You know that saying “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you’ll be among the stars”? Well, it’s been a few weeks since I crossed the finish line in Chicago and that quote has been something I’ve been thinking a lot about now that the rush of one marathon has settled and I start to reset my focus on the NYC marathon (and beyond) and think about my goals and expectations.

Since my first marathon in 2011 my running goals have constantly morphed and changed from the first goal of just finishing before the course closed to Chicago’s main goal of running a sub 4-hour marathon. That’s the fun and exciting part about running, continuing to find the best version of you. Setting goals for yourself in all aspects in your life is important, but they can be scary and lingering in the back of my mind there is always the fear of failing to reach those goals. Will I be a disappointment? Will people Judge me? But really, what happens if you don’t each them? Let’s get real for a moment and I’m going to be honest with you, I set three goals Chicago (ultimately, they were for NYC, but I moved them up to Chicago because I thought it would be a better course and time of year to “race” for time.) My first and super obtainable that I was very vocal about was to finish in under 4 hours. My second goal, which I kept to myself and a few close friends, was sub 3:45, and my ultimate sky-high, reach for the moon goal was a BQ time, which I didn’t really tell many people about because I had so much self doubt that it would ever be possible.

Goals. It’s so important to have them and we should never be ashamed of them, they are personal goals for a reason, they are for you and no one can judge you or your goals. I don’t know why I cared so much about keeping the more unrealistic goals such a secret. In fact, if I would have been more vocal about them I may have had more confidence in myself! Most of us have a fear of failing, but what is failing to reach your goals if your goals are so high that even if you missed you’d still accomplished something? Ummm NOT FAILING at all! Finishing a marathon is a huge accomplishment and a time does not define you. We should all be setting our goals high and tell the world about them! What do you have to lose? Absolutely NOTHING, you may actually gain a lot more than you lose by sharing like; motivation, encouragement, tips, accountability, companions who may have the same goals… seriously so many good things!

Running the marathon distances teaches you so much, and each one has a new lesson, the 2016 Chicago Marathon taught me that I am so much more than I think I am. I am strong, I am determined, and I am much faster than I give myself credit for. Quick history on my marathon times: In 2011 I ran my first marathon in 5:07:59, in 2014 I ran my second marathon in 4:13: 08 and in 2016 I smashed all personal records in my third marathon in 3:43:18 seconds. That is insane! I don’t have to BQ to know that I am fast, even if it’s by no one else’s standards but my own, I am fast. I have come such a long way and I am continuing to work to be the absolute best version of myself in both my running goals and in life.

This was my first attempt and baseline for my ultimate sky high, reach for the moon goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon. I may not do it in NYC because with only 4 weeks recovery from Chicago, I just don’t think it would be in my best interest to go that fast. But next year, people. I will qualify for Boston and I can’t wait to share the ride with you. 2017 is the year.

-J

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