I even confided in Marcia my super secret goal. I swore her to secrecy. I'm going to share it here because it's unlikely to happen: I had hoped to BQ at this year's marathon. I turn 55 this year, and my BQ time is now 4:10. My marathon PR from 2014 was 4:17. A 4:10 was totally within reach for me, if all the stars aligned and everything fell into place. As Marcia told me, I could do it if I learned to "find my gears" and hold back on my pace at the start of the race.
In the blink of an eye, all that has changed. I've done a lot of soul-searching over the past 3 weeks. I'm still planning on running those races, but no longer am I reaching for the stars.
Instead of crushing my previous PRs, now I'm looking at simply crossing the finish line as the goal. Funny, isn't that my mantra from 2016? That's what happened at all my races last year. It's almost as if within my subconscious I knew what was going on. Obviously, at the time, I didn't have a clue that I had RA, but I knew something wasn't right. I still had my speed for shorter distances, but I couldn't finish anything more than 10 miles without stopping to catch my breath. My endurance had completely evaporated. I thought maybe it was due to the inevitable slowdown of aging, but I held on to hope that with proper training, I could pull off another Chicago 2014.
Now I've learned what's behind my decline. Over the past 3 weeks, I've done a lot of soul-searching. What is it that I want out of running? I can't imagine not running--it's something I've done almost my whole adult life. I see myself as a runner. My friends and acquaintances see me as a runner. I don't think running is something I could give up easily. I need to make peace with the possibility of accepting myself as a slower runner.
A jogger? Let's not go there...
Intentions are meant to guide action. While I am a very goal-oriented runner, goals are finite, while intentions have no limits. Intentions are flexible. Setting intentions instead of goals will help me to stay positive and focused while allowing for imperfections in my training and racing.
I have 3 intentions for this year and they all start with the letter F:
Finishing is winning. The 2 races I have planned for 2017 are the Door County (Wisconsin) Half Marathon and Grandma's Marathon.
The Door County Half Marathon was my first half marathon. How ironic is that? This time around, I thought it would fit nicely into my Grandma's training plan. It's a super hilly race in a beautiful state park. Why wouldn't I want to do it again?
In contrast, Grandma's Marathon is run along the shores of Lake Superior in northern Minnesota. Even though the area around Duluth is really hilly, the race course is relatively flat. I chose Grandma's because my in-laws were from Superior, Wisconsin, which is right across the bay from Duluth. I like having a connection like that. Weird, I know. I also chose this race because it's in June, and training could be done in a relatively temperate (at least for Chicago) time of year.
I'm still planning on doing at least one more and maybe 2 half marathons this year, depending on my health.
|Schaumburg Half Marathon 2015|
It has to be fun. No matter what the outcome of my runs and my races, as long as I finish, as long as it's fun, as long as there is beer at the finish line, then I will be happy. I've learned that lesson already with my past couple of marathons and halfs. Was I disappointed that I didn't hit my finish time goals? You betcha. But I got over it pretty quickly.
So what made these races so fun?
I did them with friends. And there was beer at the finish lines.
I'm still working on recruiting folks to do Door County with me, but Grandma's is setting up to be a party. Gina (Run Gina Run) and Kim (Running on the Fly) will be there. Rachel (Running on Happy) is thinking about it. My youngest son and his girlfriend are also coming with me and we've got some fun things planned for after the race.
The #holottafun crew is still in talks about a fall half.
When all else fails, say f*ck that and move on. Sorry if you are offended by the salty language but sometimes no other word will do. Do you remember that meditation I shared back in May? Well, I'm coming back to it. I've probably uttered this mantra more in the last 3 weeks than I have in my whole life. It's kind of freeing, actually.
I found the full guided meditation on YouTube (NSFW):
This is just the kind of meditation I should be doing. Laughter is the best medicine, and we should never take ourselves too seriously. I have no issues with releasing this mantra! Pretty sure Deepak and Oprah haven't used this one.
Are you setting running goals for 2017? Share! Want to run the Door County half marathon with me? Do you have any mantras that you find helpful?
I'm linking up with DebRuns for Wednesday Word, which is involvement. I plan on staying involved in running! I'm also linking this post with Susie, Rachel, Debbie, and Lora for Coaches Corner and with Marcia, Erika, and Patti for Tuesdays on the Run.