My Upcoming Race Goals

All I want to do in life is talk about running and make lists and goals.

Yesterday on my way to get Remicade, I snagged a seat on the crosstown bus and started typing out my 2012 Resolutions. I’m pretty pumped about them. They’re good.

I always thrive when I have a plan. I like having something to work toward and strive for, and with the marathon behind me — insert tears of sadness here — I’ve made a point to keep registering for races and making non-marathon-related goals.

Oh my gosh weird, a marathon photo. How did that get there?

Obviously not all goals in life have to be running-related, but mine all seem to follow that pattern right now, and I happen to be registered for four races to wrap up 2011.

One of the best lessons I learned during marathon training came from my sweat-addicted friend Emily. After I ran a few disappointing races early in the training season, including the Mini 10K alongside Mrs. Coach Cane (I couldn’t keep up with the pregnant lady and I was pissed)…

That’s Mrs. Coach Cane at 17 weeks pregnant, and me trying desperately to keep up. She dropped me at mile five and I sulked.

…Emily had a chat with me about race goals.

She was like, “Ali, if you think you’re going to PR in every single race you run in your lifetime, you are so F-ing stupid. Honestly, I can’t even be friends with you. You’re dumb and all the PRs you got earlier this year made you cocky. Take it down a notch. Chill out. And bring me some pasta and a cupcake and some wine.”

That’s how I remember the conversation going, but it also may have gone something like this: “You’re not always going to PR, and that’s OK. You can make other goals for your races that aren’t just about running your fastest race. Make a goal to negative split the course, or make it your goal to run happy.”

She’s a smart girl, that Emily.

We are happy because we just demolished a bread basket…each.

So, with that advice in mind, I have made goals for each of my upcoming races and now I’m going to share them with you.

Race to Deliver (4 miles, Central Park)

  • This race is on Sunday. I’m going to be doing my last long training run for the Vegas Half tomorrow, which means I’ll be racing the 4-miler the day after a long run. Maybe I shouldn’t have also crushed my legs during spinning this morning, but whatever. I got to meet Allison, so it was worth it.
  • I plan to run my long run at a conservative pace on Saturday so I’m not burnt out for the race on Sunday.
  • My goal for this race is to run no mile slower than an 8:15 pace. My 4-mile PR is 31:08, and I’m not necessarily out to beat that. If I feel good after my long run I’ll go for it, but that would mean running a sub-7:47 pace, so we’ll just wait and see. The goal is faster than 8:15s. Should be a piece of cake. And then I will eat a piece of cake.

Turkey Trot 5K (3.1 miles, Bow, NH)

  • I’m running this race on Thanksgiving morning with my mom. I use the term “with” loosely because I love her, but we’re not actually planning to run side by side.
  • This will be my first race in my home state! The course is a boring out-and-back on the back roads of Bow, but it’s only 3.1 miles so I’m not too concerned with the course. I have no idea if it’s hilly or not. All I know is that when the race is over, there is gravy aplenty.
  • My goal for this race is to PR. I’ve only ever run one 5K and it was a Turkey Trot last year…in an Indian costume. This year I’m not wearing a costume and I want to beat last year’s time of 24:34, which is a 7:55 pace. Based on my recent training runs, this should be a piece of cake as well. A piece of cake with a side of turkey and stuffing.

Las Vegas Half Marathon (13.1 miles, Las Vegas, clearly)

