Well, I did it.
On October 5th, 2021, I officially finished my seventh Boston Marathon.
In a previous life, I would have spent the last several months training, obsessing over my pace and pushing myself to go harder and faster.
This year, I wasn’t even sure that I would even cross the finish line.
Earlier, I fell off a skateboard and sustained a pretty serious ankle injury. (Yes, me on a skateboard—you’re welcome for that visual.)
I wasn’t allowed to run for several months, and I felt my fitness slip away pretty quickly.
So when I finally started training for Boston, I pushed it too hard. I ended up with tendinitis, which set me back again.
For the 5-6 weeks leading up to the race, I figured out how to work with my injury and trained enough that I felt comfortable racing.
But unlike other races, in the past, I came into this one with a different perspective.
I hoped I would finish.
I expected my time to be, honestly, pretty shi**y.
I was grateful to have raised so much money for the Dana Farber Cancer Center (nearly $13,000 this year for an incredible cause).
It was a beautiful day, and when the starting gun went off, I was determined to do the best I could do and just have fun.
I won’t give you the play by play of all 26 miles. You just need to know that the first 22 miles were an absolute blast. The last 4 were death and destruction, but that’s not what I chose to focus on.
I crossed the finish line with a time of 4:47. I knew that wasn’t my best time, but I felt good. I did as well as I could have done. I was happy.
That’s the value of perspective, right?
But it wasn’t just my positive experience at this year’s race. I felt so good after I was done, I thought for sure this was my second best time running Boston.
The next day, I looked up my past times and was surprised to find out I was wrong.
My time of 4:47 was firmly in the middle of the pack. I had run several faster races, but I didn’t remember feeling nearly as good about my performance.
One of my fastest times was in 2018, during this terrible, TERRIBLE monsoon. I crossed the finish line in 4:20, torrential rain pounding my face the entire way. And I didn’t feel particularly happy. Or proud.
In fact, I remember thinking that I turned in a horrible time. That was 27 minutes faster than the time I ran this year.
I ran a fast race that day, but my expectations were so high that I couldn’t enjoy myself.
Enjoy the Ride
The point is: you’ve got to Enjoy the Ride. Working hard, pushing yourself to be better—those aren’t necessarily bad things, but they aren’t necessarily good either.
If you can’t enjoy the journey you’re on, you’ll lose perspective. And what’s the point of doing what you’re doing if you’re miserable all the time?
Do the best you can.
Stop beating yourself up.
It won’t bring your business any extra value.
It won’t make you happier.
Was my time for the marathon objectively mediocre this year? I suppose, as much as something like that can be objective. But…who really cares?
The time will get recorded and forgotten—it’s just a number. My experience of the race—the lightness, the fun, the gratitude—I’ll be holding onto that for a long, long time.