Running For the Right Reasons

I’ll start training for the Wineglass Marathon, my fourth marathon, next week.

Ever since I missed sub-4:00 at Marine Corps, I’ve been hungry–nay, STARVING–to break 4:00 in my next marathon.

It represents what was a completely unattainable goal to me just three years ago. (Once I saw 4:19 at the NYC Marathon, I knew I could take off another 20 minutes.) It represents what feels to me like a “real runner” even though I know that I have been a “real runner” since the day that I laced up those crappy shoes from DSW that I bought because the price was right, not because they were right for my body.

It is fine to reach for a big, hairy audacious goal, and even to have a laser-sharp focus on that goal.

But lately I’ve been thinking of this marathon as work. Don’t get me wrong, it will be a lot of hard work. But marathons are something I do for fun. As a release from the other obligations in my life. I’ve thought of it as just another obligation and wondered how I’d still enjoy it this time.


I’ve read a lot about these Believe I Am training journals lately. Meggie and Jess both used these journals for their last training cycle – and they both BQed! While I don’t think that this magic journal will get me a BQ, I’m really interested in recording the thoughts and emotions around my training as part of the process and I’m interested to see how changing thought patterns can affect the physical.


[photo via Leticia]

Last night, I saw the Spirit of the Marathon II with this fabulous group of NYC running girls.

We all run for a reason, and this movie followed seven runners’ journeys to the Rome Marathon. I don’t want to ruin anything, but each runner had a great story – from the father who ran to deal with his son’s drug abuse to the woman who ran 52 marathons in 52 weeks to raise money for pancreatic cancer to the pizzeria owner in Rome whom I want to become BFF with. I laughed and I cried at this movie – and I remembered why I run. (Oh, and I added the Rome Marathon to my marathon bucket list.) All of these wonderful women who I sat with in this dark movie theater on a gorgeous summer night to see a movie about running. I wouldn’t have met them if it weren’t for our shared passion in this sport.

So, yes. I have my eye on a HUGE prize, but (let me throw another cliche in!) I’m going to enjoy the journey too. Marathon training is fun and so rewarding! I’m going to make sure I enjoy that, too, and not lose sight of why I started running.

Why do you run? Marathoners: why do you train for marathons? Have you ever found yourself getting too caught up in running for a time and lost sight of why you really run? How do you reel yourself back in?

25 comments on “Running For the Right Reasons

  1. Linda

    You bought running shoes from DSW?!!!

    I want to meet Mimmo, too. Have a beer and pizza at La Podista, but not the day before a marathon. 😉

    1. Theodora Post author

      @Linda: yup. When I first started working out, I bought a pair of shoes from DSW. Don’t worry, more experienced runner friends quickly schooled me how wrong that was.

      Mimmo is THE CUTEST. I love him.

  2. Sarah @ Blonde Bostonian

    I saw Spirit of the Marathon 2 last night as well and I agree with everything you said! It definitely lit a fire underneath me to get my mind in the right place for marathon training. I’m running MCM this year (first marathon ever!) and I’m so excited and totally freaked out to start training.

  3. Sophie @ life's philosophie

    I’m running my first marathon (MCM) in the fall and while I know I should run to complete the race, I’m too ambitious to not go for a goal! I hope it doesn’t backfire on me when I start training (hopefully) next month… good luck on your training!

  4. Jenn

    I run for my health and for my family. I run to be a better me.

    I can see how it’s easy to get caught up in the times and self-competition, but I try to ignore it. I focus on finishing and improving things – maybe it’s my form, my consistency, my pace or my breathing. Those things may lead to a faster time, but not necessarily. And that’s ok.

  5. Sara Grace

    You should crack open Runner’s Discovery Journal too. 🙂 It’s more for a beginner, but I still bet it would inspire you!

    I don’t run marathons but I constantly have to remember to put exercise in the “fun” box in my mind, not the “duty” box. It’s a lot easier when the weather’s fine.

  6. Jane @ Not Plain So Jane

    I think you reel yourself back in by taking a time out once in a while. It’s important to feel the urge & desire to just go out & run! Obviously when training, not every run can feel like that but when I’m not training I listen to my body and run when it wants to.

