Tomorrow I go to the See Jane Run half marathon expo to pick up my packet. The race is on Sunday. I’m excited. This’ll be my third shot at trying to beat my best time. I don’t know about you, but I usually go into races with two goals. The first goal is about how I ultimately want the race to go, the second is plan B—in case I can tell at some point that the first goal is obviously not going to happen.

My number one goal isn’t always about time. Sometimes the goal is practically unrelated to running, like last year when I ran the Run with the Wild Horses race in Wyoming, my goal was really a hope: I wanted to see wild horses on the route and get a picture of them. Alternately, I wanted to listen to as much of the audio book of Hunger Games as I could cram in (I got to do both). Sometimes my goal is all about my attitude, or a life-lesson I’m grappling with, something I want to learn about myself from a race.

This year, I’ve devoted my running to improving form, efficiency and, therefore, time. I’ve been working hard to speed up the turn over between each footfall and on relaxing my shoulders and feeling a new, unfamiliar pace and cadence. A couple of months ago I couldn’t sustain my 10K goal pace (9:30/mile) for more than one mile before I needed to rest. With some good coaching and a commitment to being regular with my training, I’ve met my 10K goal and put in many more consecutive miles at that pace. Have you ever wondered if you could do something and discovered that you could? It’s quite powerful!

So this weekend my first goal is to maintain a 10-minute¬† average for the whole race. This would mean a finish of 2:11. Falling short of that, I’d be happy with my number two goal: To beat 2:15. Of course, there’s always the chance that something goes awry and I roll in later than I hope. I’m happy anytime I give my whole heart to a race and let it really teach me something. That’s sure to happen no matter what the pace.

What happens for you when you set a goal for a race and can see half way through that it won’t be met? How do you manage your attitude in the middle of a long, hard race? Would love to hear about your process.

Check back in on Monday. I’ll be posting a race report. Cheers.

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