Next Step

So, I missed my goal half marathon. What next? Pick a make-up race soon after? Focus on my next scheduled race – the Chicago to Madison Ragnar Relay – and worry about another half later?

I kind of already knew what I was leaning toward, but I ran it past Coach BFF to see what she thought. And she recommended what I was already strongly considering – just focus on Ragnar.

I know a lot of runners would pick a make-up race. And if I was just chasing a PR, I would. But I wasn’t just chasing a PR. I had a very specific goal. I wanted to run the same course I ran three years ago, during my first half marathon, and I wanted to beat my time by an hour. That was the goal. That course. That time goal. Yes, it’s silly and arbitrary. Does it really matter? No. But to me, it would have been a huge mark of accomplishment.

So getting sick and missing that specific race kind of ruined my very specific goal. Without being able to do it on that course, did I still want to chase that goal? Right now? Knowing I have my very first relay race looming in less than a month? And also given some other areas of my life that need to take top priority? (See last post – the part about moving out.)

I raced a lot last year. 19 races. I know people who race far more than I do. But I know that I do not enjoy racing all the time, and my body can’t take always racing and unless I’m pacing someone or something like that, I like to race my races. So this year, I’m focusing on quality rather than quantity. Because that works for me. This year, I’m focusing on races that I can train for, so I can do my very best.

That’s not to say if I toed the line at the next option for a local half – May 19 – I wouldn’t do my very best, and still be able to do my best at Ragnar. But my heart wouldn’t be in it. It would just be me, signing up for any old half marathon.

Vera, my coach, reminded me that I’m in great shape right now, and that isn’t going away. Vera is working her way through 17 months of no running due to an injury – so she is very cautious about anything that would increase my chance of getting injured, maybe over-cautious, but you know what, I prefer it that way. I’m 30. I have years to run and race. I don’t need to cram it all in right now.

So, my next race is Ragnar. And after that, I’ll pick another goal race. Maybe a half. Maybe something else. Whatever.


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7 Comments on “Next Step”

  1. Take the positives here! You are young, healthy, and can talk about running a Ragnar without being nervous! And hey, you’ve run waaay more races than me and your cat looks hungry for some Gu packets!

  2. The relay races make me nervous. So hard to get a full team to the line healthy. We have a marathon relay this weekend and lost a teammate to injury just this week. Soooo crazy!

    Good luck! Enjoy Ragnar!

  3. Great decision. You have LOTS and LOTs of years more of running races. I’m with you. I like to focus on a handful of goal races a year: A couple marathons and half marathons, a 10k and a 5k. Then I throw in two or three random races into the mix just for fun and to see how I’ll do. If I have to miss one of my goal races due to injury/illness, I don’t think I have ever run a “make up” race.

  4. You’ll get to your goal eventually! I feel you-I’m now ordered to take off 6 weeks without any running and am bummed I have to give up some goal. That’s ok though, I’ll get there eventually!!!

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