5 Before 35 – Mid-Life Running Goals

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30 wasn’t ALL bad. I got to marry this guy..

About 18 months ago, I turned 30.  It would be fair to say that I did not handle this new decade gracefully.  Don’t get me wrong, on all accounts the year that I spent being 30 years old was monumental.  I got married, I bought a house, I spent a month in Central America taking surfing lessons.  I ran my second full marathon and hit my first ever sub 2 hour half marathon.  None of that, however, could fight my feeling that I was old and life was almost over.

I am very well aware how ridiculous that last statement is.  Logic just doesn’t always have a place inside of a brain that has decided to go sliding down a particular wormhole.  I struggled with all manner of bothersome bad habits.  I let running lose importance and value, put on 15 pounds, and fought off my occasional panic attacks by staying up too late watching 30 Rock on Netflix before having to wake up early for work.

Recently I decided that enough was enough.  I needed to shake myself out of my 18 month slide into funk and regain some control in life, and remind myself that I still have LOTS of things to do!!  I sat down and wrote out a list of 35 things I would like to accomplish by the time I turn 35.  As I wrote and re-read my list, I noticed that my goals fell into very distinct categories – travel, personal well being, doing things that I felt could make the world a better place, silly adventures, and running.  While I will spare you all the full list, I thought I would share with you my five most pressing running goals.

Goal #1 – Run a 4:30 Marathon

Some of you may have been following along my adventures of training for and running the Marine Corps Marathon last year.  I have run two marathons – MCM 2011 and 2014.  I was also slated to run it in 2015, but due to my concerns over lack of a base and overall loss of fitness from yeas past.  Now I have deferred to MCM 2016, which was sad, but also empowering as it gives me a solid year to get my act together.  I am not a runner who is fast.  I am a runner who goes out there, exhausts myself, and still finishes midpack, but that is okay!!  I may never qualify for Boston, but I think the 4:30 is totally doable, and I look forward to getting myself there.

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Marine Corps Marathon 2011

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Running the Marine Corps Marathon in 2015

Goal #2 – Run an Ultra

The idea of an ultra marathon sounds insane.  I fully acknowledge this, but in true to myself form, I struggle to care too much.  I don’t want to run a 100 miler.  I don’t even want to run a 50 miler.  I have the utmost respect for the people that run those distances.  The level of commitment is incredible, and the time management skill of those that manage to train for those events and still juggle lives is astonishing to me.  I know that for myself, my time management skills aren’t quite there yet – at least not while my kids are still young – but I do feel that if I can find time to train for a marathon, I should be able to train to go five miles farther!  There are so many really cool sounding 50ks that it is hard to not be attracted to the distance, and knowing that I wouldn’t be worried about time feels like a nice change of pace from my usual running focus.

Goal #3 – Run a Race with the Dog

If you are someone who frequently comes out to our community races, there is a good chance you have met Mr. Wake!  My husband and I adopted Wake in April with the hopes of getting me a running partner when the border collie mix had a chance to grow up some.  In the meantime I have been bringing him to a lot of running events to get him used to crowds and noise and distraction.  We have worked several water stops and worked as sweepers at several races.  I can’t wait until I get a chance to run a race with him – even if it ends up being the slowest race ever.

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Wake’s ears will help him to flap his way to the finish line.

Goal #4 – 100 Day Running Streak

When I am in the habit of running, it becomes automatic.  I don’t have to think about it, I don’t have to drag myself out of bed, I don’t have to worry about scheduling in my runs.  Somehow it becomes just like breathing.  It becomes part of my day, just like eating food or brushing my teeth.  When I am out of the habit of running – I have a million things that keep me from running.  I need more sleep, the dog needs me to nap with him, the kids need me to help with their homework RIGHT NOW and clearly now is the only possible time to run, and on and on.  I have never been one to worry about streaks – I just make a plan and stick to it.  I think keeping up 100 straight days of running at least a mile every day would be an awesome challenge for me, and would lead well into goal #5….

Goal #5 – Have a 1,000 Mile Year

Back in 2014, I thought I would get this.  I was on track thanks to monthly races and marathon training.  Unfortunately, after my dismal performance at the Marine Corps Marathon, I found myself so disenchanted that I believe I ran something like 20 miles over the rest of the calendar year.  As I type it is August and I haven’t tracked my miles this year, but I can tell you they are probably less than 100.  I have my eye on 2016 as “my year.”

That’s what I’ve got.  I plan on checking in on how my progress towards these goals are going, and hopefully this will keep me accountable.  Nothing feels worse than when I have to write the “well, that didn’t work out” blog posts!  I’d love to hear your running goals too!  I am always inspired by the folks I chat with at the store and the different things they are working towards, whether it is their first 5k or their 5th Ironman!

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