snow, running and pride – two of these are great

Last Wednesday it started snowing.

I absolutely get that I live in MI and this isn’t really abnormal per say.  However, I think this is the latest in the season it has snowed for as long as I’ve lived here.  That’s 13 years folks.  I’ve seen snow around the beginning of April and it always cracks me up.  Now, I’m getting a bit salty – pull it together Mother Nature!

On Tuesday I jumped into running clothes as soon as I got home.  I could feel myself slipping into the Tuesday slump like the previous two weeks and I was determined NOT to let it happen again.  It was close though.  I cleared off my treadmill and got 3 miles in of walk/run intervals.  I made the running minutes longer and increased the speed as well.  I was surprised I was able to (mostly) keep this up – when I first pushed the buttons, I was certain I wouldn’t last throughout the work out.  It was a good boost of confidence.  I did have to walk a couple of extra intervals but the pride was still there.

even Chuck is proud of me

Wednesday was a working late-I’m so exhausted-please don’t make me move kind of day.  I got some extra walking in but that was it.  No running.  I briefly considered it and then I decided Simon needed some snuggling instead.

Now, Thursday… Thursday was a GREAT running day.  Once again there was some snow lazily falling – it was taunting all of us.  Those snowflakes were serious jerks.  I had to work late again but came home and went straight to the treadmill for more walk/run intervals.  Get this:  I hit every interval!  I’m not sure I’ve ever, ever, ever done this.  I kept the same increase in time and speed as I did on Tuesday and I still didn’t give up on myself.  It was close a couple of times (I seriously need to believe in myself a bit more) but I kept pushing.  I was/am so excited!

My right calf got kind of tight during this run so I tried to get some good stretching in, hit the compression socks and rolled it out.  Friday it was still a bit sore so I walked a lot and doing some calf-raises seemed to help.  Friday I went for a 4 mile run – outside even!  The temps are back to a more acceptable level.  Truth:  this run SUCKED.  I half walked/ran the first two miles and then pulled it together for the last two.  I was pretty close to vomiting in the streets those first two miles.  I’ve done this before and am not a fan so I slowed to a walk to avoid it.

Saturday I was beyond exhausted and walked as much as possible but that was it.  Last night I went for a 4.5 mile walk, which was decent but nothing to go into further detail about.  I got 32.5 miles in for the week – yay!  Only 5 miles off of my goal.  The interesting piece, is I’m being a smart runner and not increasing my mileage ridiculously each week – not on purpose, mind you.  It’s been a decent progression so even though I am aiming higher, somehow I’ve reached responsible status.  I have no idea where this came from but it is radical.

I want to run fast again

***I’m typing this while on my migraine meds… you’ve been warned…

Once upon a time, I ran my fastest 10k in 52 mins.  At the time, I didn’t realize these were some quick miles for my short little legs.  I also hit 2:04 in my first 1/2 marathon.  Again, I didn’t recognize this was a decent time.

Right now, I’m lucky to hit somewhere in the 11 min mile range.  This doesn’t account for my walk breaks, which then throws me into the 12 min pace.  I would NEVER discourage anyone else for these times – I would say WAY TO GO!  And I am working on the self-talk to be encouraging, so instead of “why can’t I run faster??” I keep reminding myself, “hey!  you’re out there!”.  But still… I want to be faster.

This requires some effort on my part.  You know, like some speedwork?  Maybe something to increase my endurance?  Frankly, just putting in the miles.  It’s how I did it the first time and it’s how I will do it again.  But I’m impatient and I want those paces back NOW!

truth sister

Speaking of hitting goals, I fell short of my 37.5 miles by 8.  Improvement from the week before, so I will take it.  Yesterday I could have hit a few more – in fact, I was dressed and OUTSIDE.  I walked 1/2 a mile and knew I was done.  All day yesterday I was feeling nauseated and I thought fresh air and movement could help.  It didn’t.  I had a work event later and the moment I sat down for it, the pain hit right above my right eye.  Migraine-ville.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get my special meds into me until 2 hours later so I missed heading it off before it got worse.  I don’t know about other migraine-suffers, but for me, it’s hurts when I shut my eyes.  This morning I woke up and thought I was in the clear but not so much.  I took some regular headache meds, but by noon, it was time for another dose of my special meds with a naproxen booster (recommended by the doc).  Currently, I’m a bit woozy (meds) but at least my eye balls aren’t falling out, I’m not throwing up and the top of my head isn’t caving in.

