What Is Your Goal

“What’s your goal?” Blaise asked me this question three times on Sunday morning. What’s your goal? In the past I would have given him my A, B and C goal. The A goal bring a true reach. The B being something I was pretty sure I could achieve and the C being something I would be disappointed with but happier than not finishing at all. But Sunday I found myself unprepared to say my goal out loud. Having lost a lot of fitness in the past few years I found it hard to come up with a time goal. Instead I told him as I walked out the door that I had no goal other than getting through those miles.

But, like it or not, I am a goal setter. It is part of why I race. Just having the goal of a race on the calendar keeps me honest about my health and fitness. Because the Cherry Pit 10 Miler is a thirty minute drive from my house I had time to give Blaise’s question some thought. What was my goal? What did I want to get from the race? The easiest goal to set was time. Based on my pace from runs in the past two months I set two goals. My A goal was to finish in 1:40. My B goal was 1:45 and my C goal was to make it across that finish line.

After setting those goals I went deeper. What did I really want from this race? Sometimes I am looking to reconnect with runner friends. Sometimes it is to help someone overcome a tough race and leave my goals out of it all together. But yesterday I knew I wanted more.

This year has been about two things, building a base and getting faster. I decided on both of these ideas as I was editing Chris Russell’s book http://www.amazon.com/MarathonBQ-qualify-Boston-Marathon-family-ebook/dp/B00TM8R23E. The first because I realized I am constantly jumping into big events unprepared. And the second because I do believe that to race fast you have to run fast. With that in mind, I came up with a goal. Run strong and finish stronger.

This was a hilly course offering a challenge I have not faced in recent runs but I really believed I could do both. I could run strong and I could finish stronger.

I love goal setting because, although my race time was no where near my PR I finished smack in the middle of my A and B goal. But better yet, I never let myself sink in this race. I ran strong throughout and in the last mile I pushed myself harder than I have in a long time. And as though she could read my mind my friend Jane shouted at me just as I was coming across the line, “Wow, Ann, you are looking strong.”

I have had better races. I have run faster and pushed harder but I have seldom felt as strong as I did in that last mile. I have seldom felt as accomplished as I did when I realized I met those goals.

What is your goal? In running, yes, but in life? What do you want out of today? What is your goal? How do you set them? And how do you feel when you accomplish them?