Good Intentions

So it’s that time of year where we all pledge to quit things (coffee, smoking, drinking) or start doing things (read more, save money, go to the gym) or just strive to be a better person all around. After two weeks of reading 2013 recaps and 2014 resolutions, it’s very clear people either love making resolutions or think they’re absolutely dumb. I creeped back in my archives and found resolution posts for 2011/2012/2013 filled with aspirations to live a better life each year. Pretty sure those lists didn’t get revisited once the calendar flipped past March. Best laid plans, I suppose.

The road outside my house is paved with good intentions.

So this year, this dreaded wonderful first year of my thirties, the focus will be on different things than I’d normally put on a resolution/goals list. Instead of resolving to drink my body weight in water daily (which will probably happen anyway) or quit sugar (which will never happen in a million years), I want to finally get my passport. And master pivot tables and circular references in Excel. And finish decluttering + reorganizing the damn office. You know, adult-ish things.

I’m still trying to come up with something more clever than “30 Things for 30 Years”. HELP. Once the list is done and has a non-lame name, it’ll live on a separate page on the blog for all the world to see. Accountability, people! That’s why we put this crap on the internet, right? Then I’ll obviously shout it from the rooftops when I check one of those babies off the list.

Let’s dub 2014 as “The Year to Get Shit Done”. What big thing are YOU planning to tackle this year?

Time to Run

Let’s discuss a few goals for today’s half marathon, shall we?

Your Austin Marathon

With a course elevation which looks like this (why is the half SO much worse than the full?!)

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the chances of PRing are slim to none. And I’m okay with that. I’ll be running this race purely for fun. If I want to walk the hills, so be it. If I want to run the whole race at a 12:00 min/mi, I will.

My goal for today is plain and simple: to cross that finish line on Congress Avenue in front of the Capitol Building.

Oh beautiful medal, I’m coming for you.

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Dear Austin Hills, please don’t kill me.

Time for #8.

3M Half Marathon Goals

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Welp, it’s almost here. The 3M Half Marathon is this Sunday, and my lackluster training is about to shine through. Remember my well thought out training schedule which would yield a desirable 2:15-2:20 finish?

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Best laid plans. It hasn’t been touched since December.

It’s not that I haven’t been running – it’s just I haven’t been following a plan, per se. I run every Saturday with our ZOOMA Texas Training Group, but weekday runs have been fairly sporadic. Well, up until last week when training for the New Jersey Marathon started, but that’s a story for another post.

Bottom line: I’m not nearly as prepared for 3M as I would like to be. I give anyone who trains for their A-race/a full marathon/basically any endurance event in January HUGE kudos. It’s tough getting through the holidays and sticking to the plan. I learned this last year, even declaring “Overall, I really enjoyed the race and I look forward to doing it again next year – properly trained, of course!”  but apparently temporarily forgot as I chose 3M to be my 2012 half marathon A-race. Whoops…

With 13.1 miles looming on the horizon, it’s time to set some race goals:

Goal A sub-2:20 (10:40 pace)

Goal B sub-2:25 (11:03 pace)

Goal C sub-2:30 (11:26 pace)

Goal D Finish under 2:37, my current PR set in San Antonio

At this point, I’m not sure what will happen on Sunday morning. With a 29:46 5k PR and 1:01:36 10k PR, I think I definitely have a faster half marathon time in me. Is this time attainable for 3M? It’s hard to tell.

One thing is for sure though: I will be rockin’ a Team Sparkle traveling skirt. Maybe all I need for this PR is a little blood, sweat, and sparkle!

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Do you have an A-race in 2012 where you plan to blow your current PR out of the water? Do you have trouble sticking to a training plan through the holidays?

2012: Goals

racing…

Marathon – 5:15

Half Marathon – 2:15

10k – 59:XX

5k – 29:XX

 

 

running…

12 Races in 2012

Practice negative splitting

Run at least one race NOT for time – only for fun

Volunteer at two races

fitness…

Commit to 45-60 min workouts, 3x per week (excluding long runs)

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Focus more on stretching, yoga, foam rolling, and core work

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foam-roller

1000 miles in 2012

2011 mileage

 

nutrition…

Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate!

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Take vitamins + calcium supplements every day

Be more conscious of portion sizes

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life in general…

Blog consistently, at least 3-4 posts per week

Read at least 15 books

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Surround myself with positive people to eliminate unnecessary negativity from my life

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Create & follow a {realistic} budget

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budget on Mint

and most importantly…

enjoy every.single.moment of 2012

While 2011 had more than its fair share of ups and downs, it’s best not to dwell on the difficulties of the past and focus on the opportunities in the future. Let go of the disappointments and use them as learning experiences. Life is short and every minute should be cherished. Surround yourself with people you love. Take chances, live in the moment, don’t think twice. Appreciate everything you have, as it all could be taken from you in the blink of an eye.

