What Follows 42.2?

I'm not sure what this is called, but it's a giant silver twisty finger like thing behind the National Art Gallery

Now that I have finished a marathon and crossed item #105 from my Not-So-Bucket-List list, you might be wondering what crazy thing is he going to do next? Because we all know that I’m going to have to set another goal. It’s just the way I roll.

Anyway, I’ve been giving it some thought since the race concluded. Not immediately after mind you. Following the race I was on far too much of a high to really think about anything. I simply wanted to enjoy the moment, and savour the fact that I actually did what I set out to do. While some of you might find this a bit surprising, and while I was confident I could complete the run, I still am amazed that I actually ran a marathon. Maybe it’s the fat kid in me telling me that I’m not an athlete. Maybe it’s my skewed sense of what an athlete is. Whatever the reason, completing something like this forces me to rethink how I see myself; it makes me evaluate the inner voice that suggests I can’t when in reality I can. That might sound cheesy, but it’s the truth. And I write this knowing full well that I still do not consider myself an athlete in the purest sense of the word1. I feel I’m more of an athletic hobbyist; someone who partakes in athletic activities, but who isn’t a professional and thus not worthy of the athlete label. I would say it’s akin to someone who puts brush to canvas and paints breathtaking landscapes on the weekend, but does not consider themself an artist. Or perhaps I’m more of a wolf-in-sheep’s clothing athlete; where the sheep’s clothing consists of running shorts, a heart rate monitor, and running shoes. That is, someone who pretends to be athletic – who does whatever they can to pass as athletic – when really they are anything but.

Whatever the reason(s), my point is that when I actually accomplish something like this, I really like to soak it in and enjoy the moment, the sense of satisfaction, the sense of holy shit, I can do anything. Because it’s that holy shit, I can do anything attitude that keeps me reaching for new goals, and crazier adventures.

More of the Gallery, and the cathedral in the distance

So on Monday following the marathon, I found myself on a 14km walkabout; taking in the paths around parliament, the canal, and the National Art Gallery, enjoying the sunshine, smelling the lilacs and various other flowers-in-bloom, and wondering what my next holy shit, I can do anything mission would be. Given that I recently purchased a new road bike, I thought that I should probably incorporate that in whatever challenge I pick. But there was also a part of me that wanted to tackle another marathon, to see if I could get past the IT band issue and break the 4hr mark. And then there was the possibility of another hot yoga challenge. Or climbing another mountain. Or any number of things. The list was just too huge.

Flowers in By Ward Market

Ultimately, I’ve decided on the following (with the caveat that I may have to modify this list given an unknown healing time required for my hernia-fixing surgery):

  • a 30 day yoga challenge (starting some time in July),
  • a Century Bike ride (that is, a 100km bike ride, by the end of the summer/fall), and
  • a sub 4hr marathon (the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in October).
I mean, why pick one thing when I can do all of them? W00t!

1 I was once told that you aren’t really a runner until you complete a marathon. While I don’t believe this, you would think that having completed a marathon I would at least be able to say with confidence that I am a runner. Strangely, I think I’m still more comfortable saying that I love running. But I’m not sure I’d go the distance and say that I am a runner. How weird is that? I really need to take the advice of this excellent post, and recognize that yes indeed, I am a runner.


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7 thoughts on “What Follows 42.2?”

  1. Not to alarm you, but you have a silver twisty finger-like thing coming out of your head. And FYI, you’re a runner and can clearly do whatever you set your mind to. Sounds like you have some ambitious goals ahead, but it’s NBD, no big deal.

  2. You are so a runner. I consider myself a runner and I only run half marathons. So you are at least twice the runner that I am!

    But I so get you on not internalizing the being-an-athlete thing. It took a long time and several half marathons before I thought of myself as a runner. Oddly though, I really identifying myself as a hockey player and have done since very early on in my hockey playing days. I wonder why that is?

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