Okay, done whining.  Yes, I get sick a lot.  I really believe stress is a major factor in all of this.  Thankfully, this is the first migraine I’ve had in months.  I attribute this to giving up the gluten.  My sister has had similar benefits.  I also know the more running I do, the more my health will continue to improve.

Back to running – my runs included a 4.5 miler, a 4 miler and a 6 mile walk.  The other miles were walking as well.  Looking at this, I can see why I’m not getting faster and am lacking endurance!  It’s always weird to type it out and realize where there is room for improvement.  No running today… I’ve still got my eye on that 37.5 mile weekly goal though.  I refuse to give up since I know it will feel oh so fabulous when I hit it!

Are you good at positive self-talk?

Do you get migraines?  Any magical remedies?

trying not to suck at running

I was planning to run yesterday evening.  Unfortunately, work took a different turn and running was no longer in the cards.  3 miles were still logged but I needed/wanted a few more.  Now I have to get 23 miles in the next three days in order to hit my 37.5 mile weekly goal.

if only my apt was bigger!

I realize that 37.5 miles seems a bit arbitrary but I have a few reasons to strive for this.

1.  I want to hit 150 miles for the month.

2.  I have a 10k coming up the first weekend of May and I would like to NOT suck.  This is the same race event where I ran my first 1/2 marathon.  They added the 10k in the last couple of years but work has kept me from being able to participate.

3.  I decided to sign up for this really stupid thing.  Wait, it’s not stupid – in fact it’s awesome.  However, I’m not sure if it was smart for ME to sign up.  I signed up for the Run/Walk 2,015 in 2015.

I know.

So, I’m behind.  I mean, this isn’t unusual for any area of my life, much less the running deal.  A few snags include, starting late (they accepted registrations through all of Jan so I only hit 19 miles for the month) and then my silly back injury that kept me sidelined for about 3 or 4 weeks.  Oh yes, there is my natural laziness to factor into the equation.  There are some people who have already reached 900 miles!  What?!  Crazypants!  When you signed up you had the option of ordering the medal to go along with it and I did.  Soooo, I will feel like quite the lame ass if I don’t make it.

It averages out to 5 miles everyday.  My goal of 37.5 miles per week for April won’t be all running miles – it includes some walking ones as well.  I’m counting all of my intentional miles.  Over the last few months, I kept concentrating on moving around as much as possible.  I know this helped.  During my bratty back days, I still tried to score at least a mile a day.  Not much but it was what I could muster.  I’m not going to give up though.  I know there is more running in my future and more miles to add to that total.  Yes, I’m currently an underdog but if anything, I’ve got the “comeback kid” title locked down.

To sum it up, I have to do 7.8 miles today, tomorrow and Sunday to hit my goal.  This feels like a hefty sum so maybe I’ll take it day by day.  Who am I kidding?  I can’t take anything day by day!  Today is a lovely day outside so I’m going after work.  I also walked to and from work today although this didn’t net as many steps as I would’ve thought.  Damn!

Do you have a certain number of miles you want to reach in 2015?

red pill or the blue pill?

These came in the mail today!

yay! new compression sleeves!
yay! new compression sleeves!

I took advantage of their 1/2 off sale and grabbed the two sets of calf sleeves I’ve been ogling for the last year and half.  Now I can sport my Irish roots AND rock some polka dots.  I LOVE me some polka dots.

