Tag Archives: Goals

A Letter to My Younger Self

To My Younger Me,

First off, let me reiterate how incredibly strong, intelligent, and capable you are because I know you have a tendency to doubt yourself. I know you hate change, but I want you to embrace each obstacle that life throws in your way. You can handle it, and you can handle it with grace.

Don’t sell yourself short, and hold tight to a sense of optimism about the world. Learn to forgive people for their shortcomings, and remember that you aren’t perfect either. Embrace your enemies and those who try to bring you down–love is a stronger weapon. Find beautiful qualities in everyone and everything that you come across because beauty is all around you.

Never stop learning. Open your mind to new ideas and hold tight to your passion for knowledge. Don’t half-ass school. You are smart and capable of achieving your goals, so set them higher than you think is possible. They are within your reach. Be patient with yourself. You will get where you want to go if you persevere.

Stop comparing yourself to other girls. You are beautiful, loving, and kind. Besides, confidence is the sexiest quality–so show it off. Stop dating guys because they play in a band or have spiky hair. If they can’t hold a job and don’t treat you with respect, they aren’t worth your time.

Surround yourself with people who love you for everything you are–the ones that take the good with the bad. Remember that your family will always be there, and make sure you return the favor. Show compassion to those who need it most.

Always follow your heart. You will be pulled in a million directions at once, but listen to your gut. Don’t be afraid to take risks or  rise to a challenge. These will build your character and self-esteem. You will be better, even if you fail. Don’t get discouraged.

Lastly, believe enough in yourself to go after what you want. No one will do it for you. If you want something bad enough, make it happen. There is always a way.

Your future you,
Me 

What advice would you give to your younger self?
Have any of you ever written one of these before? 

Getting Out of My Own Way

Source: Cathy on Pinterest

I have not always been a confident individual. For a long time, I wouldn’t even bother to set goals for myself. In my mind, I wasn’t an athlete, so I didn’t try out for a single high school sport. I didn’t consider myself capable of being a straight-A student, which allowed me to excuse the occasional bad grade. I knew I was a good person, and I never got into any trouble. I just had no desire to push myself outside of my comfort zone. When I looked in the mirror, I saw an average girl and I never once tried to prove myself wrong.

When it came to running, I utterly refused to believe I could last a single mile — let alone more than one! I saw runners as strong, powerful, and somehow above me. I looked up to them, and to me they were people who were able to push themselves to limits that I could only dream of. My freshman year of high school, I actually yelled at my gym teacher when he got frustrated that I was walking the last lap of the required mile run. I made some excuse about how I was hurt, but I’m sure he knew I was full of crap. I was a relatively quiet girl, and that was the only time I ever talked back to a teacher. But I had predetermined what I was capable of doing, and what I was not capable of doing. In my mind, there was no point in setting myself up for failure.

I don’t know what changed, exactly. Part of me seemed to get tired of watching everyone around me achieve greatness, while I stood on the sidelines. My husband, Nick, helped push me for the first time in my life. He saw potential in me that I wasn’t aware of. The first time we went running together, he took me on a mile jog. I felt like I was going to die by the end of it, but he didn’t let me quit. Instead, he had me sprinting the last stretch! At the time, I wanted to kick him in the shin — not literally of course! I was exhausted and angry that he didn’t let me rest. Looking back, I can now see that it was the best thing anyone has ever done for me. He didn’t let me give up, and I haven’t wanted to give up since.

It seems the biggest obstacles that we all have to overcome lie within ourselves. We have to stop letting our negative thoughts and self-image get in the way of what we want out of life. You have to believe in yourself enough to set goals for your life — even if they’re small ones, and find a way to make it happen. Don’t expect success to arrive overnight, or without any hard work. It might take a lot of your time, energy, and determination. You might feel like you want to quit. Don’t do it! Keep it moving, keep putting one foot in front of the other and push through the wall. Prove to yourself that you are capable of doing what you set your mind to, and it will propel you in whatever you choose to accomplish next.

Okay, I will now step off my soapbox. 

Anyone ever have a similar experience?
What walls have you had to push through?
What are some goals you hope to accomplish?

 

Realistic Running: Being Mindful of Where You Are

As a woman relatively new to running, I often find myself comparing my progress to others. I see other people flying down the road with ease, and the voice in my head tells me I should be able to run faster, go longer, and tackle serious mileage each week. When my legs get tired or I’m out of breath, I get frustrated because I expect my body to be able to do exactly what I want it to do. The problem is, I think my body is smarter than I am. When I increase my mileage too quickly, and my legs are aching and flimsy, my body is telling me to slow it down (and/or do more strength training). I need to be able to recognize the difference between when I need to push through, and when I seriously need to pull back.

