How do you set your goals?  Do you even set goals?  Most of my goals are related to different competitions.  The past year has really been about finishing races and not so much about competing.  I wanted to finish a marathon and an ultra marathon.   I also did a sprint triathlon last month just to see if I could do it.  Now I’m looking to be more competitive.  I have the Warrior Dash coming up this weekend, and I’d love to win my heat or age division.  I know there will be faster people there, but I feel like I can climb walls, crawl through mud or negotiate a hay bale obstacle better than the average runner.  After all, I’ve been training to run and do out of the ordinary tasks for almost two years now with Crossfit.  (I’m still waiting for a race that where you have to max out some lifts after you cross the finish line!) This race doesn’t really matter that much though.  It’s really about having fun and I will have a blast.

The serious business begins after this weekend.  I have a crazy goal for the St. Jude Marathon.  It’s one of those goals that could only be achieved on race day.  I thought long and hard about it.  I thought completing a 50 mile race was a crazy goal.  I really wasn’t sure I would make it, but I did.  I wasn’t too sure I’d even finish a 50k, but I did.  I decided that I needed a goal that was super hard.  I needed a goal that gave me a real chance at failure.  I thought I would look at finishing a marathon somewhere between 3 hours and 3 hours 10 minutes.  This goal is having and will have several different effects on me.  It’s forcing me to push myself harder than I have before. I’m training and running.  Usually I will train in the morning and run at the track in the evening.  It will also help me level up a little bit.  I am now one of the most competitive age groups.  36-40 (or whatever it is).  I know a lot of the guys that win this age group consistently and they are fast.  Very fast!  I don’t expect to beat them at St. Jude, but if I reach my goal it will put me closer to the point where I am actually able to seriously compete with those guys.  That would be awesome!  It would be doubly awesome because I just ran my first Marathon ever last year at St. Jude.  In addition, should I run a sub 3:10 time, I would qualify for the Boston Marathon.  How crazy is that?

So, what if I fail?  What if I come in at 3:15 or 3:30?  Yes, I know failure is not an option.  However, even the greatest athletes have failed a time or two.  The idea is to learn from it.  I ran in 3:50 last year, so I feel like I will PR no matter what.  I’m in such better shape than I was a year ago.  I’m more experienced and confident.  Nobody can complain about a PR, right?  This race is going to give me a taste of what it’s like to run with the fast guys.  Hell, when I pull this off I will be one of the fast guys.  A marathon at a 7:15ish pace?  In my mind that’s crazy fast.  I can’t wait, but in the meantime I still have a ton of training to do.  Anyway, what’s the point of all this?  Set goals for yourself.  Hard goals, goals that you don’t think you could make.  Then reach them.  Then set the bar higher!  That’s how we roll at Lift Heavy Run Long!