Monday, September 23, 2013

The Race

I didn't have the race I wanted.

I had the race I needed.

Its just past two full weeks since the Queen City Marathon went down.  Two weeks I've sat with the result of the latest 26.2 I've pounded out and my thoughts have marinated and rested and are ready to be shared.  I've smiled when people asked me how my race went and I've commented the way that I almost always do post marathon:

"Any day you finish a 26.2 mile road race upright and smiling is a great day."


It WAS a great day. 


My race wasn't where I wanted it to be.  Not even close.  9 minutes off my personal best from New York City in 2011 and 16 full minutes away from what is the ultimate goal for me: a sub 3 hour race.  I've analysed the race inside and out; I've looked at my splits, checked my mile repeats and even thought about how I fuelled.  And in the end, I don't know that I have any sort of great explanation for why or how my race went the way it went.

But I do know this.  I may not have had the race I wanted, but I had the race I needed.  I realize there are many runners who will read this (and several of you very close to me) that will always direct me back to the numbers.  Some will tell me to review my total mileage in training.  They will tell me to look at the pace work I did both in speed and any kind of race pace training.  They will tell me to look at my splits and to dig in and to consider how all of these pieces fit into the puzzle.  And I know they're right and the logical part of my mind wants to believe that the answer is here for me.

But I know me, and I don't operate that way. That's just not me.  Some time ago, I wrote about the idea that I go by feel and by heart both in life and in running, and this is why I know and I trust that I had exactly the race I needed on race day.  There is something about this race that gave me what I needed most at that exact moment at that exact point in time.   Whether it was the pain that came in the effort (and the hurt came and it came HARD in this one), the freedom I felt in my mind just being in that brilliant space of moving meditation or the peace I felt in my heart about the beautiful chaos that is my amazing life, it was some thing that my soul craved and the universe provided.  It couldn't be more simple and it couldn't be more right.

And so  in the next training cycle (was there ever a doubt there would be another race?)  I'm sure that there will be tweaks and adjustments that push me a little differently towards the sub 3 hour race I covet.  But the biggest and most important point of it all will remain the same; and that's the love I have for the adventure and the journey that is preparing for and running the marathon.   The process and the sharing and the learning of my journey in running and how so very closely it parallels the journey that is life.  It truly is what keeps me going.

And just in case you're wondering what I'm about to get up to in training:

Fitness.  Fitness Fitness Fitness.  I'm coming for you.  I will earn you back.  Hills, the gym, yoga, swimming, biking (yes, biking) and everything and anything in between.  Look. Out. World.  I'm comin' for you.

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