Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Setting the audacious goal

 So, when I was in Colorado for the Latinas Run Summit, I had my interview with Ultimate Direction and one of the questions was about my running goals.  I do have a ready answer for that: 50k.  My goal is to complete a 50k trail race.  But as I began to answer the question, I was struck with something that up to that point I hadn't realized: I'm comfortable with my current running routine: 3-4x per week at least 30 minutes, pace need not apply.  I have been struggling with really kicking my ass into gear because I have gotten into a comfortable routine with my running.

There is nothing wrong with being comfortable.  We all strive for comfort.  Comfort food, comfortable clothing, comfy place to sit; we are wired to seek comfort.  So why is comfort bad in this situation?  Well, I have a goal and I can't get there if all I do is what is comfortable.

If you read runners' stories, like world-class athletes, they usually mention getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.  I forgot exactly who said it but it was a female marathoner who had gotten her time to Olympic qualifying and she mentioned running so hard she would throw up.  She would run so hard until she threw up and then do it again until she stopped throwing up.  She got stronger but first, she got uncomfortable.  

So what does any of that have to do with me?  Well, I am a goal setter.  I work towards things.  After I finished my doctorate and got my dad through cancer treatment, I ran a marathon.  It took me 8 hrs.  Since then my tentative goal has been a 50k.  I set my mind and then something derails me.  Life happens.  So it is a nebulous goal.  Something that I know I can do.  The goal is to finish not break my back doing it so I have been laissez-faire about it.  

Again so what?  Well after listening to episode #38 of The Not Your Average Runner podcast with Jill Angie and guest Corinne Crabtree, I realized I was not growing as a runner because I was comfortable.  Comfortable with mostly walking.  Comfortable with pushing the 50k into the future.  Honestly, I wasn't just comfortable, I was scared to really commit to the goal deep in my soul.  I want to get faster as a runner.  Not just like nebulous faster but I want to cut my marathon time in half.  

Full stop: what did I just think? Say? Write?  I came home from that realization and immediately told my husband.  Y'all it is an audacious goal.  Right now, I mostly walk.  On a good day, I have a 16-18 min mile.  A 4-hour marathon means sub 10 min miles for 26.1 miles.  That is overwhelming as fuck to think about.  How in the world will I, this little chubby 250+ lbs runner/mostly walker, cut my pace by almost 10 mins?

Well first, I have to get my mind right.  Yes, it is audacious but it is doable even by me.  Second, I have to get SMART.  Here is the goal: Run a 4-hour marathon by my 50th birthday.  I have 8 years which might seem like a long time but honestly, it will fly so I have to get to work.  I have to go back to running instead of enjoying my walk/runs.  Yes, I can still do intervals but I have to do the fucking intervals even if it hurts.  If I puke, I puke.  Y'all I have to get way uncomfortable.

What exactly am I doing differently today than when I decided on my real goal 2 weeks ago?  I am doing speed runs.  Maybe my mile pace doesn't look different from my recovery pace but I am pushing.  I have changed up my cross-training to work on core strength and explosive power.  I have also dropped my distance.  I am maxing out at a 10k.  I cannot get the pace down and distance at the same time.  Maybe some of y'all can but I can't.  That was one of the realizations from The Not Your Average Runner episode, you can't really multitask.  Jill Angie says it all the time, you can become a runner and you can lose weight but you can't do 1 run for both.  If my focus is getting my mile time down to sub-10 minutes then that is my short-term goal.  My weight will do what it will.  I may not be able to do an unassisted pull-up but I will be consistent with my cross-training with the explicit goal of getting faster.

Once I get my pace where I need it then I can start increasing my distance again.  I know I can cover the distance.  I have done it before.  It took me 8 hrs but I did it.  I am a marathoner.  Now to go for the big goal, the goal that scares the shit out of me.  Why does it scare me?  Because I might not be able to do it.  Why does it scare me?  Because fuck, I might be able to do it.  What if I do this then who am I?  Then will I step fully into my badassery?  Make career moves that right now I am passing on because I'm comfortable?

What happens next?  Lots of speed work, I have done two speed drills so far and a few 5ks in the last couple of weeks and you know what?  My fastest mile time so far was 12:08!  Y'all, I honestly forgot I could do that.  I didn't even puke which means I could have run harder.  I can run harder!  I have so much work ahead of me and I am excited to do it.  

Girl, set the audacious goal for your fitness, your career, your education, your health, your marriage.  You are capable of getting anything you set your mind to do!  In the meanwhile, I'll be puking on the side of the road from exhaustion, maybe excitement, who knows but I have a strong feeling puke is in my future.


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