FFF: Big Hairy Goal (part 1)

This post was inspired by Shalane Flanagan.

Shalane Flanagan Retires from Professional Running - Runner's World

she retired after the NYCM in 2017

She now plans to run all six majors this fall—in person in Berlin, London, Chicago, Boston, and New York, plus a virtual race in place of the postponed Tokyo Marathon AND finish each under 3 hours!!

WOW!! That is a big hairy goal!!!

In 2019, my big hairy goal was to run my FIRST MARATHON.


In 2020, before the pandemic, I planned to run ONE half marathon EACH MONTH. I ran 3 live races (but had to run 6 half marathons virtually.) So I did not run 12 halfs but was proud of my 9 half achievement.

In 2021 – Unfortunately the Pandemic continued. Even though racing opportunities started opening up, I never felt that I would be able to achieve a BIG goal.

For 2022 – I doubt things will be normal (if ever) but it may be time to come up with another BIG goal….

Not sure what that will be yet. Any ideas for me?

But I know what it will NOT be:

  • run streak
  • triathlon
  • ultra
  • BQ
  • Ragnar race
  • obstacle race
  • 50 state challenge
  • online certification courses

Anyway, here are some reasons to set a Big Hairy Goal:

1. Big goals stretch what we believe is possible.

I have heard many runners say “I can’t….” (Guilty as charged lol)

When we say that, it becomes true.

Of course, we CAN run a marathon!!

Believing is the first step to accomplishing something big.

2. They cause us to make improvements.

It’s easy to get into a rut.  For example, we race the same distance or type of race, we may get comfortable and be successful with little effort.

In order to achieve a big goal, you will most likely need to make adjustments – train harder, train differently …

3. If We Allow Ourselves To Dream, We Get Really Excited.

When we stop and think about what it would feel like if we actually achieved that big goal, we get excited.  We may buy that 26.2 magnet for our car or a shirt that says “I am a Marathoner.”

The excitement of the possibility pushes us to train and to push forward toward that goal.

4. We will see how far we have come

While the destination is important, it’s the journey that matters most. Without goals, it’s hard to see how far we have come.

I ran 5ks for years. I got faster and was content.

It wasn’t until I ran my first half marathon did I realize how much my running had improved. And an unexpected result of running longer races was that I felt stronger at the shorter ones.

5. It’s OK to swing and miss.

I’ve heard it said that If there’s not a decent chance we’ll fall short, we’re not setting high enough goals.

What if we train for an Ironman and we don’t meet the cutoff after one the legs. We would, of course, be disappointed.

What an accomplishment to have made it to the start line! What did we learn along the way? Was there anything we could have done better? Should we try again?

Happy Running! Are you a “BIG” goal setter? Any other tips to add? Please share.







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19 thoughts on “FFF: Big Hairy Goal (part 1)

  1. I love this Darlene! And exactly why I love setting these big hairy goals! And the journey is so much more important than the destination. My suggestion for you would be to re-visit the 12 Half Marathon goal again!

    My husband’s is a triathlon for 2022. I WON’T be joining – I will be a happy bystander!

    (Update on me: I won’t be running a virtual marathon on the 10th Oct. I changed my mind – I do want the bells and whistles!) So it may be something to consider for next year if “normal” returns. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Virtual races are hard. I agree. Do the real thing. You won’t regret it.

      Good luck to your hubby.

      Yes I’ve considered 12 halfs. The problem is finding them in the winter and summer months. Most are scheduled in the spring and fall.

      I wish this pandemic would end already.


    • Ha ha. Nope on that one. No time or money. And I think it limits you on repeating races you love or races in a state you’ve done already.

      I like the young at heart reason.


  2. GREAT post! I’m trying to think of a good goal for you (I like how you have a list of “no’s” already.) Like you said, big goals are important even if you don’t reach them. You fell short of you goal of twelve halfs for 2020, but you did run nine- more than you would have run had you not set that goal.
    I’m thinking about my own big goals- first I have to heal up my foot. But a big future goal is great motivation.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I vote for an ultra or a race per month. I’ve been enjoying my run streak and am nearly at 600 days. My BHAG for 2022 is to run a sub 3:40 marathon which was my first BQ qual time in 1997 when I qualified. If I run any BQ that is under the cut off, I can do 2023 which is the 25th anniversary of my first Boston in 1998.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes! You are well aware of my big hairy goal of running a half marathon in all 50 states. It has definitely changed me forever. It’s totally doable to run a half each month but you would have to travel to do it. Hopefully by next year a lot of the races that were cancelled or postponed in 2020 and this year will return or new ones will pop up.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: FFF: Big Hairy Goal for 2022 – My First 5K and More…

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