Posts Tagged ‘goals’


March 31, 2010 2 comments

At the end of December and early January, I felt like everyone around me was focused on New Year’s resolutions more than usual. Or maybe I was just paying attention to how people wanted to change and deep down inside I wanted to as well. I just wasn’t as vocal about it.

And who could blame me? When it comes to running, I honestly was ready to let loose. I wanted to do so many things to have a great rest of the winter, but after two years of on and off injuries and some downright laziness, I had some self doubt that I just didn’t express for everyone to see. Quite honestly, the first few months of this year were a make or break point for me. I either succeeded or failed. There would be no gray areas — I did not want to settle for mediocre.

That dedication to changing myself with running has helped me overall as a person. I feel better about everything. And if just a few more things can fall into place personally in the next few months, I feel like this year will be the best year ever in so many ways.

With my running, it all started with a run in the rain and then a few days later running in the mountains. If I could do that with very little training, I felt like I could do anything. So in the first quarter of the year, I haven’t told myself “no” with anything. I’ve become a “yes” man for the most part and not let excuses get the best of me.

I’m ending the first quarter with 257.8 miles — far and away the most I’ve ever done in the first quarter of the year. It makes my 1,000 miles goal seem much more realistic than just putting it out there at the beginning of the year. Since I haven’t come close to 1,000 since 2007, making that statement on Jan. 1 didn’t make any sense; that’s why I waited so long. I’m over my fear of injuries and it’s time to focus on this big-picture goal.

As I look ahead to the next three months of the year, my goals are simple: run every day in the month of April; run at least one 5k (I’m signed up for one on April 17); and stay above the 1,000-mile pace. Everything else is bonus.


Focusing on April

March 29, 2010 3 comments

As March and the first quarter of the year come to a close, I keep thinking about “what’s next.” But I’m not sure why. Back in February I mentioned a goal that I had in April: running at least one mile every day in the month. While another “big” race would be nice, I can’t afford to pop out $75 or more to run another half marathon right now. My fitness is there to do it and my mind is too, but it’s important that I shift my focus to this bigger personal goal of mine.

Ideally I’d like to have as few 1-mile days as possible — maybe a couple a week to serve as “rest” days. Otherwise, I want it to be running as normal. Just more often. To keep with my goal of running 1,000 miles for the year, I’d like to get at or above the monthly pace of 83.3 miles to stay ahead of things.

On paper it looks and sounds easy; pulling it off, though, is the challenge I have yet to face. Along the way I do plan to run a 5k, so my desire to race will still be met. But this will be like a month-long race and the opponent is me and proving to myself that this can be done.

Going for 1,000 miles

March 24, 2010 5 comments

Over on Daily Mile today there is a lot of talk about goals for this spring and summer. This is one reason I love doing the Shamrock in March — I’ve gotten a big race out of the way. Just less than three months into this year, I’m near 250 miles already. Usually, though, I slack off and have a pretty rotten April, which leads to a poor showing in May, which leads to “starting over” with training in June. The problem in the past couple of years is that I haven’t had any bigger goals to focus on. I’ve either been injured or worried about being injured, so I don’t do anything in the nicest months to run.

But now that I’m healthy and I’m all jazzed up about running again, it’s time that I have some more hardcore goals. Injuries be damned.

As I’ve hinted at before, I am now officially making it a goal to run 1,000 miles for the calendar year. I really wanted to set this goal at the end of 2009, but I needed to see how training for the Shamrock Half would go. I needed to make sure that a few days after that race that I wasn’t hurt and that I could keep running. Well, I can keep going. While I have some soreness, I’ve run twice in three days since the race, something I would have never considered doing in the past. While I’ll likely tone it down a bit, it’s time for me to focus on the scope of the year and getting to quadruple digits for the first time ever.

Race week

March 15, 2010 1 comment

It’s here. Normally I would say “finally,” but training for the Shamrock Half Marathon this winter has been the best training I’ve done in a long time. In a way, it’s sad to be over. In another way, though, this is like training before training with the Richmond Marathon later this year. Or maybe something bigger before then — that’s not a decision I will make right now. My focus in Shamrock.

And go figure that at the end of this “season” that I’m starting it like I did Jan. 1 — with a cold. This one isn’t nearly as bad and I think allergies might be attributing to it. It’s just kind of weird that in the moment I let my mind and body rest, I get a cold. Last week I took my first two-day break in almost two months and it happens. I know the body needs rest and I will always, always, always rest up when I need to. But I’m just mad.

Assuming that this is a normal cold and by week’s end it’s gone, my focus for Shamrock will be like it always is — to do the best I can possibly do. Last year was the most satisfying Shamrock I’ve done. Two years ago was the most disappointing ever. Three years ago was the biggest surprise ever with a sub 1:45 time. My goal since that race has been to beat that time, but my training just hasn’t been there like it should be. Whether I did enough this year or not will be answered on Sunday.

My approach to this race is simple — don’t get caught up with the speeders at the beginning, make my first mile or two the slowest, get in a good pace for the middle miles and then figure out at mile 10 if I can do it or not. If it’s realistic, I’ll go for it. If it’s not, I won’t hurt myself trying to do something crazy.

Bread belly?

