Motivated by General Geekery

Why I Run: The Challenge

Written By: der5er - Aug• 25•10
10k Starting line

10k Starting line

I love challenges.  Whether it’s a new DIY project at home, new technology or equipment at work, or a new distance or PR (personal record) in running, my juices get flowing when I’ve got something new that I’ve never done before coming up.   When I started running, before I had even signed up for the 8k in 2007, I mentioned to Christi one night, “I’m going to have to sign up for a race or something to motivate me to keep running.”  Truer words have never been spoken.  After my first race, I was addicted.  Though the energy of the crowd was great, the real thing that keeps me coming back is the challenge of finishing.  Whether it’s finishing a distance I had never run or finishing faster than I did last time, there’s always a challenge.

My favorite distance is the Pikermi (a.k.a. half marathon).  When I ran my first one in 2008, the sense of accomplishment couldn’t be beat. Not only had I finished the distance, I now had a time to beat!  I beat that time the following March, and I’m headed to the Richmond Half Marathon this November to try and beat that time. This weekend is the Patrick Henry Half Marathon in Ashland.  I don’t have time to run it this year, but that was a very challenging race that I would really love to run again.  The hills on that course are tough and if the weather is at all warm you will bake on the scenic farm roads that offer little or no shade for most of the course.  I’ve run 3 Pikermis and, aside from proving to myself that I could actually go 13.1 miles, this was the most challenging.  I’d love to say that this course was my PR, but I don’t think anyone sets a PR at Patrick Henry.

Right now, I’m training for the Richmond Half Marathon this November.  I’ve raced this distance 3 times now and you wouldn’t think there would be much challenge left.  But I’ve got a big goal in mind that is immensely challenging to me.  Not only do I want to beat my PR (1:52:35), I’m setting my goal at 1 hour 45 minutes.  That will be 8 minute miles, people!  I’ve never, ever run that fast farther than 3 miles.  Also, I’m trying something new with my training.  Instead of focusing on my pace, I’m focusing on my heart rate while I train.  Those who’ve done it say heart rate training is the way to really improve your speed, I just hope they’re right.  All of these challenges make my 8:00/mi goal seem doable, but it will be a lot of work.  I can’t wait!  (I just finished day 2 of my training yesterday, and I plan to post updates along the way here.  You can also see how I’m running at

The marathon distance last fall was brutal, but I don’t think I can fully explain how I felt crossing the finish line.  The challenge of all the miles up to that point (not just the 26.2 that day, but all the training miles too) made this an amazing experience.  The feeling of knowing I had conquered that distance, farther than some say the human body should be able to run, was unbelievable.  As a bonus, I beat my goal time.  I’ll definitely run another marathon next year.  After all, now I have a time to beat.

Happy runner at the finish!

Happy runner at the finish!

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One Comment

  1. Barbara says:

    Go Greg! What a awesome example you’re setting for the kids too. You should be proud.

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