Marathons + Times.
As I've grown both as a person and runner over the years, I began weighing the overall experience of a race more of a barometer of "success" than something as arbitrary as the time it takes to cross from one time mat to another placed 26.2 miles away. The last marathon that I raced with the intention of running it hard and fast was CIM in Sacramento back in December of 2008. There I fell about 5-10 minutes shy of my time goal and felt dejected immediately after. In retrospect, it was a bit silly.
And yet, I find myself in a similar situation where I'll be gauging success on whether or not I am able to go from "Stadium to the Sea" in a certain time - this time running the LA Marathon (my 5th straight year) to qualify for 1st corral placement at the fast-approaching Comrades Marathon. I'd like to think I have a little more perspective now and whether or not I meet that time goal won't drastically affect my day one way or the other. In the grand scheme of things, it's just another stepping stone to the 56-mile monster that awaits in South Africa on May 29th.
In the meantime, bring on the rain, the gusts, the spectators and 25,000+ of my closest running friends!