#GoalGetter2013

Sometimes I think I may be the only person in the world who doesn’t mind Mondays.  Most Mondays that is.  After a particularly lovely weekend I have trouble embracing the newness of the week but, let’s face it, there’s no stopping it.  This would be one of those weekends.  I had a great 16 mile run with my running girls on Saturday and then Sunday my hubby and I went for a 20 mile bike ride.  I’m not going to lie, it was a pretty blissful weekend.

Beautiful sunrise from my run.

Beautiful sunrise from my run.

Last month I had a ton of fun with some fantastic blends (blogging friends) putting together a daily photo challenge.  And, WOW – y’all blew us away at your enthusiasm with the #holidayaday photo challenge.  We had over 6,000 pictures uploaded to Instagram with the #holidayaday hashtag!

So we figured why stop in December? Why not continue this challenge into the new year AND help encourage you with your New Year’s resolutions.  We decided right off the bat that doing a daily photo challenge wouldn’t be practical so we went back to the drawing board and TA-DA!! came up with:

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Introducing #goalgetter2013.  This is an easy-peesy, one photo a month challenge designed to help keep you accountable for the goals you want to achieve in 2013.  What you do is pick a goal each month and then snap a picture of you working towards your goal. For example, if you’re goal is to eat healthier, snap a picture of you noshing on those veggies.  Want to be a faster runner? Snap a picture after you’ve crushed your run.  Easy, right? Don’t feel like you can only take one picture a month though, I know we’d all love to see as many pictures as you little goal-getting heart desires to upload.

Throughout the year we’ll be checking in on your #goalgetter2013 progress.  We’ll have fun progress updates and maybe even a surprise giveaway or two so make sure to follow us via our blogs and on Instagram.

And for even more accountability, you can subscribe to our monthly newsletter.  Each month we’ll send out a reminder newsletter with motivational tips, success stories, and more.  I can’t wait to see what goals you have planned for 2013!  What are you waiting for?  Take the pledge today and go get your goals!

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Don’t be a Resolutioner

Happy 2013 y’all!! Did you have a great time ringing in the new year? I managed to make it until 11pm to watch the East Coast celebrate 2013. Wooooo! I sure know how to party into the wee hours of the night, right?  On the plus side, I did get to take advantage of the last day of empty machines at the gym.

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I adore getting free range of any machine that I want; I’m like a kid in a candy store.  But I know that as of yesterday the gym was filled with New Year resolutioners.  Each year tens of thousands, perhaps even hundreds of thousands, flock to the gym in an attempt to make good on their 2013 goals.  For that very reason I chose to spend my first workout of 2013 avoiding the fuss of the gym.

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6 mile tempo run in 95% humidity and 70* heat. Happy New Year to me!
My Sparkly Soul band kept all the sweaty flyaways our of my face.

Even though I just fussed about the gym, I have to admit that I enjoy the chaos during the first week in January.  I love that every machine is full and I love even more seeing people who haven’t exercised in awhile getting after it. But here’s the thing, I know that by the third week in January, most of the shiny newness of those 2013 fitness goals have worn off which means the gym will go back to it’s pre-New Year population.

Somehow putting down the goals on paper isn’t quite enough to keep most New Year resolutioner’s avid attention.  I’ve been there, I get it.  Life has a way of derailing even the most well intentioned goals.  So what does it take to stick with your goals and not become a resolutioner? When I was thinking about how to answer that question, I considered several years of resolutions.  I’ve broken dozens of resolutions in my life but it’s the ones that I stuck with that really caught my attention.  What did I do differently that year to not drop out like normal? This is what I came up with.

