When the conversation lends itself to what races people are running, many runners never challenge themselves to see what they are capable of. Running is certainly a metaphor for life, how many people set goals that they CAN achieve? No stretch goals, just happy to go through the motions of life. I guess that's why I was initially interested in ultras - to find my limits.
7 weeks ago I thought I would love to get to 10 marathons. That means running 3 this year. I didn't really plan on running a race so soon and it seems silly just to go from zero to hero, but I have struggled through a few races not being fit enough and if I know one thing, its that I know how to suffer with the best of them.
Many runners won't take a big bite, won't sign up for a race for fear of not finishing, or sign up and not start. Failing is part of life, the old saying you learn more from your failures than your successes, it's so accurate with running. For those runners brave enough to have a crack at a new distance, be it stepping up from the 5k to the 10k or up to a half or full marathon good on you. Our busy lives often mean we never have enough time to properly train or be "fit" enough, but we should all have a crack anyway.
The second part of the quote is aimed at those of us who stretch our time goals for the marathon to the point of breaking ourselves. The quest for sub 4, sub 3.30 or sub 3hrs sends you insane with pace strategies, split times and various versions of cutting edge training plans. 42km is a long way and if you don't respect her, your time goal will evaporate. Common errors are racing injured, cramps, running too hard early in the race, not training at race pace, dehydration and hitting the wall.
This weekend I get a chance to try something new, to run a marathon for fun. In the USA there is a huge following of people running marathons for fun, as a social occasion. A big training run. I guess mainly because there are so many marathons, and if you are going to run long on a weekend, you may as well do an event that is supported with aid stations. This weekend that is me, running along with my iPhone taking photos and loading them up to my Twitter feed (@runpexrun).
A small part of me feels like it is disrespecting the marathon, not taking her serious enough, treating as a training run BUT a huge part of me is loving the feeling of knowing I'll have marathon 8 under my belt with zero pressure on myself to run a time. If I stop to grab photos, talk to the aid station volunteers, connect with other runners, and walk out a tough section it will just be part of the experience.
After I run 3.30 in Melbourne, I am going to target more marathons for fun next year. On the list in Australia is the Outback Marathon which is run near Uluru, I would also love to run a marathon in NZ with Benny.
Make sure you follow me on twitter Sunday. I'll be tweeting photos using the hashtag #PexRunsGOR
Best of luck for everyone running TNF100 on Saturday. Silvia, Marty, Gav and Rails go and smash it up!
Be safe on the roads