A few years back, I had the privilege of hearing Joan Benoit Samuelson speak at a dinner before the Chicago marathon. The theme of her talk that night was run your own race. She spoke about how easy it is as a runner to get caught up in helping others keep their pace or even keeping up with another runners pace during a race. She said you should focus on doing what it takes for you to reach your goals that day and not run for others.
Lately, I have been reminded of this talk as I plot out my next set of racing goals.
Recently I have worked a few events for Nuun, assisting with sampling hydration at race expos. When asking runners which event in the race they are running, I was shocked at how many people downplayed their race. For example, if I was at a race that had a half marathon and marathon option, so many runners would say..”oh I’m just running the half”. Same thing when I worked an event that also had a 5k option, the response would seem as if they weren’t as good of a runner as those running the longer distance option. About midway through these events, I started responded back. I would praise runners for their half marathon or 5k distance, I even asked some of them to repeat the answer back to me, but this time owning that distance. I wanted them to feel empowered, not belittled by the race distance goal.
The last few weeks I have been going back and forth researching races here in LA, trying to determine what is next. And guess what…I jumped right one board that “I’m not doing good enough” train. I thought about doing a 50k this fall. All the while, I knew a running a strong 50K would be a stretch and I would rush through the training, and to be honest I couldn’t find a race I really felt strongly about doing. I still kept telling myself I must run a 50k. Every time I thought of the idea of running a 25-30K (or even two), a little voice in my head would tell me that wasn’t cool enough. After all, I am a marathon runner, aren’t I?
Seriously though, how did we (myself included) get to the point in our long distance racing that a half marathon seemed a distance that wasn't good or cool enough.
That was when I was brought back to the talk from Joan, and her message of run your race. I know deep down inside I am not ready for a 50k, I don’t want to commit to that amount of training until I have built back up my fitness levels. So why was I giving in to the runner #FOMO??? I finally came to my senses and now I intend on sticking to half marathons and 25-30K trail races this fall. You know what? I intend on owning that and committing to compete in those races…not just run. That is what I am truly craving, to excel, not to just go the distance. I have to say, when I realized it was ok to stick to those race goals that served me, and not the race goals made popular by my friends on social media, it was as if a weight was lifted.
So, as the saying goes…do you. Don’t do what others want you to do, do you. When you get there, own it, love it and most of all enjoy every single step along the way.
What’s next? Here is my tentative race schedule for fall. Training starts back July 2nd and I will share my journey each week. This time around I will focus on the difference of training to compete as a masters runner (someone over the age of 40). I have been working hard the last couple of months to understand where my fitness levels are, use nutrition to build on that, and prepare a training plan to help reach my goals. Ready or not…its time to Run Faster As a Master.
2017 Fall Running Schedule:
Bulldog Trail 25K 8/26
California Bird Camp 9/21
No Name 30K
Griffith Park trail half marathon 10/14
Kara Goucher Podium Retreat 10/19
Rock and Roll Los Angeles 10/29
Malibu half marathon and 5k (probably 5k distance)
Chino Hills 30K