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 know...in 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.
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?