Sunday, August 24, 2014

To Set or not to Set a Running Goal

I'd like to clarify something about my last post:  But Was It Fun?  I guess I assumed that most people who read this blog know me, but you know what they say about ASSUME.  In my last blog post I talked about losing the fun factor in the Akron Half Marathon because I am pursuing a time goal.  This didn't sit well with some runners, and believe me, it doesn't sit well with me either; that's why I'm still thinking about it.

Those who know me would kindly say that I am goal-driven.  When I have a goal, and I have a goal for every aspect of my life in which I have some control, I do everything I can to hit that goal.  Once I do hit it, I release myself from it. . .until I find a new goal.  In the case of the Akron Half Marathon, my goal is to run it in 1:59:59.  This will be tough for me, and that is why I wrote the post about what it takes to achieve the goal.  I have seen plenty of running bloggers post race recaps in which they talked about "taking it easy" by walking, posting selfies, visiting the port-o-potties, and then I see their overall times, and they are always way faster than me.  Usually around 1:50.  It drives me insane to know that it doesn't come easy for me, and that is one reason why I need to prove to myself that I can do it at least once.  Once I accomplish this goal, I will absolutely be glad to let it go; there is no way I want to top a sub-2 hour half marathon.  I will be happy to enjoy every half-marathon I run for the rest of my life.

I'm still a fairly-new runner; I've only really been running for three years, and that was with time off for the broken foot.  What this means is that when I race a 5k, a 10k, or a half marathon, I have to PR it, or I'm angry with myself.  I know that I will eventually be able to let these goals go, too, but I need to push myself a little more while I can.  There will come a day when I will be able to look at my results in a race and do this:

That day is not today or even tomorrow.

Let's talk about you and your goals.  You don't need to set goals in races.  Maybe your goal is to socialize more by running with a group.  Maybe you want to increase or maintain your fitness level.  Maybe you want to increase your distance or try a new trail or justify those brightly-colored shoes that you couldn't resist.  None of these goals involve a certain time in a race, and nobody says that your goals aren't right.  When I write about my goals, I don't expect anyone else but me to focus on them (except for you, Shelby--you are going to crush this goal).  What I hope is that you are thinking about your own goals and what you intend to do to achieve them.

Today's run:  11.5 miles with the Turtles

Pre-run fuel:  Panera chocolate chip bagel with Panera cream cheese (Yay for change; change is good!), coffee with Thin Mint creamer, 16 oz. water

Fuel during run:  Chocolate Outrage GU, lots and lots of water

Right around mile 9, I started obsessing about food.  As you have read before, I have a difficult time keeping to the right kinds of post-run fuel (especially if there is any kind of pasta in the fridge).  Panera, as a sponsor of the Akron Marathon, has a training menu, and in my mind I was running through all the different foods I would like to eat from it.  This became my focus at mile 10:

Egg and Cheese on Ciabatta.  Hello, Beautiful!

Because I was completely disgusting after my run, I didn't stop at Panera on the way home, but I did make myself an egg and cheese sandwich. Not as good as what you see here, but very satisfying, and not tortellini salad, so I suppose I am improving.

It's a goal.