I’m going on my… Second year of running? No, wait, third. Wow. Has it been that long? Feels like just a few months. Anyway.
So the thing is, as someone who had never run a day in my life, I basically took it as goal accomplished if I was able to finish a race before the course shut down. That was my “time goal,” if you will. When I first started, I was blissfully ignorant of time goals. At my first half marathon, which was a little over 5 months after I first wheezed my way through less than a mile of run/walking, it never occurred to me that there was a reason no bagels were left by the time I finished or that the water at the water stops was gone when I rolled through. When talking about the race afterward, I had no idea what my friend meant when she said she had a bad race because her time “was over 2 hours.”
I was the jubilant idiot laying sprawled out on the grass by the finish line who was ready to puke, crap my pants, and pass out at the end. I was just overjoyed that the course hadn’t closed down while I was still on it.
So when did I become so enamored (obsessive?) with the idea of time goals, and especially with a half marathon in under 2 hours? My singular and growing obsession with the half marathon is made all the more peculiar in that I don’t care much about my 5k or 10k times, in the marathon, I mean, fuck it, who cares as long as I don’t die in the process.
I think the time fetish is linked to weight loss, or lack thereof. I plateaued and I haven’t been able to lose a pound in over a year. Where once I measured progress in weight lost, now I do it with time. I have a compulsive need to have a goal in mind, something I’m working towards to give my life structure. Lately, though, I’ve come to realize that even if I didn’t see any time improvement or weight loss, running has become a hobby that has actually really, genuinely helped improve my overall mental health. Since I started, my bouts of depression aren’t quite as severe or as prolonged as they once were. So with all that in mind, I’m hoping that my fixation with time doesn’t completely ruin running for me, because I can totally see that happening.
Out of curiosity: does anyone else have time goals when they run? when did you all start having them? do you focus on one distance over others?