About a year ago, I ran with a man from New Zealand who is an Olympic athlete for the 10K distance. I asked him how he chose the 10K. After all, it’s ONLY 6.2 miles. I think it’s an unspoken attitude that the marathon is the ultimate running race, the Ironman full distance is the ultimate triathlon race, qualifying for Boston is the runners dream, Kona is a triathletes dream, etc… He told me that it shouldn’t be about doing what we think everyone else is doing or having goals that aren’t what we really want. The stigma with distance is a self-inflicted perception that really has no merit. Pick a distance that you like, that you feel comfortable with and stick with it. Perhaps he told me that because he’s a big wimp and can’t DO the full distances, but for me it was sage advice. I’ll never go Pro or semi-pro, I’m not an elite athlete. I’m an almost 43 year old single Mom of 11 kids who wanted to age gracefully, be healthy, stay in shape and pass those tools down to my kids.
I bring this up because post Irongirl I found myself telling people I “only did the sprint distance”. Like it was nothing. No big deal that I trained and tackled 3 different sports at the same time. I chatted with my teammate Theresa on our Tuesday night run about it and it was reassuring to hear her echo my feelings. Coincidentally, they mirrored my Olympic friends statements. Pick the distance that you can do and stick with it. The half marathon is my favorite running distance. I can keep myself trained for it year round without it interfering with my family and my life. I am signed up to run Napa Marathon in March, but after that I probably won’t run another marathon. Honestly, it’s a lot more time for training. The same goes with a full Ironman. Even the half. It’s really, honestly too much for me to consider. I’ve always wanted to maintain that it’s challenging but FUN to train and participate in events. When I take on a distance that feels like too much, it’s no longer fun and the amount of challenge becomes stressful. I’ve already decided that a triathlon over the Olympic distance is more than I want to do. Now I need to learn not to apologize for it.
For newbie runners, taking on a 5K is an amazing accomplishment. Running the 3.1 miles without stopping, increasing minute miles. That’s fantastic!! After my hysterectomy I couldn’t run a mile without having to pee and I was over 10 minute miles. I ran a half marathon in 2:17 and I was proud because I DID it. Now I’m hovering at the sub 1:45 time and I don’t have to use the bathroom for a half marathon. That was less than 9 years ago. It isn’t whether or not I CAN do more – of course I can. It’s more about doing what you WANT. And always with me, it’s about having fun.