Thursday Things

1. I had a flash of inspiration in regards to my half marathon training last week. It occurred to be that people frequently set race goals not related to time, and since I feel decently confident that my chances of PRing–particularly, my chances of running the sub-2:00 half marathon I hoped to run–are somewhere between “highly unlikely” and “downright impossible,” I, too, could set a non-time goal! So, I’m happy to announce my new goal for this spring’s half marathon: negative split the race.

I have 14 half marathons under my belt, and thought I certainly don’t remember the specifics of all of them, I can’t remember a time where I ever negative split the race. If I ever did, it was an accident. This time around, I’d like to intentionally negative split the race, running the last seven (and a little change) miles faster than I ran the first six. Assuming the race has timing mats at the same locations this year as they did last year, I’d like my 10 mile split to have a faster pace than my 10K split, and my 12.4-mile split to have a faster pace than my 10 mile and 10K splits (or at least the same pace as my 10 mile split).

I, admittedly, don’t know how exactly to train for this (I’m sure a quick Google search could answer that question, but I haven’t looked into it at all yet), so for the moment, I’m trying to make a point using most of my runs to practice this kind of pacing: going out slow so I still have something left to give at the end. This has never been my strong point in running, and while I haven’t been perfect in the whopping four times I’ve tried this technique thus far, I have finished all my runs faster than I started them. I’ve also finished them much faster than I realized I was capable of finishing a run, which has been a nice ego boost. We’ll see how all of this goes over the next couple of months, particularly as it gets warmer outside, but I’m looking forward to having an A goal–a for-real, A goal, not a I’m-saying-this-on-the-blog-because-it’s-the-right-thing-to-say A goal–that isn’t in any way related to time. (But for the record, my B goal is sub-2:10, my C goal is PR, and my D goal is sub-2:00. I had to have some time related goals, after all 😛 )

2. While we’re on the topic of running, I went to Fleet Feet on Sunday for my annual shoe buying extravaganza. It was PACKED, but fortunately I had a ton of time to kill. When it was finally my turn, I told the saleswoman I’ve been running in Asics Gel-Nimbus 18s (for the past two years – I ran in the 16s before that) and that I wanted to stick within that wheelhouse. To my EXTREME disappointment, she told me they were now on the 20s, and that she’d give me some other shoes to try on as well. Last year, when I went in in late February, Fleet Feet had both the 18s (the 2016 model) and the 19s (the 2017 model). Since they still had the old model in stock, I got them highly discounted. I was really hoping that would happen again this year with the 19s, but no such luck 😦


Meh. I know you can’t choose your running shoes based on color, and I didn’t, but that doesn’t mean that I have to like the color of the running shoes I got stuck with. My options were this or a way-too-Instagram-friendly light grey/Millennial pink combination, which I disliked even more than navy. This is, like, the stupidest thing I’ve ever been annoyed about when it comes to running, because honestly, it just does not matter how pretty or not pretty my shoes are. I loathed the color of my 16s, but I survived that year of running just fine. But I wasn’t crazy about the color of my shoes in 2017, either, so I was hoping this year I’d have shoes that fit my style – which I guess navy does better than Millennial pink, at least. I just got too lucky in 2016 with my pretty light blue/purple shoes, and everything since then has been a disappointment in the color department. Please feel free to deposit all of your deepest condolences over this incredibly huge problem for me, a person who runs almost exclusively (when it’s warm, at least) in old race shirts and the cheapest shorts she could find at Old Navy. My life is horribly difficult 😛

3. I don’t think I have more mixed feelings about any month than I have about March. On the one hand, I spend just about every moment of the beginning of the year waiting with bated breath for Daylight Savings Time to begin, not because I’m so antsy to lose an hour of sleep on a Sunday night, but because I cannot–CAN. NOT.–wait for the sun to come back. Granted, the sun has been coming back for awhile now–I’m no longer commuting in the dark each way–but I am so excited to have sunset happen during the 6:00 hour instead of the 5:00 hour (even though it means sacrificing sunlight in the morning. But that really only lasts for a couple weeks anyway.). I don’t know what my deal has been this winter in particular, but I’ve been down in the dumps more often than not since January, and I’m almost positive it’s all weather/light related. This isn’t a new phenomenon for me–I’ve been aware of this seasonal pattern to my mood since at least 2013, though I also remember similar feelings during at least parts of college–but it’s definitely been more intense this winter than it was last winter, which has not been enjoyable. Going to work on Tuesday in just a fleece, with birds singing in the trees and sunlight streaming from the sky, felt like I was crawling out of a cave of despair for the first time in months. I felt light and happy and hopeful and just generally pleasant, none of which are adjectives I would’ve assigned to my morning commute (my mood is almost always the worst in the morning) up to this point in 2018. It was remarkable how good I felt. I’ve been waiting for this literally all year, and I’m so happy to feel happy again.

