Monday, September 28, 2015

The Goals and THE Goal - IMM 2015

For many runners, the goal for the first race of a long distance is simply to finish.  The first time I ran a half marathon (Indy Mini, 2007), I just wanted to cross the line in one piece.  I did, in 2:18.  In subsequent years, my goals were related to time, most often trying to best previous efforts.  2:15, 2:11, 2:08.

It became my heart’s desire to break 2:00 in the half marathon.  After multiple setbacks (hip tendinitis, heart rate issues, a femoral fracture), I finally ran a 1:54 at the Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon in 2012.  I lowered that time to 1:53 in the Indy Mini in 2014.

Similarly, the goal of my first marathon was merely to finish, which I did by run/walking in 5:53 at the Kona Marathon in Hawaii in 2009.  Even though my next marathon did not go according to plan, I bested the Kona time with a 5:26 at IMM 2013, even after sitting in an ambulance for 45min.  Last year, I ran a terrific race at IMM and finished in 4:12.

So... what’s the goal this year?

Ninth Hour?
All of that said, when I started my IMM training on June 30, I didn’t really have a goal in mind.  After being injured late in 2014 and having health problems throughout the first half of 2015, I didn’t really know how capable my body would be.  You might remember me saying in my “What Should My Fall Race Be?” blog that I wanted to RUN (not race) a full.

However, with the exception of losing my training partner to injury, this training cycle has gone spectacularly.  I am about 70% done with training which makes my goal decision a sort of “ninth hour” announcement. (Instead of eleventh hour, see? Hilarious.) So, without further “a due” (inside joke), after careful analysis of the data from my runs and workouts, supportive friend/coach Wendy and I both agree on my 2015 IMM Goal…


I actually have three goals, all in place to accommodate unpredictable possibilities.

“A” Goal
My A Goal is to break 4:00.  The A Goal is place for perfect circumstances: great health, great weather, lots of time to rest the week of the marathon, nothing hurting, etc.  Truly, I feel this goal is achievable even if everything isn’t exactly perfect.  Marathon pace for sub-4:00 (9:09min/mi) is very comfortable for me right now.  I’ve done an 18-miler in training that averaged to marathon pace, and I felt like I could’ve done more afterward.  That run and a few others I’ll mention below give me confidence that I can break 4:00.

It’s hard for me to imagine that it used to be my deepest yearning to break 2:00 in a half.  I never would’ve imagined, even a few years ago, that breaking 4:00 in a full was a realistic goal for me.

“B” Goal
My B Goal is to PR—to break 4:12:53.  My training went very well last year, but mainly consisted of lots of long slow(ish) miles due to my injury propensity.  I had one “workout” in the 2014 training cycle: a 20-mile progression run.  This training cycle, I’ve done progression runs, a chunk run, and have more progression run/marathon pace runs planned.  All data is indicating that I will be even better prepared for IMM 2015 than I was for IMM 2014.

“C” Goal
My C Goal is to finish with a smile no matter my time.  In case everything goes south, I want the permission to slow down, enjoy myself, and live to chase time goals another day.

Really? That’s Cheesy.
Before a training run on 8/17
I know it.  But it’s true.  Because here’s the deal: those first two goals are exciting and real and scary and challenging and motivating, but the real truth is that I could finish that race in 8 hours (the cutoff, I think), and be happy because I’ve had SUCH FUN training.  The marathon itself is going to represent less than 5% of the training mileage. If it doesn’t go well, I can say I had fun trying, and I’ll try again next year.

I’ve already met THE goal.  I’ve had fun.

I know those of you who know me don’t believe a word of that paragraph up there, but I think I’ve undergone a bit of a metamorphosis with regards to time goals.  After dealing with challenges last winter/spring and also watching Wendy go through challenges this summer/fall, I truly am just glad to be a part of running, fast or slow, long or short.  I really think I could cross the line, neither meeting my A nor B goals, and say, “I’ll get ‘em next time.”

I guess that’s one of the cool things about running.  It changes you for the better.

In the meantime, I’ll catch you all at the Bedford Half Marathon on 10/10.  I’m running it as a training run: marathon-ish pace (9:00s) for the first half, and progression in the second half.  Join me if that sounds fun!