It’s easy to put too much pressure on ourselves as runners.
After all, we get up early to grind out miles, subject ourselves to not-so-please weather, push the pace and effort in special workouts to tune up for events that can take hours to complete.
And then, when race day comes, put so much meaning on the result that it blurs the point of it all.
Long ago, I took the approach that training was a journey. Standing on the starting line was the reward — the opportunity to compete against myself in an attempt to be a better version of me.
That’s easy to say when things are going well. Sometimes it helps to remember our running isn’t defined by a single event. The ebbs and flows of training and racing are part of my evolution as a runner, and hopefully that will yield a better, smarter athlete who can apply those same principles to life.
As much as I’ve tried to recall this altruistic approach, a nagging thought lingered in the back of my mind: I’m not at the same place as this time last year.
Still, determined to claw and fight my way back to the fitness level I enjoyed in 2016, I gave myself a deadline to set expectations for the remainder of 2017.
Quietly, I’ve been hopeful to run the Utah Valley Marathon on June 10 — squeezed between the Fargo Marathon and Grandma’s Marathon. It’s a fast, downhill course that may be one of the most scenic in the country. A perfect race to log a fast time if you’re confident in your marathon fitness.
Those undertones helped set the stage for tomorrow — the 40K Dam Good Run trail race.
As I built up this ‘trial run’ in my mind, I’ve struggled with what my terms of success would be for the event. A fast time? A decent placing in my age group? Or something else?
After a recent group run, a conversation with an old friend helped me verbalize what I’m really chasing — a feeling of strength, confidence and fitness. To feel like a runner again.
Tomorrow, I might just find out.