Reading the recap from my first half marathon gives me a little bit of the chills. When I first started running back in April 2009, I could barely run for 90 seconds. The thought of even running a full mile straight seemed so far fetched that I didn’t know if I’d ever be able to do it. I ended up running from April through September of 2009 (5 months) before I had enough courage to run my very first race – a 5k. I ran it with a bunch of coworkers and friends, and even though the race was super unofficial (no bibs, no official time, no swag bags, etc) – the feeling of crossing that finish line was addictive, and so began my love affair with road races.
(Side note: In case you haven’t read it, check out this How I Started Running post. It’s one of my favorites and I think sometimes people come across my blog and just assume I’ve always been a runner, when in fact I’ve NEVER been a runner until less than 2 years ago!)
It’s funny because many times if I mention a race I’ve run or will be running to someone who’s not that interested in running, I get asked if I’ve ever won a race, or if I think I’ll ever win one. I can’t help but laugh. It’s hard for people who aren’t runners to imagine doing something that you’ll never win, but the thing about running road races is (unless you’re a superstar elite runner), you’re running against yourself.
You’re running to set a personal distance record.
You’re running to set a personal time record.
You’re running for fun with your friends.
You’re running to show you’ve still “got it.”
You’re running to push yourself towards new challenges.
There are so many reasons to run races – but for someone like me, winning isn’t one of them.
I run to challenge myself, to keep my fitness level up, and because I genuinely enjoy it. Running races feeds my competitive spirit and gives me something to look forward to. With the strict training that comes with any long distance run, it also helps take the guess work out of my exercise routine.Living most of my life as an obese person, where running was never something I was able to even dream of being able to do, leads into the main reason I run – I run because I can.
With that said, for my first half marathon back in September 2010, my only goal was to finish. I had set some time goals in my head before the race, but when I ended up getting a cold the weekend of the race, I quickly readjusted to make my only goal to cross the finish line feeling good. I tried to go relatively slow throughout the race, soak in the bands and cheerleaders, and focus on not losing steam, and I did just that. I finished feeling strong and thrilled with myself for having set both a personal distance record AND personal time record (since that comes automatically for a new race distance).
For this second half marathon, my goal is not just to finish, but to set a PR. I know that I’ve put in the training to run the distance and that I’ve put in the speed training to run it faster than I did the first time, so I have a few specific time goals in mind.
- Main Goal – Beat my first half marathon time of 2:16:18
- Secondary Goal – Finish in under 2:10
- Reach Goal – Finish in under 2:06 (cutting 10 minutes off my time)
I think it’s also important to set some non time related goals, so that if all else fails I can still be proud of myself for having covered 13.1 miles. My non-time related goals are:
- Fuel Properly – I plan to eat a GU/Sports Beans at mile 3, 6, 9, and possibly 11/12 so I don’t lose steam.
- Thank/smile at the spectators – The support that comes from the crowd lining the streets cheering for the runners is priceless. There are many times during races where I start to doubt myself or feel myself fading, and I look up and see a funny sign or someone screaming for me that I don’t even know, and it gives me the little pick-me-up that I need. I want to make sure I thank as many spectators as I can for coming out to support myself and the other runners.
- Maintain a positive attitude – I want a smile on my face when I cross that finish line. I’ll accept nothing less!
Just typing all this out makes me realize how soon the half marathon is! This morning marked my very last training run for the race, so no runs left before the 13.1 on Saturday. Crazy!!
Do you have any races coming up and what are you goals for them? If you don’t, have you ever considered running a road race? Why or why not?
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