How to not be a New Year Resolutioner:

  1.  Make your goals attainable. Don’t choose a goal you know you can’t achieve; it’s setting yourself up for failure. By doing this you’re actually sabotaging all your goals, not just that one.
  2. Break them into smaller goals. Achieving smaller goals throughout the year will give you a confidence boost and help you reach your ultimate goal. Before I ran the Marine Corps Marathon I started with a 5k. Small goals lead to bigger goals.
  3. Make yourself accountable. Be annoying; tell everyone you know what you want to accomplish. Bu doing this you put a fair amount of pressure on yourself. Even better, get some accountability partners. Friends who will hold your feet to the fire when the going gets tough.  This one personally worked wonders for me when I hooked up with running friends.
  4. Be determined. You can’t accomplish anything unless you first believe in yourself and recognize the hard work that you’re going to put into making things happen.
  5. Reevaluate. If something’s not working and you’re tempted to give up on your goals, take time to reevaluate what’s not working. It’s totally ok to decide something’s not right for you.  Instead, consider altering your goals. Get rid of what doesn’t work and don’t be afraid to try new tactics.  This does not mean you’re a failure.

Now that you have some working tips on how to stick to our New Year resolutions, I hope you feel more comfortable with what you’re trying to accomplish this year.

And now as promise, I’m excited to announce the Sparkly Soul giveaway headband winner.  There were 101 entries and, using Random.org, lucky comment #80 was the winner.  Congrats, Kristy, get ready to sparkle! I’ll be getting in touch with you soon with all the details.  I know you’ll be stoked to experience first hand how this band doesn’t slip and slide like the rest – cheers!

UntitledQuestion:  What do you do when the going gets tough with New Year resolutions? I’d love to hear any tips that work for you!

2012 in Review and Goals for 2013

I can’t believe today is the last day of 2012! I had so many great moments this year so I’m really sad to see it come to an end.  For those of you that are curious, I did manage to drag my sick butt out of bed Saturday and get a very cold and hilly 12 mile run in.  Although, I think I probably should have stayed in bed.

Here’s a bit of humor to start your day off with.  Saturday morning, I couldn’t see while I was driving to meet my running girls but I chalked it up to the fact that I got up ridiculously early (4:45); turns out I was wearing my husband’s contacts.  It was a 45 minute drive to where we were running and I was already 1/2 way there so I did what any reasonable person would do.  I ran 12 miles with basically beer goggles on.  Did I mention that his prescription is -5.25 (basically blind) and mine is only -1.25?? On the drive home I kept my fingers crossed that I wouldn’t get pulled over.  I was pretty sure the “I’m not drunk, I’m just wearing my husband’s contacts” plea wouldn’t amuse a cop. Oy!! Ok, now that you laughed hysterically, let’s get back to your regularly scheduled New Year’s Eve post.

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I think what I’ll remember most about 2012 is that I feel like I finally rediscovered the person I was before my brother was killed.  It’s been so nice enjoying life and not carrying around unnecessary emotional baggage.

A lot of rediscovering myself had to do with rediscovering running this past year.   As of January 1, 2012, the furthest distance I had raced was a 10k.  I was just starting to get back into running and, with only one 8 mile ‘long’ (ha!)  run under my belt, I made the decision to run a marathon in memory of my brother.  10 short months and several races later I conquered the Marine Corps Marathon.  I didn’t start blogging until June so I thought it would be fun to recap some of my favorite fitness accomplishments from this year.

2012 – A Year of Fitness Firsts  

  • I ran my first 15k in February, the Double Bridge Run, in Pensacola, FL.  This race really is the one that flipped the switch in my head from someone who dabbled in running to ‘hey, I’m a runner.’
Taken at the Double Bridge Run 15k in Pensacola, Florida.  This was an amazing run! I was so happy to run it with Mary, my running inspiration - she's a beast on the road! (And also happens to be like a mom to me.)

The Double Bridge Run 15k in Pensacola, Florida. Luckily, I’ve learned how to take better race pictures since then.

  • I ran my first ½ marathon, Roll-n-Roll in New Orleans, LA.  I experienced quite a bit of marathon envy watching the marathoners split from the half-marathoners.  I wanted to call myself a marathoner so bad I could taste it at that point.

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This is me ignorantly thinking that kayaking 2 miles would be a breeze. HA!

This is me ignorantly thinking that kayaking 2 miles would be a breeze. HA!

  • I ran my first ever beer run.  It was a 4k which added to the quirky fun.

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  • I set PRs in my 5k, 10k and ½ marathon.
  • I RAN MY FIRST MARATHON!! Need I say more?

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  • And finally, my legs logged 1,247 miles in 2012!!

