Then I shifted gears from roads to trails..........
The goals (at least for me) when running on trails are a bit less easy to quantify. When I was running a marathon, I knew down to the second what I would consider a successful race, but on trails, it's quite different. I still want to perform well, and place well, but more than that I want to enjoy the experience. I want to be happy during the race. I want to chat with cool people. I want stop and look at amazing scenery. I want to enjoy a beautiful sunrise.
Over the last couple of years, my training has changed a bit as my attitude toward running has changed. Now that I'm more about enjoying the experience than nailing the workout, if in the middle of a run, my dog wants to go for a quick swim, we'll stop so she can jump in the lake. Maybe I'll jump in too. If the sunrise is particulalry beautiful, I'll stop and get a photo of it. 3 years ago that never would have happened.
I know that my speed has dropped a bit, and I may have swung a bit too far in the other direction, but I'm running happier now than I was before. Right now I'm in a down season, so I'm taking it a bit easy. I'm still getting out 5 or 6 times per week, but it's nice and easy, and just kind of maintaining a base level of fitness before starting to ramp up again around Christmas. I think that I'll try to get back some of the intensity that I had in previous years of marathon trainining as I'd love to do well in my 2016 races, but I don't want to lose sight of focussing on enjoying the experience, and not just the results.