Sometimes the bear gets you, Sometimes you get the bear

Mark’s got a post up (yeah, I’m a week late with this) about Discovering the bear within:

7-The marathon comes. You finish. And finishing is a life changing moment that makes “I think I can” a thought of the past.
8-But there is more to prove. Finishing is no longer enough. You are full of “I know I can. I know I can do it faster. I know can I do it longer”. You are one buff bear.

Now, this is all well and good, but let’s face it: For some of us, finishing the marathon isn’t a life-changing moment, any more than graduating from high school, graduating from college, etc was.

Not to belittle the point – it’s a darn select group of people who actually finish a single marathon in their life, let alone run regularly, and I don’t mean to diminish that. But, having worked my butt off for one too many “life changing accomplishments”, let’s be honest: there aren’t any.

Finishing a marathon isn’t going to improve your relationship with your spouse. It’s not going to get you a promotion at the office. It’s not going to magically let you eat eight pounds of peanut brittle every day without gaining weight. It’s not going to do anything, by itself, to substantively change your life.

Finishing a marathon is just that – 26.2 miles, on your feet. Nothing more, nothing less.

Well, scratch that – finishing a marathon is another tool in your box, another arrow in your quiver. Finishing a marathon is proof positive that you can set and achieve big goals; that you can plan and execute a giant project. These are accomplishments; these are life skills that you’ve earned.

26.2 is but one way to show that you’ve got the skills, and an ephemeral one at that. Look at the string of DNFs, injuries, and dropouts we’ve see in in the RBF – does not getting to the finish really take away some of the bearness?

Again, sorry for the rant. Scratch out the “life changing moment” bit and the piece is beautiful. But, given the wide range of things that can actually change lives, finishing any given race isn’t one of them.

Go run. Get your life improved. Set and meet goals. But don’t count on a chorus of angels or a vision when you cross the finish line at 26.2. It won’t happen.

Change your own life.