The human body never ceases to amaze me with what it can do when you set a goal.  To go from very little fitness to running a marathon in 10 months is something that I’m very proud of.  Not just because of the physical aspect of it, but also because I conquered that annoying voice in my head always telling me “you won’t ever…” or “you can’t…”

2013 is going to be another great year that I get to tell that dumb voice to shut it.  Now that I have a solid year of running and my body is used to the abuse I give it, 2013 is going to be the year of focusing on speed.

2013 Goals

  • Run a sub 2 hour 1/2 marathon.  Realistically, I’m only 4 minutes away from that happening so this is kind of a default goal.  My real goal is to run a 1:55 (or better) 1/2.
  • Run a sub 25 minute 5k.
  • Run a sub 50 minute 10k.
  • Run a 4:15 marathon. (Hopefully I’ll get this one in February.)
  • Improve my running form.
  • Weight train consistently.
  • 6 pack abs!!

Personal 2013 Goals

  • Continue to grow in my spirituality – super important to me!
  • Give back more; donate my time to various causes.
  • Focus less on me and more on others.
  • Continue to encourage others on their paths to healthier lifestyles.
  • Find a better balance between clean eating, running and life in general.

Super Ambitious Goals (AKA ones that probably won’t happen but I’m going to try anyways)

  • Compete in my first triathlon.  I really, really, really want this one to happen but, realistically, the cost associated with getting into the tri world is a bit prohibitive.  That and the swim scares the daylights out of me.
  • Run my first 50k.  I’ve been researching these this week and unfortunately most of the ones in the South are in the spring and registration has closed.

Question: What did you accomplish in 2012 that you are super proud of?  What are your goals for 2013?

Marathon #2: 1/2 Way There!

I hope y’all had a great Christmas and that you were able to enjoy some down time.  I know I did! Unfortunately, I got to enjoy some sort of virus, too.  Boooo. I rarely get sick so it’s strange to be sick twice in one month.  Oh well, tis the season for stuff like this, right? I’m the living embodiment of a snot faced punk right now…

In my down time, I was looking at my current training plan and realized that eight weeks ago I ran my first full marathon and that in another eight short weeks I’ll be running my second 26.2, the Rock-n-Roll Marathon in New Orleans.  EEP!

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I’ve been kind of unintentionally mum on my training for this marathon so I figured now that the ½ way mark has crept up on me, I’ll give y’all an update.

The first few weeks of training were actually spent recovering from the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM).  Just taking the runs nice and easy, keeping the legs moving and blood flowing.  My training girls and I decided that we didn’t want to lose any conditioning from the MCM so we kept our easy paced mileage in the manageable range of 20-25 weekly.

First run of marathon training numero dos.

First run of marathon training numero dos.

Then December rolled around and I realized that I had a ½ marathon in 9 days that I totally hadn’t prepared for.  The longest distance I had ran since the MCM had been 9 miles. I wanted to get at least one double digit run just to make sure my legs remembered how to act right so I squished a 10 mile run in the first week of December.  My legs did fine and I even PR’d at the ½.109141-111-018f

Last weekend I met with my running girls to tackle 15 miles.  It. Was. Freezing! Well, almost.  It was 36 degrees.  I realize temps like that are a heat wave to some of y’all but it’s freezing to this Northern-turned-Southern girl.  I didn’t want to get out of bed but after having some choice words with myself I made it to the designated meeting spot.  And I’m SO glad that I put my big girl panties because it turned out to be a spectacular run.  The kind where you just don’t ever want to stop.  At 14.5 miles I knew I wasn’t ready to stop so I said goodbye to my running girls and ran until I was content.  I stopped at mile 18 when my foot said ‘Hoooooooold up…What do you think you’re doing to me?’  I’m sorry foot, I got carried away…

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It was so great to have a run like that; I really needed it to get my head focused back on training.  I’ve been pretty apathetic with this round of marathon training.  When I was preparing for the MCM, come hell or high water, I wouldn’t miss a run.  I wish I could say that’s still the same for this marathon but the truth is, I’ve slacked off big time.  I’ve skipped a few runs and cut others short.  I’ve also totally skipped out on my yoga and cross training.  I have this ‘I’ve already run one marathon so I don’t need to train as much’ mentality which is going to get my tail in trouble.  The worst thing I could do is toe up to the line on February 24th without being properly conditioned.

