I've been giving a small bit of thought lately to what I'm running for this Saturday, and all the usual answers just aren't appeasing my self inquiry.
To prove to myself that I can do it.
Well, already have, twice.
To prove to myself that I can do it after birthing a child.
Meh, not really an issue. If I can run around a restaurant for 14 hours, I can run 4 (hopefully less, which brings me to the next possible answer...)
To prove to myself that I can run it in 3:40 or faster after birthing a child.
I'm not sure just how much that whole childbirth thing plays into Saturday's race, considering she's now 15 months old and everything's been healed up for quite some time. I'm pretty far beyond the point where I can boast about my running abilities "just" after having a baby. Three hours and forty minutes (the cut-off for my age group for the Boston Marathon) is more about training and stamina. I think I have the stamina, even if I haven't trained as intensly as in the past.
So I know I can run it, and I think I can run it well. What is it then that drives me to do another? I mean, I don't exactly like running 26.2 miles. The fun disappears somewhere between mile 13 and mile 20, and the last 6.2, well... we all know how awesome THAT is.
My best guess is that I want to enjoy the entire thing. I want to feel like the distance and effort come naturally, and that maybe, some day, I might be able to do something even more crazy, like an Ironman, or even a 50-miler. Because as fantastic an achievement as running a marathon may be, let's face it: Oprah's not signing up for any ultras, so that level of BAMF-ness can remain firmly intact.
In the end, I don't think I'll know the answer to why I needed to run another marathon until I cross the finish line. Because then I'll be able to pinpoint the exact thing that pushed me through the race and made me keep going, and use that as my strength and focus as I move forward to see where else this crazy running thing might take me.