Monday, December 13, 2010

Identity Crisis

I'm going through a bit of an identity crisis right now.

Coach has given me the green light to train for the National Marathon in March and things are going smoothly. Right now I'm running 3 days a week, mostly geared toward the marathon, and the rest of the week involves swimming, biking, and strength all for triathlon and the big iron distance race in 2011. All of my training is going great. I'm feeling focused and strong. So what's the problem? I love to run. I don't think you heard me right. I LOVE TO RUN!!!!!!! Running right now is effortless, almost poetic. The paces are swift but gentle. I'm absolutely loving every minute of it. And it makes me think, what am I doing messing around with triathlon?

For years I've dabbled in triathlon. I would tell people I'm a runner pretending to be a triathlete. But when I started to do better and place in my age group at races and having spent a year training for Ironman, I guess you can't pretend to be a triathlete anymore. I promised my coach that I would not pretend this year. I would stop saying I'm a runner and instead I would tell people and myself I'm a triathlete. But I'm having a hard time identifying.

One of my first times I did Boston I saw a girl I knew from the blogosphere, Elizabeth. At the time, Elizabeth and I were pretty similar runners. Not too slow, not too fast, but good enough. I even think we had similar experiences at Boston. Over the years I kinda lost track of her until this fall when I found out my teammate Janet and my real life friend Mandy were friends with Elizabeth. While reading Janet's race report from the Columbus Half Marathon I saw she had mentioned something about Elizabeth running the full marathon. I clicked on Elizabeth's race report only to be totally floored to see she had finished 2nd at the marathon. SECOND! What the heck happened? As Mandy puts it, she has a goal and will work for it.

So it makes me think, what is my potential at running? Since I started working with a coach I've dropped 6 minutes in the marathon (3:29), 3 minutes in the half (1:38), I've set new PRs, and have even won a race. Again it makes me think, what am I doing messing around with triathlon? If I can do that in just one year of working with a coach, what can I do in two years time? Three years? Four years? Can I qualify for NYC? Can I break my dad's PR (3:21). Can I finally run a race where I average in the 6:00s?

I know I have unfinished business at the iron distance. And don't get me wrong, I plan to get my revenge. But I just wonder if right now is the time? If the goal is just to finish, am I wasting running potential in the years that count? I just don't know.


Colleen said...

Meredith - I love that you wrote this and put it out there... it's so honest! :) Of course, we're all going to tell you to follow your heart. You are an amazing running and I think your potential is endless with a little work. And although triathlon is something I think you have a ton of potential at as well, you have to ask yourself what YOU want. :) And we'll all support you!

Shannon (IronTexasMommy) said...

I think all of us as triathletes have our strongest sport - the sport we'd rather be doing. I love running too. I'm getting faster at swimming and still fear the bike. But, the cross training is going to make you a stronger, fitter runner. It's not wasted time. It's a more comprehensive approach to your ultimate goal. The swimming and biking will make you stronger.

As difficult as it is to admit, you have to give those sports some credit as to why you've been able to drop your times, too. Ironman training puts the marathon accomplishments in perspective. It builds your endurance, your mental strength and will put you in that much of a better place when you need to endure the pain to grit out a faster pace in the run.

This is the right time to put your unfinished business to rest. You still have the training behind you to carry you towards a much-deserved finish. If you wait, it will be harder to get back to and it will mentally hold you back on your running goals. Take revenge and then the rest of the running world is going to have to watch out! :)

Andrea said...

Do what ever makes you happiest.


If you are happier running, than run. If you feel like you will feel guilty about not completing Ironman, than do that.

We only get one life. Do with it what YOU want.

Stef said...

What Andrea said.

Plus, from the perspective of someone who doesn't know you personally, but has read your blog for awhile. this seems pretty simple.

Ironman will always be there and "revenge" is not a good enough reason if it's the only reason.

Laura Wheatley said...

Wow awesome comments so far! I agree with all of the above. Tough call that you have to make. However, if you want a straight up "vote", I say KILL the Iron this year. You've already made promises, talked it up, and now you've got the fire for the revenge. Use it. Then plan your running "comeback" for 2012. You will be a stronger, more well-rounded athlete going into it!

D said...

I think I'm pretty clear on my feelings for Ironman (and not just the company lol).

Do what YOU want to do. Andrea said it... what makes YOU happy? This is about YOU and not the people around you. It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks.

Stephanie Nichole said...

OOH I may be running the national marathon too! I'll let you know when I sign up.

Just wanted to let you know that I have your entry in for the razzyroo headband giveaway. Thanks for following :)


Laura said...

It's a long life. You have time to do both. don't let what someone else is doing or has done distract you from the goals you set for yourself! Stay the course... gain the strength and endurance. Kick that IMs a$$ then come out of the blocks chomping at the bit to conquer your running goals. My 2cents. :) but like everyone else said... YOU can make the decision to do What YOU want to do....

tribirdie said...

I agree with what Laura said, you've got lots of time for both! Also agree with what others have said, training for 140.6 is going to help your running with the amount of miles you are putting in your body. AND that in the end you have to follow your heart. I don't really have any good advice though, I've never been good enough at one of the sports to ever wonder, I love the equalizer effect of triathlon! ha ha