I was listening to a podcast over the weekend, and they discussed how kids who play video games have a hard time transitioning into physical sports—specifically, kids who find themselves on unsuccessful teams. The point was that kids playing, say, an NFL game on Xbox tend to turn off a game when losing. Down a TD in the second half? Just hit reset and play until you win. Don’t allow the loss to tarnish your record or memory. When that same kid plays a soccer game and their team is down a few goals, it’s hard to find the moxie to finish. They’d rather reset the game, or worse, find a new sport.
This fall I am running another marathon. I had a bad race last fall (The Philly Phail as I call it) and it’s been a big part of my running focus since then. We have all had those races when things did not work out according to plan. While I can admit I’ll be devastated temporarily if I run below my goals again, it will not deter my love and commitment to the simple act of running. Getting ready to do another full this fall, I had some of the most consistent and fun running I’ve had in years. I have enjoyed my miles more than ever and yet the race still sits there in my craw. To paraphrase Mikey McDermott in Rounders, I don’t remember all my training miles I did to get there, but I can’t stop thinking of the 26.2 at the end.
Hopefully, everyone out there chasing their own fall goals is off to a successful start. The race itself is such a tiny part of the process. The real fun is not the race, but all the training miles and small daily decisions you make to prepare for your race. Lots of people alter their diet, increase hydration, pick up yoga, or make a myriad of other positive life adjustments in preparation for the big day. Those simple steps help make you a better person all year despite what you do when you compete. If racing keeps you interested in running and thus maintains all the other positive side effects running has in your life, then keep it up. If you find that the race day results are affecting your decision to lace up, then perhaps you need to reevaluate what you want out of your running.
Have a great fall, good luck out there XC kids, and I will see you around town.