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All photos via Pinterest

Everyone (for the most part) has set goals and/or resolutions for 2012. Which of yours is the most important for you to achieve this year?

Finishing Strong

Oh hey December, where did you come from? Seriously, this year FLEW by!

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With the end of 2011 looming on the horizon, I need to set some goals to finish out the year on a high note.

1. MOVE 5x per week. Run 3x, Spin/Elliptical 2x – NO EXCUSES!

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2. Attend Thursday night yoga. I used to take this class every week. It was the perfect way to unwind from the work week. Savasana clears my mind and relaxes me.

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3. Drink more H2O. In the summer I have no problem drinking 72 ounces of water per day. Once the temperature dips in the fall/winter, I struggle to stay hydrated. I’d much rather drink a hot cup of {dehydrating caffeine} coffee.

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4. Limit caffeine consumption. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to quit coffee but I certainly would like to decrease the amount I drink. I’m going to start swapping out my weekday morning cup of joe for a chamomile or green tea. Coffee will be reserved for a weekend treat.

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5. Get adequate sleep This goes hand in hand with number 3. The more coffee I consume, the worse off I am when it comes time to hit the hay. Tossing and turning for over an hour before falling asleep just isn’t working for me. Less caffeine = better sleep quality.

6. Eat breakfast regularly I easily lose track of time in the morning at work and before I know it lunch is rolling around. I need to make a habit of walking into work and eating right away. I’m going to set a recurring appointment in Outlook as a reminder.

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7. Take my vitamins. Need I say more?

8. Set aside more time for writing. I’ve been working on my novel quite a bit lately and would like to keep that up. In the month of November I hit publish on fifteen blog posts, and would like to hit at least that many in December as well.

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9. Surround myself with POSITIVE people.

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10. Enjoy the holiday season. This will be the first Christmas Brad and I actually spend together. Crazy, right? Unfortunately neither of us will be able to see our families this year, but at least we will have each other 🙂

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All photos via Pinterest

Have you set any goals for the month of December?

What’s Next?

I spent July through October training my little heart out for the Marine Corps Marathon.

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Now that the race has come and gone, it’s time to look into the future at upcoming goals.

I fell ridiculously short of my sub 2:20 half marathon goal for 2011. I can tell you exactly why: lack of training. The first three races in the beginning of the year should hardly be considered as legitimate attempts. I barely logged any training miles and ran the races solely to finish. I had a few killer speed workouts and tempo runs during marathon training, but for the most part I only trained for distance.

Once San Antonio rolled around, two weeks after Marine Corps, it was clear this wouldn’t be the time to PR. It didn’t keep me from setting a few lofty race goals though. I managed to eek out a PR by one minute – not what I had hoped for. A less than impressive showing on my behalf. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed.

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Back to my original point – the sub 2:20 race didn’t happen. The only logical thing to do would be to slash some serious minutes off my current PR early next year.

Enter 3M Half Marathon on January 29, 2012.

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This will be my PR race, kicking the year off in a big way. The goal is a 2:15-2:20 finish. Yes, I realize that’s a 20 minute difference from the half two weeks ago, but barring injury {knock on wood} it’s attainable with the correct training.

Therefore, I present to you … the Operation Run Fast training plan.
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(click to view full training plan)

I’ve been tweaking it for over a month and aside from the long run paces, it’s finally done.

Three days of running (speed/tempo/long), two days of cross-training (elliptical/spin), and two rest days. While I always run three days a week, cross-training seems to fall by the wayside. It’s just as important as running, so I need to make sure I’m completing those workouts (not counting this past holiday week).

I jumped back onto the running scene this week:

Tuesday:   2 miles @ 9:55 pace (This run kicked my ass and reminded me what taking a few weeks off will do to you)

Thursday:  5 miles @ 11:25 pace (Turkey Trot)

Sunday:     6.5 miles @ 11:04 pace (Supposed to be 6-7 miles at 11:38 pace. I compromised with 6.5 and ran them a bit faster than what the training plan called for. Oops)

I’m ready to buckle down and train hard for the 3M Half. Operation Run Fast starts NOW.

Bring it on.

Recaper

Don’t bother wondering what recaper means or attempt to consult Google for a definition. I made it up.

Daily Mile sent me this email:

dailymile

What they failed to recognize is my last logged workout was a damn marathon.

