Sunday, February 8, 2009

Being is Believing

This time of year we tend to reflect inward. A self-assessment to gain understanding and insight into who we are and more importantly who we want to be. I realize January has almost passed and I have yet to formalize my goals. Maybe it is not the most interesting task on my to-do list, yet perhaps it is the most necessary.

Experience has taught me that it is very difficult to achieve goals that I have not defined. And I’ve also learned that almost all aspects in our life that are significant require goals. I remember when a previous employer asked me what was my five year goal? At that very moment I realized from his reaction that my standby answer “to make more money and have a better position” sounded as absurd to hear as it felt to say. In a same way “to run faster and farther this year” as my running goal sounds equally absurd.

I have come to realize the significance and importance of having clearly defined goals. How aggressively you set them should depend on how you feel about both meeting – and not meeting them. Personally I feel better when I set realistic goals that are aggressive and not met, than setting goals that are more practical and often too easily met. We all need to decide how we feel about our personal successes and failures prior to formalizing our goals.

With all that said my running goal for 2009 is simple: qualify for Boston. I realize that it will require first and foremost a serious commitment. Building the kind of mileage I need to log to handle a full marathon at essentially a tempo run pace will not only require my time, but it will effect other people in my life as well. Out of fairness I should at least give them a head’s up and ask for their support prior to making my commitment.

It will also require that I remain injury free. Much of that comes down to hard, intelligent training, and possibly a little bit of luck.

But most of all it will involve the determination to push hard late in the race. Not giving in to those fleeting moments of sel-doubt when the thought of giving in to the pain of pushing the pace sets in. Or the running rationalization that occurs on most twenty mile training runs that tempts me to head back at sixteen miles, or whatever mile marker the running begins to really get interesting, with the promise to myself of “making it up next week.”

Of all the potential obstacles, this is the one that concerns me the most. The one that only exists in my mind. Not the time needed to get in the miles, or the strain it may put on my personal relationships. And forget for a moment that dropping an additional 35 minutes off my marathon personal best may not even be physically possible. It is not a question of commitment, or how much I want it, but a question of what am I willing to endure to in order to reach my goal.

Somewhere down deep inside, I believe I can. I feel it. And believing you can accomplish your goal is the most important step toward achieving it.

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