Tonight let's talk about setting realistic running goals. But first...
Blue suede shoes! I love these shoes so much that I have them in two colors. I know I'm not supposed to wear pointy toe shoes because they're bad for my toes but these don't bother me at all.
Well these didn't stand a chance. Vegan blueberry muffins that are essentially little balls of sugary yum. I'm glad we only had one pack because I did some unmentionable things to these last night.
Yesterday I had five uneventful miles on the treadmill at the gym. My pace is getting faster on my shorter runs, which has me thinking a lot about where I want my pace to head after I'm done with the marathon. Hold that thought until I get through the TMI part of this post (I know you're dying to hear about everything I do!).
When I got home from work, two things were quite the surprise when I walked in: poor hubs is sick with the flu so he is down for the count, and The Dude had a friend over to play. Essentially that meant I was on fun patrol immediately when all I really wanted to do was put on pajamas, place my hair in about 4 ponytails, and watch a rom-com.
The kids begged me to ride bikes (right before sunset) so we hurried out and got a few laps in and I'm glad because it was a nice refreshing blast of cold air before bed.
Do any other parents basically accept the fact that when your kids walk out the door with bikes or scooters or sports paraphernalia that you are always going to be the one carrying it home?
Croc likes to ride his bike right against the other bikes (and feet) around him.
The air smelled so good. People were lighting fires in their homes and it smelled like winter coming. I love it. I'm actually excited for the colder season. I love running in pants and long-sleeved shirts.
The dude drew lightning bolts on my helmet which I love and refuse to wipe off!
And then this morning it was back to the park so Jon could sleep. He looked in really bad shape, poor guy.
They did one "bomb down the hill!" after another. No major cuts or scrapes so it was successful.
Then the kids took a pledge to keep the park clean and never abandon pets in the park. They had really sweet volunteers who helped us learn about the native species. We touched a synthetic version of coyote fur which Croc swore was from a T-Rex. Okay, buddy.
I've talked before about the critter crate at our favorite park, and how we check it religiously to see if anyone happened to have left a snake, an otter, or any other cool animals in it. Well today we got some ANSWERS!! When we talked to the volunteers, they told us about all the types of animals they've found in the crate.
They said mostly people drop fish in there, and also lots of turtles. The weirdest thing they've seen inside it was a dead bird wrapped in a tissue and placed in a shoe box. Yikes.
One of our family members came out to visit once from Ohio and her first comment was that there are so many shades of green and varieties of trees in San Francisco. I love that part of it too, but I have to say I also miss the trees of Ohio. My parents had catalpa, birch and maple trees on our property and my grandparents had weeping willows which are the prettiest trees on Earth I think.
I tried to get the boys to read about the first Native American tribes to settle in the area but they were more interested in climbing the parcourse equipment.
And then we saw this lonely baguette on a bench and spent some time guessing the story behind it. Bread on a bench. Sounds like a band name!
Because the boys had such great behavior, and because we had to cancel our sitter for date night because Jon was sick, I surprised them with a trip to Target to pick out something to entertain them this afternoon so I could get some work done. You would have thought this staircase to the store was Mt. Everest the way The Due was talking about it—sheer torture. I purposely parked the car far away so I could get them even more exercise. I equate it to exercising labradors :)
Surprise surprise The Dude wanted Legos! He is quite the master builder. I remember doing sets with him when he could barely put one piece on top of another!
Croc decided on a Play-doh set which we all ended up playing with and the colors stayed separate for all of 30 seconds before ending up in one big swirly ball.
The Dude loves taking pictures all of a sudden and gets credit for this one and the next one...
...my Play-doh ring. Fit me like a glove.
We took a vote for dinner and homemade waffles won out! I refrained from eating them which was kind of hard because breakfast foods are my favorite.
As I was de-clumping the waffle batter, I was thinking about how weird it is that the race is only a couple weeks away. I feel like I've been thinking about or training for it for such a long time that I can't remember what exercise was like before it! Are you like me in that after a race you really enjoy having the freedom to do whatever kind of exercise that appeals to you in the moment? I really miss pilates and riding my bike to and from work. I'm also thinking of getting back in the pool at some point. Swimming is my nemesis.
