A year ago, I ran a 10k race in Kaarina and beat my goal time of 60 minutes by 12 seconds, aided by some fancy iPod playlist-based Macgyvering.
This year (yesterday), aided by my new best friend, a GPS watch, I beat my goal time of 55 minutes by a comfortable margin: I finished the same 10k race as last year in 51:20.
I felt pretty amazing all day yesterday for reaching my goal and even exceeding it by so much. Then again, it's easy for that PR glow to turn a bit brassy into "if only I could have run just a little bit faster..." and that's exactly what is trying to happen.
Because the thing is, even though my goal pace during the race was 5:30/km (to achieve my goal time of 55 minutes), after a few kilometers into the race, I could see (from the watch) that I was going faster. So even as I ran, I thought wow, maybe I can even break 50 minutes! But then I told myself it was wise to keep some spare seconds of per-km pace time in reserve for those last difficult kilometers, and never really committed to going for an under-50 10k instead of the under-55 10k I had set as my goal. I was worried that by going for an under-50, I'd burn out and ruin my chances for an under-55, if that makes sense.
So even though I blew away my goal time, and even ran a negative split (my second 5k was faster than my first 5k), I keep thinking about how close I was to getting under 50 minutes. I think about how I started way too far back in the pack and lost time working my way through the crowds for the first kilometer. I think about how maybe a negative split means I didn't give it my all. I wonder if I recovered too fast when the race was over, meaning I could have tried even harder in the last kilometer at least.
But in the meantime, I'm trying to keep those thoughts at bay and just be satisfied with reaching my goal!