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Monday, December 31, 2012

Goals for 2013

Many people are setting New Year's Resolutions.  While New Year's Resolutions are a great concept, many people choose unrealistic resolutions that they can't stick to.  Of the people who set New Year's Resolutions, only about 8% of them successfully achieve their resolutions.  Many people have too many resolutions or their resolutions are far to large or broad for people to achieve.

I think that it is important to instead set goals that one can stick to.  I refer to them as goals, because for me, the stigma of the "resolution" that so many fall short of is not there with the term "goals."

My Goals for 2013:

1.  Lose 25 pounds...I realize many people want to lose weight as a "New Year's Resolution," but I have already set the wheels in motion for this and have lost 7 pounds since Thanksgiving.  For me, it is about getting to a healthy race weight that will help me achieve my race goals more efficiently.  By losing the weight at a slower rate, I am more likely to keep it off.

2.  I have the goal of eating more natural foods (less processed foods)...This shouldn't be too challenging since we don't consume many processed foods, but I am looking to eliminate even more of them.  By incorporating more natural foods into my diet, I am hopeful I will have more energy, lose a few unwanted pounds and feel better about myself.

3.  I am have some running goals for this year as well.

  • I am running the Little Rock Marathon on March 3rd.  My goal for this race is to run between 4 hours and 4:15:00.
  • I am also running the Drake 1/2 Marathon in April.  My goal for this race is to set a PR...This will require me to run sub 1:45:00.  It will be a challenge, but I KNOW I CAN DO THIS!!
  • I will be running the Twin Cities Marathon in October.  My goal for this race is to break the 4 hour mark.

4.  I am competing in a 1/2 Ironman Distance event in June and another in August.  My goal for one of these is to go sub 6:00:00...My current PR is 6:32:44 for the 70.3 mile distance.  I would be happy to break 6:30:00, but I will continue to push my body to new limits to break 6 hours!!

5.  I am planning to compete in Ironman Wisconsin in 2014, so I want to make sure I have a great base and remain injury free going into 2014.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Slip Slidin' Away

Thursday I went for a short run through Riverside Park and experienced Iowa winter running.  My run started off very well and was very beautiful and peaceful on the trails through the park.  There weren't many people out as it was a pretty chilly day and the trails weren't cleaned off very well.  In some places, the snow was packed onto the trail making the trail very slick and in other places, the snow was covering up the packed ice below.  Because of these slick spots, I managed to fall twice and ended up with both knees and my right hip bruised.  OUCH!!

My recent falls made me apprehensive to run outside on Saturday for my long run.  I knew I was to run 2:15:00 or approximately 15 miles and was seriously considering completing this run on a treadmill at the gym.  UGH!!  I'm not a fan of the dreadmill!!  When I woke up on Saturday morning, I decided to wait til midday to see what the roads would be like since we had received a light dusting of snow on Friday and into the overnight hours.

At about 1:30 pm I donned my winter gear (the windchill was only 2 degrees Fahrenheit after all) and ventured out onto the winter Iowa roads.  This turned out to be a very good decision!!  I was able to run outside in fresh air I didn't slip and fall on any snow or ice and I didn't have to run on the dreadmill!!  YIPPEE!!  Successful all the way around!!

Monday, December 24, 2012

So This is What it Feels Like to be a Hamster

Due to the extremely cold weather (the high was -9 degrees Fahrenheit with windchill) in northwest Iowa, I opted to run inside today at the local YMCA.  The local YMCA is a great facility that has an indoor track.  I was surprised at the large number of people working out on Christmas makes me happy to see that many people focusing on their health!!

My goal: to run for 2:15:00.
Actual accomplishment:  1:26:00 for 10 miles

I called it quits because my feet were blistered (when you run in a relatively tight circle for so long, it is bound to happen), my arm pit was chaffed and the YMCA was going to be closing soon since it was Christmas Eve.

This was a day of mental fortitude.  Counting laps gave me something to do, but I'm pretty sure I ran more than the 110 laps I counted. read correctly...110 laps...running in a circle...just like a hamster on a wheel.  I think hamsters are mindless animals that have no real thought while they run in a circle on their wheel.  This is where the similarity between us ends.  I could not stop thinking about why I was pushing through on this run and what I would gain from it.  The ability to push your mind will keep your body going...even in the most difficult times!!  Mental toughness...I own you!!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Finding the Balance

There are many things in life that need balance...
       *Balancing home and work
       *Balancing friends and family
       *Balancing physical activity and mental well-being
       *Balancing nutrition and physical activity
       *Balancing triathlon training, strength training and stretching

I have recently tried yoga and have found the following benefits:
       *Mental Relaxation
       *Core Strengthening
       *Detoxification and Cleansing

These benefits are bound to help me see major improvements in my everyday life as well as my triathlon and marathon training.  I definitely want to incorporate more yoga into my weekly workout routine.  I am excited to try a variety of new yoga classes and figure out those that work for me to incorporate into my weekly workout routine.  Unfortunately, this will have to wait until after the holidays since we are gone for a few days for Christmas and the local yoga studio is closed more days than they are open over winter break.

My experience with hot yoga was one I haven't ever had before.  It allowed me to become more flexible throughout the session and the amount of sweat I shed was very cleansing!!  I have also found that regular yoga has allowed me to adequately stretch after a tough workout.  I am anxious to try the yoga for athletes class to see how that helps me as a marathon runner and Ironman triathlete!!  Bring on 2013 and finding the balance in life!!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

"Undoing" 35+ years of Swimming

Sometimes I think it might be easier to be a completely new who has never swam before.  I am a swimmer who breathes on my right side only and have done so for 35+ years.  I am currently trying to "undo" those 35+ years worth of swimming to be able to swim with bilateral breathing, while also trying to be more efficient and faster in the water.  I have been swimming since I was VERY young and have thus developed a relatively fluid swim stroke that only allows me to breathe on my right side and is not as energy efficient as I would like.

You might ask, why does breathing only on my right side pose a problem?  Well...when swimming in an open water swim event (whether it is just an open water swim or a triathlon) it is much more beneficial to swim bilaterally.  Bilateral swimming allows for a straighter swim and better sighting when trying to keep yourself on the swim course.  It also provides you with the ability to breathe if the waters get choppy.  If I only breathe on my right side and the water is choppy, I may have difficulty getting a deep enough breath without inhaling the water that may be continuously pelting me in the face.  It also allows me to breathe if I have a swimmer next to me who is constantly making contact with me with their swim stroke.  I can then choose to breathe on the other side and avoid getting hit in the face and potentially losing my goggles.

I have been trying to work on bilateral breathing off and on for a while now, but it wasn't until recently that I decided I am REALLY going to focus on this and try to make it stick.  For whatever reason, breathing on my left side is NOT as easy and smooth as breathing on my right side.  While breathing on my left side, I struggle with body positioning, rotation, windmilling of the arms while breathing and hand/arm placement in the water (trying to avoid the crossover).  While knowing how much easier and better it feels to breathe only on the right side, I am determined to conquer bilateral breathing and become a much more efficient swimmer!!