March 1, 2010 2 comments

OK, I’ll admit it. I still eat too much. However, I am eating better. In these first two months of the year I have cut back on many foods I absolutely love, ate a lot more fruit and gone back to ordering veggies instead of fries the few times I have eaten out.

But last week when the scale seemed stuck again, I took a long hard look at my diet and knew what I had to do: cut out the bread. Every meal on Friday, which is my “cheat” day anyway, had bread in it. I know what some people will already say — you just have to eat less of it and eat the right kind. It’s not that simple. I grew up in the South where, guess what? Families eat and eat and eat and eat bread of all kinds.

When I was in college, a northern friend pointed out to me that when I ate I had a fork in one hand and bread in the other to scoop the food onto the fork. Then I looked around — so did everyone else in my life. It seems lately to fulfill my hunger I go for bread. At work if I get hungry, it’s very easy for me to grab a sandwich instead of opting for the apple I brought.

While I’m content that I have lost some weight, I know I can do better with my eating. The changes I have made are working a little bit, but I really think getting rid of bread will go a long way.

This does not mean that others around me have to stop eating bread. (Mom, I know you’re reading this …) Six years ago when I lost weight, I completely cut out things like cake. People felt bad for eating “that stuff” around me. It didn’t faze me. I know this first week may be a bit tough, but once I get through it I’ll be OK. I already had to avoid the temptation of a biscuit tonight. Normally I would have had two.

My overall goal is to lose weight slowly, but I really, really want to get back into the 180s before race day on March 21. Like I mentioned before, my first goal is to get back to 189.9 and then set another goal. Like with my running, this is a huge overarching goal for this year and beyond. I’m not planning to void bread out of my diet forever, but I need to learn how to get back into control of things. Taking it out completely for a while with an occasional “cheat” is a step that just works for me.

Focused in February

February 28, 2010 2 comments

In my nearly three years I have been blogging, I end February the same way — I talk about how great it was. But in those two Februarys, there’s been a key element missing: a good January. When preparing for the Shamrock Half Marathon in March, I’ve only put together two good solid months to start the year, and that came before I started blogging. So while a great February is good in words, it hasn’t translated well to race day. Yes, I’ve been satisfied overall with my races, but in the end I’ve been somewhat disappointed too. February is key to having Shamrock go well; two good months though set me up for the rest of the year. And in 2007 — the year of my marathon — things for the most part went well until the very end of the year. That includes the PR in Shamrock.

I know that’s a drawn-out way to explain how I feel at the end of this month, but things are just different these days. Oddly enough, I’m not overly focused on the Shamrock Half — that race is just part of what I hope to be my best running year yet. At the end of 2009 there was a lot of talk from me and others on making 2010 the best year ever from many standpoints, and so far not many people are actually following through. The New Year hype got a lot of people like usual, but not me.

Following running more than 75 miles in January, I followed February up with 92.5 miles. My mileage for the year is more than 30 miles more than this point last year. More importantly though is the quality of these miles. I had four double-digit runs around hilly Bedford, all in a pace around 9 minutes a mile. I’ve had some faster shorter runs than usual too. I’ve kept things mixed up, rather than stale one-pace-only runs, which is the trap I have fallen into in recent years.

Also this month I’ve had to battle the elements — cold, snow. sleet, rain, wind … ice-covered sidewalks have made many runs a battle. This will very likely be one of the top 5 coldest Februarys around here. At least the weather has been consistent, but I’m pretty tired of it. I keep thinking that if I can do this well when it’s this cold, imagine how great it will be once it’s warmer.

As I look ahead, I have some changes coming for March. With my diet, there are some things I need to do to lose more weight. Things have been up and down all year, but I’m now at just a little more than 4 pounds down for the year. At this pace, I would be where I want to be by the summer, but I need to do more in the next few weeks. I’ll save that for another post. I also know I need to get back into cross training. That will happen, but I’m just pumped about where my running is right now. I also plan to do the 100 push-ups challenge sometime. My elbow gave me some trouble earlier this month and I decided then to just hold off on this program until I get over that disappointment. I need to do that when it feels new again. The try, re-try pattern is frustrating, so I just wanted to back away for a while.

While things are going great right now, I know I need to not settle on things. I need to continue to run harder, stronger and longer. There is no such thing as being too focused when it comes to running and my health. January and February have only been a good start to what I think is unlimited potential.

I had a dream

February 25, 2010 Leave a comment

Sorry, but when I wrote this title, I couldn’t help but think of this awful song. If you need to take a trip back to the 1980s, check it out. Sad thing is this video is from a few years ago, but looks like 20 years ago. It takes me back to my childhood and those cheesy love ballads that I knew nothing about (and probably still don’t understand).

Anyway, I rarely dream about running, but last night I had continuous dreams about the Virginia 10 Miler, one of the best organized races I have done and my first long-distance race back in 2006. Of course, that was in my pre-blogging days, so I don’t have a well-documented account of that race besides my memory. The dreams were just weird — at times I was running super fast; there were moments in which I couldn’t pass people; I missed turns. There were great moments and some awful moments.

Who knows what a dream like this means other than the fact that I have running on my mind. And I’ve been thinking a lot about some bigger goals for this year that I’m not ready to reveal. I just want to get through the next three weeks before making any public announcement …