I still consider myself a novice runner. Yes, I have finished 2 marathons and countless (ok I could count them, but there are a good amount) Half-Marathons in my 3 years of running, but I don’t think of myself as any expert and really think I’m still a newbie. When I first started running, I was just happy to make it to the finish (my 1st 5K back in May 2012 I needed a breather that turned out to be right before the finish line). And if you ask me when I have a run coming up what my goal time is I usually say, oh I just run to finish. To closer running friends I might now express a dream goal, but shrug off really hitting it. But come race day that number I didn’t mean to really give myself is in my head. As noted in other posts, I am a goal-oriented person, so I do like to give myself something of a goal.
This past Saturday I ran the UAE Healthy Kidney 10K and if you were on the East Coast last week (at least up in the NYC-area) you know it was warm and humid pretty early in the day (maybe trying to give us a feel of being in the UAE). With a start time of 9 a.m., a race around Central Park that included Harlem Hills, and limited shade heated up very fast. I am not a warm weather runner at all — when marathon training comes around I will try and go out for my long runs no later than 7 a.m. to miss the real heat of the day — so I was not feeling it on Saturday. I took more rests than I might normally, and at times had to force myself to start running from my comfortable walking. Now it’s not to say that I had a time in mind, but I won’t say that I didn’t think how amazing it would be to PR on my 1st run in my 40s (ok, that thought was before I really got into the run, but still).
Now my Garmin needed to be charged, and while I turned my Strava app on, it didn’t capture a full 10K, so I wasn’t entirely sure of my accurate finish time, and more importantly my pace. So when I checked the NYRR site, it said I was at an 11 min – something pace. I was a little floored, then upset, then worried that just by changing the year on my body’s calendar I now added all this time to my running. Sure, it was hot, sure it was a 10K including the Harlem Hills, etc. etc. I could make excuses, and I could also just be happy with my time and be very happy I finished (no joke, I saw a few people needing medical attention on the course, which I usually don’t see, especially in a 10K). I was trying to find my non-judgmental zen place, but in my core I was upset and worried – I at least seeing myself as an under 10 minute mile runner for 5 and 10Ks. So that number honestly weighed on me more than it should.
That being said, I checked my stats again Sunday morning and it showed my finish with a 9:55 pace. I’m not sure what happened, but I will say I felt much better seeing an under 10 number. But really, I shouldn’t. I should have been equally happy with the 11-something pace because that was my race that day. I shouldn’t have been judging myself so harshly. Of course, there is something to challenging ourselves and wanting to improve. But with my yoga-balance mind I am trying to find a middle ground between the “goal-oriented” me, and the “be happy where you are & be happy with what your body can do” me. Looks like I could use some more work.
How about you? Do you set running goals? And do you judge yourself harshly if you don’t meet them?