Tuesday, January 4


I am watching the countdown clock for the Chevron Houston (half) Marathon tick away and honestly I am becoming a little nervous. First, this will be my first race since 2006. That race was a difficult one, a 15k and I was under-trained. Oh, I finished but it wasn't pretty. I struggled the whole way. Secondly, in all my years of racing my primary goal was to better my time from the previous race. These are typical expectations of most runners. I have experienced the joy of crossing the finish line with a personal best. But I also understand the disappointment of these unaccomplished expectations. Many factors come into play during a race and sometimes it just becomes about finishing. Expectations can be frustrated when you haven't trained properly and/or unplanned conditions are such that work against these hopes and ideas. Webster defines expectations as:

1. anticipation of something happening: a confident belief or strong hope that a particular event will happen, a mental image of something expected, a standard of conduct or performance expected by or of somebody.

Being confident and having realistic expectations is a fine line. There is a balance between being confident in your training and your expectations. I don't want to have such low expectations that it undermines all my training. Yet at the same time I need to be confident in all the hard work I have put in. I am not a highly competitive person. Often when I pass someone on a training run, I'll offer a kind word of encouragement to them. Silly I know. I really admire the competitive type. Considering my current pace on my training runs, setting a PR is not even on the radar for this race. I tried to run 11 miles on Saturday but my legs just felt empty and I stopped at 10.60. So maybe just finishing the full 13.1 is all the expectation I need to have for now. As I was running my 6 miles yesterday I was thinking how if I really push I might be able to come close to this time goal I have in my head. I am fighting not to have the expectation of a good race time. This is what I really want, a good time. Yet the reality of this expectation proves itself in my training runs to be unrealistic. My hope is that I can bring my expectations into reality while maintaining confidence in all the miles I have put in. So for now I am telling myself to consider these goals for race day;

1. Just enjoy the experience of being back in the excitement and anticipation of a race day event.

2. To use this race as a base to improve on for your next race.

3. To use this race to build my confidence in future races as I push myself beyond what I thought I could. (this one I think is really constructive in learning the balance of expectations and performance)

These three goals/expectations I think will give me a really great race day experience and not find me struggling with dangerous expectations.

So how about you? Are you the competitive type that loves smoking past people? How or what defines your goals or expectations on race day?


Happy Feet 26.2 said...

I loved this post because it is so familiar to me. In shape or out of shape, I go into races with expectations. I, just like you, go back and forth on what I may be able to do on race day (or may not be able to do.)

We also share the non competitive part too. I race against my time and my previous best, period. I wish I had the competitive nature that many of my racing friends have. A total stranger can pass them and some of them will "push to puke level" (ha- seriously), to beat them. I do not have that drive at all. Yes, I will "beat" you if I can, but for me it's more about my race and my time.

I hope you can go into this race knowing that this is a "comeback" race. I hope you can enjoy what the day brings and enjoy your return to racing. I also hope at the end of the day, you are totally inspired for more. I think you will have a great day, and will rejoice in being back.

Kate said...

i totally agree with you! just go and have fun. and try to get that number out of your head for this first big race! that way, you can beat it next time!
i'm the same way, my only competition is myself. and i'm always giving props to the walkers, the bikers and the runners i pass and those who pass me. i'm just happy for them!

run it with a smile, take in the sights of your new home city, say hi to the other runners and just be excited you made it!!! i'm so happy for you!

Terri said...

Thank you sweet Kate your comment choked me up. I so want to relish in this moment because I know what a long road it has been to get (back) here. I love you girl!