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I ran 9 miles this morning.

I asked my husband to drive the distance to verify the mileage. I had hoped I had run more.

“What’s wrong with 9?,” my husband asked when I expressed mile disappointment.

“Nothing,” I said. “But I still have an athlete’s pride.”

rudiger_r_annapolis“What do you mean?,” he asked.

“Too complicated,” I said, fearing I would become long-winded.

Here’s the scoop: With a little more than a month to go before my 20th marathon, I feel like I need a long, grueling run even though my husband, who is doing his first, and I plan to walk together and maybe sprint to the finish line.

There is no time limit for the Honolulu Marathon, one of the many things I love about Hawaii. The race is not over, and marathon officials do not leave, until the last person finishes.

So what about my own limits?

As noted in a previous post, I’m becoming more realistic as the miles and years accumulate.

I’m also more keenly aware, especially after becoming a parent, that my focus has shifted more toward helping my daughter reach her potential than running personal bests or even publishing poetry.

As a guy who often was picked last for teams, I sure have loved and stayed with sports most of my life. As noted, I’m celebrating, yes, truly savoring my 20th marathon. I can still hit a great lefty forehand when I step out onto a tennis court. Ice skating, after years of playing hockey, is still as natural for me as walking. My husband is floored that I never fall on the ice even if years go by when I lace up my skates and step out on it again.

So my athlete’s pride? I guess it’s better having than athlete’s foot! I’m trying to let go of it, but not quite yet. Maybe, after ironing and cleaning this afternoon, I’ll sneak out for another two miles so that I can go to sleep knowing that today I finished 11 miles.