For some reason, summer encourages me to spend money.  I don’t know why.  I realized this the other day when I not only purchased the above but also super cute red stripped new Sketchers.  I’m kind of obsessed with Sketchers (I think these are really cute too!) at the moment because I can wear them for work and they are comfortable and supportive.  The other day I wore heels for the first time in MONTHS.  While darling, I realized why I haven’t worn them in so long.  Supportive and comfy shoes certainly have their perks, even if they don’t uplift my buns in quite the same fashion!

Alas, now it’s time to put the kabash on the summer spending.  It was fun while it lasted…  This morning I woke up in a panic.  I couldn’t believe I missed a race.  It’s the Firecracker 5 miler (more on this later) and it’s such a fun race.  I was so disappointed in myself.

Then I realized, “hey!  It’s not the 4th of July yet!  That’s tomorrow!  You didn’t miss it!”  I also realized I had to be at work in less than an hour and the dimmer switch was hit on said excitement.  By the way – NO ONE is at work the day before the 4th of July.

Today is some serious prime running weather and I am determined to get my buns out there.  I’ve been so freakin’ lazy lately.  I don’t know why!  My procrastination is in high gear for no reason.  It hit me that yesterday was my last possible “lazy day”.  Otherwise, I am going to be in so much pain.  Remember when I spoke of the aggressive marathon training schedule a.k.a. run camp?  This might be part of why I’m procrastinating – I don’t feel like I can get any better and just want to put this training off so I don’t have to face failure.

Brilliant plan, no?

Ho-hum… I did join Jess’s summer challenge running plan so maybe this will offer a bit of inspiration, too?  This morning, I kept thinking, “I used to be SO motivated.  I used to just get out there or get up and JUST DO IT!  Where did all of that go?!”  I’m still not sure where it went but I’m guessing it’s largely habitual.  Maybe my earlier athletic self was all a facade… I took the blue pill and then somewhere along the line I decided the red pill was more me.

oh morphius, which one is the MOTIVATED pill?

In order not to end this on a really whiny note, here is a picture of my super fat and adorable cat, Simon

GIANT cat
GIANT cat

 

“lazy, lazy, lazy, lazy, lazy, lazy jane.

She wants a drink of water so she waits and waits and waits for it to rain.”  For those of you who may be unfamiliar with Shel Silverstein, the poem “Lazy Jane” is his (it’s in Where the Sidewalk Ends).  I’ve had it memorized since third grade.  Impressed with my skills?!

you shouldn’t be… I was too lazy to look up the poem and thought I had it memorized correctly. I definitely missed a few “lazys” along with some “waits”. Classic me.

Yesterday I said I was going for a run.  Well, I didn’t.  I feel a bit guilty about this considering I know there are others out there who WISH they could be out running but can’t for some reason or another.  But I didn’t want to.  And I was feeling lazy.  I didn’t want to  get all sweaty.  I was productive around my apt and then sat around for a while.  Then I was productive again and by that time the running motivation left me.

This probably wasn’t the best life choice since the 1/2 marathon (that I mixed up the dates) is this Sunday.  And get this – it’s supposed to be in the balmy range of 6-17*.  Eww.  For the record, I hadn’t even looked at the 10 day forecast until now and I’m thinking I shouldn’t have.  Good thing I’m giving one of my friends a ride to the race or there is a chance I would skip it.  I also convinced another friend to run it so how crummy would it be if I didn’t show up?!  Amy… REMEMBER THE T-SHIRT AND MEDAL!  And the feeling of accomplishment of course – can’t forget that when I’m feeling like a human popsicle.

seriously Rose – there was totally room for both of you. It was a decent size piece of wreckage and with a bit of kicking could have supported you both! And Jack – c’mon dude, you don’t need to be a martyr!

I need to get over the aforementioned guilt though.  It was my choice and feeling guilty only makes me resent running a bit.  Like it’s something I’m obligated to do rather than something I enjoy doing.  I feel guilty about a lot of things so it’s something I need to work on… Anyway, there are miles on the agenda today and although my motivation is wavering I’m looking forward to it.  I’ve also decided to commit to Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred and some cross training.

