“I’m going to work so that it’s a pure guts race at the end, and if it is, I am the only one who can win it.” Steve Prefontaine
This summer, while at Derby House, I was asked who my favorite athlete was. I chose Pre. A few weeks later, a parent questioned my choice, asking my why I would choose Pre over other more talented athletes. Although I’ll admit to be taken aback by someone arguing with my choice, it allowed me to reflect on why Pre grips me so. After all, Steve Prefontaine was dead ten years before I was born. I’m not a track runner. And he wasn’t particularly talented against today’s standards.
So why Pre? Because Pre was a gutsy, unapologetic runner who put everything he had into every race and I am not that kind of runner.
I surprised someone who knows me well the other day on a run when I admitted that I’m not mentally tough. He remarked, “Of course you are, you’re one of the toughest people I know!” Toughest person, yes, toughest runner, not even close. I am my own worst enemy in races. I second guess my training, I downplay my speed and a lot of the time, I avoid pain. I chose the marathon because it hurts less acutely than the 5000, when I know that the 5000 suits me better. I’ll run all day, but put a hurting on via a speed workout? Forget it.
If my Trials time is going to become a reality, I have to be a little more Pre and a little less Waterman. I have to be willing to hurt some, to push some.