I am stealing an idea from a blog I read. However, for the life of me, I can't remember whose blog it was. *blush*
Finisher's Medal-- A PR (4:30-4:53). I ran the Rock-n-Roll Marathon last year in 4:54:23. It was close to a half an hour slower than my goal of 4:30.* I ran it a full minute per mile slower than any of my training runs. No matter what, I need to finish faster than last year. Anything slower will feel almost like a DNF.**
Bronze-- 4:15-4:29 This would represent right around the ten-minute-mile pace. I wouldn't be super thrilled, but it is a huge improvement over last year.
Silver--4:00-4:14 This is not my goal, but I will be happy if this is my time. In fact, when I started this training cycle, this was my goal. It wasn't until I started having faster and faster workouts that I started believing that I can do a sub-four. This goal is probably the likeliest scenario. This time represents my pace on the vast majority of my long runs. I would make it my initial goal, but there is something in me that wants to strive for the gold. In my corporate life, this result would be equivalent to hitting bonus targets-- always a good thing. Anything better than your target puts you into "stretch" bonus. Obviously, we always wanted to hit stretch, but were very happy to hit our target goals.
Gold-- 3:51-3:59 Finishing under four hours would be AWESOME. Just thinking about it makes me giddy. Icing on the cake would be if I saw a three on the finish line clock. But even if my gun time is over four, a chip time under four would make me ecstatic. The ultimate would be if I could finish in 3:54:23, taking an hour off last year's time. Can you imagine a one hour PR??? Ah... to dream. I know that I am able to achieve a sub-four marathon. HOWEVER, it has to be one of those days when everything clicks.
Platinum (pie in the sky)-- 3:50:59 (BQ). This is one of those things that I can't really even hope for. It would be a very, very unlikely thing to happen. In fact, I don't think it is possible to achieve such a strong finish without setting out to do so. I won't let myself go out fast enough to average the right pace. However, it is fun to think that if the stars aligned, I could have some serious negative splits. Heck, I was over seven minutes faster than my goal at Carlsbad, who knows what could happen. Yeah right. I felt that my list of possible scenarios wouldn't be complete without listing the ultimate goal. Maybe next marathon??
* Ultimately, my goal was to finish and that was what I told everyone. However, deep down I had hopes of running it in 4:30.
**I know that a five hour marathon is a perfectly good time. I should be happy to finish at all. I just know myself and I know that I will be devastated to run slower than last year, after these past few months of training.