With July and the middle of the year nearly here (!), I wanted to check in on my 2017 goals. I love having yearly goals but find monthly check-ins boring. Months pass so quickly, and it’s the same old stuff every month with “yes” or “no” by it. Yawn. A mid-year check-in is a better way for me to review what I wanted to do this year, reflect, and re-align.
My theme for 2017 is getting out of my comfort zone. In 2016, I’d set a long-term time goal for the marathon, and to meet that, I’d have to get faster each year. Getting faster means running faster, which means getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. I had four goals related to this theme: train to run a half marathon PR in spring, train to run a 5K PR in spring, train to run a fall marathon, and race more non-goal races.
The first half of this year I was completely out of my comfort zone, but not related to running or training. Life has a funny way of giving you what you asked for, but not in the way you thought. As I’ve said a million times (and everyone is probably tired of hearing), my new job I started in January turned my life upside down. In the last few jobs I’ve had (I was a tech writer and editor for more than a decade then moved into project management), I got used to doing a good job without much thought or effort. Meeting deadlines or juggling a heavy workload or dealing with difficult people would challenge me, but the work itself was pretty much something I could do in my sleep. My new job is a completely different kind of job than I’ve ever had—more of a consulting role than a tasking role—in a much larger organization. Learning how I needed to work differently so that I could best add value was extremely mentally exhausting. The mental challenge on top of the other challenges of building new relationships with all new people, having a longer work day, and starting an active commute of walking or biking to work took all of my energy. For the first time ever, I couldn’t handle running on top of everything else.
Goal 1: Train for a half marathon PR in spring
So I backed off my half marathon PR dreams. I decided to run less, when my schedule allowed it, and not chase a goal. But even that was too much. I just couldn’t handle how to fit in longer distances on top of my work schedule and low energy levels. So I quit half marathon training entirely. I didn’t meet goal #1 but have no regrets. I gave my body and my mind what I needed at the time.
Goal 2: Train for a 5K PR in spring
I did train for a 5K, but I wasn’t chasing a PR. Instead, I was chasing a running-life balance that worked with my new job. That led to my trying the 80/20 training method, which was exactly what I needed. When I used the 80/20 method, all the stress melted from my running life. I ran less weekly miles than in any other training cycle, but again, it was exactly what I needed since running wasn’t competing with my work schedule, and I was no longer exhausted from both. I also started liking speed workouts again and looked forward to them. So goal #2 was sorta done in that I trained for a 5K but not a PR. 80/20 running recharged my running and gave me the balance I was looking for, which was so much better for me than simply chasing a PR.
Goal 3: Train for a fall marathon
And now, halfway through the year, I’m floating on a cloud of perfect run-life-work balance and overall happiness with my running life. I’m no longer uncomfortable and struggling to settle into my new job. It’s still challenging—that won’t change—but I’ve learned my way around the job and the organization and feel settled. I enjoy the work and the people I work with and look forward to my work days. That’s why I gave goal #3, training for a fall marathon, a lot of thought. It’s nice to have balance and sanity after a tumultuous first half of the year. But at the same time, I’m ready for more of a challenge, and I think I’ve found a way to make it all work. I’ll be posting more on my plan and approach to training later, but the gist is I’m making it as stress-free as possible.
Goal 4: Race more non-goal races
As for racing more non-goal races, I’d completely forgotten about it! I said I’d look for more 5K races to race but never did after my initial halfhearted search. I’m not sure I’m going to keep this as a goal for the rest of the year. This year I feel like I’ve really learned a lot about myself as a runner (another upcoming post!) and am starting to accept that races don’t play a huge role in my running life. This makes me very different from most runners. But I’d rather be true to myself and do what I enjoy (just run) rather than feel like I have to do races because that’s what runners do. So I’ll be thinking more on this one.
Goal 5: Get back to and maintain my ideal weight
I had one more goal that wasn’t about running: to get back to and maintain my ideal weight, measured by how my clothes fit and not the scale. I’m so happy I can report success with this one! After joining Weight Watchers, I lost enough weight to fit into all my clothes, including my running shorts that were my measure. I still want to lose a few more pounds (I’ve stalled a bit in the past few weeks), but I know those are “vanity” pounds—I’d like to see a little less pudge and a little more firm. Because I’ve been around the weight loss and maintenance block a few times though, I know very well that the less you weigh, the less you can eat. So while I’m still trying to lose weight, I’m getting pretty close and am continually considering how I’ll maintain it. So because I can fit into all my clothes, I’m going to put a happy checkmark by this goal!
Now onto the second part of the year! And to kick it off, I have a very fun 4th of July long weekend planned in wild and wonderful West Virginia. I’m going to try to schedule a few more activewear review posts for when I’m gone, but I won’t be back online until the middle of next week. I hope you all are making good progress on your own goals and enjoy the long weekend!