Hold on to your hats with this admission, my friends. My dream vacation? It’s not Italy. [though I’ve heard it’s fabulous.] It’s not Madison. [because, let’s face it, I love it already. I’ve lived there and I still feel like I’m home each time I’m there. You can’t dream vacation a place that feels like home.] It’s not Hollywood. [regardless of my self-proclaimed Pop-Culture Princess status.] It’s not the Bahamas, or Cancun, or any white sandy beach. [Because, umm, and I hate to admit this [make that two “hold on to your hat” admissions, I suppose]: I don’t really care very much for the beach. I mean, it’s “okay.” I guess. But, ehhh….]
My dream vacation? It’s Washington, D.C.
Okay, so maybe that doesn’t necessarily surprise you, that much. But usually when I mention that I’ve yet to visit our nations beautiful capitol, people look a bit shocked.
“What? You? You’ve never even seen the White House? Never been to the mall? Never seen all there is to see? You?….YOU!?”
No. I haven’t. But I’d love to. Maybe we should take a road trip. Together. and, you know, see the sights. Tour all the museums. Eat a few cupcakes. Stand in awe, gazing at each of the monuments and memorials for approximately an hour each, with mouths a gasp and tears in each eye. Who is in? I’ll provide endless entertainment via Presidential Fun Facts. And The West Wing quotes. [you know it’s true. and you know you’d like it.]
In 2010, I finished four miles in 50:47. Early this year, while there was no doubt still snow on the ground, Jen and I sat in the coffee shop and discussed our race goals for the coming months. I decided that I wanted to try and run the Firecracker 4 near her 2010 pace. I set a goal for running 4 miles in under 38 minutes.
Apparently I am a fool. I am no where near trained well enough to run four miles in under 40 minutes.
I’ve been thinking long and hard about this, and I realize that for me, it is important to focus on one type of goal at a time. The problem with my pre-race season goal settings is that I was trying to massively increase my distance and majorly increase my speed at the same time. FOR ME [and I can’t say that enough] it is best if I work on one element at a time.
Over the course of the spring, I have made running longer distances a priority. I know that in order to prepare for the much longer distance races I am running this year in comparison to last year, and the year before that, that I needed to just do it. I had to run five miles. Then six miles. Then eight miles. And last weekend, ten. I had to do it, or I wouldn’t be able to complete the 10K and 15K races I have already registered for in a healthy way.
In paying attention to distance, rightfully, speed training was NOT a priority for me. Did I manage to run a speedy 5K, crushing my previous race PR the other day? sure did. Did I manage to run the fastest mile of my adult life a few weeks ago? you betcha. Did I do anydedicated “speed” days? nope. not a one.
So this Forth of July, I plan to run the Firecracker 4 Miler. [Sponsored by Poise in Parma] I plan to run faster than last year. I plan to consider my race a part of my Boilermaker training. And those two plans are enough for me for this race.
I also plan to continue to set goals and to be beyond okay with re-examining and re-setting goals as necessary.
It’s important to remember there is no shame in saying, “oops. let’s look again.” Saying, “I’m not where I thought I would be, or could be” is a lot like saying, “My eyes were bigger than my stomach.”
Even more so, being able to say, “I’m not ready to perform at that speed/intensity” is a lot like saying, “I am putting my health and my attitude first and foremost.”
I want to push myself. I know that growth and success in that growth comes right beyond my comfort zone. I understand that I need to set big goals in order reach big goals. But I want to do so in a healthy way. I want to enjoy the process as much as possible. And I want to be able to say, “I did it,” no matter what “it” is this time around, or the next.