Pre-Race Jitters Before Palo Duro Canyon 50K

How do you know when you’ve set the right goal for a race?

I think it has a lot to do with how you feel in the week before the race. If you’ve set too easy of a goal (or your goal is simply to have fun and finish), then there’s not a lot of pre-race weirdness. It’s just another down week.

If you’re me and set the easy goal, I’m generally happy and bopping along pre-race, only having logistical worries.

For the super big goals (like Ironman), which seem on the outer reach of attainability, I am almost in a state of panic in the final week. There will be periods where I almost can’t breathe, and I go very inwards–I don’t want to talk to a lot of people or be in crowds. This dissolves into a state of Zen right before and the morning of…that’s what the super big, crap-your-pants-what-if-I-can’t-do-it goals feel like to me in my final pre-race days.

I think I’ve set the right goal for Palo Duro Canyon 50K. If there isn’t a bit of fear factor in the week before, then I’m not stretching myself. And every now and then, I find myself thinking, “Why in the world did I think I could drop this much time? Am I prepared? How does this year compare to two years ago, training wise?”

However, I have a big base of confidence and only a small question of “can I do this?” I feel like I’m perfectly balanced on the high wire, and only the day will tell what can come.

And so I’ll state my goal here, because when you run for time there’s no fudge factor:  you make it or you don’t, and my goal at this race is time…a finish time of under 7:00.

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Published by Leah Nyfeler

I'm a writer, editor, runner, and adventurer who is always looking for the next new story, exciting adventure, and good meal/book/movie. My focus is on helping people find their best, healthiest self through sharing what I know and how I've come to learn it. In addition to my blog "Enjoying the Journey: Observations on the Fit Life" at, my articles have appeared in a variety of print and online magazines. You can hear me as part of the 2015 Austin cast of Listen To Your Mother.

0 thoughts on “Pre-Race Jitters Before Palo Duro Canyon 50K

  1. I\’m totally hopeless at setting goals, I refer to myself as the master of over expectation. I start out with modest aims, and as I get closer and closer to the race the goals get more and more ridiculous to the point where they become a fishermans tale, losing all relation to the original objective.

    For IMAZ I started with a goal of just getting under 15-hours. If nothing goes wrong on race day, should be easily accomplished. The more I thought about it and used my training times, the more I believe I can get around in sub 13-hours, which is clearly stupid. Funny thing is, I sorta believe it. So when you find out how to do it, please, let me know.

  2. Goal tiers

    I actually set lots of goals for one event; that way, I always have some positive thing to take away. They start out very, very modest: walk away from the event healthy. And then I set goals going all the way to pie-in-the-sky unattainable (I think). The sub-7 hour goal for me is the upper tier of attainable; the goals beyond that have hit the realm of dream race.

    I have had races where the only goal I\’ve achieved is the walk away healthy one (and on a couple of occasions, I think I\’ve actually stretched it to say that). I have also had the ultimate day, where the goal I didn\’t dare to hope for came true.

    Who was it that said, \”The man who believes he can and the man who believes he can\’t are both right\”? (or something like that)

  3. It was \”Whether you think that you can, or that you can\’t, you are usually right.”

    Henry Ford said it. And he also said this, which I like: “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.”

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