  7. Kim

    I run because I love it – and then there are times when, for whatever reason, I don’t love it (like the past month) so I just take a little mini break and then go back. Running has always been my passion and I hate to feel like it is something that I HAVE to do – just something I WANT to do.

  8. Gianna @ Run, Lift, Repeat

    I can’t wait to see it! I am also kicking off training with sub 4 as my goal for fall…there are times that I put a lot of pressure on myself and think I am too goal oriented, but in the end, achieving those goals and the blood, sweat and tears that I put into getting there…are why I love to run.

  9. Liz H

    I’m struggling with this right now… like I feel like I’ve been running for so long and I don’t really know why I do it anymore? I’ve been wanting to run NYCM for SO LONG that I hope the thought of finishing (read: winning) in central park will carry me through training this summer. Maybe I should go watch Spirit of the Marathon II before I start training. 🙂

  10. meghan @ little girl in the big world

    I saw it and really enjoyed it. I definitely cried quite a bit and remembered the feeling of training for, running, and crossing the finish line of my first marathon. It made me excited to start running again as well. I’m glad you remembered that you run for fun. I don’t think you have to run a sub 4 to be a “real runner”, but I totally understand what you’re saying. I think in some way I felt that about half marathon times. I think I’ve got a few races to go before I can aim for that sub 4 attempt. I look forward to following your Wineglass journey!

  11. Annie @ Annie Get Your Run

    I’m aiming for a sub-5 for the Philly Marathon in November. I think I’m going to try that journal!!

    I don’t think I ever forget why I run, but I do think some of my race finishes have been clouded by my time goal. I just try to take stock of what I accomplished and pat myself on the back for having the courage to do it at all!

  12. Kashi @ Cape Island Runners

    oh man, spirit II was so so good! i loved mimmo too, but you can have him and i’ll take his cuz domenico. how cute were the two of them! but i loved all the stories, just cried the whole dang time. really can’t wait to own it and watch is ALL.THE.TIME!!

    i don’t think i have ever gone through a period where i questioned why i run. i have since i was 14 so at this point i have been a runner longer than i was a non-runner. it’s just in the fabric of who i am. i think i am partially able to keep so positive with running bc i change it up pretty often. sometimes i am training hard for something long, sometimes training for something short, sometimes not training at all and sometimes just doing it for fun. i just love it and that movie made me feel that to the nth degree!

    good luck with your next training cycle! you can get that sub-4 – just plan your work and work your plan! i guarantee if the LA 52 weeks marathon lady was here, she would DEF think you could do it!!

  13. Barbara

    Im running wineglass too!! I hope to see you there. Im going to be starting my training in a few wks, so it will be fun to keep reading back to your blog. Usually i fall out of love with running after a marathon (I just ran Boston) , and Ive never done two marathons in one year before, so Im a little nervous about going through all the long runs and training again, but I also realized that as much as I like running the marathon itself, I really enjoy the training for it. For boston, i just aimed to hit an avg weekly mileage and include progressive long runs, which kept me more lowkey. Good luckwith starting your training!

  14. lauren alysse

    I just bought the believe i am training journal as well! I’m excited to start tracking things 🙂

    and excited to go see spirit of the marathon II! Glad it was so great!

  15. Amy

    While not at all the same challenge, when I trained for my 1/2 marathon, I made sure to capture how I felt mentally (as well as physically) throughout the journey, which made me really focus on the overall experience, and not just the numbers. I hope that your journal will provide extra enjoyment and motivation, too!

  16. kate

    Do you or any of your readers want a 10 class core fusion class pass? I am selling it for $195. The first class needs to be used by 8/8, and then four months for the remaining class. It’s for nyc locations.

  17. Jordan

    I am def. guilty of getting lost in the reasons why I run. It’s so easy to get obsessed which in turn makes you lose the happiness it originally brought you. I try to focus on how I’m feeling mentally and physically and also try to change it up a bit. I just always try to keep it fun and enjoyable and when it’s no longer at that point, it’s time to take a little bit of a break. I enjoyed reading this post. Thanks for sharing!


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