Incomprehensible is the word that comes to mind as I approach my 20th marathon this weekend in Phoenix, AZ.
To accomplish this goal set in 1987 to complete a marathon every remaining year of my life required extremely good health (I have missed only two years due to illness), a lot of willpower (myriad stories of running in very difficult conditions—during one long run ice completely covered my body, another long run happened during a tropical storm with winds exceeding 70 mph, I could go on and on), and truckloads of self-discipline (although one year I just didn’t want to train and could not bear to think about running one mile—much less a marathon).
For six months of each year, I train religiously, and for six months, I party ferociously.
The unfortunate fact of aging is that it takes much longer to get down to marathon weight than it used to.
This year in particular, I have trained adequately, but I have not been able to shed the proper amount of poundage. Ten years ago with the same level of training I have put in since May, I would have lost an additional 15-20 pounds.
So my goals for Sunday reflect those facts of life.
I always set three levels of goals. 2011 is no different.
First level — Finish. Period. No matter if I have to walk, crawl or roll, I want to finish.
Second level — A 5:15—5:30 finish. Yes, that’s five hours and fifteen to thirty minutes of running.
Third level — I call this level the “hallelujah” level. A sub 5 hour marathon. That means if I run a 4:59:59 or less, I will be ecstatic!!!!!!!
My motto this year is “complete not compete.” And my two words for this year are “slow” and “savor.”
These goals are a far cry from my 4:01 personal best, but it is reality.
So…I think the point of this short post is that if I can run a marathon, anybody can run a marathon.
Have you ran a marathon?
Or have you ever considered it?