Coming to Terms

The Portland Marathon is 40 days away.

For the last six months or so I have been preaching my goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon.  I would say to people that I would absolutely be pleased with just finishing my first marathon.  But inside I knew that wasn’t the case.

3:14:59!  It’s the only number that mattered.  That’s the time I needed to post to qualify.  Anything more than that I would have been disappointed.  Yes, I know how stupid it sounds.  But when you are so focused on something it doesn’t matter how ridiculous it sounds, it’s the only thing that matters.  So I based my training plan on that number.  In fact, I built my plan in a way that said I could go sub 3:00:00.  In my first marathon.  And even though I’ve only been running for less than 18 months.

Guess what happened?  In fact, if you’re a runner (and odds are if you are reading this that means you are) you know exactly what happened.  My body fell apart.  My training completely came off the rails.  I haven’t completed a full week of training in over a month.  Many times just completed a single run is a challenge.  No matter how much I eat or sleep I always seem to feel tired.  Most importantly, it stopped being fun.  In fact, it almost got to the point of being something I didn’t want to do.  The inner dialogue I was having between this goal I wanted to achieve and the mental and physical crappiness I was feeling almost became too much.

The ego can be a bitch.  It can put you in situations that cause you to do very stupid things.  First thing you have to do is check that bastard at the door.  I knew if I was completely honest with myself that what I was doing was stupid.  I was letting my ego get the better of me.  My ego had convinced me that the success I had earlier in the year could be expanded into areas of running that I really had no business going…at least not yet.

I love the movie Cool Runnings (note to self, need to watch again!).  One of the best scenes is this one:

Irv: Derice, a gold medal is a wonderful thing. But if you’re not enough without one, you’ll never be enough *with* one.

Derice Bannock: Hey coach, how will I know if I’m enough?

Irv: When you cross that finish line tomorrow, you’ll know.

Sometimes just crossing the finish line is enough.  It took a while, but I’m coming to terms with that.  I’m going to run a freaking marathon!  Less than 1% of the population can say that!  And just because it’s going to take me an extra 15-20 minutes to do it should’t detract from that accomplishment.

This change in inner dialogue has been going on for a couple of weeks.  I really missed having run when I ran.  Or at least not feeling that it sucked.  It was really hammered home to me during Hood to Coast.  I had so much fun.  Yeah, it was tough.  But I enjoyed it.  Yeah, my body still hurts.  But it’s back to me loving that feeling.  I think it’s the difference between putting yourself through pain to reach a goal that is attainable and doing the same thing for a goal that you had no business setting in the first place.  Sometimes the journey itself needs to be the goal.  Last year was not about me getting to a specific weight.  It was about the journey to become a better, healthier person.  I need to treat this marathon, and all future goals for that matter, the same way.  It’s about the journey and what you become from it.

So, tonight I will be joining my Hood to Coast teammates at the track for Team in Training practice.  This will be the first time I’ve joined them.  I’ve already gotten a few emails from people saying how excited they are that I will be joining them.  According to the training schedule I will be doing Yasso 800’s.  And I’m going to enjoy every damn one of them.

Happy Running

Lonnie

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5 thoughts on “Coming to Terms

  1. I am completely honored to be your wife. You are my, and countless others, inspiration. I adore you! I love you more each day, even though I never thought it was possible to love you more. ♥♥♥♥♥

  2. Lonnie, kudos to you on making what had to be a gut-wrenching decision. I still promise to come cheer you in Boston if you’re ever there. Glad to hear that joining your teammates is helping you to recapture the joy of running.

  3. Enjoy the journey and have fun during every run- especially your first marathon! You only have 1 first marathon and it will be your PR as well! I was utterly disappointed in my first (and only) full marathon and hope that my feet/hips allow me to one day run another full to improve my time. I admire all that you have accomplished and always look forward to seeing what you have been up to. Enjoy the Team in Training group and remember to always have fun!

  4. Felt that same way after The triathlon – disappointment. Then everyone kept telling me but you completed an Olympic triathlon so what if it took you longer than your goal – you freaking completed a triathlon. Yeah I guess I did.

    Whatever happens you will complete your race and then you can put that cool 26.2 sticker on your bumper!

  5. What a fanatic post Lonni. I think you are making a great decision and, you know, Boston is not off the table. I am guessing most people don’t qualify on their first marathon and that is OK. You will be there but if you are not enjoying the ride, it’s not worth it. Team in training is a great organization and I had some of my best runs with them. Go get ’em!

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