Sunday, December 29, 2013

40: Choosing the Right Goal

A new year always bring about new dreams, new goals, new challenges. 2014 is particularly special for me because it's the year I turn 40, a milestone no doubt (and a new age group!).  I feel the need to do something big before I hit 40. As we traveled over the holiday, I had plenty of time to stare out the window and dream. I talked my hubby's ear off and we came up with a handful of options...

Challenge Level: High
This would take dedicated training way outside my comfort zone. But it's a goal not totally out of the question. My standing marathon PR is 4:16 last spring at Eugene. The question remains, "Can I hit a sub-4 in my life?" What better time to go for sub-4 than the year I turn 4-0. It would have to be a fall marathon, ideally somewhere close to my birthday at the end of October. My dream run would be New York, St. George or Niagra Falls.
Concerns: Summer training and injuries. 
A fall marathon means summer training. I am one miserable runner in heat, plus scheduling long miles is a challenge with kids on school summer break. My other concern is whether my body can handle full marathon training. Since the onset of plantar fasciitis this past fall, my feet just don't hold up like they used to.

Challenge Level: Low
As you know, I'm in the middle of my quest to #RaceAll50 states. The 40th state added to the United States was South Dakota, and oddly enough I haven't run it yet. Adding another 13.1 to my schedule would not be much of a challenge, but it would be a fun play on the number forty.
Concerns: Travel and timing 
I was saving South Dakota to run as part of a 'family trip vacation' to the Black Hills. The only Oct option is Run Crazy Horse, but it falls on a Guard weekend, meaning my hubby has to work. So I'd have to go alone most likely. Not sure if I like how that plays out...

Challenge Level: High/Moderate
This might be ridiculous since I have only completed one sprint triathlon... two summers ago. It was a lot of fun and I felt like I was in the best shape of my life during that time. Yet, I quickly exited the pool once that event was done. Three-sport training is tough to schedule, but yet I feel it's slightly more manageable and interesting than the long miles of marathon training. I like this option soley for the cross training that gives me the flexibility to mix up my training and minimizing injury.
Concerns: Swimming 
I have no concerns over the bike and run portion of a 70.3 triathlon, but the swim... 1.2 mile swim! Yikes! I tremble just thinking about squeezing into my swimsuit, much less going that kind of distance. My goal would be to finish the 70.3, but obviously I'd like to give a strong performance as well. I think I would need to hire a swim coach.

Challenge Level: Moderate
This has been on my wish list for awhile now. After completing the Venus 62 mile bike ride last summer, I'm 100% confident I am able to complete a Century Ride (100 mile) with proper training. The question now is which event and can I convince Amanda to do it with me?!?
Concerns: Timing and companions
Ideally, I'd like a fall ride. I have a couple events in mind, but both fall on hubby's work weekends which means a little more maneuvering of schedules, but not impossible. Lastly, long distance rides only work well when you have a good team of similar-paced friends to ride with... Who can I convince?

Help me decide... 
Which challenge do you think I should go after in 2014?!?


  1. The sub4 marathon before 40.... push your limits... you could do the Las Vegas marathon in November. I WILL be there for the half ;)

  2. I think it really depends on where your heart is at. The only wrong answer is one that won't make you happy. :-)

  3. This is a difficult choice. I love the idea of a sub 4 hour marathon, but it looks like the toughest of your options. You could go for several, including the 40th state which is clearly your easiest option. In any case, you will have fun working towards whatever goal or goals that you decide to attempt in 2014! I turned 60 in December and my first goal was to compete at Dopey Challenge (to celebrate the milestone birthday) and the second big goal is to BQ in 2014!

  4. as for the swim, a lot of people aren't great swimmers. when i started triathlons, i couldn't make it to one end of the pool, never mind back. i have done a handful of half ironmans, i get through the swim, and then on to the better two sports! but i agree, it's what you want to do that makes it the right choice. there might be some scheduling issues with some of them but if YOU WANT to do it, you will find a way.

