Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My Selfish Marathon

179 days separate myself from 26.2 consecutive miles. Scary thought?

Scarier thought: me, me, me.

I walk around my neighborhood and can’t help but see these placards and information on charity groups one can associate themselves with for the, or any upcoming marathon. Let’s see…AIDS, pet rescue, suicide awareness, cancer; that’s what I can at least recall seeing on Halsted. I flip through the latest issue of Chicago Athlete, and there are PAGES of associations one can make with any cause they please.

This race is for me. Stop sending me stuff, Team in Training!!

Now it’s been explained to my thick-skulled self that these groups are going to try and get $$ however they can and I get that: Lady Housewife can solicit all her similar-minded friends for donations/pledges when she waddles her way to a six + hour finish. But I personally don’t see the value of putting one foot in front of the other for some cause beyond your own. If you want to raise money for PAWS, write them a check and ask friends to do the same.

Using a race/a marathon as a front for that, to me, feels like its cheapening the experience for yourself. Are these people otherwise not going to compete if not for the cause they are raising funds for?

Ah, that word: compete. Maybe that’s where I struggle the most in trying to wrap my brain around this 40,000 person event. How can you commit to this thing if you are not going to try and achieve your best? Wouldn’t you want to? Now given that this is my inaugural showing, I’m not sure what to expect, but I have a goal time (to be revealed upon 12 weeks prior to the marathon; I want to see how I respond to some longer runs first before vocalizing what I’m aiming for) and I will be disappointed if I falter (within reason; I can accept change in plan due to weather, injury, etc.).

I don’t want to do this half-assed. Why do others?

Screw ‘em. This is my thing, running for myself. Just gotta keep that in mind. Maybe I’ll have my face on my shirt. Maybe not.

Speaking of team in training, I do wish they would stop sending me info, seriously. A few years back, a good number of charity runners at the Marine Corps Marathon were disqualified after they intentionally cut the course so as to finish in the allotted time to receive a finisher’s medal.

Uh, yeah. Wrap your head around that one.

If you want to read more about it, I would suggest going through my beloved elitist (and somewhat elite) running site, letsrun.com and the “world-famous” message board  here.

It’s amazing that the article (in a post a few down from the original link that no longer works) that it essentially says there is an unspoken agreement that charity runners can cut a course so as to claim the finishers medal. I get that too, that the bulk of competitors, natch, entered individuals (more PC?) create this massive cash cow for the race organizers and you need that to close streets/insurance/pay elites/etc. so…you gotta “stroke” them to perpetuate this for financial success.

Is it worth it, though? I don’t think so, but then again, I’ll be the self-focused schmuck with my face on my singlet, racing the damn thing. 

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