  • This is my big fall race. I’ve been training for this beast since the marathon ended and now that I’ve been pumped full of anti-Crohn’s drugs, I’m feeling confident that my stomach is going to calm down just in time for me to crush the Vegas strip.
  • This will be my first night race. The race starts at 5:30 pm, which terrifies me. I never run at night, let alone race at night. Am I supposed to eat pasta all day long? Am I supposed to drink all day and run drunk? It is Vegas, after all. Ideally I would have liked to do a few training runs at night to prepare, but my stomach just hasn’t been cooperating, so I’ll just be going for it and seeing what happens.
I’m so excited. Go Team NYC!
  • My goal for this race is to PR. My current half marathon PR is 1:44:48, so I will be happy to clock in at 1:44:47.
  • My other goal for the Vegas Half is to run happy. I know that’s lame and cheesy, but the reason I’m even doing this race is because I raised money for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. I’m running the race with Team Challenge (I’ll be proudly sporting a bright orange Team Challenge singlet with my leg warmers), so while I have my selfish “run for Ali and PR the shit out of this course” goal, I also want to keep in mind that this race is happening thanks to all the people who helped me raise $20,000 for CCFA. I’m honored to be attending the race weekend as a Team Challenge “VIP,” and when my legs start to hurt during the race and my mind starts playing tricks on me, I want to remember the real reason I’m running — to find a cure for lame-ass Crohn’s — and stay positive. Easy enough, right? (Someone please remind me of this goal if I don’t PR, because I’ll probably be mean and cranky at that time.)
  • Bonus goal: Cross the finish line with Brian. It’s his first half marathon and while I have a feeling I’ll be eating his dust for most of the race, I think it would be awesome to finish the race together — though we haven’t actually discussed whether or not we’re planning to run together. And yeah it’d be cool to have a finish line photo of the two of us, but I’m also thinking that with 44,000 runners, the finish is going to be a total packed mess, and if we don’t finish together we may never find each other after the race. Soooo just a thought. Brian, do you want to run the Las Vegas Half Marathon with me? (Seriously though, I’m really excited for him. I think he’s going to love doing a big flashy race like this one.)
This is Brian (far left) after his first race: the Battle of Brooklyn 10-miler. I ran it as part of Run For The Rabbit, and Brian ran it, too. No one knew we were dating then. See how stealth we were, not even standing next to each other for the photo? SNEAKY.

Ted Corbitt 15K (9.32 miles, Central Park)

  • I’ve never done a 15K, so automatic PR! Also, I just had to Google “How many miles is a 15K?” Not embarrassed. The course for this race will be boring: a 4-mile loop of the park followed by a 5-mile loop of the park.
  • My goal for this race is to start and finish. Simple! This will be my last qualifying race for the New York Road Runners 9+1 program, giving me guaranteed entry to the 2012 New York City Marathon. Woo! All I need to do is cross the start line and cross the finish. I honestly don’t care what happens in between. Yes, I want to run a strong, smart race as always, but as soon as I cross that finish, I’m in for next year’s marathon! Finally!

And there you have ’em: my goals!

NOW I WANT TO HEAR YOURS: What goals do you have left for 2011? Upcoming races? A workout class you’re afraid to try? (I still need to check SoulCycle and Yoga To The People off my Resolutions list before the year is over!) A recipe you’re dying to make? A zit you’d really like to pop? (It’s not gross, it’s normal.) Share, please!



0 Responses

    YOU PRd!!!
    No, I know you haven’t posted yet.
    But yes, I have internet access,
    and the results just came out.
    30:24!!! New lottery numbers. Use them!
    Waiting for race recap!

  2. I ran in my very first 5K race today—HUGE step for me, and it was so much FUN! My goal is to keep running now, find another 5K to sign up for, and hopefully run it and beat my time from this race. 🙂

  3. “Am I supposed to drink all day and run drunk?”

    Um, obviously? Heh, just kidding. Sort of. I bet racing drunk in Vegas would be fun! But that is probably not good advice.

    On a more serious note, I like your 2012 running goals and I KNOW you are going to knock that 5k out of the park. I have a secret idea of what time you are gonna run and it’s FAST.

    Also, when are we doing this mimosa brunch/secret santa sweat squad thingamajig? I want in.


  4. Hmm…2011 goals – earn enough money to pay for more running and get my leg healthy. I will go to you with YTTP and/or Soul Cycle if you need a buddy.

    2012 – get published, run an awesome marathon and have a good time doing it, same goes for the half, run a 5K, do strength stuff at least 1x/week (hopefully, 2x), eat less sugar at night, figure out where I want to go to residency, hmm….many more.

    I also got upset when I started to not PR every single race. When I first started running 2.5 years ago, it was so easy to improve every time and to improve by huge amounts. Now, its not a given and a lot of stars have to align sometimes for me to PR. Its made those times that I do blow it out the water that much more special. I’m still waiting on that for the marathon, so I can’t help you there.

