Back of the Pack Runner, So What!
What a crazy few days it has been. It all started when I was pulled out of the dentist chair on Thursday to rush home to be with Brooks while my wife left for a family health emergency. It continued with my parents having to fly up from Florida to help out so I could get to work for important deadlines. It went through the weekend where my first Father’s day was spent at brunch like a single dad. But it all ended on a happy note with the family health emergency getting significantly better and my wife surprising me by getting home last night int time to celebrate not only father’s day but my birthday today.
Today I say goodbye to 36 and hello to 37. This past year was nuts! New job. New city. New baby. I reflect back and am 1000% happier today then last year at this time. I am lucky to have this amazing family and career; it is going to be an awesome 37th year.
With that being said I do need to whip out my bullhorn and announce- I am, at best, a middle to back of the pack runner and I’m proud of it. As I have matured as a runner I’ve realized that all of the stress that comes with trying to be a front of the pack runner is just not worth it. I have enjoyed running infinitely more now that I accept my status as an Average Joe, with all of the bouncing between some good days and bad days. Marathon training is now less stressful. July 4th and Turkey Trot 5k’s are much more enjoyable.
Let me be clear, I was never a super fast runner nor was I ever a guy leading the pack. I did try to be one- time and time again I would push myself so hard that whatever the outcome I wasn’t satisfied or happy. Either I missed an aggressive time goal or I was too banged up to really enjoy the result. No more. I say it again and even louder…..NO MORE!
I run to run. I run to get away from my crying baby, work responsibilities or (sorry Catherine) a nagging wife. I’m not going to empty my tank just so that I can brag about a finishing time. I’ve come to a point where it is the daily runs, the experiences of race day and the excitement of finishing that keep me going. Do I want to PR…..sure I do. Is it my goal every time I pin on a bib….hell no.
There will be times where I want to push and hit goals as I am still driven and motivated to accomplish them. The difference now is that those goals don’t define me. The goals are now different- get through training without getting hurt, keeping a positive attitude for all 26.2 miles, pacing my wife or a friend to a PR. Average Joe. Middle to back of the pack. Naked runner with no pace or time. I’m happy with all of these things as I turn the page to 37. Maybe I’m just getting old or just maturing as a runner, but I still have the desire to compete and reach goals. I
This year I will run the New York City marathon. I don’t look forward to training but I can’t wait until the feeling of race day in New York. There is nothing like it. This year I will run New York City without a time goal or any lofty expectation except to have fun and finish.
That felt good to say out-loud.
Do you define your success based on race finishing times? Do you categorize yourself as a front, mid or back of the packer? How do you continue to stay motivated?