Runners spend a lot of time thinking about and analyzing performance in races and just regular runs. We are goal oriented for the most part. I run primarily for enjoyment but of course by nature I am goal oriented.
When I first started running my goal was to get back from where ever I ran without dying or needing aid from an ambulance. Then, as runners naturally do, my next goal was to do that first goal faster. Is faster always the goal? Not for me. Last year I focused on endurance. I wanted to be able to run a half. Not just run a half, and then look back and compare it to the same likelihood that my pre-race toast would have an exact replica of the Jesus on it. I mean run it with the confidence that I had built up my endurance to the point that I was a person who ran comfortably over 10 miles. I did not focus on getting faster. As a weird side effect all of that running for endurance made me faster. Go figure. I wish working hard at my job would mysteriously result in more money, but I work for the government so that is unlikely.
I digress. It is summer and all my hard fought endurance and side of speed seem harder to come by. Running in the heat is a zapper and I find my comfortable pace to be 20-30 seconds miel slower in the summer. Also I haven't raced in a while so I haven't tested to see if I will be able to push through in a race. I am confident that a side effect of pushing through and being consistent in the heat will result in my speed returning and my endurance improving.
My goal right now is to try and run my half in November in under 2 hours. That means shaving off around 5 minutes. I am optimistic but, and this is important, I am not dependent on it. What I mean is goals are good and working toward things is positive. I won't let the goal rob me of the joy of the moment. So if i finish in 1:59 good for me, but if I finish in 2:10 good for me I got in a nice long group run and their are other races and for that I am really lucky!