  5. I’m running my 2nd half marathon (White Rock–Dallas) on December 4th. I ran my first back in March just 5 months after running my very 1st 5K. It took me 2:20 so I would love to beat that by at least 5-10 minutes?!? I actually am running my 3rd 5k tomorrow afternoon and was really hoping to beat my previous time of 28:45 but it’s going to be 77 degrees with 20 mph wind and gusts up to 40 mph. Heat+wind=sucks. So now I’m not so sure.

  6. I’m running a 4-miler on Thanksgiving (automatic PR!) and two 5Ks in December. The 4-miler has a wave start – those who expect to run at a 9min pace or faster start first, everyone else 5 minutes later. (After running a super crowded 5K on Thanksgiving last year, I’m thankful for this.) Since I’ve never raced 4 miles before, my goal is to start with the first group and finish in under 36 minutes, so I feel like I started with the right group. For the 5Ks, my goal is to PR in at least one of them (5K PR is 25:59).

    Good luck at your races!!! It seems like the entire running blogger/Twitter universe is running RnR Las Vegas – I’m pretty jealous!!

      1. This is often the response I see when people dress in ethnic costumes and think it’s cute or funny. Someone’s ethnic heritage is not a costume. Take some time to educate yourself as to why this is offensive to people of color.

  7. My goal is to start running outside more. I’m such a wimp when it comes to cold weather, but I’m signed up for an early spring half marathon and I absolutely do not want all of my training to be on a treadmill!

  8. I started reading your blog and am loving it!! I am actually going to post a link to your blog in my post today 🙂 I don’t have Chron’s disease but I struggle a lot with stomach issues related to IBS, and it’s not fun! I also live in NYC! I also am running the 4 mile race to deliver Sunday! Lot’s of also’s lol But I would LOVE to meet up sometime.. I have done one blogger meet up and loved it! It was at 16 Handles, naturally 🙂 You’re a lot faster than me or else I’d say lets run together at the race Sunday!

  9. I read a lot of us-running-blogs and I always have to google how much km it is, so dont feel embarrassed :). I also think I should think about my goals for 2012. The only thing I ever do are To-Do list for the day, but never tried to do it for a longer time. Maybe I start with making a list for December!

  10. I did that 15K two years in a row and hated it for two years in a row. It’s cold and hilly. (Also, December has been running-burnout month for me for the past two years, so there’s that.)

  11. emily is so smart. i need to take that advice too!
    and im so jealous about the 15k! i wanna do that one so bad but will be out of town. sadface.
    good luck on alllllllll of your goals…though im pretty sure you will still PR EVERY race!

  12. Hmmm…I’d say your big fall race was the marathon, not Vegas, but that’s just me… 😉

    Good luck this weekend! Don’t be too hard on yourself on Sunday – try to enjoy it as much as you can.

    I don’t have any official races lined up for the rest of the year. There may be a 5K or two thrown in there…or maybe not. I’m feeling a little burned out these days, so I’m kind of enjoying the rest. We’ll see if I can fight off the “racing bug” until 2012 though.

  13. I too thought that you are just “supposed” to PR at every race. It took a while for me to realize that every race is different.

    Once I saw 44,000 runners for Vegas, I knew a PR was out the window. Drunk running/walking/stumbling it is for me. My Vegas goal is to not puke and to not get on the sag wagon.

  14. Readers, for the record, I did not drop Ali. We had a pace planned for the race and I was out there as her metronome. Do I think she can run faster? Duh, that would be yes! I hope she doesn’t get what my friend calls “PR-itis” where she is disappointed if every race is not a PR. I also hope that she remembers racing the day after a long run is tough–tired legs. That said, she should go out and enjoy the 4-miler.

  15. That Emily is a smart lady, I love the idea of setting a goal other than PR for a race. I may steal that.
    First, I will be cheering you on on Sunday (with the twins) at the Engineer’s gate!! I’m so excited to spectate a race. G1 will bring her cow bell. 🙂
    My goals are to run a 1:45 half this spring and to complete a triathlon in 2012.

