I am a Marathoner but……………..
I am a Marathoner but I wonder why. Why do I keep doing something that has caused me so much pain? Why put myself through it? If I want to keep racing I could easily switch to a distance that is more forgiving. Following my painful races I tell myself never again. Then just few weeks, days, hours later I am planning my next Marathon.
After running The Boston Marathon in 2010 I was so depressed by the events of April 19th that I was in a funk for weeks. My coach at one point, after hearing my moaning, suggested that maybe Marathoning was not for me.
In 2007 at the finish of the Bay State Marathon I nearly cried – not from happiness – from disappointment.
After the Marine Corps Marathon in 2008 I swore I would never run a race again, any race.
I ran my 1st Marathon in 2004 and have run one Marathon every year since except in 2006 when I was injured and in 2010 when I started three and finished two. I will tell anyone who will listen that I love Marathons. Most days I really do.
I perhaps like the training even more than the race. Those three months of schedules, long runs, track workouts and intense commitment to a goal bring an order to my life that I thrive on. I also love race weekends as there is nothing like a big city all lit up for a race. Marathon week in Boston, as an example, is a wonderful experience and being part of that is thrilling. Race mornings with the pomp and circumstances, the excitement, the crowds and the shared joy are electric and the start of the Marathon never fails to nearly bring me to tears.
So why do Marathons make me so miserable? If they make me so miserable why do I keep running them?
Started nine, finished eight and of those only three have brought real joy. That leaves six filled with mental pain. That’s right, mental pain, it is never the physical pain that makes me unhappy, it is the failure to attain a goal. That is perhaps the problem, the goal. I should be, at my age and with my level of pure talent, happy with finishing. I am not. I want more, I train for more, I expect more.
2011 was a year that has tested my willingness to be a Marathoner. I fought a hard fight to have a descent Boston. Descent by my standards. I did run a Qualifying time but just a BQ was not my goal.
I finally feel after eight Marathons that I understand what it takes to run one. Understand strategy, pace, discipline, execution and concentration.
Now what I need is to understand what success really is.
I am a Marathoner after all.