Saturday, July 10, 2010

(Personal) Record-Breaking Performance

It feels good to accomplish a goal you set for yourself. Really good, albeit a little bit painful. This spring I set a goal for myself to break my PR (personal record) in the half-marathon. Just like teachers instruct their students, this goal was attainable, yet required focus and hard work to achieve. It was measurable, and the feeling of accomplishment I felt afterward proved to be all the reward I needed (because frankly, the ceramic tile I received at the finish has been sitting on my dresser for almost two months collecting dust). Talk about intrinsic motivation. The Capital City Half-Marathon marked the fifth time I laced up my sneakers for a 13.1 mile race. Each time I’d run it previously, I hovered just above the elusive two-hour mark, once rolling in somewhere around a heart-breaking 2:02. So, this training session I was determined to break two hours, meaning I would have to average around 9 minutes (or less) a mile. Not impossible, but a challenge (for me). I quickly discovered that’s tough to train for a race as long as a half-marathon by yourself. But I doggedly did all of my long weekend runs even though I didn’t have my resident cartographer by my side. Fortunately, however, I was able to borrow a friend’s Garmin GPS running watch which helped tremendously. Not only does said watch serve as a timer, but it also tracks your distance and keeps track of your mile pace (plus all kinds of other cool stuff that I wasn’t able to figure out). The Garmin proved to be a savior in the actual race, as I was aware the entire time of what I needed to do to break two hours…which was sometimes reassurance that I was on pace, other times a swift kick in the pants to speed up. Since I already spoiled this story and ruined all semblance of suspense by telling you I did in fact achieve my goal (by a mere 47 seconds), I’ll conclude with a motivational message to follow your dreams. No, seriously, I’ll include a picture to prove that I really did run and am not just totally making the whole thing up.

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