Goals. I am not good with them. I generally do not have any. No long term ones. No short term ones. I struggle coming up with one to feed to my boot camp coach every week.
Then in January I ran a 10K. It was my personal best. I tried to run really fast. And sort of did. Except that my arch nemesis of running ended up beating me. I did the best that I could and I still did not beat her.
A word on my arch nemesis (I mentioned her to my boss today and she said, “you have an arch-nemesis of running?” Yes, yes I do). She is a lovely woman who is an attorney. We know each other to say hello. She is in my age group and she is a fast runner. I think the thing that gets me the most about the fact that she consistently beats me is that she does not look like an athlete. She is just darn fast. I suppose that whole judging books by covers thing is pretty accurate.
After losing to her after running my heart out, I decided that I really wanted to beat her. Well, I really just wanted to beat her time. A time that I had not been able to beat. And then, just like that I had a goal.
All kinds of things happen to you when you have a goal. You find yourself working hard. You find yourself going outside of your comfort zone. Sometimes it is really difficult. And sometimes you wonder why you are putting yourself through it. This was me. My boot camp coach emailed me track workouts which I started doing on the weekend. I loved the first one and hated every one after. I am certain that I looked ridiculous running as fast as I could around that dratted track. My heart pounding. Sounding like a locomotive. But I did all the workouts she sent me. And I think that helped me to get faster.
Then the weekend before the race, I had the stomach flu and managed to lose a few pounds. Lean and mean. I could not do my track workout that weekend and ended up also forgoing my long run on Sunday.
And all of a sudden, it was the weekend of the race. Based on how I felt, I knew that this race was different for me. The night before I was all nerves. The morning of I felt nauseous. I was supposed to meet the boot camp folks before the start but I just couldn’t do it. At the starting line, I did not see anyone I knew. Not my arch nemesis. I didn’t see her at the start and I didn’t see her on the course. I thought that maybe she was not running.
I felt good throughout the race. My first mile was the slowest and my last mile was the fastest and I averaged 8:45 minute miles. I crossed the finish at 54:23. My new personal best. I found my friend Annie when I was done. She was my finish line support that day. We chatted for a moment and then went to pick up my t-shirt. And as I walked up, there she was, right next to me. Picking up her shirt. My arch nemesis. Had she come in before me? Did I beat her? I wouldn’t know till later in the day. And I had beat her. It was very close. It was less than a minute. But I did it.
And I reached that goal. As small as it was. And it was pretty satisfying. I understand why people have them. I understand how nerve-wracking it feels thinking about the potential for failure. I told a friend that I wasn’t sure what I should try to do next. And he said “run faster”. He may be on to something.