  16. I finally tried the fitness class I was a bit weary of but had been advised to try. The dreaded Kettleball class. I have to admit I was a bit snobby in refraining to attempt this class…. “Oh what can I Kettleball do to really get me in shape.” Oh it can DO A LOT. In fact, it can KILL YOU. The instructor said to me ‘oh you look like you lift, here use the 15-pound one’ ummm FML because I literally was unable to walk for 3 days after the class due to the muscles in my back aching from my lower back up to my ears. I will say that it was an AMAZING class…. and I will take it again despite having to lather myself up with Biofreeze nightly. Sexy.

  17. I have 1 race left this year, the Holiday Half Marathon – My goal is to run the whole dang thing, but I don’t think a PR is out of reach. I want to go sub 2:10 in this one. After that, its hot yoga, crossfit and speed training till February.

    Good luck in all your races!

  18. Love your goals! Mine:

    1) Sub-2 half marathon in Miami in December. I’ve heard myself backing away from that recently — “oh, I just want to PR.” “oh, I just want to have a good race.” — but yeah, I’m going for the sub-2.

    2) pick a marathon (fall 2012) and register before I can talk myself out of it.

    3) ride my bike! First step: a learn-to-ride-road-bikes-for-adults class on Sunday, as long as it doesn’t get rained out.

  19. Only 2 races left! A turkey trot in Michigan (which I prob wont PR because I have to drive 4 hours to my parents house at 5pm in Chicago rush hour traffic and will most likely get home late – wahhh), but I love “racing” before stuffing my face!

    Last race is a 5K, in Georgia, with my besties who moved to there this summer after getting married. Pretty pumped to run a race in December and not have to layer up! It my BF’s 2nd 5K ever, so I’m so pumped for her…. but I’m more pumped to brunch and drink afterwards in downtown Savannah 🙂

    If I’m feeling it, I might run the Rudolph Ramble 8K in mid -December… but I’m waiting to see how the weather looks and prob will sign up the week of the race!

  20. Goals left for 2011 – PR in the 5K (last race of the year). Hit 100 miles in November. Be consistent in running 30 mile average weeks entering into winter.

    2012 goals are starting to shape – started with signing up for my first marathon! Yay!

  21. >> Am I supposed to eat pasta all day long? Am I supposed to drink all day and run drunk?

    That’s what we’re going to do. Well, maybe not the pasta part. But definitely the drinking part!

  22. I like your strategies – you’re gonna crush those goals!
    Mine is to relax and stop putting so much pressure on myself – it makes me do worse in races. I want to PR the Philly half that I’m doing on Sunday. Not sure if that’s realistic because I ran the NYC marathon 2 weeks ago, but I’d like to try!

  23. OK – We need advice. Both Emily’s mom & I want to do a race in NYC!!! Anything from 5k to Half Marathon. (I wish I had known about Sun’s race. I’ll be in NYC on Sat to meet friends!) What do you recommend??

    As far as 2011 goals I have not met: haven’t run a 10k, haven’t volunteered, haven’t PRed a 5k but I have run 5 Halfs and a 15K and 2 races in other states – YAY!

  24. Ali! I’m running the Bow, NH Turkey Trot, too, when I go home for Thanksgiving! 🙂 Not an awful course, but it does start with a long incline from the start at the high school. I’ll look for someone in leg warmers, although I may be too starstruck to say hello!

  25. I have 3 races and 3 goals for the rest of 2011 that are running related. A 10K Turkey Trot (Id like to run it under an hour) a 15K Hot Chocolate run (Id like to run it in under 1:30) and a Miami Half Marathon (that Id like to break 2:13 for). All the goals are pretty likely and all PRs (I only started racing this year but I agree with Emily, only I have a few more races in me that will PR I think), but it is the training that I am finding fun which is totally weird to me.

    Cant wait to see you crush your goals and read about NYCM next year 🙂

  26. My goals…

    More races next year. I walked in 4 – 5K’s, 1 – 9K race and one 2 mile hike. Next year I think I want to run at least one of the races, naturally then i’d have a new PR. It’s awesome how that works out.

    I also want to do longer races, maybe another 9K or even a 10K.

