Sunday, May 1, 2011

'"A Goal Without a Plan is Just a Wish"

This past weekend we drove up to Prescott AZ to watch my husband and and a group of his friends ride in Epic Ride's Whiskey Off-Road mountain biking event.  This is the second year that they've ridden in this 28-mile event, and they all had the same race goal:  finish faster than last year.

And they were all able to do that....except my husband.

We were waiting at the finish line, hoping to see them all cross.  Two of his friends had already come in around the 3 1/2 hour mark.  My husband was shooting for 4 hrs 15 min, about 30 mins faster than last year.  When that time came and went, I started to get nervous.  I knew how badly he wanted that time.  And then my phone rang.

He was on the trail with a woman who was part of a bad crash and had a broken collar bone.  He had me run over to the medical tent and relay messages back and forth to work out where they were on the trail.  And then he hung up.  And I knew that not only was he not going to get his 4:15, but he was going to stay with her until the medics got there and probably add a good hour or more to his time.  And that's what happened.

When he finally crossed the finish line (he said starting again after sitting for almost an hour was BRUTAL), he checked his actual "pedal time" on his Garmin:  4 hours and 15 minutes.  So he would have met his goal.

I was sad for him.  I knew how badly he wanted to beat his previous time.  But he was perfectly OK with it.  He said there wasn't any second-thoughts about staying with her, that if it was his wife (or mother....the lady was 63) on the trail, he'd want someone to stay with her until she had help.   Plus he's just that kind of guy.

So this got me to thinking about my own goals.  I'm running Rock 'n Roll San Diego in a little over a month.  This will be my fourth 1/2 marathon.  The first time the goal was easy:  finish, preferably without having to walk.  And I 2:34:54. [I know my times are kind of slow to some of you "real" runners out there, but remember: I'm the "wannabe" runner!]

Not too shabby for someone who tried running in college and couldn't go two miles without puffing on an inhaler.  So the next race, which was almost a year later, I wanted to finish in 2:15:00.  Then about 6 weeks out, I started having trouble with my hip flexor any time I ran over 6 miles.  The goal had to change to "just finish."  Somehow I managed 2:18:30...just 3-1/2 minutes shy of my goal.

After Las Vegas, the plan was to back off for a while and figure out what was up with my hip.  But dammit if I didn't want the Double Down medal for running RnR Las Vegas and RnR Arizona back to back (because it's all about the medal, right?)  So I figured I'd just do it, even if I had to walk, limp, or crawl pass the finish line (stupid, I know).  Time for race #3:  2:22:38.  I know I was injured, but I couldn't help but be disappointed that I added time.

So here I am, a month out from San Diego.  Even though my training hasn't gone exactly as planned (darn "real life" keeps getting in the way), I feel faster than I ever have and better prepared.  I think I've got my hip issues situated, and I'm just mentally in a better place.

So I'm setting my goal again:  2:15:00 or better.  I'm throwing it out there in the Universe.  And I'm going to try really hard to run a good race and be happy with my time, even if I don't meet that goal.

Now I have to make a decision....pace group or no pace group.  Thoughts?????

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