off again runner for years.

So why do I enjoy running? Because I can. I like to say that I'm a runner. And, in my awful competitive spirit, I like to be able to go further and faster than the average couch potato. I enjoy it when I'm in shape to roll out of bed and run 10 miles.

So now what do I do? I felt like I put in the work this time around. I didn't skip my pace runs like last time. I did all my 20 milers. I didn't get hurt. I wasn't sick. But I still fell short. Am I just not fast enough? Do I have the motivation to try this again? Do I put the dream aside for awhile?

I was really looking forward to my post-marathon runs. My plan was to recover and do the 500 Festival Mini-Marathon on May 3rd, then just do some nice slow distance trail runs to prepare for Western States. I don't have to run fast at Western States. I just have to be in shape to run 20 miles of trails. I get to run with one of my best friends (John) to support him after he's already run 80 miles. I just have to be able to churn out 20 miles without a problem in case he has a problem.

My next marathon is planned for November. Boston registration is in September so this means no Boston 2015 for me. I'd have to try for 2016 in November. Part of me asks if I even want to try and qualify again. The most enjoyable marathon I've run so far was Chicago in 2011. That year I knew I wasn't in any shape to run for time. John had gotten me an entry for my birthday and we met to run it together. I took in all the sights and had some memorable moments. I wish I could run more races like that. I've told myself that if I ever get to Boston, I'll take it in like that and not worry about the time. So here I am thinking about Boston again...

So now I'm thinking... I'll have lots of miles in training for Western States. That puts me at the end of June. What if I found a late August marathon to try and qualify? Ughh... I would fry in a marathon in August. What the heck am I thinking? Plus, marathon training is a major time suck and I feel like I should be doing more things with my family. Why can't I have a family of runners?

As of now, I think trying to qualify for Boston 2015 is over. I think I need to back off the hard runs, relax, and find some more enjoyment in my runs. I want to be able to do more runs for the experience .

Hmmm... maybe I can talk John into running the Inca Trail with me....

No comments:

Post a Comment