Beginning tomorrow (hopefully in the morning!  I am going to give up my snooze button – ha!  My snooze button and I are in a long-term relationship so it’s going to be a tough break up.) I’m starting the 30 Day Shred.  Here is the current state of my arm muscle.

I didn't take a crappy pic for a "whoa is me". The heat is broken in my apt and it was all I could do to bare my arm even this much!
I didn’t take a crappy pic for a “woe is me”. The heat is broken in my apt and it was all I could do to bare my arm even this much!

Yes, I am flexing…

This is the only picture I will post of the current state of my muscles.  I think I have one muscle in my stomach and possibly another one in back – maybe.  I’ve also taken all of my measurements so I can actually feel and see some progress.  I do much better with knowing progress is happening.  During Dopey training I didn’t put any effort into strength training.  I find I undervalue it and don’t pay much mind to the positive effect it would have on my running.  I know, people are screaming about the benefits from the rooftop about the benefits but I am good with denial.

So there it is.  Running the miles tonight and Jillian tomorrow morning.  On my training plan, I also have speed work which I will be doing in the eve.  If my calculations are correct, it is going to be painful considering Jillian will have kicked my booty.  If I live to tell the tale, you will be the first to hear about it!

hmm… the first two are definite possible options!

Are you good with cross training?

Do you feel guilty when you don’t run because you simply don’t feel like it?  Or do you push your way through the feeling and go?

no resolutions here – 2014 is doomed!

I spent all day traveling yesterday to get back to incredibly chilly and snowy MI.  During this time, I napped, listened to some tunes and did some thinking.  Being on a plane for over four hours with delayed flights, driving for over 2 and half hours and taking the train and a boat to get home gives you time to think.

oh yeah and I walked up 3 GIANT hills in Seattle to get to the train pulling two suitcases – brutal!

There were all kinds of ideas floating around in my head about what I wanted my resolutions to include.  Weight loss, running PRs, saving all the monies, cranking up my domestic and decorating skills, being a better daughter, sister, friend… the list went on and it was kind of overwhelming.

Today, I started watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy and came to a very important conclusion.  I’m not making any resolutions this year.

Each January I make lofty goals about how I am going to change my life in the upcoming year.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t see anything wrong with this practice.  In fact, I even accomplish a few of them.  But yesterday as I was sitting in the airport reading over all of the fb posts about how fabulous years were, all I could think about was how my year WASN’T fabulous.  This was the approximate time when I started feeling sorry for myself.

It took me another lay over to see I could think of this past year with a positive spin or a negative one.  Since I’ve been working to slow the negative thoughts down, I opted for the positive spin and it lifted my cloud of negativity.  Nevertheless, I am not sure I want to establish a check list for this year.  I think I want this year to unfold based on what is happening in my life and the direction it is going.  There is a scene in the last Harry Potter movie where Hermione says they need to create a plan.  Harry responds with, “when have any of our plans actually worked?  We plan, we get there, all hell breaks loose” – this is my life!

tru dat Harry

So, I’m going to make goals as I go along.  All of those things I mentioned above will be themes in the following days and being happy will be my main focus.  The rest will be gravy.

I like me some goals

Yesterday was one of those days where I was feeling both restless and lazy at the same time.  I WANTED to get up and do something!  But I wanted to lay on the couch and watch TV as well!

yeah, I wasn’t even this productive…

Part of it is I’m stuck in the “sickness cycle”.  Running myself into the ground and then attempting to keep on going has done a number on my immune system.  Now I’ve got a bit of a cold but honestly, this is just an excuse.  I’ve got some business to attend to and I’m procrastinating!

*Edited: I did get up and run last night!  Yay!  More on this tomorrow but I was pleased as punch to make at least THAT happen!

I never posted my goals for August but I do have some.  Here we go!

