New Goals, Old Fears

If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, you already know that I run most of my marathons pretty slowly. I take pictures. I jump across the finish line. I drink ALL THE BEER. There are two reasons for that:

  1. It’s fun. Like really, really fun.
  2. I can’t fail at it.

The first one is a valid reason. The second one is not. In case you haven’t noticed, I rarely set running-related goals that have anything to do with time.  Sometimes I do, but it’s not very often, and it’s never anything overly ambitious. I never set out to PR because I’m afraid I’ll be too upset if I don’t. If I happen to randomly PR, that’s awesome, but that’s never been my goal. And honestly? That’s a pretty weird way for a runner to live. Most runners that I know have at least some goals, and they train hard to work towards achieving them.

I do not.

I am afraid.

I’m afraid of how it feels to have my heart pounding out of my chest (to be fair, I do have a heart condition, so that’s kind of legit).

I’m afraid of how it feels to not be able to catch my breath.

I’m afraid of training for months for something and failing to achieve it.

I’m afraid to find out I’m not the runner I want to be.

tumblr_mkbsd7omc21ql5yr7o1_250-52 I’m not crying. I’m SO NOT, you guys.

See, in my mind, if I never train really hard, then I’ll never know what my true potential is, right? And that means that I’ll never know for sure whether I could do something like run a sub-4 marathon or qualify for Boston. Now, I can delude myself into thinking that those things are possible, if only I trained hard enough. Some people would look at this situation and ask me how I could stand not knowing. Well, not knowing means there’s hope. Knowing means there might not be.

I’m afraid of failure, but it’s not something I’m confronted with very often. I don’t think it’s that I’m excessively great at anything, so much as I very carefully avoid things that I am not good at.

tumblr_mi9gf3rs2o1rl9lxlo1_500-51 It’s important to know your boundaries.

Running is definitely not something I am naturally talented at, and I have a love/hate relationship with it as a result. It’s always there, whispering to me. Needling me. Telling me to try harder and see how fast I can go. Telling me I’ll fail when I do. But you know what? It’s not running that says those things. It’s me. It’s Ed. Running is a great equalizer. It’s one of few things in life where  you mostly get out of it exactly what you put in. Yes, some people are naturally gifted and some are not, but when you train hard, it shows.

Shortly before I had my surgery and in the weeks since then, I have noticed that my pace per mile is getting just a little bit faster. I’ve been running a lot with people who are faster than me, and although I spend most of those runs unable to breathe, it has made a difference, and it got me thinking – could I be fast? Not actually fast, like people who win races, but respectably fast? Sub-4 fast? Boston fast? (Unrelated: as I read this paragraph back to myself, the word “fast” is starting to look really funny. Carry on.)

So, I’m going to be working with a coach, who I’ll be introducing here soon. In the mean time, I’m going to state my goals for public consumption. If I don’t achieve them, you all will know, but you know what? I’m pretty sure you’ll get over it and so will I, after I drink enough beer and shake my hair out.

tumblr_mg4hktc5cp1ql5yr7o1_400-52 And when all else fails, go back to what you know.

T-Rex Runner’s Running Goalz

  1. Improve fun/marathon party pace so that I regularly finish under 5 hours, even while taking lots of pictures and having a good time. Yes, I know that’s not that challenging, but stick with me.
  2. Run a half marathon in under 2 hours. My current PR is 2:02, and although that seems like eons ago, I think I can break 2 hours this year. No, I will break 2 hours this year, even if it means I have to actually run a half marathon.
  3. Run a marathon in under 4 hours.  I’m going to be honest – right now, this seems like a joke. It is literally laughable. That being said, my coach believes I can do it, and despite my nearly frantic need to change this goal from “under 4 hours” to “under 4:15” and then to “general PR,” I wrote “under 4 hours” in this post, so here we are. I’m going to try and run a marathon in under 4 hours.

So there you have it. I’m going to work hard to achieve the goals I have set for myself. At some point, I will probably breathe harder than I prefer. I may sweat more than I am comfortable with. I will definitely curse at my friend Chuck on our runs more than usual (sorry I’m not sorry, in advance). There will be probably be more than one post about how much I hate training, but hopefully there will be some triumphant posts too. Either way, at some point I will definitely do something embarrassing for your ongoing entertainment.

Speaking of people who are training really hard and whining about it way less than me, check out Bluegrass Achilles’ amazing raffle! They’ve got some really cool prizes, including medal hangars, and you don’t have to be present to win! All proceeds go directly to supporting disabled athletes.

Leave a comment: What are your current running goals? Do  you hesitate to set goals for yourself for fear of failure?