Talking to hundreds upon hundreds of people at races across the country, I hear many goals and dreams. I tell virtually everyone I speak with to stay in touch with me and let me know about their first marathon experience the next day, how their goal for the year shapes up or anything else running-related. I think most feel I am just being polite. If they just realized how I lack a great deal of the bullcrap gene and if I say I want to hear from them, I do, maybe more would stay in touch. But some do and I get to experience their hopes and dreams along with them. Often I try to show them that while they can always be wishing for more they can also be happy with what they have.

There is Stacy in Minnesota, who after recovering from cancer last fall, ran her first marathon and was “pissed and embarrassed” about her time. I asked her if it was an official one and if so, that is all that matters. I mean, she beat cancer for eff’s sake—who cares what her time is?

Then there is Dana in Virginia, who was trying to run a marathon every week from the middle of January of 2010 to the middle of January 2011. Her goal was derailed when one marathon she was running in was cancelled for runners in the mid to the back of the pack because of the thunderstorms which rocked Nashville a few weeks ago. Disheartened yes, but she is still plugging away every week, even when she is dealing with nagging injuries. Perhaps she plans to keep going until that full year is complete past the original January date and to when her new “streak” began. Either way, she is moving forward.

Finally, Loree, trying to do a half-marathon every month this year, found out her trip to Montana and the race she had planned there to coincide with work were nixed by her employer. Pop goes her dream. But she is continuing on with the deflated tatters nevertheless, making a new dream.

The point is, absolutely we all want to run fast, as I have written before. We all want to set goals, achieve them, and set new ones. But often, hitting those goals makes you forget to focus on the present; we forget to realize that where we are now is the most important time in our life. Sure we can be disappointed when we don’t surpass standards for ourselves that we have written down for all to see. In fact, it fuels our fire to dust ourselves off and go again.