    Reach my goal weight – after losing 137 lbs the remaining 97 pounds will be easy, right? RIGHT?!

  27. That’s awesome you get to run your first race in your home state! I haven’t done that yet, I’m from Maine, and I really can’t wait for that day to come.

    My goal for 2011 is to get healthy again, hopefully my injury is starting to go away.

    I do have a 5K coming up on December 11th and I’m hoping to run a sub-30 minute race. I’m pretty sure I can do it since I have gotten faster since my first and second 5Ks but since I have been injured I’m not so sure what will happen. I just want to run the entire thing!

    I was supposed to do a 15K last weekend, my first one, but I had to pull out at 2.5 miles when my injury got worse. I hope you have fun!

  28. I don’t have a blog, but I’ve been reading yours for a while. Secretly, I think one of the reasons I like reading your blog is that you are a little bit faster runner than me, but not so much so that I have no hope of ever catching up. Super fast people’s blogs depress me when they are like, “WAHHHHH, I didn’t hit my goal half marathon time of 1:15. Instead I ran 1:18. My life is OVER!!!!” I also read your blog to motivate me to actually get out there and run. Days where I am tired or not feeling it have NOTHING on Crohn’s.

    Anyway, the real reason I commented (I’m sure you were waiting for me to get to it) is that I got super excited because you are running a race in Bow! I grew up in Bow! It’s so exciting that someone else knows that my little town of 8,000 people exists!

    So I guess to wrap up this monster comment, I hope the Remicade kicks the Crohn’s to the curb and you show those Bow Turkey Trotters who is boss!

  29. Goodness, I feel so famous =) My quads are still exhausted!

    I’m the same way with goals. Especially physically, I find that I workout so much harder when I have something to work towards! And its much easier to motivate myself when I have a goal in my head as well. I’m still trying to figure out my upcoming goals after NYCM, but for right now, its getting my non-running muscles in shape again! Can’t wait to see you crush the Vegas course!

  30. These are awesome, totally achievable goals! You’ve got a lot of planned races, so great for you and Brian to run his first half together too. I’m happy for you! My goal is to do intervals at least once a week to help increase my pace…as much as I hate them, I know I need them!

  31. Yay for final countdown goals! I was actually just thinking about these.

    I would like to PR at my turkey trot 10k. I’ve only run 1 other 10k before but I was oddly faster then than I have been recently.I’m hoping adrenaline + running “with” my fast family members helps and I have a shiny new pr but either way I’ll get bagels at the finish line and donuts that my aunt brings (yes, both…)

    I want to host another dinner party. I finally hosted one and people seemed to have fun and noone got food poisoning! Score! So I’d like to try my luck again.

    I want to start strength training again. I’m a weakling.

  32. Great list!!

    My 2011 goals are;

    Antioch CA 10k in Dec…i would love to run under 58mins. But 58something will be okay too. It’s my first 10k for years and i can’t remember my previous PR. Handy.

    Train sensibly for a half marathon in Feb…prob the Kaiser half in San Francisco. I need to be running 9 miles by the new year.

    Get all my Christmas presents in the post to the UK in time for the postal deadline. My biggest challenge.

    Roast my first turkey, 10 years after I should have done this!!!!

  33. My remaining 2011 running goal is to finish the Philadelphia Marathon strong and with a smile on my face! It’s my FIRST marathon! I’m so excited that it’s finally here. I can’t wait to cross that finish line on Sunday!

  34. I ran The TC15K the past three years in a row in NYC. Always loved the winter races!

    My next big race is the Houston Marathon on January 15. I had amazing training and then totally bonked in New York. My goal for this one is to hopefully coast on my nice, flat, familiar streets and PR, beating my 2010 NYCM finish time. If anything, it’ll be a fun weekend– the Olympic Trials are held at the same time!

  35. Nice goals lady! I definitely think that you are going to PR with all that speed work Coach Brian is putting you through. I don’t have any races lined up for the remainder of the year. I might do the Jingle Bell Jog in Brooklyn. Other than that my 2011 goals are to not get fat from drinking egg nog and eating Christmas cookies and to work on getting faster.