1.  Make it through this month!

Yep, a lofty goal!  I’m both anxious for the month to be over and for it to never end (wow – I’m incredibly wishy-washy right now).  When it ends it means school is back in session and the tykes are all back.  However, if it doesn’t end it’s simply a bunch of 10-12 hour days and pure exhaustion.  I know I’ll make it through – I have for the last several years but it never seems possible while I’m in it.

2.  More consistent with training

I’ll do approximately 3 days of training in one day and then not train again until the next 3 day maniac session.  Right now the mileage isn’t terribly high so it’s possible but in a couple of weeks this won’t be the case.  Not to mention, what is one of the top 10 rules of running?  CONSISTENCY!  (oh wait – haven’t I written about this every freaking month?!)   I’m being lame and I know it.  I get frustrated when I see people wasting their talents yet I’m doing the same thing.  Boo!

3.  Keep going to bed early

Weird thing – I’ve gone to bed a few times this month pretty early already.  Let’s see, there have been two 9:30’s and lots of 10:30’s.  Yep, it’s like I’m 11 years old, except even back then I never went to bed that early.  Nevertheless, this has been helpful.  I’m surprised that I feel better going to bed earlier then I do when I sleep in later.  Why is this?  No, seriously, I’m curious – why is this?  I’m still waking up 2-3 times a night either from nightmares or just really complicated dreams – stress dreams of course.  It’s still worth it to sleep early though.

4.  Cut down on the caffeine (hmm – maybe related to the above?)

I’ve started going back to the 2 a day coffee habit.  Not only is this an extra 100 calories that doesn’t quite fit into my “budget” (calorie budget) but I have tried to stay away from this.  However, it does make me much more productive during the afternoons/early evenings.  What’s a person to do? 

that’s Grace – she has a really funny youtube watchamacallit

5.  Continue to work on my anxiety

Believe it or not, I am making progress in this area.  One of my co-workers recently got promoted to the same position I am in at work.  He is a funny and positive person.  He can take things in stride but then brush them off – sound like the opposite of anyone you know?!  Funny thing, it has started to rub off on me!  I’m paying attention and learning!  But I also don’t want to keep talking about my anxiety with him since I don’t want him to feel obligated to try to “fix” me.  This isn’t his job and I want to be the one who learns to manage it better.  I know – running more would help and in turn managing it would help with the creepy dream issue.  Knowing this and accomplishing it doesn’t make it happen.  I’ve been reading about some supplements which have helped others – some complex B vitamins and magnesium.  Off to the natural store I go!

Five seems like a good number of goals to concentrate on for the month.  The good thing is most of these are about changing current habits into more productive ones (I mentioned this before, I’m sure of it).  I had a neurologist appointment on Wednesday morning.  I told her how 3 years ago when my epilepsy got more complicated coincided with my anxiety becoming more prominent.  She explained these feed into each other and most likely made one another worse.  When I mentioned how my mom had anxiety as well she said it is also a learned behavior – it was how I learned to process complications and life in general.  She certainly didn’t discount that a portion of it is how my brain is hotwired but did give some suggestions and names of cognitive counselors who can help train my brain to process stress/anxiety differently.  Nifty eh?  It’s worth looking into!

OH!  One thing I’ve been proud of?  This week I’ve been a hydrating fiend!  I started because of my sicky self but now I’m getting more and more used to and my body needs it.  I’m not doing a great job of explaining this!  I’ve been drinking approximately 4 water bottles (96 oz or so) a day!  And this doesn’t even include the other business I drink during the day.  Yay – progress!

I love some good visualizing!

Edited:  My apologies!  I didn’t realize the photo credits were hyperlinks in the original e-mail so I have fixed this below. 

A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by the incredibly nice and helpful Michelle.  She works in a spa called Skana in upstate New York and she gave me the suggestion of making a health motivation board.  Michelle talked to me about how her knowledge of health and wellness has led her to help clients live healthier lifestyles.  She was kind enough to type up how you can live a healthier life!  Here is the information she provided!

