Don’t get me wrong, I have great respect for the marathon. I ran my one and only marathon last year in New York City and it was an experience that I will cherish for the rest of my life. However, the singularity of that event was a bit lessened by the fact that over 50,000 other runners were there with me. In fact, finishing a marathon becomes less extraordinary every year.
For weeks before and after the race everything was centered around the marathon. Before the race, I would think to myself: “Would a marathoner eat this, would a marathoner risk playing pick-up basketball, would marathoner take a day off from training?” After the race everything was relative to race day. Someone might ask “What did you have for breakfast?” And, I would think to myself “Well I had a cinnamon raisin bagel, just like I did on the morning of the NYC Marathon.” I usually managed to keep the last part of the sentence in my head, but not always.
It’s been six months since I ran the New York City Marathon. The shine has already begun to wear off and I’m at a cross-roads in my training. Do I do another one? Or, do I focus on shorter distances now that I have the marathon checked off my to do list? Why do I run? What am I running to.. or from? You can see this line of thinking will get me nowhere. So, I’ve resorted to a tried and true method of decision making: the pros and cons list.
- I’m in good shape now and I may not have the option to run one again later
- I can pretty much eat everything in sight during marathon training
- A marathon usually justifies a racecation
- A chance to qualify for Boston (and run another marathon) if I can shave off 6 minutes
- Another medal, another story, another 26.2 mile test of endurance and willpower
- Long hours spent training means less hours spent with family
- Running a marathon means not running many smaller races
- A marathon has a huge recovery period compared to smaller distances
- There is the real chance of developing an overuse injury
- I may end up losing the fun aspect of running
I’m not sure there is a clear answer here, but I’d love to know what you think. Are you struggling with this decision? What factors went into your decision-making process?