It just occurred to me that I am doing something scary.
I’m not really a risk taker by nature, but by putting myself out here on my blog and publicly declaring my goal…I am risking failure. As a normal human being, I don’t like the feeling of defeat or disappointment. As a runner, it’s another great reason to tackle endurance events. As the race gets longer, “success” usually means being able to finish on your own two legs. Unfortunately, picking a specific time goal brings the pressure up a couple of notches.
My ultimate goal is to make the women’s marathon Olympic qualifying time of 2:43 or better before the trials in Feb. 2016. That’s a pretty specific goal, I will either make it or I won’t. Fortunately, I have a lot of time so I don’t feel that pressured, yet…
As part of my journey to achieving that goal, I will be running the Portland Marathon in 26 days. Gulp. My nerves, excitement and anticipation of the race are building. I have a specific goal for this race, as well as several back-up goals just in case.*
My Goals for the Portland Marathon:
- Run a 6:20-6:25 pace per mile. This equals a marathon time of 2:46:03- 2:48:14. Run negative or even splits.
- Run a 6:30 pace per mile or a marathon time of 2:50:25. Run negative or even splits.
- Finish with a faster time than my Newport Marathon 2:58:35. Run negative or even splits.
Goal #1 is my main goal. This is what I would love to do if I show up on the start line feeling healthy, strong and refreshed. My remaining workouts will need to be strong. My taper will need to go well, and my hydration and nutrition will need to be on-point. In addition, my mental state must be calm and focused. The weather needs to cooperate and the race start must not be too crowded!
If things don’t feel perfect, or don’t start off on the right foot, then Goal #2 is my next focus. A little slower, it allows me to relax a little more. Finally, Goal #3 is to just finish faster than I did my last marathon. If I meet this goal, I will still set a new PR and walk away from the race happy. As a complete last resort, I just need to finish. I believe that every marathoner, no matter how accomplished has this goal in the back of his or her mind.
I don’t remember the last time I had such black and white goals as these. On Portland Marathon morning, I will either succeed or fail…and then I will tell you about it. That’s a scary thought. But I believe that my journey to the Olympic trials will ultimately be a success story. I can’t foresee the future, and I know there will be bumps along the way (the Portland marathon might be a bump, who knows?) but I trust in my training and the hard work I have been putting in. As long as I keep focused and making the right choices, I will get the results I desire.
*As a rule, you should always have fall-back plans because nothing will sabotage your whole race like knowing you are already behind in the first several miles. By having back-up goals you will still strive to run a good race, instead of feeling like everything was ruined from the start and running demoralized the rest of the way!