On the other hand, there have also been multiple times in my life where the first weekend in March in particular, for whatever reason, has turned out to be spectacularly awful. I legitimately dread this weekend every year, because I just assume something terrible is going to happen since it has so many times. If it were up to me, we would just skip this coming weekend entirely, make the days vanish and go directly to next Monday. I’m sure going into the weekend with this attitude of, “What kind of horror awaits me this year?” doesn’t really do me any favors, but man, when it’s been so consistent, it’s hard to not worry! Because of that, I spend the first two months of the year both desperately longing for March and desperately hoping we can somehow skip right over it, or at least the first part of it. I’m very eager to get to this time next week.

Do you prefer time-based goals or less quantitative goals for running? I think in general I prefer time-based goals, because I like to have something concrete (i.e.: sub-2:00) to work towards. But this is a nice change of pace!

8 thoughts on “Thursday Things

  1. I hope this weekend is boring and chill for you and nothing happens! (hoping the same for me, ha)

    I have done goals like that at races before (and been successful)! I bet practicing it during training, like you have been, will help.

    It’s great you support your local running store! And it looks like the 20s are that newer design. I can’t remember what it was called, but the tiger stripes are less prominent. Do they offer to order different colors for you? (Although, all of the colors look very different than previous models I would think they would to compete with online stores! I am still getting the 19s from Amazon.

    • You know, I didn’t even think to ask if they would’ve ordered different colors for me, but now that you mention that, when I was at the counter paying for my shoes, they were ordering shoes online for the girl next to me, so I bet they would’ve. Oh well, live and learn, I suppose. The only one I really like is the light blue one, but even then, I don’t like the orange on the bottom. Asics just needs to keep making light blue and purple shoes like the pair of 18s I had – that was far and away my favorite color scheme I’ve ever had on my running shoes! Why can’t they just do the same colors all the time for me?! Haha 😛

  2. I have mixed feelings about March as well. On the one hand, my birthday is this month, and we get more sunlight soon. On the other hand…as much as it feels like it should be spring effective March 1, it’s basically still winter. There will be more snowfalls and cold days and they are more frustrating in March because it feels like they shouldn’t happen. For example, last year we flew out to Utah the day after my birthday and our flight almost got delayed because of a snowstorm. This was on the 13th. These feelings are illogical because nature can do whatever it wants and it’s still officially winter until the 20th anyway, but nonetheless March tends to be an anxious month for me.

    I find it hard to get motivated by non-time goals in races. Even if I tell myself my goal is only to “finish strong”, I still get in my head that I should finish around a certain time and then feel upset if I don’t. Like you, I like having something concrete to shoot for. But at the same time, I also get frustrated by constantly measuring myself against time goals. It’s a lot of pressure to constantly put on myself for something that is completely arbitrary and really means nothing in the grand scheme of things. It’s a double-edged sword for sure: training for time goals can lead you to push yourself and achieve breakthroughs and be proud of your hard work, but it can also lead to burn out and pressure and running feeling like a chore. I am still figuring out the best way to manage it.

    • Happy birthday month to you! I totally get what you’re saying about the weather – I feel the same way! (I also feel the same way about September. I expect it to be instantly cool and crisp outside the day the calendar switches over to Sept. 1, but obviously that’s not the case!) I try to keep my expectations for constant spring-like weather low until, like, May. Haha.

  3. You have my condolences about running shoes in a color you don’t much like. It’s more fun when you love the look of the shoes. I love navy myself and I’m hoping navy will be an option when I buy my next pair.
    My half-marathon goals are time-based because I’m still getting faster, I’ll have to figure out new goals as it gets harder to PR. Two weekends ago I got a new PR by more than 2 1/2 minutes at 2:23:51. Final pace 10:59, which was astounding to me. Ragnar earlier in the month + fast course + cold (45 degrees when I finished) + not stopping at a portapotty = perfect conditions for PR

    • Maybe having shoes I don’t like will convince me to run more miles in them so I can get through them quicker and buy a new pair in a color I do like! Haha. One can hope, at least 🙂

      That’s so awesome about your half PR! Two and a half minutes – that’s a lot! I’m totally with you that cold weather can make a huge difference with something like that. I ran my half PR in similar conditions to yours (though I didn’t do a Ragnar before mine!), and I’ve never even come close to running a time like that since. I’m sure a lot of factors contribute to that, but I think the weather is a huge one – it’s a lot harder (for me at least) to run fast when it’s 70 degrees outside compared to 45!

  4. My running goals as of late have been of the injury-avoiding variety, or “just finish.” 🙂 Regarding the negative-split goal, I do that pretty much all the time when I’m pacing myself by heart rate. It’s a great way to force yourself to start out conservatively and gradually pick up the effort is a manageable way.

    I’m pretty loyal to Brooks Adrenalines, even when it meant getting pink for my last pair. I think it was that or black or white :-\ Thankfully the pair I’m in right now are a teal/pink combo (still not my favorite, but slightly better.)

    • That’s smart to pace yourself by heart rate for a negative split. When I’m just running normally, my heart rate hits it peak seemingly random parts of my run (maybe not all that random–usually when I go up a hill [well, incline – this is Chicago after all 😛 ]–but I don’t live on top of a hill, so it’s not like I’m hitting my HR peak at the end of a run). But now that I’ve been trying this negative split thing, I’ve noticed my heart rate steadily increases throughout the run, which seems like a more efficient way of going about doing things.

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