This is especially true for my half-marathon training plan. I ended up changing to a new one because the original one increased my mileage too quickly. While it would have been perfect for me this past summer when I was running 6 miles at a clip, I had to admit to myself that I was biting off too much at once. After taking a couple months off this fall, I needed a plan to go off of that eased back into the heavier mileage totals. This is one that I switched to:

My New Half-Marathon Training Program

This is actually a training plan a friend recommended I look into, and I feel it is a better fit for me. Unlike my previous program, the Prevea schedule is a little longer and more gradual in terms of mileage increases. I believe it was actually developed for people planning to race in the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon this May. They have other schedules to refer to if you’re interested, and can be found on the race’s website.

What I’ve found since starting to train for the half-marathon is that many of these training programs claim to be designed for “beginners,” but then have you running a 5 mile day the first week. I believe the term “beginner” is completely relative. You might be a beginner in terms of never having raced before, but still able to run an 8-minute mile without breaking a sweat. Or you may be a beginner who has never broken into a jog a day in your life. Either way, you need to find a program that fits your fitness level. In my case, I wasn’t new to running, but I hadn’t ran more than 3 miles consistently in the last 3-4 months.

If you’re starting a program, don’t just pick a program and go with it. Take into serious consideration your goals, and be realistic. Also, be willing to stray from the program or modify it to fit your needs. There might be a day when running 10 miles just isn’t going to happen. Maybe your body needs to rest. Maybe you’re just not into it that day. If you can’t make the full 10, split up your run by doing 5 in the morning and 5 later in the day. Just give it your best, but remember that your best will change from day to day.

Be mindful of where you are in your training, listen to your body, and make adjustments accordingly. Know when to push yourself harder, and when to ease up. Find a balance.

Have you used a training schedule to prepare for a race or goal? Did you have to make adjustments to your training? I’d love to hear from you!

Attack of the Christmas Cookies: and other things that are sabotaging my running goals

I am officially in a sugar coma!  This past Monday, my book club decided to do a Christmas cookie exchange on top of our typical book discussion.  I left the party with 6 dozen cookies of all varieties: peanut butter kisses, iced gingers, chocolate peanut butter no-bakes, chocolate chip, cranberry-white chocolate chip. Needless to say, I was surrounded by temptation of the most delicious kind!  Every time I walked into the kitchen, these little morsels of delight were staring at me from their plates and calling my name.  I think I heard them say, “Oh come on, what’s one more?”  I’ve been on a cookie binge for the last week and, despite my efforts to run, I can feel my body screaming at me to cut back on the freakin’ sugar!

The Infamous Chocolate Peanut Butter No Bakes

Luckily, this doesn’t happen often and I don’t plan on making any kind of sweets for a long time after our current stash is depleted.  Still, I need to work on eating better.  I feel like stress from school is becoming my excuse for not doing a lot of things.  In all seriousness, I’m sure my body is crashing knowing that I am days away from being finished with finals and this semester.  But, I can’t allow those things to get in the way of my goals.  Every day on campus, I see a handful of runners still going despite finals, despite the holidays and despite the cold.  They’ve been able to manage their time and fit in their runs.  I need to adopt that kind of focus, determination and attitude if I’m going to accomplish this half marathon.

I honestly don’t feel like I’m making nearly as much progress as I thought I would have by this point in the game.  Duh. My sugar overload combined with laziness this week probably hasn’t helped much.  But even before, my body has been struggling with the whole treadmill running concept.  All summer I ran outside, either on trails or on the sidewalk paths by the river.  I enjoyed being in nature and looking at my surroundings as I huffed and puffed and trotted along.  The treadmill has quickly become dull to me.  I am easily distracted by other runners, who discourage me with their ability to run faster and longer than I can at the moment.  Luckily, I have found something that is making it a little  more bearable: Podcasts!

LOVE!

A podcast called MotionTraxx is currently my favorite one to listen to while doing any amount of running on the hamster wheel.  Their episodes provide energetic, trance-like music that keeps you running at a specific pace.  I downloaded three so far.  One is a solid hour of music set at a 150 beats per minute pace.  The other two are treadmill-interval workouts at levels 1 and 2.  Both give you cues on when to increase the speed or incline, which keeps you from having to time yourself.  The music is wonderful because they keep the variety going and it is easy to lose yourself in the rhythm.  I totally forget about peeking to see how much longer I have to go.

I’ve downloaded some other podcasts like: This American Life and RunRun Live, but I find it more difficult to pay attention to them on the treadmill.  They’ve been great while cross training on the elliptical and I do like those programs, so I recommend them if you’re looking for something to listen to, other than music.

This has been quite the hodgepodge of a post!  I did find one last thing that I feel I need to print and duck tape to my mirror, so I have to see it every morning.  I think it would put an end to all excuses pretty fast.

I think this was directed at me.

Have any of you been struggling to keep your running goals lately?  What have you found that gets you back on track?