To be honest with you, this is the first race I ever let myself really push from start to finish. I tend to adopt a cautious pace until I’m mile from the finish, because I’m afraid I’ll burn out. On Saturday, however, the weather was perfect, I had no expectations for myself, and I figured if I burnt out it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.
I ran without a watch, didn’t check the time clock when I crossed the start, and just went for it. I knew there were a handful of hills (Central Park can be a beast), so I made sure I wasn’t wearing myself out right before each of them, but otherwise I just ran. I kept repeating the phrase “keep following your feet, keep following your feet.” In a lot of ways this race was completely about me listening to my body and turning off my brain. It went like this,
Brain: This is kind of hard. We should probably slow down a little bit. I’m afraid you’re going to wear out.
Body: I got this. Take an hour off and just follow the feet.
It was actually pretty great. After the race I literally got a water, did a U-turn and got on the subway since I had to shower before my family came in to sight see for the day. I knew I had just run a great race, but I didn’t think about my time; I was feeling good and I just went about my day. Imagine my thrill when I checked the race results yesterday and found that I shaved almost 3 minutes off my best time!
The whole thing has me wondering what I can accomplish if I really go balls to wall. Could I run a sub-2 half? Can I shave 20 minutes off of my marathon time? Run an ultra (…..ummmm stop.)? Ok, so some goals might be more realistic than others, but it’s cool to think that I’m improving as a runner, even though I’ll probably never win a race.
What are some of your fitness goals? Do you prefer to strive to do your best instead of setting benchmarks?