If you know me or have read my blog, you know that I LOVE goal-setting. I also love goal-achieving, and I happen to love big, lofty goals. Sometimes, I am really good at making a shift when my goal needs to be modified. Other times, I will unapologetically force things, even when I should adjust the goal. (Sometimes I have to apologize later because this head-strong attitude affects others.) In this situation, I am unapologetically making a shift, and adjusting or switching the goal.
I have run 18 consecutive Marine Corps Marathons (MCMs). I still can’t believe that I have been running marathons for almost 2 decades. Unfortunately, the last 3 MCMs have all been virtual. My first virtual Marine Corps Marathon was my choice. My husband had a very small opportunity to travel in the fall of 2019, and I asked the Marine Corps Marathon staff if they would allow me to run it virtually. I was the first non-service member who had the opportunity to run the MCM virtually, and at the time, it felt very special. They sent me a t-shirt, a bib, and even sent me the medal before I finished my 26.2 miles, so I got to wear it proudly the day I completed it. (Service members have been able to run it virtually as part of their deployment marathon program, but they were the only exception to their running-in-person-rule.) Back in the fall of 2019, my husband and I had a fantastic time exploring Vietnam and Cambodia, and I was thrilled to keep my streak alive. It was such a win-win!
The next 2 virtual marathons were due to Covid. I ran 26.2 miles in October 2020 and 2021 just to keep my streak alive. They did not feel like marathons. I received the medals weeks after I completed the grueling tasks, but I did not have any other option. For some reason, continuing my Marine Corps Marathon run streak felt very important. However, the runs themselves started to feel like VERY LONG training runs. As much as I tried to make the actual day feel important, there was nothing that I could do to make them feel special.
This year, Marine Corps Marathon is putting on a LIVE event. The race will be special for so many people. There is nothing quite like MCM. The other runners, the monuments, the spectators, and the event itself are all quite memorable. Showing up to that race will be life-changing for many people. Unfortunately, I will not be one of those people.
This year, I had a choice. I could either fly to the states in the summer and spend quality time with my family. This would allow me to get to play with my nieces and nephew before they returned to school. On the other hand, I could fly home in the fall, but I would need to carve out time to get to Washington DC to run the race. Time with my family would be sacrificed for the marathon. Additionally, fall schedules are insane, and there would not be a great deal of “quality time.” Jorge and Covid both taught me one thing: “there is absolutely nothing more valuable than quality time with family,” so I chose the summer break with the family over a race in the fall. I know with all of my heart that I will never regret this choice.
Last year, I ran the MCM Trifecta. It included a 10k, the marathon, and a 50k. I completed them within a month, and it was fun to accomplish that goal. This year, they are not offering the virtual trifecta. They are not offering the virtual marathon, but they ARE offering the virtual 50k, so I guess I’ll run it. It will be my 2nd year in a row to run the MCM 50k. Maybe I’ll do it again next year. Maybe I’ll start a new streak, or maybe I won’t run it; yet, I will keep running with no streak to hold me accountable. I feel confident that by this time next year, I will know which route to choose: run the 50k again, and make this a streak, choose a different fall race, or don’t race at all. Either way, I feel good about this shift, and I will plug along with the 50k training.
I spend a lot of time thinking that outside factors determine my life, but the truth- of-the-matter is: I have choices. I always have a choice. If you made it this far in the blog or in life, be reminded that YOU HAVE CHOICES TOO!