Visualize Your Inspiration for a Healthy Lifestyle

Staying physically fit takes more than just a few good workouts. It also requires you to maintain a strong mental focus toward reaching your goals. Although you likely track your goals on a regular basis, it is also important to make sure that your aspirations remain at the forefront of your mind. For those who are actively pursuing a healthy lifestyle, here is how a fitspiration board can help you to visualize your inspiration.

Clarify Your Goals

The first thing you will need to do as you begin to create a visual representation of your goals is to clarify what it is that you would like to accomplish. Ideally, you should have a combination of short and long-term goals that are challenging yet achievable. Once you have established your goals, decide which one should be the main focus of your board.

Find Inspirational Images

With your goals in mind, begin searching for images that inspire you to achieve greatness. These can be photographs of you or your loved ones, images found online or pictures that you cut out of a magazine. It is important to take your time to find only the most inspirational images possible that reflect your goals. As you search for images to include on your board, be sure to select one that best encompasses your fitness goals. Then, use this image as the main focus of your board.

Choose a Central Location

For your board to serve as an inspiration, you will need to make sure that it is placed in a central location so that you will see it several times each day. Depending upon your personal habits, this could be in your exercise room, kitchen or even next to your bed. If after hanging for a few days in one area you notice that it is rarely noticed, then feel free to move it to another area of your home.

Reflect and Revise

After viewing your board for a few days, take a few minutes to reflect upon your reaction. Have you been feeling more motivated towards meeting your goals? Does it remind you of the things you would like to accomplish? Then, revise your board as necessary so that it always leaves you feeling inspired.

Here is an example:

-1

What inspires me to be active and aspire to live a healthier life is the outdoors.  I love to travel and see new places.  To me, there’s no better feeling than enjoying the outdoors.  I’m really inspired by yoga for a number of reasons.  Yoga focuses the mind and body, teaching ourselves to find a spiritual balance.  I also love that yoga can be done anywhere, even the beach!  Yoga is great for beginners and the more advanced athlete.

The outdoors are what I’ve used for the center of my inspiration.  I’ve been taking lessons near my work at New York Golf resort, Shenendoah, as a way to spend more time outside. Golf is great because not only is it less strenuous activity, but you also have the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors.  Really any activity outdoors can be motivating. You feel like you have more energy when you are out enjoying the warm weather.  I’d like to try more leisurely activities like fishing or kayaking with a friend.

Your body needs nutritious foods as fuel for when you exercise.  A great source of clean eating recipes is Clean and Delicious.  They have delicious recipes along with instructional videos including a clean chicken & veggie stir-fry recipe.  An easy nutritious breakfast for on the go folks are smoothies!  Customize nutritious smoothies to whatever supplies you have on hand!

Making a fitspiration board is one way to stay inspired to live a healthy lifestyle. Over time, your goals will change as you meet each one. Therefore, be sure to add new goals and images as needed to keep your board fresh and your mind focused on always reaching your full potential.

Thanks so much Michelle!  I am currently working on my board as well and hopefully I’ll be able to post it next week!  Readers, I would love to hear about any images you may use to keep you inspired!

eye-xcitement and other ramblings

This morning I woke up late (in part due to the Tornado Warning late last night) and was rushing around.  I put my contacts in and my left one was really bothering me.  I tried to grab it but couldn’t.  Then I realized I couldn’t see clearly out of that eye either.  I thought it might have fallen out but couldn’t find it.  Then I thought it had migrated either north or south but again, couldn’t find it.  I figured if it was up/down in my eye I wouldn’t be able to fit another contact in my eye.  Well, turns out you can.  Currently, I’m rocking a migraine and a rogue contact that will NOT come out despite numerous times poking around with my finger.  AAARRRGGGG!

why isn’t this possible?!

