Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Dream Big: CIM Goals

My fellow Nuunie-HTC Runner No. 2 buddy, Dorothy, has been infecting the Internet with a phrase she's been inspiring this fall: Dream Big.

The super-speedy, brand-spankin'-new-marathon-PRing (3:13!), totally adorable Dorothy & me during our nighttime leg of Hood to Coast.

As I've been tapering from my pseudo-training plan for CIM, I have been thinking about this phrase quite a bit while I'm out running. I know Dorothy didn't plan for this to become an assignment for people -- but I just need to fess up here.

As we all may (or may not) know, I was dealing with some burnout right after PRing at the San Francisco Marathon. Even though I qualified for guaranteed CIM entry with my SFM time, I debated about signing up for the race. I wanted the burnout to go away before I committed to another marathon, and yet the burnout wasn't going anywhere. From the beginning of August to mid-October, I sort of half-assed ran, went on long slow Sunday Rundays with friends, I spectated a lot of races, took a lot of days off (and by that I mean a LOT of days off), had my first DNS, tried running based on heart rate zones instead of pace, pretty much stopped blogging, and even changed my diet. I was willing to do anything to make myself feel better.

However, my heart rate was still exploding through the roof when I ran up hills, I was taking numerous breaks on even 5-mile casual runs, I felt tired and exhausted and frustrated most of the time, and I had little drive to even want to try marathoning again.

At the very last second possible, I signed up for CIM with my guaranteed entry before it closed. Then I got my butt back into gear since I had exactly 7 weeks until race day. There was no time to waste.

Something clicked, and it happened almost right away. Maybe it was because I had another race to look forward to. Maybe it was because I had 2+ months of rest that I denied actually needing. I'm very much looking forward to CIM because I think I have a good chance of doing well (by my own standards).

And this is where Dream Big plays in for me.

I've always sort of (ok, no really) underestimated my running goals. I want to give myself plenty of cushion for if/when I fail. I want to make things seem bigger and better when I hit my lowered goals.

Not this time. I want to put everything out there.

My first of two 20 milers for this shortened training cycle left me in disbelief. I came up with excuses ("But I broke it up into 3 little runs," "But I ran a race as part of it," "But I ran with friends and we stopped to talk," "blah blah blah"). The truth is, it happened.

My second 20 miler was even better and left me physically shaking my head. I came up with more excuses ("But I took 4 water/fuel breaks," "But I ran in the rain and that made me go fast," "But I tucked my watch away so I had no idea what my pace was," "blah blah blah"). The truth is, it also happened.

Thank you, Garmin Connect.

My 16-miler last weekend was even better. Another Nuunie-HTC buddy, XLMIC, made for me a pacing strategy to try. And it worked. Very well. There were no excuses.

Thank you, Daily Mile ... & XLMIC for the goal!

Things are getting better and better. I have high hopes.

For CIM, I am dreaming big. During my run today I truly absorbed my goals for this race, and I'm not going to hide behind them or underestimate myself this time.

If I fail at it, who cares? No one is going to hate me. It's not going to make me a bad person. It's not going to mean I'm a crappy runner. It just means I tried, I didn't make it, I'll train better, and I'll try again at my spring marathon. (Light-bulb moment!)

People put their Dream Big goals out there all the time and I respect them for not hiding behind lowered expectations. I admire that they are going for something beyond their comfort zone. I don't want to hide behind myself by setting goals I know I can hit anymore. I have absolutely nothing to lose and hopefully many more chances to try.

And with that... My Dream Big Goals for CIM.
  • A+ goal: Finish in 3:33:xx. XLMIC has created a pacing strategy for me that would have me finishing a few seconds under 3:34 if I have a perfect day. I will pretty much piss my pants if this happens, but hey... crazy things have happened for me in races before. Why not shoot for that perfect day?
  • A goal: Finish in 3:39. This would mark shaving an hour off my marathon time from when I first started. I will pretty much piss my pants if this happens, too, to be honest... and I truly believe I have a good chance at doing it at CIM. But maybe I can push beyond that, which is why I have an A+ goal. :)
  • B goal: Finish with a PR (sub-3:44). Did I ever think a PR would be so far down my goal list? No. But this time... it has to be. I've got more in me.
  • C goal: Finish strong, but knowing I'm going to do my absolute hardest to get my A+ goal next spring. That might actually include a real training cycle next time. ;)

There we have it folks. If I fail, I fail. If I get this, well, I'm probably going to shy off and not boast about it.

Or maybe I will.

Dream Big
. 11 more days!

Thanks for the inspiration, Dorothy.

Friendly reminder: You can use the discount code "ALYSSAFF10" until this Saturday (11-26) to save $10 on your SF 1st half, 2nd half, and full marathon registration for the 2012 races. After that the code expires -- and race fees go up! -- so now is your best time to save.


  1. Holy crap. You are beyond amazing. Just believe in yourself!! Those times are so unbelievable to me, any of those would leave me crippled for... well, probably ever. You got this!!!

