As of 4:00 Friday, I headed off to D.C. for the weekend for a much-needed getaway and a race. Sunday is the Cherry Blossom 10-miler – that event I’ve spoken so much about lately – and while my original plan was to go into it with a jet pack, I’ve instead decided to focus on a few other goals. Ones that, after a running epiphany just a few days ago, I consider to be much more practical.
But first, photos from Friday’s 3-mile morning run along the East River, which I used as somewhat of a safety net, knowing that if I ran north, I’d probably just screw my “take it easy” mindset and run around Central Park. It’s pretty much like putting oven mitts on a kid with the Chickenpox (though apparently that doesn’t exist anymore, which is a shame – best 2 weeks off from kindergarten ever).
Without further ado, a mini slide show from a beautiful morning run. If this doesn’t inspire you, I don’t know what will.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get down to business. Goals. We all have them, whether at work, in our personal lives, or for us crazies, in our running. My objectives for the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler are quite different than those I’ve had before, however. Usually, I aim for achievement. Period. On Sunday, I’m aiming for bliss.
1. Run with heart. That’s why I got into running 6 years ago in the first place, isn’t it? Forget time, speed and distance. I’m running this one simply for my love of it, and nothing else. That, and for an excuse to wear an awesome purple glittery headband and go to an after party.
2. Take it all in. Running in new places scares me. If I can simply remember to take it all in – the entire experience, from the surroundings to the people I’m with – I may be able to turn the focus away from the fact that I’m in D.C. and not Central Park. Unfortunately, there probably won’t be any cherry blossoms left to take in, but at least I’ll have the monuments. Those should do the trick.
3. Forget gain. Just no pain. I haven’t exactly been running without injury. And while I’ve recently been able to manage my piriformis syndrome really well, I’ve also acquired a host of other standard runner’s concerns. Like my pointer toe, which I believe has some form of tendinitis. For about a month now, my toes have been taped together. Let’s not exacerbate the issue. Concentrate on form; run without pain.
4. Relaxed shoulders. Speaking of form, have I told you that mine is terrible? Because I’ve always run for the sake of getting outdoors and not for competition, I never really learned the proper way to run – if that even exists. At any rate, I tend to run – and do everything else – with my shoulders tensed up. It’s part of that whole constantly anxious thing. When I went skiing this winter though, a friend of mine gave me a tip that I’ve really transferred into my running, and that’s that, every 10 minutes or so, I should remind myself to drop my shoulders. A couple of shrugs, and I’m good to go.
5. 1:40:00. I may be running for my heart, health and sanity, but at the end of the day, I didn’t exactly sign up for a walk. I think that 10-minute miles are very generous, considering I completed my first half marathon back in August in exactly that (2 hours and 11 minutes, but I stopped to pee, so I’m capable of 2:10 I suppose). In truth, I think I can accomplish this task without jeopardizing goals 1, 2, 3, and 4. And so, while I’ve turned this into a fun run – one that’s overall aim is to create a sense of happiness and accomplishment rather than frustration, for me – I’d say that a 1:40:00 cap is more than fair. With that, I’ll have at least earned my post-race wine and beer.
What type of goals do you typically set for yourself before a race? Are they always time oriented? Am I just being a pansy by not trying to come in first place?