As the flashing graphic on the website reminds me, I’m now only three days away from the Big Sur Half Marathon. My training is all behind me at this point, and I’m so excited to hit the starting line. Part of the reason for my excitement, I think, is a very conscious lack of time goals for this race. My last couple of races have been tough, mostly because my expectations were super high, and I managed to totally psych myself out. For this race, I’m expecting nothing other than a finish.
It’s been surprisingly hard to keep myself from assigning a goal time. I’ve had some long runs that felt great, and at the end I’d look at my watch and think, “Yeah, I could totally beat that on race day – I still feel awesome!” And then I’d have to remind myself that I’m not setting time goals for this race. Honestly, it feels a little wrong. It feels like a waste of training somehow. It feels like saying, “I don’t care”. And I do care. But for this race, I care about something other than time. I care about keeping my pace even on the first half of the race. I care about high-fiving my dad at the turn-around. I care about pushing hard on the second half.
Look, ultimately a race is about time. That’s the whole point; who can do this the fastest. And I believe in time as a goal and a motivation to race. But I’m not mentally there yet. I don’t have the confidence or experience for my own expectations. So I’ll dial them back a little until I am ready. In the meantime, though, I’ll cap off a lovely weekend with my parents and husband in Monterey with a 13 mile run with 8,000 other folks. And hopefully this finish line will find me a whole heck of a lot happier than the last two have.