I've been meaning to write this post for awhile. Mostly for myself I guess, to get it out there and on 'paper' what I am thinking. Here's the deal:
When I embarked on my high milage summer training program on June 1st of this year, I had one goal in mind: a fall marathon PR, ie: sub 3:18. I had just ran Boston on April 20th, followed very soon after by the Bayshore marathon on May 23rd. I never expected a PR in Boston, and although Bayshore is a fast course, it was too soon with too little break post-Boston to PR. I ran both marathons in 3:33 and some change. After talking it over with a running friend/mentor of mine, I embarked on my summer program, working my butt off with double-workouts, speedwork, races, and long runs while working a 40+ hour a week summer job on my feet. But honestly, I loved every minute of it.
Finally, I decided upon the Philly Marathon on November 22nd, because honestly I was shut out of alot of marathons for not committing soon enough and I wanted a chance to get my feet on the ground teaching and in the working world. I planned my fall racing and pictured myself so at my peak and ready to run on November 22nd. Everything seemed so set and ready...back in August.
Here's where the realization comes in:
I can not do everything.
This past year has been my most intense and rewarding running year thus far. (this is the part where I start massively trying to reassure myself that all is not lost!) I started training for Boston on December 1st, 2008 so Philly will mark almost a full year of training. I have never taken more than 3 days in a row off after a marathon. I trained in the dead of winter, 5am runs at 5am before my student teaching, swimming afterschool, long runs in the snow. I completed my first Boston Marathon, then helped my friend complete her first marathon at Bayshore (atleast I'd like to think I helped!). I have ran 6 half marathons, with a PR of 1:30:05, several 15Ks, a 10 mile race, and many 10 and 5Ks. I completed my first Ultra Marathon, a 50K that I decided to run only an hour before the race started, winning the overall female title. This summer, I hit 80 miles per week and took only a rest day per month. In most local races, I place in the top three females. I'm not saying this to brag or to 'toot-my-own-horn.' I am saying this, because these are truths, the facts of the last year. And with that said, I am accepting this: I probably will not PR at Philly. And despite my competitive nature and my original goal so many months ago, I am OK with that. I am OK because I have done so much with my running this year that this race is really a victory lap. I am OK because I now know that it is difficult (read: impossible) to peak for a late-fall marathon while racing 1/2 marathons every weekend, taking little time off, and oh yeah, throwing in a 50K too! Yeah, I could have blown off all the other racing and really put my heart 100% into being perfectly primed for Philly. But, I would have missed out on what I love about the sport- the comraderie, racing, and winning. Maybe there will be a time and a place when I take on the "one-peak race" mentality. But, it wasn't this year, it wasn't this time.
Knowing all of this, I am ready to go to Philly with my "best foot forward." Not necessarily as an amazing PR effort, but as a culmination of all that I have done in my running this year- a way to celebrate all of the milestones that I have hit and obsticles that I have pushed through in order to accomplish my running goals. In running and in life, if it were only about the destination, we would never leave our front door. Here's to the journey- and loving every step!