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The importance of setting goals: half-marathon finished

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We are at that time of the year when people typically do a retrospective on how good/bad was the year that is ending. Well, I'm not writing this post to do that kind of reflection, instead I want to show how important is to set goals in our lives.

Last Dec. 7, I finished my first half-marathon, 21 Km (13.1 miles), in 2 hours and 7 minutes.

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I would like to write this post telling you how strong I've cut the finish line, but the truth is that it was very hard, particularly the final 3 kilometers. I confess that I spent many minutes thinking to quit, and how absurd I was being in craving for this goal, especially when I don't take any pleasure in running. Let me explain why I did it.

In June of 2012 I did a surgery to my heart. Before the surgery I had strong limitations which didn't allow me to practice sports. With the aorta aneurysm already removed and an aortic prosthesis placed in my heart, a few months later, my surgeon told me that I was ready to do what I want freely except weight lifting. To be honest, I didn't believe him 100%. I decided to make some tests. So, In 2013 I set the following goals for me:

  1. By the end of 2013 I'll run 10 Km. Nice to have: complete it less than an hour
  2. By the end of 2014 I'll run a  half-marathon (21 Km). Nice to have: complete it less than 2 hours
  3. By the end of 2015 I'll run a marathon (42 Km). Nice to have: complete it less than 4 hours.

So, I started running in 2013. I was very excited, I bought some shoes, I started to train during the morning, etc. After 2 weeks, I had to stop because my knees couldn't support all this kind of effort (I weighed  to much by that time). I stopped for 2 weeks, and then I started gradually. And here are the results:

  1. I achieved the first goal very well: by the end of 2013 I run 10Km in 52 minutes.
  2. The 2nd goal was achieved as well, I run a half-marathon by the end of 2014, however I took 2 hours and 7 minutes to complete it . So, I'd say that I completed the goal.

But when I was cutting the finish line, my first thought was: "hey Bruno, do you think you could handle to run more 21 Kms?". My answer was a big "NO". I have now many doubts if I should go with the 3rd goal at all. It is a lot of pain. It's not just the pain on the day you run a marathon. It's all the pain of the training sessions. Currently. I'm not prepared to run a marathon. In fact I'm wondering if I should drop the goal at all.

The moral of this all story is that if I hadn't set any goal I wouldn't even run 10 KMs. I'm sure about that. This last 3 months, every Sunday, I woke up to run to be prepared to the half-marathon. And the only thought that I had in my mind was "I have to achieve my goal".

On the other hand, it's the goals theirselves that allows us to understand if a goal is realistic or not. And that's why I'm really evaluating if I'll run a marathon or not.

Happy new year 2015.