Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Another year older. (The jury's still out on "wiser.")

Today's my birthday--the big three-seven. I still think of myself as being in my 20s, odd since I'm actually closer now to 40 than I am to 20. Age itself doesn't really bother me--I've never cared if people knew how old I was. And I'm sure the day will come when I feel as old as I am, today is not that day. I'm not sure what 37 is supposed to feel like, but I feel the same as I did when I was 36 and I didn't have any complaints then. ;)

I've always cursed my early-January birthday. Everyone is broke from Christmas shopping or you get the Christmas/Birthday combo gift; people are partied out from NYE, so no one usually feels like a big whoopin' party; you're starting back to work or school on or around your birthday; and more often than not, there's a foot of snow on the ground.

But this year I made a connection that I'd missed the previous 36 times I've celebrated this day: I'm not just starting a new calendar year this week, I'm starting a new year of MY LIFE. It's as if I get a super-double reset button or something. Talk about a fresh start!

I know--it's a small thing, and I'm probably just getting sentimental in my old age. Ahem. Perhaps I'm only looking to get more mileage out of the few 2012 goals I set, since I'm feeling less-than-inspired this go 'round. But my goals DO seem to have more meaning when I now say "these are the things I want to do in 2012, the 37th year of my life."

In any event, I kicked off my 37th year by running 3.7 miles before work this morning. Yes, I deliberately picked 3.7 miles--I thought 3.7 on my 37th had a nice ring to it. During the run I thought about how good it felt to have a clean slate and a fresh perspective on the year, both 2012 and 37.

Monday, January 2, 2012

2012 Goals

I'm a day late posting my goals, mostly because I've been dreading this post. It's not that I don't like setting goals, but I just feel so...unfocused and sightless when it comes to 2012. To be honest, 2011 was a pretty kick-ass year for me (from a fitness goal standpoint), and I feel like it's going to be hard to top. I know I can do more this year, I just don't know the particulars at this moment. Making the decision to take a break from triathlon (unless the bike and/or money fairy pays me a visit) puts a huge hole in my goal setting. It would certainly make things easier if I could add tri or two to my list of goals for the year, but alas...

I've decided to approach this year's goals two ways: I have my two BIG goals, which will probably suck up more training time than I realize, but I also plan to focus on monthly goals that can be tailored to suit my current mood or immediate needs. They may not be fitness related either--I'll just have to see where 2012 takes me. And yes, there are definitely some areas of my life I know I should focus on that I'm most likely deliberately ignoring. I'm just being honest here. Maybe I'll have the courage to face those problems head on someday, but today I can't get my mind there.

Enough rambling, let's get to the good stuff.

2012 BIG goals:

  1. Complete the Heartland 39.3 Half Marathon Series. I'd really like to PR one of these, but I mostly want to finish the series so I can get the extra medal. I'll do whatever it takes to stay injury-free and upright, but if it's possible to PR AND stay injury-free, that would be ideal.
  2. Run my first full marathon. There. I said it. I want to run a full. I've been tossing it around in my head for a while now, but haven't OWNED it until just now. You know? Part of me felt like I needed to apologize for wanting to do it--as strange as that sounds--as if I had to disclaimer it by saying, "Oh, I probably won't, but I think maybe I might want to." But I want to do it, so I'm going to. I may hate it and I may never do another one again, but I know I have to do one in my lifetime. I know training is going to be hard--not only physically, but from a scheduling standpoint. Blocking out multiple hours a day a few days a week for "short" runs and half a day on weekends for long runs will be beyond difficult, but I'm not the first person/working mother to have to carve out the time so I know it can be done.
January mini-goals:
  1. Sugar intake monitoring/reduction: I have a chronic health condition that I can't seem to manage, and I think it's exacerbated by too much sugar in my diet. I don't drink soda or juice, but I know I consume too much sugar in my regular foods (condiments, sauces, yogurts, milk) and I know I eat too many sugary snacks. So, for Weeks 1-2 of January my goal is to simply track my sugar intake by logging the amounts in the everyday foods I eat. Right now, I'm using a regular calorie tracker, but I may switch to old-fashioned paper and pencil if I notice myself going off the deep end and into the crazy-anxious person I tend to become when I track calories. 
  2. During Weeks 2-4, I'll shift my focus to tweaking my diet to reduce sugar intake, if necessary. With the amount of running I plan to do I know I can't really go low-carb/Paleo (nor do I have any interest in either approach), but I'm certain I can make better choices and find some better alternatives for the foods I'm eating now. My hope is that by reducing the amount of added sugar in my diet (by including  more whole grains and vegetables) and limiting it to a reasonable amount, my condition will improve and I won't have to make any changes beyond that. The "reasonable amount" mentioned above will be determined by the results of Week 1's tracking attempts. If I stay within the 40ish grams that's recommended and I don't see any improvement in my condition, then I'll have to figure out what my threshold is. I really hope I can find a limit that allows me to eat enough carbs to properly fuel my running efforts without triggering my health condition. 
So there you have it. I hope to add more fitness goals as the year progresses and as I find new things that pique my interest. I want 2012 to be the best year yet!