  2. Ahhh! 3:33! I love it. You are going to BQ, I just know it.

    And I LOVE your attitude regarding your goal. Honestly, I'm going to be so bummed if I don't go under 4:00 at CIM. I'm trying to tell myself it's just a random round number, but my training was based around a 3:59:59.

    I promise to drink myself sloppy-happy if I come up short (or long).

    Thanks for the discount code. The SF 1st half was probably my most expensive race this year, so every saved dollar helps.

  3. GOOD LUCK! good for you for putting all of those big goals out there. Sometimes sharing them makes them seem that much more possible. I know you're going be amazing at CIM! thanks for sharing :)

  4. Good luck and have a great time! You are definitely an above average runner, and you know it - so own it! Get out there and show CIM what you're made of.

  5. You get it girl!! I'm so happy you know what it means to #dreambigrunlong - it's a mindset. You are the only person that can drag your body across that finish line to a PR. Be mentally strong. You won't take anything less than a BIG DREAM. Don't let yourself doubt for ONE single second. xoxoxoxo

  6. p.s. I have to add this in [even though I know I already told you] 11 is my favorite number and 8:18 is my #neverfails time/number/verse - I saw both of these numbers in this post. I think it means your BIG DREAMS are going to come true xoxoxoxox

  7. I am so so proud of you!!!

    I honestly think you are going to really surprise yourself, even in relation to that A+ goal. Your mindset is right on -- dream big, run hard, and whatever happens, happens.

    I'm reading a training book now, and the guy said something like: Good goal setters hit their goals 50% of the time. If you always hit them you are aiming too low (I think I have this problem) and if you never hit them you are aiming too high. I think this means you have to have a goal slightly outside your comfort zone.

    You are a strong runner and I believe in you! Aahhhhh!! It is going to be fantabulistic!

  8. OMG RoadBunner. That is SUCH a good quote. So true for me.... and for you, too!

  9. I am running CIM too! Good luck! :-)

  10. Yes! I love that you are dreaming big! And you have ME inspired after that post! I know you have that speed in you. So much of that really depends on the attitude you go into the race with. If you get on that starting line feeling strong and confident, great things can happen. I surprised myself during a marathon this fall too. And I bet you are going to do the same! Can't wait to hear about how you tore up the CIM course :)

  11. Such an inspiring post!! I have been in a bit of a funk lately and this reminds me that it is not forever. I believe in you as you believe in yourself and I know your going to rock CIM! <3

  12. Ypu rock kid, your going to own it, with will like this, noThing is going to get in my rainbow eyes'ssssss way!xxooxoxoxooxox

  13. Yesssssss, I love this. With this attitude, you are definitely going to kill the race.

  14. It's AMAZING how much your marathon time has improved in, what, a year? Year and a half? It's people like you that inspire me to stop sucking! :)

  15. Hi, Good Luck! You are amazing and I'm sure you have a great shot to reach your goals. I'll be pulling for you at CIM.

  16. Besides dreaming big, you have to work hard. You have done both...success is just 11 days away! :-)

  17. Right on!! You're going to be awesome! Can't wait!

  18. It is SO hard to find the balance between full-on gung ho training for an extended period and burnout. Everyone faces it at some point. And hey, if you hit that A+ goal, we say go ahead and shout it out and announce it loudly from the tallest rooftops - you had earned it! We hope to hear it here in Colorado! :-)

  19. This post makes me so happy! :) You have this in you - I am so glad you are GOING FOR IT!

  20. this post is so so so so so so awesome! i love how you are so honest, how you have really thought through this, how you are stepping up and dreaming big! such an inspiration. especially to me because from the time i started reading your blog a few months ago i identified so much with you. i was a bit behind you in my process - just this past fall marathon training season was when i first began to really dream and fight for a sub-4 marathon and realized i was capable of even better than that. i did it and ran a 3:41:56. i was less than two minutes shy of my BQ time. so now i am getting ready to start my spring marathon training cycle and am battling internally about how that is going to go down, what my goals will be and what i want to accomplish. what my BIG DREAM is...and to be honest i am struggling with fear but i know you are right - if i fail at it, really, so what!?!?! i will learn from it, i will be stronger for it, i will pick myself up and try again.
    i know you are going to ROCK your marathon and i cannot wait to read all about it! you are inspiring to me in so many ways!!!!!

  21. I love this post SO SO SO much and I am so proud of you for pushing the limits and dreaming big with your goals. I KNOW you have it in you and it's the most rewarding thing to really push and see big results. <3 <3

  22. I loved reading this! I love seeing you put it all out there. I love the fact that you've recognized your potential and that you're going for it. The bottom line is that there will always be more races, so why not see what you can do? A PR would be amazing on its own, but who says the PR has to be one minute? Why can't it be a lot of minutes? I can't wait to see you pull out the stops next Sunday, and I can't wait to see you finish. You are amazing.

  23. I haven't hit my "A" goal in my past two marathons...oops? But I did PR at both of them, and you can't ever NOT be happy with a PR. (It took me awhile to come to terms with this...oops.) Both of those times I was shooting for big PRs and I didn't get the time that I was looking for...but you don't know unless you try, right?

  24. Where is the recap?!?!?!? I want to write mushy comments for your stellar performance!