Forget the run-of-the-mill post about current training or running goals; I want us to think BIG about running today.
I’m not just talking about any standard goal you have that you know is possible and plan on achieving one day. No, let’s dig deeper. Imagine that the running genie appeared out of nowhere and told you to name any goal you can think of and he will make it possible (within the limits of what is physically possible). Anything you want is possible, no matter what your current ability is (but you still have to put in the work, of course).
These are the dreams that you don’t even tell people about because you’re sure they’ll just laugh in your face or force an awkward smile and say “ohhh, that’s nice..”
I’m talking things like “make the Olympic team” or “win 1st overall female in a big race.”
I thought today we could all take the opportunity to daydream a little bit, to push the limits of our imaginations and have a little fun. I will share two of mine and I hope to hear some of yours!
1. Run a sub-20:00 5K
We have my blogger buddy Taylor @ SingleTrackedMind to thank for putting this one in my head. She once commented on a blog post of mine about running goals saying that she bets I’ll run a sub-20:00 5K one day. I honestly thought that was a typo, and when I asked if she meant sub-25:00, Taylor said “no! I really think you can run a sub-20:00!”
Now this is the part where I almost laugh. A sub-20:00? Me? I know some crazy fast woman runners and not one of them has even run a sub-20:00.
But then I thought: why not? Why can’t I believe in myself that I could do that one day?
Why is it that we talk ourselves down so much? Why are we so quick to dismiss ourselves, to reflexively assume “oh I can’t run that fast. I can only do [X]; I could NEVER run that far or get that race time.” Really? How do you know that?
I’m certainly not going to go out there tomorrow and start training for a 19 minute 5K. I don’t know when, or if, that will ever be an actual concrete goal of mine. But why couldn’t it be, if I really wanted it? I’m just so sick of assuming I can’t do something without even trying at least. It’s stupid.
2. Run a 3:12 marathon
My birthday is March 12, and I’ve kinda always been obsessed with the number “312” in all its forms. That’s why 3:12 is my reach for the stars marathon goal.
Okay, so I’d need at least a 7:21 pace and I can’t even run a 5K that fast right now. But you’ve gotta start somewhere, right? There once was a day when I never dreamed I could hold a pace in the 9:00 range for more than a 5K, let alone a half marathon, and then I went out there and ran an 8:55 avg half marathon. One day I’ll be able to hold a 7:21 for 3 miles, and then maybe 5, and then 6.2…
The “hidden benefit” of letting ourselves dream like this, and never letting go of these “reach” goals no matter how impossible they seem now, is that it teaches us the real value of focusing on the process, not just the result. As great as this concept is, I still have trouble really understanding it. How do I make a goal and not focus on the result? Isn’t that kind of the point??
No one can really explain it better than Lauren Fleshman in the pages of the Believe journal:
“My 15-year-old goal of being an Olympian has not been achieved yet, despite several close calls, but I certainly am no worse off for chasing it.”
That’s it. That’s what it’s about. I don’t know if Taylor will ever end up being right, or if I can ever run a “birthday marathon.” But believing that those things are possible if I want them and work for them will lead me to so many other great things. If the best I can ever do in the 5K is 20:32, that’s still a damn awesome time for an adult woman, or anyone really, and better than I’d ever dream I was capable of.