Which brings me to the title of the post: recaper. I could argue I’m still in recovery mode from the marathon and not in any specific hurry to jump back into working out as diligently as I had been. Although as Carly brought up yesterday, it’s race week (yet again!), so I suppose I’m tapering.

Recovering from one race + tapering for another = recaper.

I have a case of the taper crazies like you would NOT believe. You know, aside from actually wanting to run more during race week. Or run at all. I cannot stop thinking about this race, and it’s probably just as bad as the days leading up to Marines Corp.

I have opened my Pace Calculator app no less than 437 times since Monday.

I’ve been studying the elevation map:

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and mentally burning the water stop locations into my brain

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Weather.com is constantly open at work, on my laptop at home, and I’ve added San Antonio to the list of saved locations in the weather app on my phone.

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I’ve reread last years recap to absorb any details about the course I may have forgotten. I’ve studied my splits from my three previous half marathons this year to see where I seem to hit the wall. This taper is consuming my brain!

san-antonio-start

I’m not really sure what’s going to go down in San Antonio on Sunday. I shouldn’t set goals for the race considering I am only two weeks out from my 26.2.

But I want to PR.

This shouldn’t be all that difficult considering my half PR is 2:38. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous to run side-by-side with Carly, Miss Speedy 2:21 PR.

We absolutely annihilated our 10k PRs at the beginning of October at IBM, but this is more than twice the distance. There’s no way I will be able to hold a sub-10 pace for the entire race. In order for Carly and I to both PR, we would need to maintain a 10:40 pace. Much more attainable, although still difficult. I haven’t exactly been training for speed lately, only distance.

And for Carly to knock yet another goal from her 2011 list, we would need to run San Antonio in 2:15, a 10:18 pace. Carly, I don’t know if my post-marathon legs can promise you this goal. But for you, I will try.

Like I said, I shouldn’t set goals. But I’m doing it anyway.

goals

Goal A: Beat last year’s time

Goal B: 2:30 (11:27 pace)

Goal C: 2:25 (11:04 pace)

Goal D: 2:20 (10:41 pace)

One thing is for sure – I am so damn excited to run this race! It will be so nice to hit 13.1 and be DONE.

13.1

3 days til race day!

One step at a time

I took this evening off from the gym. It was glorious. There is something about a well deserved rest day after a tough run that I really enjoy. I iced my finicky shins and rested my tired legs yesterday, but there was one thing I forgot to do: spend some quality time with my foam roller.

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When I awoke this morning, my calves were happily tucked inside their compression sleeves but my quads were neglected and pissed. They hadn’t received nearly enough love yesterday and continued to remind me of that fact all. day. long. I spent some time with Mr. Red after work today, and have another session scheduled before bed.

On the weekly workout goals front, the best way for me to be held accountable is to sing them loud for all to hear:

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Too soon for Christmas references? No such thing! Apparently Macy’s has the same thought process – they already had their decorations up this weekend when I was there.

Anyway, here’s my workout plan for the week:

Monday

Rest Day

Tuesday

3 mile run + Austin Trash Run

Wednesday

XT (elliptical or bike)

Thursday

3 mile run + Yoga

Friday

XT or Rest Day

Saturday

8 mile run

Sunday

XT + IM 70.3 Austin volunteering

Proper tapering? I think so. I’ll recap my progress on Sunday evening.

Is it weird that I’m already thinking about training for a second marathon? I know the first will be tough, but I’m most worried because it’s uncharted territory. I won’t bat an eye or think twice about registering for a half marathon because I’ve completed five. I was even registered for my second before I ran my first. I know the distance, and I know I can finish successfully. I feel like once I cover 26.2, it will feel a tiny bit less daunting. It’s still a marathon after all.

I’ve got my eye on a spring marathon and I’m contemplating throwing my name into the lottery for ING NYC. The only thing drawback to New York is training in the Texas summer again. Ugh. But that race is definitely on my to-do list.

Of course, I still have another goal to accomplish before then: smashing my half marathon PR.

One step at a time.

IBM Uptown Classic 10k Race Recap

To recap the race goals:

Goal A: Beat last year’s time

Goal B: 1:10 (11:17 pace)

Goal C: 1:07 (10:48 pace)

Goal D: 1:05 (10:29 pace)

Carly and I discussed the race a bit on Saturday during our run, and one of our non-negotiable goal was to run the entire race without stopping. We both agreed breaking an hour would be phenomenal, but probably not too realistic. Carly said even 1:05 would be a great time. We were on the same page.

Packet pickup was quick and painless at Luke’s Locker in downtown Austin. Here’s the contents of the swag bag and the race tee:

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Race season started off with a bang!

