Paul Ammann (see UltraMan (8 May 2002)) sent me some words of wisdom six months ago, in response to my enthusiastic and naïve note sketching out overly-ambitious plans for getting into shape to run a fast marathon. Paul counseled moderation, both in the immediate specifics of physical training and more generally in long term goal-setting. He advised:
Look at it this way --- you aren't out to run one marathon. You are out to run so many that you lose track of them.
Joe Henderson (see PleasantSurprises (8 Aug 2002)) struck a similar chord in his collection of essays Run Gently, Run Long (1974), when he suggested:
If you're running to last, it may be best not to set high goals for yourself. Goals are stopping places when they relate to racing performance. People stop when they fall short of them, and often when they reach them. The only goal should be to keep going. To keep going, you have to keep healthy, happy, and hungry. You have to get your kicks from the means, not some imagined end.
It's the journey, not the arrival, that matters. The same applies to just about every worthwhile pursuit in life (though maybe one shouldn't try to get married and divorced too many times to count, eh?!) ...