I have nothing to prove to anybody. Except the VOICES. They are never satisfied. Always pushing. Always taunting. Always wanting more. They expect more. They believe I can deliver everytime, regardless of how I feel mentally or physically. They are also my harshest critics, questioning every success or accomplishment.
They pushed me through my first half marathon even though I had the flu. I finished in 1:30:36. I should have been ecstatic but the VOICES let me know that I had missed a sub 1:30 by a mere 37 seconds. I qualified for Boston during the first attempt by finishing 2 minutes under my required time. BUT I dropped 5 minutes on the second half. "Need to work on that." A 3rd place finish, in a small marathon, when I had pneumonia like symptoms? Or a 5th place finish the following year while limping from a calf strain? "Dude, you suck. Toughen up."
After my first 50 miler, where I placed 3rd overall, they questioned whether it was legitimate or merely a lack of stronger competition. Last November I busted a sub 3 marathon and a PR one week after a strong 5th place finish on a tough 50k course. The VOICES once again called me out. "Fluke", they said, "do it again." Less than two weeks later I ran another sub 3 and PR'd. That worked for a minute....
Sub 24 100 miler? Nope. Not good enough. "The course wasn't that tough. Anybody could run it in 21 hours...." An 11th place 50 mile finish on a rough trail course with a swollen knee? "Big deal." Maybe a sprint tri on "Ye Old Schwinn" and zero swim training? Nope. Expected to do well. A state record for the 35-39 year old age group in the 50 miler? "What a joke. Pure luck."
"Of course you can carry a 40lb kid for a 5k. It's only 3.1 miles...." As I write this it becomes clear to me why I had to run the Bass Pro Marathon with an ITB injury that had me limping for the majority of the miles. I still have something to prove to myself. I don't know what it is but there is something. Maybe the VOICES want me to reach a point where I can just be happy with who I am as a runner.
Or maybe I just need to sit one out and watch from the sidelines. I don't like it but maybe I need to prove to myself that I can........ Wish me luck this weekend as I cheer from the sidelines of the White River Marathon. This will be my biggest challenge yet.