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We made it to the race site about 20 minutes before the start. The great thing about the IBM Uptown Classic is that while it draws a decent sized crowd, it is extremely organized and everything is executed well. This year marks it’s 12th anniversary.

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Ready to run!

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After the national anthem, the YMCA began blasting from the speakers and it was time for us to kill 6.2 miles.

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An early mistake we made was starting too far back. It was really congested and hard to settle into our pace. After struggling through the masses, we passed the Mile 1 marker in 10:31.

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We then headed into the Domain which gave us something to look at and distract us from the race for a few minutes.

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We covered mile 2 in 9:45. Sub-10 pace? Awesome. We kept on truckin’, full speed ahead.

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We flew through mile 3 in 9:25.

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The race also had a 5k option, and as we ran next to their finish chute I heard “Melissa loves to sweat!” from the announcer over the loudspeaker. Why yes, yes I do. Want your own I ♥ Sweat shirt? This sweaty girl is the creator!

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Mile 4 was a speedy 9:23.

Mile 5 is where things started to get tough. We encountered a grueling hill, and I heard a few expletives fly out of Carly’s mouth as it first came into view. My thoughts exactly.

We didn’t stop to walk, just kept focused on powering up the hill. Once we came over the top, my legs let out a few expletives of their own. I was SPENT! I wanted to walk so badly but kept going – it’s almost over, suck it up Melissa!While we didn’t stop running, our pace still dropped dramatically for mile 5: 10:40.

Halfway through mile 6, I glanced down at my Garmin and realized finishing under an hour would be out of reach. (Although, if it weren’t for the hill I think that goal would have been attainable.)

Mile 6 was another sub-10, 9:53. Once we passed that mile marker, we kicked it into high gear and hauled ass towards that finish line as fast as we could.

Official Finish Time: 1:01:36

We were ecstatic! Doing the happy dance all of the way back to the car. It was a 12 minute PR for me, and 9 minute PR for Carly.

I can’t think of a better way to kick off race season.

October 2nd marked our runniversary – it has been officially one year since our first race. It’s incredible how far we have come as runners in that time, and I’m glad we crossed the finish line next to each other yesterday.

Procrastination: 100 Miles in May Edition

I’ve always been fantastic at procrastinating.

School project assigned on a Monday night, due the following week at 7pm? Started at 5pm on Monday and I’d be outside the classroom on my laptop working on it right up until class started.

12 page paper due at 1pm, with an entire semester to prepare for it? I started it at 2am the day of. (I received an A on that paper, by the way. I work best under pressure!)

Laundry that needs to be done that I have an entire weekend to tackle? I’m just loading it into the washer at 8pm Sunday night.

You get the picture. I wait until the last minute to do everything. It’s a terrible habit, one that I just can’t seem to kick no matter how hard I try. I don’t know why I thought this 100 Miles in May challenge would be any different.

Week 1

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Week 2

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Uh yeah, not going so well. After some calculations and reevaluating my plan of attack, I realized I had two options:

  • quit the challenge and quietly delete the previous post where I declared I was participating in it. Destroy the evidence and deny, deny, deny. Huh, what challenge? Don’t know what you’re talking about… 

    OR

  • step up my game and finish out the month strong, even if I don’t nail the total 100 mile goal

After much deliberation, I decided on option two. The month was still worth salvaging, and any miles were better than throwing in the towel altogether.

I attempted three times this week to wake up at 4am to make it to the gym before work. Didn’t happen. I launched a new plan: workout at lunch! Initially I hated it. I felt rushed to get to the gym, get changed, and knock out some cardio. And then with my heart racing afterwards, I had to hurriedly get changed, make myself presentable, and bolt back to the office.

But what do you know, I found myself packing a gym bag again on Tuesday night. And again last night. I think I may have fallen in love with my mid-day stress reliever!

Since Monday I’ve been to the gym four consecutive days, with double sessions on the last three of them. WHO AM I?! The miles are adding up, and I’m even getting in strength training sessions every other day.

Week 3

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I know this isn’t exactly the idea of the challenge. It’s supposed to inspire you to do a little bit each day, be active, stay healthy. Not “cram-as-many-miles-in-as-you-can-in-two-weeks” I’ve obviously turned it into.

However, I’m glad I didn’t cave & quit as I tend to do when the going gets tough. And honestly I feel incredible this week. I’m sleeping better, and I feel more in shape than I have in a long time. As an added bonus – I’ve discovered my love for lunchtime workouts. This is going to help immensely, because 90% of the time I am successful at talking myself out of my evening workouts on the hour+ commute home.

I just might hit that 100 mile mark!