Sometimes the doing of a particular project begins to overshadow the heart and motivation behind it. I’ve been bogged down with 2 specific goals for myself this year – read 75 books for the year and set new personal records at each race distance available to me.

Last year, I read 72 books, making me feel as if 75 wasn’t so crazy of a goal. I got behind early this year as I slogged through The Book Thief. I suppose the title is fitting, given it stole my desire to read for a few weeks following.

At this point in the year with only 26 books logged so far, I’d have to switch to short/quick reads if I have any hope of reading goal. When my aunt offered to loan me a 600 page hardback, I started to say “thanks but no thanks.”

I have a big race coming up this weekend – the only 8K I have on my radar this year. If I’m going to PR at every distance this year, Saturday night’s race is huge. The fear started a few weeks ago. The what-ifs nagging at my brain.

When I confessed my concern to a Facebook run group I’m a member of, one of the ladies responded:

You’re going to do great! Even if you don’t PR, you may have failed to reach that goal, but that does NOT make you a failure. You’ll likely have worked hard and made big gains in your fitness, while enjoying the sport you love. I’m excited for you!

So now its time for an even bigger confession. I’ve not been enjoying my runs these day. Whether it be checking on the dew point to see if an attempt outside at lunch can be made, or slogging through yet another workout on the treadmill, running has become a chore.

Same with reading – when the objective becomes getting through this book in order to tackle the next, all the enjoyment of savoring the story and characters has been removed.  Compromising the type of book I enjoy merely to get my numbers up is a colossal waste of time and effort.

My goal for the remainder of the year becomes to refocus. To find my joy again. Because, after all, these things I do are merely hobbies. Sure they stretch my mind and my lungs, but at the end of the day I do them for the fun of it.

If I fail at these goals I’ve set, there is no punishment, save the frustration I inflict upon myself. I will not be forced to surrender my book collection to the local library. I won’t be forced to take down all my race medals.

After my race this weekend, I think I’m going to take the month of August off from formal training. I trained for the Knoxville Marathon through April, then sprung straight into Expo 10K training. I gave myself a week off due to illness after that, then dove head first into this 8K training cycle. My body and mind are long overdue for a little R&R.

This doesn’t, however, mean I won’t run at all. Rather, I’ll be running without the constraints of a training schedule with specific paces. If I get bored of easy runs, I’ll throw in some strides or sprints. The point is not to slack, but rather release myself from the stress.

As for reading, I’ve officially given up hope on my goal. I originally set reading goals for myself so I wouldn’t be tempted to be lazy watch TV instead. Now that I’ve got a hammock on my front porch, I have no trouble taking a hour or three to kick back and enjoy a good book.

What are some of your personal goals? Do you have plans in place to help you reach them? Have you ever gotten so focused on a goal you missed the whole point?

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