  36. A few goals left for 2011: Run 2 more 5Ks. I had a goal back in July to run a 5K each month from September to December. I have my next one this Sunday (gunning for that PR too!) and then I still have yet to bite the bullet and sign up for one in December. I know I will, I just like to procrastinate sometimes. I also have a goal to not spend a crazy amount of moolah on Christmas presents but still get everyone something nice. Third, I have a goal to stop pestering my boyfriend. The big, kinda scary “engagement” conversation has been coming up again and again. I don’t want him to feel pressured even though we both don’t feel like waiting much longer!! =)

    xo Marie
    Chocolate & Wine

  37. Emily is right on the money. I’m glad you have so many fun races coming up! I do as well…I’ve got a half coming up Dec 4th in Dallas, a 3 mile trail run Dec 10th, 15K Dec 17th, and finally to end the year on a high (crazy) note I’m doing a half marathon on New Year’s Eve and a half marathon on New Year’s Day – it’s a race called the New Year’s Double. A bunch of my running buddies are going it so it’ll be fun. Enjoy and let us know how it goes Sunday!

  38. Nice goals! Have fun in the Race to Deliver this weekend! I love that race…but I am biased since it was a good race for me…I run exclusively at night so let me know if you want to do any training runs at night to prepare for Vegas! And by night I mean evening. With the darkness it feels like night at 4pm. As for me I will be in Philly running this weekend…

  39. Goals left for 2011… hmmm… Finish the book that I am currently reading, and watch as many Christmas movies as possible! I love the Christmas season, and I want to enjoy it as much as I possible can! I hope you have a fantastic time running each race that you have scheduled, and I’m excited to read your recaps!

  40. I had my most amazing PR of my life in the Race to Deliver last year, I finished in 33 minutes! That is INSANE for me. You will do awesome, I love that race. It has a great energy. My main goal for the rest of 2011 is to get back into shape. I lost a lot of my strength while marathon training and I don’t currently fit into most of my clothing, so I just want to take Refine and Core Fusion and feel like myself again. For 2012, when it gets warmer, I have a LOT of running goals that I didn’t even know I had until after I finished the marathon. 2012 will be about running.

    I am jealous that you convinced Brian to run a half and my other goal for 2012 is to convince Andy to do the same. I even bet one of his friends $50 that I would (thought to be fair, his friend has not [yet] accepted this challenge).

    I was planning on taking Refine on Thanksgiving morning but I am tempted to take my friend up on a Turkey Trot, I think it’s 5 miles, on Long Island. I need to think more about this.

  41. I think I love your friend Emily. She’s one smart cookie! I’m with her on this one – sure, it’s AWESOME when a PR happens, but it doesn’t always need to happen to call a race “successful.” My half marathon in August – I had one goal: run proud. And I ran as proudly as I could and as it turns out, I ran so proudly that I PR’d it. The half marathon in October? I wanted to run happy but also to PR (even though I didn’t really talk about it all that much on the blog). I never EVER thought I’d finish in 2:05 and I think that’s partly because sure, in the back of my mind, I wanted a PR, but what I wanted more was to run a happy race, to run it by Scott’s side and to enjoy the experience. I REALLY hope you get that combination out of the Vegas half – especially with Brian by your side!

  42. This list is awesome! And your post had me laughing! I agree with not trying to PR every race – but it’s HARD to not want to each time you walk up to a start line.
    My goal for 2011 that is still unchecked is to complete my first ultra (I’ve run 26.2+ miles in training before, but not in an actual “race” environment). Hoping that by tomorrow afternoon I can check that baby off the list (I’m doing the Knickerbocker 60k in Central Park –>9x inner loops = not fun!).
    Good luck with the rest of your races this year! Looking forward to reading about them!

    1. An ultra?! Holy Hell, you’re a badass. I’ll be running in the park during the race tomorrow, so if you see a girl in obnoxious leg warmers wave and I’ll cheer for you! And GOOD LUCK!!!

  43. I have no races scheduled right now, which makes me feel just a little sad. I’ve done 2 5ks, so I’m ready to try out a 10k! I think a run on the vegas strip at night would be fun… or at least give you lots of entertaining things and pretty lights to look at!

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I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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