How to reply to that nagging "how fast are you?" question

Mickey threw his best at me on that early, early, Sunday morning but I did my best.  And you know what? I accomplished what I set out to do - Finish. 

Seems like the most popular question after somebody finds out you are participating in a Marathon is: How long will it take you?  Although that might be right up there with "Why??"  Both I think are slightly rude (although I don't think most of the inquisitive folk realize it could be perceived as such).  Hence my vague reply of "I just want to finish."  Which was 90% true.  I'd be lying if I said I didn't have SOME idea of a desirable time for ME.

See, there are people who run MUCH faster than I, and people who are much slower too.  And that's okay - I wasn't racing to win, I was running to finish.  To say Yes, I've completed a marathon.  To prove to myself that I could do it.  Did I do as well as I had hoped? No, but I finished.  Does this give me room to improve? Absolutely.  Does this mean I'll probably run another one? Probably... (although those who asked that question on Sunday got a very resounding - NO).

And you know what? It was my race.  So what if I didn't finish in under 4 hours, I finished.

Maybe the question people should ask runners (or walkers) is - "What is your goal?"  You might find that answer vastly different than "What will your time be?"