June 16, 2015
Before the race, I'd have taken that. And after? Well, there's nothing to do but take it, at that point. You can wonder, though, and I did for a bit. Could I have gone for it a bit harder? Well, yes. Could I have gone hard enough to run the eleven minutes faster I'd have needed to, in order to win? Nope.
I could have tried, sure; but not sustainably. And maybe not effectively. That's the thing about running: You can always go harder. But harder isn't always - or even usually - better. You find the fastest possible sustainable pace, and sit there. I did that, and the result is what it is. Axiomatically. I'm pleased, then, because of that. Because, quite improbably, I've turned into the veteran distance guy, who paces himself pretty well. Who jogs around just fine, right after the race - and certainly the day after - because I didn't fuck myself up too badly.
There's something very satisfying about that. About not having to explain to anyone and everyone why you're a shambling corpse, this morning. About not really being afraid of the distance itself, regardless of the other shit. Which, there was other shit. Ninety degrees at the start, with humidity pushing the heat index right down into hell. Then, driving rain. Big puddles. Slick mud. Walking downhills.
But there was running. Not fast, ever. But never especially hard, either. Steady pace. Steady fueling. Workmanlike. Not dramatic, particularly. I have no stories to tell.
But I would like to go looking for one. That is, among other things, what we're running towards: Narrative. And in any good story, there has to be a goal. The protagonist - which we all are, in our own lives - seeks something, shit happens; maybe they get it, maybe not. But that's pretty much every story ever told.
So, what do I want to do?
I'd like to run a marathon in under three hours. Online calculators say I can, but that's about as close to cold comfort as you can get.
I'd like to get my half down under 1:20. This, of course, could easily precede the marathon goal. Or it could follow it. The two require comparable fitness.
BUT. But. One hundred miles is a race distance that exists. People do it. I've seen video, read about it, and even observed in person. Shit, I've paced forty miles of a course record. But I haven't done it. Because it scares me. You read things like the Outside Magazine piece about overtraining, and you wonder. It's a damn stupid thing, you think. Risky. Counterproductive to almost any other goal, and perhaps damaging to your basic health. So yeah, it scares me. But someday, I'm going to have to try it. Maybe this year, maybe not. Because it scares me. And I need to know.
Things to consider.