  5. I think that you are capable of any and all of those choices!!!
    I'm fairly new to your site but just wanted to say, my husband is also in the guard (Kansas Air National Guard).
    Happy 2014!!

  6. Personally I love the idea of doing your 40th half in South Dakota...the whole 40 in 40 thing. I turn 50 this year and have 50 items I want to complete in the year I turn 50 (not all physical challenges)....I also wonder if you could do the South Dakota and one of the other ones that would be more challenging. Good luck with whatever you decide!

  7. I so enjoy getting inside your head and watching you make this big decisions. After turning 40, I ran my first ever I'll be impressed with whatever you decide. Summer training is no fun, though. Darn it.

  8. Niagara Falls would be a great place to go for a sub-4:00. There's only one hill (the Peace Bridge). Course support is awesome, and the finish is pretty spectacular in front of the Falls. I ran Niagara Falls in 2012, and it holds my current marathon PR of 4:17. It was a perfect day--temps in the 50's with a gorgeous blue sky. The only thing I didn't like was the late start--10:00, but that is necessary for people to make it through customs before the race.

  9. I love the South Dakota idea but I think you should go with what your gut/heart is telling you to do.

  10. I know this is way off course, but I just turned 40 this summer and celebrated 40 blessed years with 40 acts of kindness. Many of them were running related like handing outdated at a trailhead where Hammerstein for marathons, or writing encouraging messages on the paved trail for random runners to find. It was a fun way to give back and make me less cranky about my age. Thanks for all you do to encourage others! Wishing you a great 40th.

  11. Those are all challenging goals!! I like the 40th state-it seems to fit perfectly with your upcoming age! :)

    Good luck!


  12. What great ideas/goals! I'm sure you could find away to complete all of those! Have a fabulous 2014!

  13. Does SD have to be in October? Kim and I ran it in August in Black Hills and it was one of my most memorable races (which says a lot) If you have wiggle room with the month, I would suggest the Leading Ladies 1/2 that we did- course is all downhill too so its easy for a PR. Otherwise I would say the sub 4 hour marathon and St. George will definitely get you there as its a downhill course as well :)

  14. Wow, those are some great goals. I think the sub-4 marathon is an awesome one to go after. Good luck with whatever you choose to go after!

  15. alas Im not much running help---but Im a BAD ASS CHEERLEADER!! :-)

  16. These are all great goals! I'd pick the one that makes your heart sing. The one you'll have the most fun with. Only you know what that is. Good luck deciding!

  17. Loving! happy new year
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  18. They're all great goals. I think the Ironman gets my vote. BTW, my 40s have been A-M-A-Z-I-N-G :)

  19. I'd go for the sub 4 marathon, but that's because I'm aiming for a 3:55 or better this year at age 43 (and never run a marathon and only running since February 2013, but my coach thinks I can get there).

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  21. I just noticed that you have St George on the list. My vote is to run that one with your sub-4 goal.

  22. You know my vote is for anything swimming! :) Can't wait to see what you accomplish this year!

  23. I ran my first marathon at 35 and it was 3:59 - under 4 but barely - at 49 I ran 4:03 - I've only gotten much slower and I'm going to be 65 in March - 4:00 marathon - no problem - you're soo close!

  24. Those are all great goals! I find it super inspiring as I turn 35 next week, and am looking for something to do in my 35th year!
    The sub-4-hour marathon seems the most reasonable given some of the timing. I'm also motivated by the thought of doing a triathlon, but sadly my town's pool hours may not be reliable enough to make it a reality. I think whichever you do will turn out well!

  25. Awesome goals. The crazy horse run is a half or full but the full has a nice climb to it. There is the Mickleson half/full in June, a Spearfish half in July and August (downhill) also in South Dakota. I'm planning on doing at least one of the Spearfish runs and the Crazy Horse run this year.


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