My phone is… ALIVE!  I know, there was some heart skipping moments there but so far it seems like it came out relatively unscathed.  There are still might be some sound issues but other than that I have texted, checked the internet and made a phone call so I am feeling much better.  Nevertheless, I use my phone for work so I may have to look into getting a new one.  LovingHomemade said in the UK cell phones are covered by your home insurance – doesn’t that rock?!  Too bad we are not as lucky here.

I like to add a bit of challenge to amy's life!
I like to add a bit of challenge to amy’s life!

I am also super proud of myself!  Yesterday, I did not take a nap!  I am working on my June goals as well as looking over my “May is get my sh%^ together” month.  I will do a bit of a recap but one thing hitting the June goal list is dropping the napping habit.  Seriously, I am like a 5-year-old.  The naps have interfered with many of my goals over the last few months as well as my sleep patterns.  Yesterday, I woke up at 6:30 am for no reason.  Typically, I would have gone back to sleep but nope didn’t happen.  The other typical thing would me to hit the couch for a nappy-poo as soon as I could!  I did neither of these!

On Monday night I hit the streets for a run.  I wanted to do the 4 mile loop again and took my garmin with me this time to make sure the mileage was spot on.  It was, which made me happy.  My legs were definitely tired.  The first two miles are always the hardest for me.  Even when I was in better running shape, the first mile of any race would always hover around 10 mins and then the negative splits would kick into gear.  Sounds nifty but this is a lot of time to make up in order to hit my time goals.  I need to work on putting the pedal to the metal earlier on – especially in a 5k.

I’m sure many of you have seen the Under Armour What’s Beautiful contest/campaign.  It’s about redefining the female athlete.  I appreciate this concept and this campaign.  I can’t even recount how many times I’ve heard my friends say, “well, I’m not a real runner”.  Or “I just work out – I am not an athlete”.  Campaigns like these are important so our ideas of athleticism aren’t centered around one “style” of athlete.

my first bit of encouragment!
my first bit of encouragement!

So, I had to put down my goal.  It’s for approximately 8 weeks.  I thought long and hard about this goal.  Part of me was scared about making the goal too far-reaching and then I would fail.  I thought about making the goal easier but then I could picture myself not working as hard because I could achieve it any ol’ time.  I decided to take some advice from Goldilocks and I think I’ve picked some middle ground.

Yesterday, my average time for the 4 miles was 11:37.  This included two walk breaks but still, it hurts my heart a bit to see that time.  Not because it’s a bad time but because I know I can run faster and used to be able to.  I decided my goal was to have my average pace be 9:30 or lower for four miles.  Maybe a bit conservative?  Maybe not?  I want it to be the average pace for all 4 miles and not one mile here or there.  Not to mention, this is TWO FREAKIN’ MINUTES!  It’s quite a bit actually.  My ultimate goal is for a sub-9 min per mile pace somewhere in my future.  I would love to see a super pretty 8:30 on my garmin and that will come.  I know it.

goals… time to get this plan into action

Wow… I have been plumb lazy about writing these last few days.  After a bit of a whirlwind flight (including being delayed for an hour but still arriving 3 minutes early?!  I mean, I get it, a tailwind but CRAZY!) I am happy to be home.  Simon is especially happy to have me around since the temp is a cool 24* here in MI and he leaches my body heat on a regular basis!

I am definitely one of those folks who sees promise in a new year.  I know many frown on this but I like the chance for a do-over.  I don’t want to forget what I learned in 2012 but considering I had a disastrous end to 2011 and a bumpy road in 2012 being able to get a fresh start is, well, refreshing!  I’ve been tossing around a ton of goals but I think I have settled on the ones that mean the most to me.  They have all been ideas that have made some sort of appearance on this blog before but I’m trying to nail them down into something achievable.

1.  Better my mental and physical health

A) I will do this by working with a life coach, staying with a fitness plan and cutting myself some slack.

2.  Work towards being more financially healthy

A) Last year I made a committment to spend more on experiences rather than “things”.  I’ve done a decent job of this but sometimes I fall off the wagon (why are you so easy, online shopping?!).

