Something strange has been happening to me this week since I have been home from my Berlin/Poland extravaganza. I have had many people ask me how the Berlin Marathon went and many ask what my finish time was. Now this is not unusual but what is weird is some people have asked me if I was disappointed with my time. I suddenly found myself very defensive of my performance, reminding these people that it was 5 weeks after an Ironman, I was jet lagged, I didn’t care about my time, etc. But this still left me feeling uneasy. When did we stop focusing on just finishing a marathon is an achievement in itself?
I guess I can see where a lot of these people are coming from. The past couple of years almost every race has been a PR for me and to be honest I have gotten used to that. But I knew going into 2012 and my aggressive race schedule that having a PR race this year was out of the question. For me it is nearly impossible to train months and months for an Ironman AND get faster in the marathon. I guess it is possible if would have quit my job, not had a social life, and just trained but that will never happen. Going into 2012 my only goal was to finish Big Sur, Ironman Louisville, and Berlin regardless on how long it took me. I always focused on my watch but this year I had many runs that I left my Garmin at home.
I can’t blame people for questioning my time but I do think sometimes people do not realize that not every race is supposed to be a PR. Just being entered into a marathon and running with thousands and thousands of people is such a special achievement in itself. There are so many people out there who are afraid to even sign up for a marathon. Then there are those who get injured and never make it to the start line. Finally there are those who run one marathon and don’t come back.
I know being a marathoner is a lot of work but it is a very special gift that I am grateful for everyday. And for me even after achieving no PRs this year, I feel even more proud to call myself a marathoner.