There have been a lot of biggest, best, and firsts for me this year with running.
I am getting closer to running my first marathon. Now practically every long run that I do is a new longest run for me. I just had my best month ever. I've been running off and on now for the past 12 years and I've never surpassed 70 miles in a month. I came close in May by getting to 68, but I missed a run and didn't make it. My long runs for June worked out in such a way that I was only at 62, plus I missed another run. However, for July I have bested the 70 milestone and the 80 milestone at the same time. I ended up with 82.8. I'm about to run my first half marathon in a few years. This is the first time that I have a legitimate shot at finishing in 2:30 or less.
And yet, none of these have been destinations for me. They are all just milestones that I accomplish with an end goal only of running more, faster, and easier. I've never been much of an "It's the Journey" type of person, but with my running this year I've spent a lot of time thinking about the marathon. This has been the end goal of my 12 years of running. I started years ago with the single goal of running a marathon. It would prove to my PE teacher, Coach Cann, that I could live a healthy lifestyle even without participating in PE at school. I would do something outside of school that I never could do because of school. I would run 26.2 miles. Now the goal is in sight, it's less than 10 miles further than my longest run, it's only another 2 hours, I can make it.
I keep asking, But then what? Is my life as a runner over because I've finally eclipsed the one and only goal that I set out to accomplish. As a very goal oriented person does that mean that I'll fall apart without a further goal? I can set hundreds of running goals, but will push me to do more better than I have done trying to reach this one. Then it hit me, the same as it probably hits everyone when they finally realize that it is the journey. On October 21st I'm going to run 26.2 miles. It's going to be a great personal achievement. It's going to be just one day's run in the past 12 years. I have hundreds of memories from those runs of things that I've gone through. I've been chased by dogs and cows, I've been confronted by a red fox and sent deer scattering at the sound of my footsteps pounding down the road. I've run in 105 degree heat, and gotten up as early as 3:30 AM to run. I've run my first mile, collapsed in despair and did it again. I've run speed drills, fartlek, track sessions, and just gone out and run without an end in mind. There are so many visions of thins that flit back through my mind, and many conversations fill my head with images of things that I've seen or experienced while running. When I run the marathon on October 21st, it will be a great achievement of that journey. It will be a celebration of more than 12 year preparation. And it will be another step of the journey of my running life. A journey with no destination, just simply a journey.