Thursday, March 11, 2010

Achieve Greatness

Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.* For me and my running, I am the "achieve greatness" type. I am not born fast or with the body and metabolism to be a particularly skilled runner. As a six foot plus type with a "large frame," I am more suited to weightlifting (which I detest) than running. That, coupled with a complete knee reconstruction in my right knee (repair of 3 torn ligaments) twenty years ago, means I am just not physically gifted. But few are. I am also (in the running context) not a greatness thrust upon me type. I choose to run, not because of some forced circumstance.

That leaves "achieve greatness." I think the vast majority of runners are in this category. And what that means to me is that my success or failure is in my own hands. It is a cliche to say that what you put in, you will get out. Thus even though every run isn't through fields of blooming sunflowers overlooking the ocean in Carmel, every run builds to something else. Builds the base, the endurance the speed, the physical power to achieve the things I want to achieve. And my goals as to what I want to achieve are pretty undefined. Yes I would like to BQ at some point. But for me that means a 3:20 marathon. That will be hard, and I doubt I can hit this year; perhaps next if I have two solid years. For me, though, in 3 years the BQ timegoes to 3:30, which is more realistic. But am I running to BQ? No. I run because it makes me feel strong and confident.

I haven't written the "Why I run" column or post yet, despite blogging for 2 years. And honestly, those posts are my favorite posts when I see a new blog. I haven't done it because it seems so personal and so singular that I am not sure anyone would care. In a nutshell, I was never much of an athlete, but I could always run long distance, but I never seriously pursued it in high school track or anything ever organized; my first organized race was a marathon.

So, all of this rambling serves as reason why I do the training, the workouts, the treadmill, the late nights. It is to help me reach my greatness, whatever that may be.

*The actual quote from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night is: "Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them."


  1. Interesting that you went straight to a marathon as your first race. Talk about striving for greatness! I think you are right, most of us aren't natural runners there is just something in us that makes us want to endure the training. Maybe to prove that we can achieve something that seemed impossible. I love the feeling of crossing the finish line knowing you did it. Nothing better.

  2. What a great post! I think you are right on when you say a vast majority of runners are working to achieve greatness. And how awesome that "greatness" is so different for all of us.

    Makes me excited to run when I read posts like this!

  3. Hi NY Wolve,
    I absolutely loved this post! I appreciate the on your take of achieving greatness:) I am so impressed that your first real organized race was a marathon!! That to me is down right amazing:)

  4. Achieve greatness, I love that! Yeah, I'm in the same boat, I feel. Never ran in high school, never ran in college. Always got laughed at most of the time being sports as a kid growing up. So I doubt I will ever achieve anything close enough to be defined as greatness, but I guess to be the best that I can be is enough for me!

    Great post. Thanks!

  5. why i run changes from day to posting a blog entry on why i run...well that would just be silly :o)

    Junie B

  6. Very well said. I'd like to add: some have achieved greatness and are too self-critical to recognize it. Let us all own our greatness.

  7. Nice new header image! And if it's not new, I apologize for being unobservant.

  8. I hope you acheive whatever greatness you set your sights on. If inspiring others equals greatness, then you are already there. BTW, I love your new picture at the top, AND I saw Mr. Gilbert again last weekend. Although he didn't remember me, he very smiley and friendly as we had lunch together on a picnic bench on the mountain in Vail. He was lovely. :)

  9. I love to read bloggers "how I became a runner" posts, you should do yours. I actually never wrote mine on my blog, but my story is over on Runner Dude somewhere.

    I can relate to your "large frame", I'm 5 '10 with size 11 feet, and I always feel like I'm rambling along as I run!

  10. Nicely said. I feel the same way, and I am definitely one of the "achieve greatness" people as I also strive for the 3:20 BG time.

  11. Well said. I am definitely in the achieve greatness category too.

  12. This is a really great post. I am definitely on the 'achieve greatness' team as well. After a few setbacks, I hope to be on track towards greatness this year!

    Thanks for the comment on my new header photo! You're the only one who noticed! haha! I have a few others from that run if you're interested in them. I think the reservoir at sunrise (or sunset) is absolutely beautiful!

    Oh, and it's great to hear your story - and why you run.

  13. I love the words "my success or failure is in my own hands". That's the beauty of running. No matter why you do it, you own it and you get to define what success is for you.
    Great post. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Great post-

    "my success or failure is in my own hands."

    That's the most rewarding part of running for me; nobody can ever run a single mile for you...every success or failure, however you define them, belongs only to you.


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