Official 15 mile results

Rocky Mountain Road Runners posted the official 15 mile marathon training series race results. My final time was 2:44:57. My husband beat me by 22 seconds. There were 36 women and 28 men. Only 6 people were slower than I was. I can only hope that I am not LAST in the 20 miler on August 27, but I suppose even last would be better than not finishing.

I know I am not a fast runner. I know that it is unlikely that I will ever be in the top 25 or even 50% of the runners out there. Even knowing this, given how much effort I put into training and preparing, it still pretty much sucks to know that a solid effort on my part puts me in the bottom 10% of the participants. I know, in the end, it is all about personal improvement and individual performance. So on the one hand I’m thrilled that I have been able to train my body to run 15 miles. I certainly could not have imagined being able to do that a few years ago. And on the other hand, I’m somewhat disappointed that even with more training and improving my performance to the best that it can be (i.e. given where my heart rate spikes and feels like it will explode), I will likely always be at the back of the pack.

Running is a very perverse hobby for me. In business school, and in just about every personal development article I’ve ever read, the keys to success almost always included focusing on: (1)what you are excellent at, (2) what you love to do, and (3) what you are passionate about. So for me running is pretty much the exact opposite of this. I am not excellent at it. I love when the run is FINISHED. I find running to be incredibly difficult and challenging both mentally and physically. I think running is good for me, but I am certainly not passionate about it. So I think I am focused on this marathon goal in part because it is so challenging for me. I think that achieving this goal will give me confidence about facing other challenges where I may lack a natural aptitude. If I can run a marathon then surely I should be able to ____________.

4 comments on “Official 15 mile results
  1. Hui Zhou says:

    Hi Cathy,
    How long have you been running?
    Congratuations on completeing the 15 mile run. Your feat already put you on top 1% although you may not realize.
    The start of a training is always fun, then it will reach a plateau where you see much ahead of you and little progress to sustain the belief that you ever gonna reach the end. I bet every one running ahead of you experienced or is experiencing this rather difficult plateau. Since you are participating the race, you better believe you will be the top 25 someday. In fact, I know this is a certainty if you will continue the training and keep your belief of winning. I bet every one of the top 25 has been running much longer than you, most likely been running for half of their lives.
    The belief of winning is essential in sustaining the running when you are participating races. Races are about winning. If you don’t believe you will ever reach the top 25, you will quit, sooner or later. Only the goal can hold you through.
    I am glad for you that your husband is willing to run with you. Beating a particular close partner is a very effective way to sustain your training. It is goal that you can see and make an effort to reach it each time. You have a very nice husband.
    Of course, there is always all the benefits of running itself and the good feeling after the finish. However, those feeling won’t keep you in a race. You probably can better enjoy the running every morning in the park at your own pace. Well, I admit I am a quick quitter for competitions that I don’t have faith to win. I kind of always can manage make myself feel good about quitting as long as I don’t quit every thing. 🙂
    Have you read the “expert mind” article published in Scientific American a few weeks back? Winning a competition and become an expert in any field (chess, sports) is a cetainty. However, the amount of training required is significant (the article quotes 10 years). One can’t be an expert every where, but one always can be the expert of her choice.
    Keep running, I know you can be the top 25. However, you need believe it yourself and not to underestimate the amount of training waiting for you.


  2. Hui Zhou says:

    —- So I think I am focused on this marathon goal in part because it is so challenging for me. I think that achieving this goal will give me confidence about facing other challenges where I may lack a natural aptitude. If I can run a marathon then surely I should be able to ____________.
    I forgot this is what triggers my comment 🙂
    No, being able to finish a challenging goal has nothing to do with another goal that one lacks natural aptitude. There is no question that one can complete any goal, the questions is whether one can finish the amount of training (or effort) that the goal requires. If you have natural aptitude with that goal, you will have a more joyful time in walking the path, otherwise, it will be mostly painful and it is a matter of time when one will quit.
    Actually, I don’t believe in aptitude. I only believe in one’s interest and wills, which are more directly expressed as motivations. As long as one can hold the motivation, one has that aptitude.
    The most chanlenging task that you strongly believe you don’t have aptitude is probably what you don’t have interest and less joyful to complete.

  3. Cathy says:

    Thank you for your feedback Hui Zhou. I started running about 2 years ago. At that time I could not run 1 mile. Prior to that the most I had ever run was 3 miles back about 16 years before when I was 20. So I have definitely improved.
    I obviously disagree on whether people have “natural aptitude” or not. I think we naturally gravitate towards tasks/skills that we like because they are easier (thus more joyful and rewarding) than those for which we have to work harder. For example, growing up I was very good at school and not so good at sports. I focused my energy on school, finished my PhD years before my peers, etc. For me science/research is easy. All of the human resources tasks needed for my current job are difficult. For other people, science might be hard but interacting with other people would be easy. Even though I am working very hard to improve my interpersonal skills, I might not ever be as good as those people to whom it comes naturally.

  4. Hui Zhou says:

    Hi Cathy,
    I know you wouldn’t agree on my opinion of natural aptitude. There really are some things that born with us individully different. Especially since I had my child, I can’t help notice that different kid just have different characteristics.
    So a quiet child may more inclined to read more, or do stuff on their own, and a more outward kid may more inclined to ask for help, thus having easier time for interpersonal stuff. But that determines how motivated one will devote oneself into certain subject, not one’s aptitude. Use sports as an example, is it becase one start with less physical play which leads to his sub performance later in school and leads to his lost of interest in sports, or is it because one just can’t improve his physical ability as quick as the other kids? When I think about it, it become a chicken-egg problem — is it because he can learn sport quick enough and lose interest and motivation? or is it because he lack of that interest or motivation or just some parenting enviroment and friends circle that lead to his less practicing?
    For me, I don’t think our aptitude on any subject is much differnt. I tend to think it as a variance from 999000 to 1001000. Yeah, each is different, but each’s capability is approximately equal.
    However, one’s experience accumulates and may have snowball effect. One start with more physical play, more lead to more experience in balancing or running, and may lead to faster experience building on certain sport and may in turn have a easier time on learning any new sport over all. Expereince here may include physical fitness, but I think for many sports, mind experience plays a more important role.
    So, when you say “natural aptitude”, do you recognize the snowball effects of pure experience? How much in us are real natural? or is it just experience difference matters?
    As examples, I think you can find persons that are experts in every field that have all kinds of characters. And it is not difficult to find biographies that states certain expert admit their lack of aptitude at some stage.