Speaking of not being properly conditioned, I haven’t ran since last Saturday.  Thanks to that virus I mentioned earlier, I’ve decided to play it smart and give my body a break this week.  I’m going to try to tackle my long run tomorrow but I’m not sure how it’s going to go.

So with that being said, I’m totally getting down to business these next eight weeks.  I’m bidding adieu to my laissez faire attitude and welcoming back the ass kicking, take no prisoners Gina that put in the hard work to earn her first 26.2 eight weeks ago and who will earn her second 26.2 in eight more weeks.  Even typing that feels empowering.  I am woman, hear me roar! Well, right after I blow my nose.

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Don’t forget to enter my Sparkly Soul giveaway!! The contest closes tonight at midnight!

Question:  Do you ever get into a training rut? How do you get yourself out of it?

Kick the “I Can’t”

This wasn’t the post I intended on writing, but apparently I needed to write it since it’s what came out of my fingers/brain.  I’m totally overwhelmed with things going on this week and needed to remind myself that I can get things accomplished.  I had a terrible run last night and between work (we have a huge event Saturday), marathon training, and just life in general, I think I might be bald by Monday.  I’m pretty sure my face can’t pull off the Britney Spears look.

Something I hear come out of my mouth way more than I care to admit (especially weeks like this when there’s not enough hours in the day) is “I can’t…”  I can’t do this, I can’t do that, blah blah blah… I have so many things that I want to do but have never done because “I can’t”.  After Sunday’s long run, I had the realization that unless I have some physical impairment, which thankfully I don’t, I should be able to do anything I put my mind to.  I may not be great at it, but who cares?

One of my favorite quotes of all time!

If you would have asked me a year ago if I would ever be able to run 20+ miles, I would have looked at you like you were crazy and then I would have spit out something like this: “Oh, I can’t do that because I injured my knee a while back”.  Oh boy, have I used that excuse WAY to much. Well luckily I came to my senses sometime over the past year and something amazing happened.  I was able to do something I “couldn’t” do.  Yippee! (Side note – I’m certainly not telling you to ignore an injury; just don’t use it as a crutch like I did.)

But I really started wondering.  Just how many times have I cheated myself out of something amazing because I told myself I couldn’t do it? Honestly, I have the type of personality that if I don’t do something well the first time or don’t see instant results, I chock it up as lost.  Call it fear of failure.  I sometimes get so scared of failing that I convince myself I can’t do ‘x-y-z’.  Seriously? With that type of mentality, it’s amazing that I’m not living in a plastic bubble, quivering at the sight of my own shadow.

I am happy to say that I’ve noticed the older I get the less I worry about failing and the less I hear “I can’t” come out of my mouth.  I’m pretty happy with myself and I actually tend to embrace my imperfections and have fun with life.  If I can’t keep up with the big dogs, I can at least entertain them, right?!  Maybe by the time I get into my 30s I’ll have life figured out.  Probably not.

So why am I sharing this? In hopes that you realize you can be amazing.  There isn’t anything you can’t achieve with the proper amount of work.  I have some goals in my sights for 2013 (like a triathlon) that I’m going to have to set aside the “I cant”s in order to accomplish.  So we’ll see if I can stay true to myself and kick the “I can’t”s out of my life.  As far as the rest of my chaotic weekend goes, if do lose all my hair, I’ll make sure to post some pictures!

Question:  Have you ever told yourself you can’t do something only to surprise yourself later on when you did it?

MCM Training: Week 6 Recap

If you remember from last week’s training recap, I had pretty apathetic training week and declared my attitude toward this week’s training to be resolved (firm in purpose or intent; determined).  I’m happy to report that this week’s training was exactly that.  I was eager and excited to tackle the runs and truly enjoyed each run.  I don’t know if the great training week was because I finally felt rested from all of my graduation excitement or if declaring a positive attitude before the week started kept me on track.  Either way, I’m glad week 6 went so well.

