“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.”
Goals are meant to be accomplished. But when they are met ahead of schedule it can feel amazing and at the same time give you a feel of “Now what?”
Let me back up a bit. After my first marathon last year, I felt pumped to start a new running goal for 2018. That goal was to finally get a half marathon under 2 hours and my target race was the Providence Half Marathon in May. I will have just turned 39 (yikes!) and would be getting this ultimate PR in the city where I went to college and also met my current significant other. I was following a 12-week training program that started in February and noticing some significant improvements in my speed. I had some half marathons planned in the meantime, as a gauge to see where I was. The first was Hyannis which I wrote a post about. I got close but no cigar. Then for St Patrick’s day, some friends and I had planned a run-cation to Virginia Beach to run the Shamrock Half-Marathon (some of these friends actually ran the marathon). Weather was favorable, wind was at my back and the course was flat. In turn, I totally crushed my goal with an official time of 1:55:27. And I was only on week 6.
This was a huge win for me, and not just because I accomplished a running goal. I’ve been kind of down lately about myself ever since I lost my job last month. It’s easy to let these things affect you mentally, especially since I’m prone to depression. This victory told me something about myself – how I am able to set goals and actually make them happen. It told me that I am the type of person who is constantly improving. If you were to tell me just a few months ago that I would be able to run a half marathon in the same pace as my original 5K pace, I would have probably not believed you. Yet I just made that happen. I feel bad for any company who decides to let someone like me go, someone who has the drive to make things happen and work hard until I accomplish my goal. I will find another company, but they are going to have a really hard time finding another me.
I had a feeling I could get the time I wanted for this race, but I was still a little unsure of myself. I’m not used to flat courses since New England race courses are usually quite hilly. I thought I might need those downhills to make up the speed I needed to get the right pace. But I knew it was in my sights when the weekend before I ran the Black Cat 10-miler race in Salem, MA and took 9 minutes off my original 10-mile PR with a time of 1:28:47. This was an 8:49 pace on a pretty hilly course with strong head winds. Even I couldn’t believe it when I finished.
This carried me in when I arrived in Virginia. My SO and I were there a few days early since we were also visiting his sister. We got some runs in on the boardwalk and enjoyed some much needed vacation time. Friends kept telling me that they knew this was going to be the race where I sub-2. The pressure took over. Race nerves grabbed me while I waited in my corral for the start. I quickly located the 2:00 pacers -these guys were going to help me reach this goal. I was going to stay with them until the last mile and then jump ahead so I could at least get the 1:59:59 I needed. Instead, I ended up getting a little ahead of them around mile 4 and then I never looked back. I just focused on my run and checked in with my pace every so often. At mile 11, I knew I was on target. I just needed to keep it going and not screw up. Then my phone rang, and it was my landlord. Crap! I forgot to put the Do Not Disturb setting on! I didn’t answer obviously, but it definitely was a distraction, especially in my head thinking, “What could she want? Is there something wrong with the apartment? Does she need to get in?” Bah!
I was able to put this out of my mind with the thought that I was almost done. I turned onto the boardwalk for the final stretch and I couldn’t quite tell what I had done because the race clock was pretty far ahead because I had started in Corral 5. I glimpsed at my watch as I crossed the finish line and saw my approximate time of 1:55:XX. I immediately burst into tears. I did it, I couldn’t believe it. And I did it faster than I ever thought was possible.
The rest of the day was an alcohol-induced blur. It was St Patrick’s day weekend after all! The after party was great, with live music and plenty of beer on the beach. There was dancing and congratulating all around. My SO also crushed his goal, with a huge PR that he was ecstatic about. I was so happy to have him and my friends there to celebrate my victory, in running and also about how I felt about myself.
When I came back home, I knew that reality was going to hit me soon. I still don’t have a job. I need to figure out how to pay my bills with my reduced income. Providence is still over a month away. I need to get focused on my life goals so I can become a whole person again. But also, I need a new running goal for Providence. What should I be striving for?
Readers – what are some of your running goals?