“I don’t want to fail.”
When your goal is to run at a pace that thousands of others can jog, is it possible to succeed?
I wrote the above in an aborted blog post who knows when, and I just ran back across it. Ironic that I see it again two days before the marathon. Yep, I’m all in for that rodeo. And I’ve been thinking about what my goal should be. I’ve been waffling on “goal pace” but that’s no measure of success or achievment. A certain time is such an arbitrary and relative thing, as I point out above. Two years ago I never dreamed I would run a marathon (yeah, I know, I haven’t run it yet). And now I’ll be disappointed if I don’t beat some random time?
So I’ve been wondering about other goals, maybe less tangible but more beneficial. “Have fun” is a goal lots of people like to repeat, but what does that even mean? Others advise me to “express God’s strength and freedom.” Actually, “freedom” is something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately with regard to things other than running: what does freedom mean for me, how does one attain it, or lose it, or benefit by having it? Does money give freedom? Or is real freedom irrespective of situation? Does running provide freedom, or am I a slave to the miles and the clock? I think if I could choose anything above all else (besides family), I would choose freedom. Jessica and I have a saying, coined by Elijah when he was about three years old: “I just wanna do what I wanna do.” But it’s more than that, it’s freedom from worry, ill health, bad moods, evil thoughts, fear, lack, the future. In fact, the flipside of freedom sounds like fulfillment.
Back to the marathon, I told a friend, “If nothing else, I’ve already had fun. The race is just the reward.” So anyway, I decided that my goal is to do my best. Trite but true. If I do that, I think I’ll be happy regardless of the outcome.
Oh, so much blowhardery.
I think people “taper” too much for races. Most of us aren’t running enough in the first place to need a taper. As my prescient master likes to say, one should “peak”, not taper. Gosh, I sure am full of brown, stinky wisdom tonight.
Something lighter, in case you didn’t see it. A nice family video, “Serious Air”:
Growing up in Florida as a kid there was some empty land near my house with dirt trails that had what we thought at the time were mountainous jumps. I’m sure they were only a couple feet high but in my mind they were like x-games motocross. I recall being scared of a couple of them. But man, being a kid was so great (because of the freedom?). Jumping that ramp last weekend was one of the funnest things I’ve done in ages. We all need to do stuff like that more often. Maybe the marathon will be like that.