This is going to be very wordy and not very picturey. But if you read this blog regularly, it is worth the effort...
Early last month I attended a marathon running camp in Minnesota. Whoa. Back up! Marathon running camp?! Minnesota!? I spent 5 days hanging out with other runners, learning about running, chatting about running, and, err... running. It was totally amazing.
I meant to post an announcement but seeing as how I flew out to Minnesota the day after returning from Anaheim and the Disneyland half, I sort of ran out of time. And I actually both learned about the camp and signed up one and a half weeks before camp took place. Impulsive, much?
I expected to come back from camp and post a full report about the runs, people, and all the cool new things I learned. But somehow once I got home that didn't feel right. I don't quite know what it is, but I think I feel like the whole thing was somehow just too personal both for me and the people who were there. It is not that I am somehow guarding the details. Some of you know me "in real life" and the next time we meet for a run I'm more than happy to chat all day about everything.
There is one thing I will talk about loosely because it is going to change and flavor my running in a major way in the future:
During a meal, one of the coaches happened to be sitting across the table from me. They all had our running resumes. Totally unprompted, she said something which has changed the way I look at my running: "If you would just stop running so many races, you could be a 3:30 marathoner."
I think the sound of my jaw hitting the table was audible.
Most of the people at camp were past their running primes but were still kick-ass runners. We are talking about people who smash their age groups. A concept I have never really given extensive thought came up: There comes a point in life when you can't get faster. What do you do then?
Let's turn this question around a little: I am still relatively young. I have a finite number of years left that my body will allow me to get faster. What am I doing during these years? Am I making the most of them?
The point was brought up by numerous people that getting faster has to be my goal. Something I want. There is nothing wrong with running 20 marathons in a year if that is what I want to do. In terms of PR's, I have far surpassed any marathon time goal I have ever set for myself up to this point. And since deep down I consider myself a 5+ hour marathoner, I sort of felt like I had reached my zenith. So no, running a 3:50 or a 3:59 was never really on my radar. But it wasn't on my radar because I didn't think it was realistic.
It has been brought to my attention that I don't believe in myself. I started off as a 5+ hour marathoner. In my mind I am still a 5+ hour marathoner. This has been severely limiting the height of my goals. I am still trying to wrap my brain around the implications of believing that I am now a 4:11 marathoner. I think this is truly the biggest hurdle for me.
I have agreed to try something different next year. If you look at my sidebar, I already have quite a few marathons planned for 2011. But my marathon calendar is still clear after June 2011. I am going to keep in touch with that particular coach from camp and I am going to start revamping the way I train. I want to see how fast my body can get.
It will hopefully take more than a few years to get there, but I am excited to see where this chapter of my running journey can end.