In Between Goals

It’s pretty plain I like goals. I have lots of them: regular goals, big goals and even those I call a BAG (big audacious goal). I like helping people reach their goals too, whatever the size and challenge. This year I’ve discovered a new class of goal, the in-between goal. I really like them, because they are a good way to keep me grounded and present while waiting for my next adventure.

That’s why I call them an in-between goal. They are in-between now and a bigger, more important goal. They keep me excited and focused on something positive.

Some of my bigger goals are very challenging to reach, like my plan to earn a living through motivational speaking. As others have said, “Becoming a professional speaker is easy. Earning a living at it is hard.

Other goals are seasonally related, like hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, which doesn’t start until next spring. So, the in-between goals focus my energy and help keep me from feeling I’m wasting my time when other goals are elusive or far away. Often my in-between goals are a physical activity that keeps me strong and fit, too. Added bonus!

My current in-between goal is to run five miles without collapsing. Specifically, it’s to finish the Kraut Run 8K (5 miles) in under fifty-five minutes. Kraut Run is on October 5th, so I have eleven days left. Today was the first day I came near my goal. I finished at 55:16. That’s really close. I feel good, in fact I’m pretty excited because this goal has been harder than I expected. The last time I actively worked on running was years ago and I was a stronger, faster runner. Then, I ran faster minutes per mile and nearly three times as far. Now my goal is for a slower pace and shorter race. That doesn’t mean it’s coming easily.

My best time in the last three months was 57:29, and for two weeks in September, I didn’t run a full five miles during any training run. I consoled myself knowing I was still out there trying, running in very hot weather and sticking with it even though it seemed to be going poorly. I remembered my lesson from hiking the Appalachian Trail: It doesn’t matter what you expect. It only matters you deal with what is.

Today, when my work out app announced mile three had taken me significantly longer than the first two miles, I reminded myself to just keep pushing my pace. I really didn’t think I would improve, but I wanted to keep from slowing down any further. Then, when mile four came in at a faster time, I realized I had a chance to finish close to my goal of fifty-five minutes. It was very hard to run the fifth mile as strongly as the fourth, but I kept saying to myself, “You got this” or “You can do it” and “You’re almost finished“. One time I even said it out loud and was thankful no one was nearby.

I have twelve more days to trim those last few seconds from my time. My goal isn’t to run as fast or as far as I once did, but my effort and hope are the same as always. I’m working diligently to reach this in-between goal and I sure hope I make it by Oct. 5th.

It’s worth striving for; it’s kept me running through the entire summer and put me in much better shape for my next in-between goal: backpacking eighteen miles days to prepare for the PCT!

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