The one goal that keeps popping around my head is to increase my pace, but I'm not really sure what a realistic (though stretch) goal would be for a shorter distance. The fastest races I've ever run were a 5K in 27:22 and a 10K in 55:40. But I have to say I can't remember a time when I REALLY put forth effort to run quickly...mostly the challenges in my races came with finishing a difficult distance or gutting through some hard hills. I've never had a pace goal, aside from finishing a half marathon in under a 10 minute mile. Now that I've accomplished that, I want to set some more challenges in front of me.
Meb Keflezighi is one of my favorite runners. He seems like he has his heart and head in the right place. In his book, Meb for Mortals, he has these four suggestions on how to set the best kinds of goals:
1.) A good goal has personal meaning. I think Meb is living proof that giving some personal meaning to a goal can bring it to life in a way that no amount of training or fueling can do. When he vowed to win the Boston Marathon the year after the bombing, I believe he won it because he cared so much about the city of Boston and the people and runners that make the race so special. Connecting a goal to a personal issue can be incredibly motivating.
2.) A good goal is specific. This one I embrace in every part of life. At work each quarter we set goals called OKRs and I remind myself that they should always be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Aligned, Relevant, and Time-based). When you set a goal like "get better at running" it isn't really quantifiable. To make it measurable, think about it in terms of concrete numbers like, "I want to run 10 miles" or "I'd like to break a 2-hour half marathon." Make sure there's no ambiguity around what will label something 'accomplished' or 'not accomplished.'
3.) A good goal is challenging but realistic. While setting a goal to win the Boston Marathon is certainly lofty, it's completely unrealistic for me. There's a difference between being ambitious and selecting impossible challenges for myself. In his book, Meb says, "Making a Boston victory my goal was realistic. In my case, I had finished third and fifth in previous Boston marathons, so winning the race wasn’t outside the realm of possibility. Trying to win certainly required reaching, given that the race was held 2 weeks before my 39th birthday and I had the 15th-fastest personal best in the field. An example of a too-ambitious goal for me would be saying, 'I want to break the world record.' That would mean taking more than 5 ½ minutes off my personal best in one race. That’s unlikely at this stage in my career."
4.) A good goal has a time element. If you set a lofty goal, that's great!, but think about breaking up the long-term goal into smaller bites. He says, "For most runners, 3 to 6 months is a good range for achieving a main goal. That’s enough time to do the work to achieve it but also close enough to remain motivating on a daily basis."
When I was trying to set a realistic pace for the marathon, I used this VDOT calculator to tell me the appropriate training paces, and it spit out the equivalent race performance paces too so now I sort of know what I'm capable of in a couple of weeks.
This age-grade calculator was also helpful in understanding how I compare to my peers. It lets you compare your race times to older and younger runners, and runners of the opposite sex. For example, when I plug in my results from the Tiburon Half Marathon, it says my score is 52.39% which means I'm a little under the mid-mark compared to my peers. What's cool about it is that it gives us a more level playing field to evaluate performance, and I'm all about level playing fields!
Once the marathon is over, I'm going to take several weeks to recover, stretch, and sit down with pen and paper to set my next set of goals.
In this moment, my goal is to get Jon healthy and keep the kids asleep! And maybe another goal for tonight is to get through the last of this Parks and Recreation episode before I conk out. Tomorrow the goal is to run 20 miles! With Jon being sick, I'm going to be flexible with this goal but will definitely get a long one in since my body and head are craving a run as much as I'm craving the last glazed donut that keeps yelling my name from the box in the kitchen. Zip it, donut!
I hope you are having a great weekend! I'd love to hear if you have any goals you've set for yourself and how you got to setting the goal. Share it with me in the comments!
(Almost) daily blogger. Sober runner. Mental sh*t stirrer. Pro gender equality in tech. Family first.