Thursday, April 30, 2009

Setting the Bar Low

In 2 days I will run my 9th Indianapolis Mini-Marathon. I love running the Mini. It is actually the largest half marathon in the U.S. (I Indiana, can you believe it?!) with over 35,000 runners.

My favorite part of the race is when we get to run the 2 miles around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I grew up going to the race every Memorial Day weekend, so it's exciting to run on the same track that racers like Mario Andretti, Danica Patrick, and many others have driven. (Note, I am not featured in the photo below. I'm pretty sure these guys would have kicked my ass).

I found a website that listed all of my past times, which was kind of fun. Back in '97 and '98, we didn't even chips.....whew, I am old. :-) It's interesting to see how I was "stuck" for 5 years with about the same pace - and this is without a Garmin or really paying much attention to my pace.

1997: 2:21:44
1998: 2:20:31
1999: 1:55:23
2001: 1:55:48
2002: 1:57:15
2003: 1:54:35
2004: 1:54:37
2005: 1:46:37

The first time I ran the Mini I was 16 - a young pup! I made the mistake of under training (note to self: a 7 mile run is NOT long enough when training for a half-marathon), and got a stress fracture as a result. Live and learn!

The last time I ran the Mini I PR'd (is that a verb? I made it one). I'm not expecting to PR this year, since I'm not nearly in the shape I was then. But it made me think about what my goal time will be. Usually for races, and I think with a lot of things I do, I set the bar low. I guess I do this so that I will not disappoint myself if I don't succeed. I remember doing this when I was in school, too. I would HOPE for an A, but expect a B. In my head I always have my ideal goal, but I don't let myself focus on that too much for fear of letting myself down. For example, when I ran my 15-K a few weeks ago, my goal was under 80 minutes. But deep, deep down, I knew I really wanted to get around 75 minutes.

With that said, my "low" goal this year for the Mini is 1:55 and under. My "ideal" goal is 1:50. And I'm going to really try to NOT beat myself up if I don't achieve my ideal goal. After all, this isn't the Olympics, and I ain't no Kara Goucher. :-)

What about you? When you have an event coming up, do you set your bar high? Low? Or do you just sit and drink at it?


Missy said...

Good luck with the race! So cool that you get to run on that track! I think I usually set my goal lower for the same reason as you. I am hoping to run my first 5K in a few weeks. I don't even know if I can run that long so I will probably set a pretty low goal!

Kristi Summer said...

good luck!

Anonymous said...

With any race (or anything that is major and I'm setting goals for), I always set three goals:

Best Case Scenario
Average Scenario
Shit hits the fan Scenario.

With half marathon's my goal (right before blowing out the knee was):
#1.) Go under 1:50
#2.) Stick to around 9 minute miles and don't walk
#3.) Finish the race

Have fun this weekend! I keep kicking around the idea of running long distances again but my knee is always scared.

Happiness Awaits

Nicole said...

OMG! Sooo cool that your running Indy! I ran last year and my time was 2:10:XX. I hope to PR. My fastest 1/2 is 2hours flat.

I'm excited i found another runner on the web before the race! GOOD LUCK!!!


Anonymous said...

thanks for the sweet comment! =)

I can't believe this is your ninth time running the mini - its actually a really good way to measure your running progress too.

I dont really race, but I think I would set the bar low so to say, just so that I wouldnt be dissappointed and if I did beat my goal - it would be an extra bonus =)

Nicole said...

I dont know if you will get this before indy but if you do- whats your bib number and what corral are you in?

If you dont feel comfortable telling me thats fine! If you do, Email me @ I'll tell you mine!

Anonymous said...

Wow! you've been running the mini since you were 16?
my dream has alwasy been to complete a marathon! Good luck on your race!

healthy ashley said...

My goal is usually this: finish.. alive!

Good luck tomorrow!!!

Anonymous said...

:) I can totally relate...I definitely set the bar low. My goal for the last marathon was to just run it in under 5 hours! Only lately have I realized that I have much greater potential...and seeing all of the times you posted and how my half times have progressed in a similar fashion is incredibly inspiring to me!! Good luck this weekend, you will rock the mini-marathon!!

Heather McD (Heather Eats Almond Butter) said...


So many things in my head right now:
1. I totally have a girl crush on Kara Goucher. My husband thinks Shalane Flanagan is a better runner. Um, no! Love my Kara!

2. Look at your improvements in the half over the years. That's impressive. Hope it went well this year.

3. Do you live in Indy? My older brother teaches at Carmel High.

4. I'm old too. :)