Saturday, September 22, 2012

Race Goals

I'm a week out from my next marathon. I never go into a big race without first preparing two things:

1. A list of excuses in case of a poor performance.
2. An amazing plan for a ridiculous dessert to refuel with after the race, regardless of performance.

The ice cream bar at the hotel after the Shamrock marathon
was inadequate, so I was forced to take matters into my own hands.

Of course, I've had those items prepared for weeks. I have no end of excuses, but my main one is that I'm training for a 50 mile race. I ran 57 miles this week (tomorrow is a rest day) so that's hardly a taper. 

For dessert, my wonderful mother is very kindly making Kari and I a salted caramel chocolate cake with Nutella buttercream frosting (underlined to emphasize how incredible it sounds). I've posted this picture before, but it's worth repeating.

They had the nerve to send this to me on my sister's
birthday, knowing I live 400 miles away.

One thing I don't always go in to a race with is a time goal. So far, I've PR'd in the marathon and ten mile distance when I didn't set a specific time to reach, and when I didn't look at my watch at all during the race. The races where I've tried to hit a certain time, I generally fail miserably and hate the whole race.

Obviously, this stems from some sort of mental issue, but I have a theory. As a elementary school teacher, I have to appear incredibly over the top, positive, bubbly, and cheerful to the point where I want to punch myself in the face on a daily basis. Therefore, I use all my positivity up Monday - Friday during school, and therefore I'm quick to fall down the rabbit hole of slow runner shame and negativity during a weekend race.

It's the same with patience. Mine is usually long gone by 10am, but I have to pull every last bit out of my ass to make it through the school day. Then I come home and completely lose it over something like Eric leaving a dish in the sink, instead of just asking him to put it in the dishwasher like a normal person. Trust me, it's a common phenomenon, I've discussed it with fellow teachers. 

So, my plan going in to the Wineglass Marathon next Sunday is just to run by feel. Of course, all runners have the same goal going into any race, whether or not we admit it: to PR. And we all have a time that we need to come in under - for Wineglass, 4 hours. But that's as specific as I'll get, to keep me from getting too crazy. 

This morning, I ran 15 miles along the harbor (average pace 9:25) with Lily, and Monica, who joined us while she was in town for a blog conference. She tweeted last night that she was looking for a Baltimore long run buddy, so once again I ended up in the car with a complete stranger at an ungodly time of the morning. At least this time, I was driving.

I love, love, love running with Lily, but after countless miles together on training runs, not to mention 14 + hours at our 50 miler last year, we've told each other most of our stories from childhood on up. It's always good to have a new person to chat with, so we had a lot of fun getting to know Monica. Plus the run seemed to fly by while we showed off our tour guide skills. I was really relieved when a cab driver screamed at us and cussed us out, it's very important to me that all visitors get a true taste of Baltimore life.

Requisite blogger meetup pic

Do you like to go into races with specific goals? How about specific dessert plans?


  1. I made my husband take me to get cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory the night before my first 5K. I swear I ran faster than I ever had to that point because I knew it was waiting in my fridge.

  2. I usually go into races with specific goals but this fall season its been to survive. With my first marathon coming up, I have a goal of just crossing the finish.

    So a blogger meet up calls for an awkward, unclose picture? Were you afraid of each other?

    1. We were trying to stand on either side of the sign.

  3. I don't feel like I got a real taste of Baltimore when I visited. I didn't even see any rats.

    That picture would have been so much more awesome if you both had your hands on your hips.

  4. Running by feel always seems to be the best plan of attack, at least for me. Yay for another blogger meetup...I'm really wishing I was running Wineglass, not because I want to run that marathon but that cake sounds amazing! :)

  5. Totally forgot Mom is making that cake again and just got really excited! I can't get over how scrawny Harrison's arm looks in that picture.. he's definitely beefed them up since then.

  6. I always try not to have specific goals, but they're always there in the back of my mind. I've raced without a Garmin before and I find that helps me calm down about the pace and just go by feel.

    I don't have specific food plans after b/c that would take out part of the fun of marathoning - dreaming about food mid-race! ;) Usually I think about it mid-run and know what I want when I'm done.

  7. My race goal for this race is to run with you and have a glorious time, so it's pretty much going to happen no matter what. i can't believe it's already here!!!

  8. I can't believe your marathon is just a week away! Well, even less than that now. Bad internet = no blog commenting = the end of the world, but now I'm back to regular stalking. I always have specific race plans, even if I don't share them or verbalize them. Dessert plans too, obviously.

  9. I rarely have specific time goals but that's mostly due to the fact that I've run so many races this year and if I set out to PR for every single one I'll wind up depressed and disappointed. Instead I look for the positive and try to learn as much as I can from the race and how I prepared, fueled, etc.


Thanks for commenting! Comments make me probably more happy than they should.