Sunday, May 3, 2015

Long past gone

My instinct was to win, destroy anyone who is in competition, and move on without any type of hesitation at all.- Arnold Schwartzenegger

I write these words coming a week after I failed by 2 minutes to beat my Marathon PR. Many of us runners arrived at the door step of the running community after spending a good portion of our lives watching and playing other sports. For me it was football and, to a small degree, boxing. Those sports are team sports and, in general, you have at least a 50/50 chance to defeat the person in front of you to help your team accomplish their overall goal. There is no such comparison in the world of long distance running. The gap between the winners and others is so big that the goal is never to win but more to challenge oneself. Ironically, this is what makes it such a beautiful sport. 

From the moment you register for a marathon, you know that it is a virtual impossibility that you will win. Even more interesting, it is highly unlikely, based on the average NYC marathon time in 2008 of 4 hours and 32 minutes, that one will even come within 2 hours of the marathon champs. Some of the most accomplished 3 hour marathoners live an hour away from the winning mark. I have a colleague that is considered sub elite. He is about 15 minutes away from the winning number and it appears as though that number is insurmountable. Again, this is the beauty of the sport.

So in the instance of distance running, the competition is with you and your fastest time. The PR looms and is the sweetest accomplishment or the most painful reminder of how much more or differently you need to train. So with a nod to "Arnold", my instinct is to beat my PR, destroy any notion of not beating a PR, and set a higher mark without any type of hesitation.