This year is very different. I am very different. As I glance at the calendar, it must be noted that I am six months away from my 40th birthday and I am actually excited about it. Who would have thought I would be happy about getting older? I am not a big "birthday" kind of person. Usually I prefer to mark the passing of each year in a low key fashion. Dinner with a margarita and a red velvet cake chaser is plenty. However this year, there are a few goals I want to accomplish by the time my clock strikes "40". The last year was spent with me and my little clan being happy that we were able to simply exist in good health. Everything else was gravy. However going forward, the need to make the most of my time is beginning to gnaw at me. I want to do more. I want to do better. Here is a list of the goals I want to achieve during this upcoming race season and before I face those birthday candles again:
- Goal Weight: Have I not been struggling with this one waaaay too long? Even I am sick of hearing myself whine endlessly about my weight gain over the last few years. As I type this, I am officially at my all time heaviest weight. Of course I'm not going to reveal that number to everyone out in the open (yeah right!), but I will promise you that I won't remain at this number much longer. My big bad monster to overcome is/was/always will be my poor dietary habits. My sugar addiction and mindless snacking are out of control. I know how to follow a healthy diet and lean out with regular strength training. I have done it before and I will be get there again. My goal is to shrink 5lbs each month until my first major race of the season, which will be in October.
- Strength Training: While I am talking about the state of my body, why not tack on the fact that it has lost all remnants of its past muscle tone glory. There was once a time when I was able to strike a good balance between my running and strength training workouts without missing a beat. I took more care in building strength and lean muscle that enhanced my running and I was stronger overall as a result. Less time was wasted and I felt more accomplished at the end of each visit to the gym. My goal is to maintain a regular strength training regime with a minimum of two weight lifting workouts per week until my birthday rolls around.
- Speed Training: Ugh! The very thought of doing laps around a track makes me shudder. If I've said it once, I've screamed it a million times - I HATE SPEED WORK! But...and it is a big "but"...I want to get faster. My running has suffered over the last three or so seasons because of my seemingly allergic reaction to doing any form of speed training. All of my running time lately has been spent chatting and socializing with my buds, on runs held at a leisurely pace. I am the slowest runner in the pack. Although these social runs have been great for my spirit, my lack of track work has caused me to fall to my absolute slowest pace ever. I was running faster than I am now when I just a newbie training for my first 10K. My goal is to complete one speed workout per week until race season starts.
- Personal Record: I plan to avoid full marathons this season and instead aim for several half marathons. Because of all the above mentioned goals I have set, I don't want the distraction of having to schedule 18 and 21 mile runs into the mix. The half-marathon distance (13.1) will have to do for this season's list of races. Don't be fooled into thinking I am opting for the easy route. I actually want to PR this season. My personal best time in a half marathon is 2:13. Sure it is mediocre and average by some standards, but it is the best I've done so far. I want to do better than that this year. My goal, with the help of regular speed workouts, is to set a new half marathon PR this season.
- Run For A Reason: The Houston Marathon has a "hero" option for runners to add to their race registration. It is called "Run For A Reason" which allows runners to raise funds for one of the officially selected charities of the marathon organization. One of the official charities is especially near and dear to my heart. The Todd Krampitz Foundation was founded in memory of it's namesake as a means to raise awareness about organ donation. I found out about this group for the first time while running the Houston half marathon last year. For a couple of minutes, I had the pleasure of running along side two chipper young ladies in their bright green TKFoundation shirts while they carried a huge green flag advertising the benefits of organ donation. Little did they know, I had already lived through the before and after of my beloved husband's successful kidney transplant. Their actions that cold morning hit me deep in my spirit and I plan to join them in those efforts when I run the Houston half marathon this year. My goal is to raise $350 while I train for the Houston half marathon that will be donated to the TKFoundation.
Well, there you have it. If you read through that long "to-do" list and stayed awake, you deserve a cookie. I won't be able to join in that cookie celebration because I have already started on the diet goal this past week. You know the drill...more whole foods, less processed foods and less sugar altogether. I am already down 1.5lbs and I plan to add to it as the weeks go by. Wish me luck and drop me a line of encouragement if you catch me slacking. Trust me, I will need it!