In about 72 hours, I’ll be getting ready to board a plane to head to D.C. for marathon #23, the Marine Corps Marathon.
I don’t know if I’ve ever explained how this race came about on my calendar. Basically, I put my name in the lottery for this year’s NYC Marathon because, NYC. I ended up not getting picked in the lottery and the day that I got the notification, I saw an ad that the Marine Corps Marathon had a lottery and it was still open. So, feeling all rejected and terrible from the NYC Marathon, I threw my name in for MCM and didn’t think I was actually going to get in.
…and of course I got in. 😉
At this point, I knew that I was going to run Twin Cities Marathon as I was already registered. But now I had another marathon on the calendar and needed to figure out what I was going to do with it.
P.S. Don’t get me wrong, the Marine Corps Marathon was on my dream list of marathons but I just didn’t expect to make it a reality for a long time. But I’m super happy that I’m going to run it.
So I decided long ago, pretty much the day I found out that I was running MCM, that I would NOT be running it for a time goal.
Of course, there is part of me that thinks that maybe I should push it and see how long I can hold on to my PR pace. I know that will be really really really painful but sometimes I’m stubborn and my mind thinks things are a good idea that are not.
But deep down, I know that there is a 1% chance that this race would ever be a PR. And I’m okay with that.
I’ve gotten a lot of questions from people who think that it’s really weird to run a non-goal race, especially a marathon that requires travel. And days off work. And a monetary investment.
I think that there are different ways to look at a race. There are those that are your target —> the ones that drive you to train hard. The ones that you think about 24/7 during training and envision exactly what it’ll be like to run it at the pace that you want.
There are others that are for training. They help you get to that target/goal race and remind you the reason why you are doing the training and running as hard as you are. The times for these are not where you’d normally be, but that’s not the point of them.
Then there are the others that are truly for the experience. The ones where you go and run it with friends or family. Or the destination races like Big Sur Marathon where it’s so hard that you couldn’t even fathom getting a PR.
So yes, running a non-goal race may not make sense. It may seem weird. But I think that we all go into racing for different reasons (we all go into running for different reasons!), and sometimes our goals are different than what someone else might think. Even if you aren’t going for a PR, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have a goal. And sometimes, having a non-pressure race, one like MCM where you can just go out there and enjoy the experience, can be such a great reminder of why we do it all in the first place.
Do you only race if you can aim for a PR? What’s the hardest race you’ve ever run before?
What’s a dream race that you’d love to put on your schedule?
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