Along the right side of this blog’s homepage is a list of my long-term running goals. They used to read as follows:
5K – 20:00 (PR – N/A)
10K – 43:00 (PR – 46:58)
1/2 Marathon – 1:35 (PR -1:40:47)
Full Marathon – 3:20 (PR – 3:54:04)
Within days of starting this blog I quickly knocked down the 1/2 marathon goal with a run of 1:33:14. It was somewhat of a breakthrough race for me. I had managed to take over 7 minutes of my previous best and it was the first time I had made it to the first page of a race’s results. Even with that race however, I figured that 43 was still a pretty good goal for a 10K. Last week I shattered that expectation with a run of 39:29 and in the process beat my long-term goal for the 5k with splits of 19:55 and 19:34.
So I need to redefine my long-term goals for the 5K and 10K. Fine. 19:00 and 38:00. Done. I think 19:00 is achievable, not sure about the 38:00, but what the heck, they’re long term goals, right?
But what about the half and full marathons? That’s a little trickier. When I ran the 1:33 half, I changed my long term goal to 1:30. It’s a leap, but not one that is too dramatic. It would still require me to take over 15 seconds off of my per mile pace. The full? Well, I crashed and burned in my first and only marathon, freezing up at mile 20 but still managing to finish. 3:20 still feels like a fantasy. When I got home from the Super Sunday 10k, I used to my time to find out what my vdot (performance based VO2 Max) was and how that translated into a 1/2 and a full.
1:27 and 3:02.
Are you frakkin’ nuts?
Yet there it was. Staring at me. Daring me. Taunting me.
1:27 and 3:02.
So, what do I do?
What. To. Do?
My goal all along has been to qualify for Boston. That remains in place and quite honestly, until I do that, I don’t think an even faster marathon has any place on my long term goals. If I finally qualify this year, then maybe I shoot for 3:00 marathon someday.
I will, however, put the 1:27 in for the half. It is somewhat out of reach I think, but I’m going to put it out there. Who knows? Maybe I’ve run as fast as I ever will, but I think it’s worth a shot.
By setting our goals slightly out of reach, we are forced to stretch ourselves beyond our comfort zone, beyond what we know we can do. It is in that uncomfortable area that we discover more about ourselves and quite possibly arrive at a moment of redefinition.
*I’d be curious how you go about setting your running goals.