Friday, April 25, 2014

Races, paces, & mental aces

We said goodbye to our casita in Mexico last week and said hello to my parents's new home on the Jersey shore.   Braxton picked up a new skill in the transition and has started getting a lot of core work in by popping up into a plank whenever we put him on the ground.  I love it, it's the best!



I suppose it's about time to share my running goals for the year….even if I am four months late.  I am excited for what this year could have in store, even if I don't know have a perfectly clear picture of where I am right now.

I'm really looking forward to my race calendar this year.  Here are the confirmed races:
  • 4/27 (as in this Sunday) - NJ Half Marathon
  • 5/4  (as in next Sunday) - Broad Street 10 miler
  • 5/9-5/10 (as in 2 weeks from this weekend) - Ragnar Cape Cod
  • 10/12 - Chicago Marathon (I got in!)

I am hoping to fit in another half at the end of June or beginning of July, but since Brian and I can no longer sign up to run the same races without putting some thought into our plans, we have to secure babysitters or figure out who will run which race before registering.  I also wouldn't mind finding a 5K and maybe even a 10K to see if I could PR….even if I'm not wild about those distances.  

My main goal is to PR at each of the upcoming races and I think that is (hopefully) realistic.  It was 2007 when I last felt this optimistic and motivated to push myself.  Since then, I had a DNF at a marathon in 2008, which led to knee surgery.  Once I recovered from the knee surgery, I went through three years of fertility treatments and, simply put, those weren't my best running years.   However, all my physical and emotional baggage is finally behind me and I am ready to move on!

I don't know exactly what to expect though.  Although my training has been going really well, it hasn't been without some adjustments.  My mileage dipped in the fall after the boys were born and when I did start to build it up again, I was pretty housebound and ran mostly on the treadmill.  When I did get outside, most of my runs were with a double stroller, so my pace was skewed.  Then we've spent the past month in Mexico where all of my runs were on sandy roads and trails and significantly more difficult.  All of this was great for allowing me to build up my base and helped improve mental toughness, but it didn't shed too much light on what my paces look like.  

Given all of that, here are my goals for the year:
  • NJ Half Marathon - I would minimally like to PR, which would mean cracking 1:55:28.  Beyond that, I would be ecstatic to crack 1:50
  • Broad Street 10 Miler - again, I would like to PR, which means coming in under 1:29:53, but I would love to cross in under 1:25
  • Chicago Marathon - as I've said many times here, even though I have run several marathons, I feel as if this is the one distance I have never had a true chance to see what I can do.  Therefore, I would like a huge 32+ minute PR and would like a sub 4:00.  I think the upcoming races and my training will let me know if it is realistic, but it's what I am going to start off shooting for.  

Mental Aces
I think this will be a big part of achieving my goals.  For me, my mind is critical in achieving my goals as a runner.  It is easy for me to settle into regular paces and assume that those paces are the type of runner I am.  It can be difficult to challenge those assumptions and to believe I can go faster and push myself accordingly.  In order to achieve the above goals, one thing I will need to do is to believe I can run and sustain those paces and break through my mental barriers.

The interesting thing is that when I look at the paces I would need to run in order to achieve the above goals, it doesn't scare me.  Rather, it excites me because it makes me feel as if they are more attainable.  What will be hard though, is believing that I can maintain such paces when I see my Garmin mid-race and having the confidence to attempt to do so.  


First thing first, though, and right now the focus is on having a good race on Sunday!  Brian and I are headed up on Saturday and my parents are planning to drive up with the boys Sunday morning, so I'm hoping to see these two smiling faces when I cross the finish line :-D

What are your big goals for the year?  

Do you ever feel you have to break through any mental barriers to achieve your goals?

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  1. Oh my goodness, that baby plank is so adorable. Those thighs! I'm in love. Good luck on your races coming up in the next few weeks!

  2. Good luck this weekend. And next. And the next! :) You're going to surprise yourself!! Can't wait to follow along and can't wait to see you! xoxo

  3. I really want to run a half this year, but I keep getting plagued by injuries.. so frustrated. LOVE the baby plank, that looks kind of tough really. Those boys are really growing. Kind of makes me want another.

  4. I love Braxton's plank! It's crazy how big they're getting. I feel like mental toughness is something I lack during training. Once I get out there, I've got the mind of a spartan but it's *Getting* to the running that is always hard for me. I talk myself out of running a lot of the time, and it only makes it harder when I actually get there :) You've got an exciting calendar for the year!

  5. what a cute pic of braxton! I just happen to be aiming for a sub-4 in Chicago too!! guess we can talk some strategy during all our hours in the van in less than TWO weeks! wow!

  6. The faster you run, the faster you get to see those adorable boys!!! I think your goals seem very realistic. Now that everything is so positive in your life (no injuries, no fertility, etc) you may surprise yourself! I feel as though the less stress I have, the better everything seems to be! Good luck :)