A blog by runners. For runners.

Race Goals and the Running Connection

How many of you run for the joy of it or to actually beat a record? When it comes to marathon running, I have always judged my performance on how I feel and whether I finished. I may get upset with myself if I know I haven't followed my training plan and end up with a “bad time.” But overall, when it comes to marathon running, simply finishing is quite a feat.

Non-runners are impressed simply by the idea of running 26.2 miles. It doesn't matter what your finishing time was! The only critic, I realize, is myself. Many runners want to achieve the prestige that comes with qualifying for Boston. I never had that as the goal of my training before. Perhaps it could be that I know I am over an hour slower than even coming close to this accomplishment.

I run marathons and love the connection I have with an elite marathoner. I may not be as fast as he or she, but I still ran the same distance. In high school I used to get mad if I didn't beat my PR every race. In marathon running, the distance is so far that every finish is memorable and noteworthy. Many months go into training, and with every medal comes the memories from that training season.

Running, to me, is simply something I do. Nothing else makes me feel so healthy and part of an amazing group of people. I worked at the Fox Valley Marathon Expo this weekend with Adam and Briana and met so many inspiring people. I loved hearing from beginner runners just getting involved in the running community. It was also moving to talk to those who have always been runners. I loved seeing families come through with their children. I had a glimmer of myself, ten years from now, still running marathons and attending these expos.

This weekend, I became obsessed with those I talked to who had to stop and think when I asked them “How many marathons have you ran?” I have decided that instead of a time goal, mine is to get to the point where I need to think about how many marathons I have run before answering. To me, the marathon is not about the time, but the experience.

All of the people at the expo were connected by the running phenomena. Some moms and dads shared with me how after having kids they switched from marathons to half-marathons to keep up with the demands of raising children. Others shared how they finally convinced their spouse to start running marathons with them. Seeing all of these runners sharing their stories and coming together in one place, allowed me to see running really is something you can do for a lifetime.

Be sure to check out some running routes on WalkJogRun. Maybe you'll meet a fellow runner near you!