Why hello, again, fair Internet. How many times have I begun a blog post with “I haven’t written in a while” or “hello long-neglected blog”? Too many. But here I am again. I tend to do this every late November into December. Cliche reflection on the past calendar year and looking ahead to the next. The truth is, I really, really like the mark of the end of one period of time and the beginning of the next. I like an arbitrary, world-appointed moment in time to start over and begin clean.
More and more I’m amazed at what a turning point it was in 2014 when I injured my hip. Even though I am completely injury-free today (yay! knock on wood), and even though when I was sidelined I promised myself that once I was better I would never take the opportunity to run for granted ever again, 2015 and 2016 were both the struggle bus as far as getting back into the committed routine I had when I was training for ALL THE RACES.
This year I didn’t go crazy signing up for things. In 2015 I had bought myself a Rock n Roll marathon series tour pass before I knew I would have major moving expenses the same year, so I spent a lot of money on traveling, money I didn’t necessarily have. I didn’t train as diligently as I normally had, due to a lot of factors. In 2016 I cooled it on signing up for races – I did the Rock ‘n’ Roll DC Half back in March since I moved back to Maryland and it was local. I ran another local 10K downtown in DC in March as well.
But for much of 2016 I was working 7 days a week just to make ends meet. Now that my financial situation is more stable, AND I’m back in a more populated area with more readily available access to gyms, classes, safe trails, and group social runs, the year is winding down which makes it a pretty perfect time to try and start fresh with some new goals and new plans to reach those goals.
The following resolutions are listed in order of “at the minimum” to “I’m going to try like hell but it’s ambitious.”
- Get into some kind of weekly fitness routine
I’ve lost a ton of my fitness. I’m fully 2 minutes per mile slower on my average short run than I was even just a year ago, fresh off injury recovery. I’ve gained weight, which contributes to slowing down. Even if it’s just walking for 30 minutes beyond walking the dog, once a week, stick to SOMETHING that will bring me a sense of constancy and getting off my butt.
- Build core strength.
I want to build up my ability to hold a plank, and I want to be able to do at least one push-up. (Being able to do one real push-up has been a New Year’s Resolution of mine every year for many years.) My gym has a great half hour core work class that I should have no excuse not to squeeze in at least once a week, on top of daily planks and attempts at push-ups. Lack of core strength, as I constantly remind myself, was why I got injured in 2014. Let’s prevent that.
- Have a sprint night once a week.
Whether it’s at the local high school track or on the treadmill, if I want to get my pace back down to the 10:XX or even into single digit territory, it’s gonna take speedwork. Suck it up, buttercup, and do those 800 repeats. (Sprint repeats is also a great way to burn more calories in the same amount of time as a sustained steady pace, and the lighter I am, the faster I’ll hopefully get as well.)
- Run a 2:2X half-marathon.
My only 2016 half marathon I ran in 2:28, which I was really happy with considering my lack of consistent training. In 2015, most of my half marathons were in the 2:30-2:40 range, whereas in 2014, almost all had been under 2:29, my PR even sitting at 2:18. I don’t expect to get down to my PR territory any time soon, but being comfortably back in the 2:20’s will let me know my fitness is in pretty shape relative to this moment in time. (My goal races are potentially the Shamrock Half in Virginia Beach in March, and/or Navy Air Force and/or Parks in September here in the DC area. I DNS’d Parks this past September.)
- Tone up my arms and legs.
This is mostly vanity. I’ve never had muscle tone. While I’ve been quite thin at times in my life, I’ve always wished I had more actual muscle definition. I’m not trying to bulk up, but I want to feel strong and I want my clothes to lay flat, I want to smile for a picture not worrying about whether I’m posing at a flattering angle for my arm fat. I want to be able to wear shorts while running without chafing.
- Run my second full marathon.
I had planned on doing this this year, at the beginning of the year. I had thought about doing the Philadelphia Marathon, or even returning to the Marine Corps Marathon. I entered into the lottery for the Chicago Marathon for 2017 – I’ll find out in two weeks if that’s the one I’m committed to. If not, I’ll keep my eye more on MCM, Richmond, or Philadelphia, depending on how my above goals go in the first half of the year.
I am really bad at setting deliberate habits. I will go to a group social run 3 or 4 weeks in a row and then just skip it one week which turns into all the weeks. I’ll fall in love with a yoga class and sign up to go again the next week, and then just not.
My problem is that I’m interested in SO MANY things but there are not enough days in the week. Something will come up that is a one-off, I’ll skip my recently established weekly thing, and then I’ll keep skipping it. I’m a huge fan of, when having had a long day at work, going home, sliding under the covers, and napping until 9 at night. Sometimes I revel in “doing nothing”-ness, that making it to work 5 days a week is enough, I can afford to binge-watch Netflix the rest of my free time and blow off other things I “should” be doing.
And that’s okay, once in a while. But I indulge that side way too often, and my ultimate goal, whether it happens starting today, sometime in 2017, or sometime before I die, is to teach myself way better self-discipline for the things I’m not getting paid or am required to do.
So here’s to kissing goodbye the “I’m just surviving” attitude that was fine for the dumpster fire that was 2016, but not welcome to join me for the rest of this ride. I’m spending December “warming up” for my new goals. Establishing for myself just a few extracurriculars I want to prioritize, so I don’t spread myself too thin and end up hiding under my covers with my laptop. And then committing.
The word of the year will be Commitment.
Hit me in the comments with your 2017 goals — I love to hear everyone else’s goals!