A running friend of mine asked me if I was ever going to “just concentrate on trying to run one fast marathon” instead of racing all the time like I presently do. This is a question I have heard on numerous occasions, and I have many ready-made answers for it. What struck me as ironic in this instance is how this friend, a pretty fast runner in their own right, tends to run the vast majority of their races on trail. If you are unfamiliar with trail racing, you know that for the most part, you can throw away the clock when trying to compare one trail 50K to another. I felt like pointing out the inconsistency when the question was asked as given their own personal running preference, there is obviously no way that they ever just concentrated on running one fast race either. Instead, I told them the various reasons why I currently run and race how I do. (If you ever wish to sit down and listen to those reasons someday, I would be happy to tell you that they are.) However, what it all boils down to is running for yourself.
This sounds selfish but my meaning here is to run for reasons that are personal. Running is such a personalized sport, rarely done with any teammates to speak of and almost always practiced alone. Your goals and reasons for running and racing should be just as personalized. Those reasons could be because you wish to raise money for charity. They could be because you are hoping to lose weight. Perhaps you like running because of the good feeling it gives you when you complete a run. Maybe the reason you lace up your shoes is because it is far better of an addiction than one you previously had. The main thing is that you have your own reasons. Do not run for anyone else. This is why if I meet a non-runner who has no desire to begin running I do not waste a single breath telling them about why I do. If they do not want to go for a run, I most assuredly have not been put on this planet to convince them to do so. I would much rather talk to those who already share my passion or those who are curious about joining our ranks.
When you run for reasons all your own, you have a stake in your running. You do not need to prove any one wrong, you do not need to justify your passions and your grip on your happiness becomes that much stronger. When asked if I enjoy showing those who feel certain things cannot be done are actually achievable I can say with almost 100-percent accuracy that I could not care less if a naysayer now thinks twice about doubting me. My running is, to me, a means to explore my own limits, done on my timetable, in the method I wish to achieve it. Besides a small and select group of people, approval is something I rarely seek from others.