Another positive experience I had this week was being able to visit my brother during a 5 mile training run.  My friend Stacey is training for the Marine Corps Marathon, too, so she went with me on this training run.  She’s heard a lot about Roger and understands why running the MCM in memory of him is so important to me so it was really nice to ‘introduce’ (I know, sounds strange) her to him.

During this weekend’s long run, I tackled the longest distance I’ve ran since April…12 miles.  I’ve done several 10 milers over the past 4 months but backed off the distance knowing I’d have crazy miles to run during training.  I was a bit apprehensive about the distance because I was running with some ladies who are faster than I am.  I don’t know why I was nervous, everything turned out perfectly! The weather was phenomenal, in the lower 80s instead of the 90s that it has been, and running with faster women challenged me to kick it up a notch.  My training plan pace was supposed to be 11:15 but I ended up doing a 10:28 pace.  The only problem is I somehow bruised the side of my right foot next to my big toe.  We ran on the beach which has a pretty decent slant so I’m thinking it has something to do with the slant.

The last thing I want to report on are the goals I set last week.  In order to keep myself focused I gave myself some mini-goals which I really enjoyed having.  So how’d I do?  I did my devotions each day except for Saturday.  I made it to the gym for cross-training and got a 10.5 mile cycling session in.  I did my yoga and got my foam rolling in.  Those were all easy goals for me.  The challenging goals were the pushup/squats/burpees combo.  I did pretty well on this but I did only do it 5 days instead of every day.  I’ve said this before, but I have 0 upper body strength.  When I created this goal, I totally under estimated how taxing the pushup/burpee combo would be on my upper body. By day 3 I was totally hurting so I took it off.  I also decided after Saturday’s long run, there was no way I was subjecting my legs to any burpees which subsequently led to me not doing any pushups or squats either.  Funny how that was like a landslide effect…

I really enjoyed the accountability of posting my goals, so here are my goals for next week:

Question:  What do you do to keep yourself accountable?

Training Truths: MCM Week 2

Through the Sweat Pink Ambassador community I’ve been privileged to meet many inspiring bloggers. Amy from Running Escapades  is one of those bloggers – make sure to check out her site and say hello! Over on Amy’s blog she does a weekly post called training truths; I fell in love with the idea and have decided to ‘steal’ it.  So instead of recapping week two’s Marine Corps Marathon training, I’m going to give you the training truths I learned from this week.  Thanks Amy for the great idea!

Training truth #1: Running in the rain is fun….for the first 2 miles.  Anything after that and I’m miserable.  Wednesday I did a 4 mile solo run and it rained the entire time, well except for the times that it was a torrential downpour – that goes in a different category than rain.  I think I should stick to dancing in the rain.

I know rain makes me soggy & unattractive but it makes these flowers oh so perrrty!

Training truth #2: Soggy shoes = purple, pruny toes.  Oy, need I say more??

Training truth #3:  Training plans = accountability. I absolutely love the structure a training plan provides me. It would have been incredibly easy on Wednesday to get home and decide not to run due to the weather. BUT my training plan reminded me so nicely that I had a 4 miler to knock out and (thanks to my hectic life schedule deciding to intervene with my running schedule) I knew I wouldn’t have an opportunity to make the run up if I missed it. In my mind, any run that I miss can have a huge impact on my ability to run the Marine Corps Marathon in the time I want. Since I’m running the MCM in memory of my brother I want to make sure to give it everything I’ve got.

Training truth #4: Going to college full time, working full time and marathon training is hard. And time consuming. And I’m pretty sure I have no life right. Hello graduation in 2 weeks!

Training truth #5:  The best way to get to know a city is on foot.  I have noticed more cute little restaurants, awesome wall murals, and fantastic architecture in the past year running then I have the entire time I’ve lived here.

Saw this amazing mural (painted on a building) during one of my runs this week.

Well there they are, my training truths from last week. I hope you enjoyed them.  In my week 1 update I was aggravated at myself for my lack of foam rolling and yoga. This week I made sure to get at least a few sessions in with each.  Next week introduces hill training into my life – oh boy.  (Honestly, I’m looking forward to doing something other than an easy run.)

Question: What training truths have you learned? Leave a comment telling me and make sure to join the conversation on twitter with Amy or myself using #trainingtruths.