Last week I announced my intentions on a new goal…the Sub 3 hour Mary. Since then, the question has been asked: WHY? At first, I am not even sure if I knew the answer to the question. I knew I felt like I wanted to launch towards something. Until this point, I have been happy to ramble around in a relatively unstructured running environment and just run whatever I felt on a given day. This is not unlike how I have lived a large portion of my life.
I don’t believe in regret…I just think it is a bad way to go about your business. You have to try your best and when you make mistakes you have to learn to live with them and try to atone for them to the best of your abilities. Granted, I haven’t made any huge mistakes like the kind that land you in prison for 20 years but you know what I mean. You can’t live in the past. You have to keep moving forward…keep moving through the mistakes and learn from them so that you can make your today and tomorrow more relevant. That being said, you can always look back at things that you might have done differently if you had the wherewithal at the time.
I look back on my youth and I think that I was blessed with some small amount of athletic talent. I have decent endurance and I have a bit of tenacity. Back then, that was enough to get me through. I was pretty good at most sports and better than average at Cross Country Running. At that time, it was good enough for me. I enjoyed distance running because I was reasonably good at it without trying very hard. I did well enough in regionals to qualify for larger races…but that was about it. Now that I take my running semi-seriously, I am beginning to understand how little I pushed myself 25 years ago. As alluded to earlier, I have no regrets. I had fun in high school and was able to concentrate on other priorities like partying my ass off. I made out alright then and am doing great now so there are definitely no regrets. BUT maybe there is some unfinished business.
How on earth is running a sub 3 mary going to accomplish finishing any business you may be asking yourself. It is just a number that has no relevance to anything. 3 hours is 3 hours. It isn’t a qualifying time for anything. It won’t put me into any kind of elite runner status (well maybe a bit.) Nobody is really going to notice the 40 something year old guy chugging over the finish line in 2:58:15 or whatever. All of this is true. It isn’t about any of that. It isn’t about some quarter century old vendetta against a race I should have won. I think it is about me doing something that I didn’t have the balls to do “back in the day.” It is about me trying my very best to accomplish something that is teetering right on the edge of impossibility.
I could have picked my goal to be the Boston Qualifying time for my age group (3:15 I believe.) I didn’t pick that. I didn’t because I feel reasonably sure that I can do it (with adequate training of course.) I picked 3 hours because I am honestly not sure that I can achieve this goal no matter how much I train. Throughout my athletic life I have always tried my hardest on game day. I have always tried to gut out a great performance. Sometimes I have succeeded and other times I haven’t. To this point, though, I don’t believe I have ever given 100% into an athletic endeavour where it actually includes making the pre-game day sacrifices. (I may have given 50% on occasion and maybe 75% once or twice.)
As I get older, I realize that I can adjust goals to suit whatever phase of life that I am in but if I am going to go for something pretty big like this particular goal there is no time like the present. I ain’t getting any younger and the running game sure doesn’t get any easier as you get older. So why am I shooting for this goal? I am shooting at a chance for personal glory…perhaps a chance at some personal redemption. I don’t know how this will turn out but it is going to be a fun ride. Regardless of outcome, I know that I will achieve the goal of truly putting my everything into it.