Ok. Deep breath, here goes. Setting goals. For Boston, and onwards.
On this morning's 8 miler I was trying to figure out what I find so hard about setting goals, and why I find it so hard. And the truth of the matter is not that I find it hard to set goals. I know what I want to achieve. But I'm afraid I might not achieve them. And that's why I don't like to tell people. Like I can just have my secret goal, play it cool, and then do a great big fistpump if I do achieve it. And don't have to deal with it in public if I don't. Instinctively, I feel like the kid in the playground - if I put it out there what I want to do and fail to achieve that, will you think less of me? Oh, I know that is cr*p but still - I think that's what lies underneath my fear of outlining what I really want.
But then all the self-help / motivational / inspirational / St. Oprah philosophy that I somewhat shamefacedly have started to get into says that you have to put your goal out there, to be accountable, to make it real. Building in all sorts of caveats is a way of detouring from your goal. Keep it simple - focus.
So, my goal for Boston. I've played around with different kinds of goals - time goals, experience goals, effort goals. My coach has never messed around. Right when we started, early in December, and I ran my rough and ready first 2 miles on the treadmill, she told me what my goal was. A 3:40 finish. Yup. That was scary, which is why I haven't put it out there any earlier. That would be a 5 minute and 47 second PR on a harder course. Hard. All through the months of December, January, February and March, this goal seemed to dance in front of my eyes. Really? Me? She thinks I can do this? Only last night I was driving myself nuts, comparing my training notes from this training cycle to my (entirely different) training cycles for London and Berlin, and worrying that I was not as fast as I was then.
But today I got to thinking. Despite the fact that I BQ'ed in Berlin (and faced some pretty big DNF demons along the course) my best race ever was London. Why? Because - shortly before the start - someone I had just met told me not to be coy about it - to go out hard and hammer it as best I could. I had not trained all this time, he told me, to just be conservative. Be smart, by all means, but leave it all out there. And just like that, I let go of my old racing strategy (which had always been to start slowly and see if I could pick it up, which I rarely did) and I hammered it. And well, I did hammer it, right up until mile 25 when it hammered me. But that was fine. I was always fine with my time, and my missed BQ. I had left it out there, there was nothing more I could have done. I had focus, I committed to my goal and I went for it.
So, my friends - I'm out there and I'm doing it. I'm going for a 3:40. I have a race strategy - thank you Coach! - and a plan. But more than that, I have an attitude. There are things I can't control about the race - weather, illness, injury, whatever. But I can control how I'm going to go in. And I'm going into this balls against the wall, my friends. All out. I am giving my goal all I've got, all I've put in, all I've trained for. 2 weeks to go - bring it on!