I can honestly say that I’ve never been less prepared for a race than I am for the Denver Half Marathon this Sunday. The good news is that I’ve never been more prepared for failure than I am this time around. For the first time ever I won’t be going into a race with a time expectation or a goal in mind. Given my lack of preparation for this race I think it would be futile to have big expectations.
For me the ‘fun’ in racing has always been in achieving faster race times and in proving that I can perform at a certain (albeit mediocre) level. The race itself has never been the part that I enjoyed. The race itself is a punishing, physical exertion that I endure to get to the fun part, which is stopping my watch at the finish line sooner than I have ever stopped it previously. It’s the happy ending, if you will. The happy ending is realizing that I have accomplished what I set out to accomplish, that I have run faster than ever before. The happy ending is the improved race time which is the payoff of all the hard work that I put in during the weeks and months leading up to the race. However, since there has been little to no hard work leading up to this race it would be idiotic to believe that there is going to be a happy ending.
My challenge this Sunday will be to enjoy the race. I’m not looking for a happy ending, I’m looking for a happy beginning and middle. Instead of waiting until the end of the race to be happy, I’ll be happy right from the get go. Prematurely happy, if you like. On Sunday I will run just for the love of running, I’ll run for the camaraderie, and for all that other sappy, feel good crap that other people talk about. Perhaps it will be the shot in the arm that I need to get myself back on track. At a minimum it should result in some good race pictures, at least that’s what the Chic Runner says will happen when you ‘run for fun.’
I have no doubt that the future holds more PRs for me. I am certain that there will be many more races where I endure the pain to capture the glory, but Sunday will not be one of them. Sunday I will run to enjoy running. I’ll be the goofy idiot that’s smiling and chatting with anyone who will listen. I’ve always wanted to be that guy.