Rethink the finish

In the equine world, finishing is a fairly big deal. Not talking about a “by a nose” photo finish. Rather the ‘finish’ I’m thinking of is in regards to training. A finished horse is one who has been trained and is ready for his or her job, whichever the discipline. The opposite would be a ‘green’ horse.

And those are typically the type that I ride.


Yep, there we go; slam on the breaks, refuse even the itty-bittiest of obstacles. {Oh, Maggio… [head shake]}

Still, most riders would agree that even if you reach a target level of training where the horse is competent and not so green, capable of completing the course set before him or her, there is always room for growth.


Bigger jumps.

????????Faster courses. Better rides…


We are never truly “finished” are we?

Nope, neither horses nor humans.

This is how I see my upcoming race (April 12). I don’t feel green. Not at all. This will be my… (I’ve lost track) 15th marathon. I feel relatively prepared, in fact. Though it felt like a pretty icky February of training, I feel fairly strong coming off of a decent March. I haven’t written much about my training because whenever I thought back on my running I kept thinking about February. Ick. Not so good. Then all of the sudden, I’m 10 days from a marathon and I realize how “finished” or polished, if you will, that I feel. I’ve done three 20-22 mile runs with hard “stuff” mixed in, all within the month of March. My favorite long run: 22 miles (3mi Easy+4mi @ 6:24+9mi Easy+5 @ 6:20+1 Easy). Plus in the past week, I’ve run 2-mile tempo repeats three different times, Tuesday, Saturday and again Tuesday (4 X 2mi at 6:08 with a 2 min break and mixed into 13-16 miles total). Whew, the stuff dreams are made of… Or nightmares! Those are the runs that I look at on paper just before I go to attempt them and think, “No way am I doing that!” And then it just happens. I have to remind myself as the run unfolds, “This is not a big deal” and just roll with it.

I may feel relatively prepared, but at the same time, this next marathon is just part of a bigger picture. I don’t feel like the finish will really be a finish. Next I’m looking to run Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth in June. I am currently sitting just shy of the local elite qualifying time for Grandma’s, so that is a huge incentive for me. I need to hit a sub 2:55, which I know is very doable next week. At least on paper it looks possible, it’s just a matter of running and getting it done. No slacking off!

You see how this leads to that?

Beyond a summer marathon, I hope to shift into a higher gear and go for more speed over the summer. I will support as many local races as I can budget and squeeze into our schedule. Finally, the plan is to return to a third marathon for this calendar year with a fast fall race. Even then I won’t be ‘done’ because there’s always something around the next bend.

So. As much as I would love to ride a truly finished horse, I admit there is excitement in the training process.


In riding and in running, one finish line just lines you up for the next start line.

Thanks for joining me on this ride.

How about you, what are your big goals for this year? Don’t be shy, leave a comment.

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