Now that I’m in the last week of Couch-to-5K, I’m starting to think about what I want to accomplish in my first race, coming up in 3 weeks.  My target times, in order of ambition:

  • Baseline: finish. I’m really not worried about this, but my friends who run races tell me you always have to have this one. Basically, don’t get injured.
  • Disappointment threshold: 30 minutes. That’s 9:39 per mile. I haven’t had a run that slow since week four, when my knees were killing me.  But it still could easily happen; I’ll just feel let down if it does.
  • Reasonable expectation: 28 minutes or less. Simply, a 9-minute mile.  This seems to be the pace I’m settling into, so it’s not asking too much of myself at all.  If I were putting money on myself, this is where I’d put it.
  • Victory Dance: 27 minutes or less. That’s 8:41 per mile.  I’ve come close to that pace on shorter distances (most recently Week 7, day 1) and it seems attainable if I’m at my best, but it’s still a stretch.

Anything much faster than that is just out of the question.  I’m not aiming very high here — based on last year’s results, I hope to finish smack dab in the middle of the pack, even within my age group.  But this is my first race, ever; I have no idea what to expect of myself when the day arrives.  I don’t think I’m going to feel jitters or get overly excited, but I won’t really know until I’m there.

Oh, one more thing: I’d like to cross the finish line with a cartwheel. I need to start practicing my cartwheel.

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