A running friend of mine asked me if I was ever going to “just concentrate on trying to run one fast marathon” instead of racing all the time like I presently do. This is a question I have heard on numerous occasions, and I have many ready-made answers for it. What struck me as ironic in this instance is how this friend, a pretty fast runner in their own right, tends to run the vast majority of their races on trail. If you are unfamiliar with trail racing, you know that for the most part, you can throw away the clock when trying to compare one trail 50K to another. I felt like pointing out the inconsistency when the question was asked as given their own personal running preference, there is obviously no way that they ever just concentrated on running one fast race either. Instead, I told them the various reasons why I currently run and race how I do. (If you ever wish to sit down and listen to those reasons someday, I would be happy to tell you what they are.) However, what it all boils down to is running for yourself.
This sounds selfish but my meaning here is to run for reasons that are
personal. Running is such a personalized sport, rarely done with any
teammates to speak of and almost always practiced alone. Your goals and
reasons for running and racing should be just as personalized. Those
reasons could be because you wish to raise money for charity. They could
be because you are hoping to lose weight. Perhaps you like running
because of the good feeling it gives you when you complete a run. Maybe
the reason you lace up your shoes is because it is far better of an
addiction than one you previously had.
The main thing is that you have
your own reasons. Do not run for anyone else. This is why if I meet a
non-runner who has no desire to begin running I do not waste a single
breath telling them about why I do. If they do not want to go for a run,
I most assuredly have not been put on this planet to convince them to
do so. I would much rather talk to those who already share my passion or
those who are curious about joining our ranks.
When you run for reasons all your own, you have a stake in your running.
You do not need to prove any one wrong, you do not need to justify your
passions and your grip on your happiness becomes that much stronger.
When asked if I enjoy showing those who feel certain things cannot be
done are actually achievable I can say with almost 100-percent accuracy
that I could not care less if a naysayer now thinks twice about doubting
My running is, to me, a means to explore my own limits, done on my
timetable, in the method I wish to achieve it. Besides a small and
select group of people, approval is something I rarely seek from others.
I have found that my harshest critic, and the one who will also be
most pleased with why I run in the first place is me, and tailoring my
running to make me happy is the most important thing.