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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Give Your Best

What are the odds of having practically the same finish time in two different marathons two years apart? My time in Toronto last Sunday was only one second slower than a race in New York a couple of years ago. Is it a sign that these two races are somehow related? This linkage seems intriguing, almost inviting me to seek and uncover a deeper meaning between these two events. Maybe a brief retrospection will present me with a lesson-learned and will help me improve as a runner? 

Memories of racing NYCM in November 2011 are still vivid. It was a "do-or-die" race: run as fast as possible for as long as possible, was my strategy. After clocking 1:25 for at half-point, my quads were shot at 18-mile from running up and down on a hilly course. Limping to the finish line in Central Park my last 8 miles were slow and agonizing, ultimately giving me 3:01:35 finish time. My tank was empty. Gave it all. Played to win and lost: went for the "gold" and ended up forth, giving up a strong chance for silver or bronze.

STWM on October 20 this year was a "play-it-safe" race with my rational voice controlling my excitement and telling me to slow down at the beginning of the race. Keeping a reasonable pace I was on target with 1:30 at half-point, only to find myself losing precious time in the unexpected curvy and hilly last 4 miles ultimately finishing with 3:01:36 in pretty good form. Had this disappointing feeling that there was still some untapped energy in a tank. My run should have been more aggressive. Played cautious defense to maintain a one-goal hockey lead only to lose a goal in the last minute of the third to an opponent not afraid to take their chances.

My attempts at breaking 3-hour mark were unsuccessful in both races, resulting in a bitter/sweet memories and a sense of dissatisfaction from missing a goal. Comparing both races with their quite contrasting running strategies, I couldn't help but ponder a question: which "dissatisfaction" was more "satisfying"? Was a risky running strategy in New York more satisfying than much safer approach in Toronto?

Searching my soul in the last few days I had to admit that my running philosophy was strongly influenced by Steve Prefontaine who said:  "To give anything than your best is to sacrifice the gift"

Run Strong  ... and give your best!

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