B) Try out a “budget” – ewww… but I have a feeling actually useful!

3.  Work to build my blog

A) I love this blog of mine!  It has become a lovely part of my life and I want it to grow.  I am currently doing some research on how to make this happen and hopefully I will get there

B) Share my weight loss story.  Does it sound too egotistical to want some fitness magazine to publish my history?  YES!  But I did drop about 90 lbs so maybe it warrants being slightly egotistical!

4.  Stick with a training plan and gain speed

A) I am terrible about sticking to a plan.  BUT when I did this (well, mostly) for my first half, I clocked in at a 2:04 – on a hilly course.  I desperately want to sub 2:00 this year for a half and I want my 5:25 full to be a “oh that was my first marathon time” memory.  I know this requires discipline, which seems to have been on short-order lately.  But I also KNOW if I stick with a plan, I can break through my speed glass-ceiling.

B) I am mapping out my plan right now for the Blue Ridge Marathon (which I know won’t be a PR – it’s a freakin’ MOUNTAIN!) and then Chicago will be in my sights for a PR.  My 1/2 PR is going to be in Wisconsin, because this is where dreams come true!

5.  Develop a healthy relationship

A) This one is a bit harder to create an action plan for but as I mentioned, I am going to give on-line dating a shot.

B) Know my self-worth.  Enough said.

6.  Write my book

A) I have been talking/thinking about this FOR-E-VER and it’s time.  I started it and will spend time each week working on it.

7.  Add cross-training

A) I know this will fall into the whole “stick with a training plan” gig but I feel it needs it own number.  I have started and dropped many a “I will cross-train twice per week” declarations but I know it’s necessary.  Swimming is in my near future.

8.  Run 2013 miles in 2013

A) This has been my super-secret-squirrel goal.  I am considerably afraid of this number and am nervous I won’t achieve it.  I’m tired of fear dictating my goals though so I’m unveiling this puppy.

9.  Better deal with my stress

A) Last year this showed up on my performance review for work so clearly I don’t hide my stress as well as I imagine!  I know the fitness components on this list will help as well seeing a life coach.  I also want to work on my “stress absorption” (wow, that sounds gross!).  As I’ve mentioned, I take on the stress of others and this needs to stop.

B) I am a very good hermit – too good.  I do want to be careful with how much I depend on this when I am feeling stressed.  It’s a dangerous spiral that includes hoarding, having actual conversations with my cat and an ass-print permanently embedded in my recliner.  DANGER

10.  Cook healthier meals

A) This sounds frightfully cliché… oh well.  I lost a lot of motivation to cook this past year and mainly would grab something fast and easy.  I didn’t eat out more (thankfully) but I powered through boxes of Blueberry Frosted Mini wheats like a champ!  Inevitably, I would be hungry again later and then it was a free-for-all on the late night snacking.  Exactly what aided in my weight gain many years before.  So, I shall cook.

11.  Keep in better contact with my family

A) Remember my hermit skills?  Well, this doesn’t just apply to friends but family too!  I want to skype more with the fam!

12.  Better my vocabulary and let this reflect in my writing and speech

A) Living with 18 year olds for 9 years made me extremely lazy in my use of the English language.  Shameful!  I am not only very (expensively – yay for student loans!) educated but have always loved utilizing a parade of different words – it’s time to put this in action and get my moneys worth!

13.  Be grateful

A) This was a goal last year as well.  It definitely helped me to get through some of my darker days but I always felt it was kind of false.  I am a true believer in the “fake it ’til you make it” philosophy but sometimes I felt too fake.  I want to sincerely be more grateful.  I have this quote on a mug I made (Art By Yourself) some years ago and it says the following:

“Be Yourself.  Life is precious as it is.  All the elements for your happiness are already here.”

Unfortunately, I failed to write down who said this and I certainly am not quoting myself yet but this speaks to me.

See what I did there?  13 goals for 2013!  I am going to work this 13 angle so please be prepared.  If you got this far – thanks for reading!