I Run to Finish, Not for Time (Except When I Do, Like I Don’t Know… Always)

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?

One thought on “I Run to Finish, Not for Time (Except When I Do, Like I Don’t Know… Always)

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  1. Oh my goodness, I do the same thing all the time! And it will affect me mid-race too. If my pace lady chimes in on my mapmyrun app in my ear at mile X that I’m behind pace I’ll feel disappointed and stressed if I can’t make it up. We need to stop beating ourselves up. You ran a great race, well done lady!

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