Friday, June 1, 2012

Calling My Shot

Much like Babe Ruth pointing to the stands with his bat at Wrigley Field in the ’32 World Series prior to hitting a home run, I am calling my shot for the Open Door Julie Run 5k on June 9th. I intend to best 22 minutes at the race. This would be an improvement of 50 seconds from my PR and 4:01 from last year. For me, it’s go bold or go home. I am not setting any other (lesser) goals for myself for this race.

There are plenty of reasons why I both should and should not achieve this goal. In the “Pro” column, I would say that I am healthy, uninjured, well rested, have been improving each race, have great support from friends and family, have a good race plan, know the course and have the determination and will to succeed. In the “Con” column, it is hard to PR by 50 seconds (considering the last race was a couple weeks ago), the weather is a wildcard, I may worry about my daughter running during the same race, there is no chip timed start, I’m coming off my worst run of the spring this week (quit after fatigue and digestive issues), my mileage is down recently, I have been experiencing plenty of work and general life stress, and I may be putting a little too much pressure on myself (like making more than one bold proclamation on the internet today, such as saying I will break 20 minutes in the 5k by next year in response to a WatchMeGoRun post – not sure what possessed me to do that!)

I don’t think it is arrogance which it making me post this stuff. I’m not good enough to be that cocky and know plenty of local runners and bloggers who can and often do smoke me in this or any distance. (For example, I know one blogger who has a Spartan will, one that is faster than a turtle and one that runs for the D that I pose no threat to). I think I’m posting this stuff as self-motivation and as a show of confidence. I’m also trying to be a little goofy too.

But Joe Perry said there’s No Substitute for Arrogance…

When I started running again, I didn’t think about doing more than a 5k. (Now I’ve done a couple half marathons, have plans for a couple more and am strongly considering a marathon next year.) I had 3 time goals in mind when I started. The first was a 24 minute 5k. I figured once I was in shape, I would be able to do this. I finished 2 races and one practice run under 24 minutes thus far.

The next goal is 22 minutes. This approximates what I was able to do, more or less, at my initial cross country races in high school about 20 years ago. I am working on this now.

The big goal is to beat 20 minutes in a 5k. This would be close to my better runs in high school (I was barely varsity on a mediocre team) and, of course, is a nice, round number.

Then there is the U.S. Record of 14:17.36 for 40-44 year olds, which I hope to beat when I turn 40 in a few years (No, I kid, I kid).  I would ultimately like to get into the 18’s for a 5k, beat a 40 minute 10k, etc., etc., but my current goals are plenty.

Do you need to set goals for self-motivation (like I do)? Or… do you set easier or more reasonable goals? Or… Are you not worried about goals and just enjoy the race?


  1. I think it's definitely confidence more than arrogance. If you don't truly feel confident, it's more difficult to achieve lofty goals. When I set my 5K PR last fall, I beat my previous PR (which was only 3-4 months old) by over a minute. So beating your PR by 50 seconds can be done. But don't be too disappointed if you don't break 22:00 – just evaluate it based on how you felt and how the race went. I've been disappointed with my performance when setting a PR, and I've been very happy with my performance when missing a PR.

    I set goals for self-motivation, but I usually keep my goals fairly loose because I usually have no problem competing with myself anyway (regardless of goals). I try to remember that it's all relative, and I'm basically a middle-of-the-pack runner. I might set a PR in a half marathon and finish in the top 10-20% of the race...but then I realize that I finished more than 20 minutes behind the winner, haha. That's why I try to just compete with myself and have fun along the way.

  2. Thanks Matt! I would have some level of disappointment if I miss 22 minutes, but if I run well, I will generally be happy. Last year, I was shooting for 26 minutes and got 26:01.8 and that ticked me off! But I was still generally happy with the race and effort.

    BTW, I don't buy your "middle of the pack" runner thing. :) If you finish in the top 25 of a race of over 1000 people, I call that front of the pack. :) I understand your point of not competing with the "elites" though. I'll try to join ya up closer to the front of the pack in the near future.

  3. You're welcome! Yeah, missing goals by a few seconds (or 1.8 seconds) ticks me off every time. But I try to just use it as motivation to run even better next time.

    Thanks for the kind words! I'm happy to finish in the top 250 of a 1000-runner field though, let alone top 25! Those kinds of finishes in decent-sized races are few and very far between!

    I'm sure you'll be moving farther up the pack as the summer progresses, and I hope you're at (or past) my place in the pack before you know it!