2016 Goals

Hi friends–happy hump day!  I know I am super late to the party on this, since it seems like every blogger puts out their 2016 goals on or before Jan 1, but I don’t necessarily follow the norm and with that, I need time to think about my goals (no resolutions for this girl!) I have thought long and hard about the things that are most important to me, where I am right now and where I want to be at the end of December 2016.  I have some very concrete goals that I want to achieve this year, and most of them aren’t related to fitness (although there are a few), but more family and work related. I’ve broken them down into these categories, which just helps me focus better when things are bucketed. I won’t elaborate on each, as that would be the longest blog post ever but here are my 2016 goals!

goals

Family/Home

  • Be more present
  • Travel to at least one new place
  • Find a babysitter so Robyn and I can go on an occasional date night
  • Remodel the master bathroom
  • Create (and stick to) a house cleaning schedule
  • Put away my phone when I get home from work (until Ashton goes to bed)
  • Spend more time with my Mom and sister

Work

  • Find a better balance between work/home time
  • Block time to read industry publications at least 2x a month
  • Get promoted
  • Think about long-term career development and personal goals
  • Formally mentor at least one person

Fitness

  • Log 1,000 running miles
  • PR one race
  • Do 1 new Beachbody training program
  • Run one “new to me” race

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Question of the day

What are some of your goals for this year? What was one thing you are really proud of accomplishing last year?

My goals for Boston and some thoughts on training

Happy Friday my friends..the weekend is so close, I don’t know how I am going to get through the day with all the excitement of this weekend looming!   I know I typically do a Things I’m Loving post on Friday, but this week I am going to shake it up a bit since I’m sitting here just 3 days from the Boston Marathon and have a lot on my mind!!!

Keep Calm and Marathon #keep_calm #bostonstrong

I wish I could fully explain to you how I am feeling.  It’s been a LONG road, I have been essentially training since the early Fall, mainly base building and then I started my official training the week of Christmas.  In many ways, 16 weeks flew by and in other ways, especially towards the end, the days are moving at a snail’s pace.  Here are some of my thoughts and stats around my training.

  • I have run a total of 471 miles since January 1 (that’s when I started tracking)
  • My longest run was 19  miles, my shortest was 3 miles
  •  I am on my 3rd pair of Brooks
  • I am on my 3rd training program during this training cycle, this was at first a curse, then a blessing and I have loved the final program I used. Here is some background on what happened here, here and here.
  • I trained entirely alone for this race, a first for me. I learned a lot about myself during this training cycle, and I am proud that I never missed a run and went out  alone when it would have been easier to make up an excuse and give up.
  • I ran in the snow, ice and negative degree temps on more occasions that I’d like to remember, but it did help me perfect my running clothing strategy!
  • I ran with strep throat 3 times!
  • I ran through a brutal stomach flu (17 miles)–not my smartest move but I got it done and felt pretty bad ass afterwards…after I puked that is!
  • I DNF’d my very first run (16 miles)–not my proudest moment, but a learning experience none the less and I realized that I have become a much smarter runner since I first started running in 2010.
  • I cut 2 runs short in the final month of training due to a problem with my left foot (again, being a smarter runner!)
  • I have gone to PT at least once a week since week 8 of training–I know without a doubt I could not have made it through training without Mike and Dan at Central Mass PT.
  • I have tried out some new to me products and found some things I REALLY love (Hydrapak, Soft Flasks, Injinji, ENERGYbits, Ignite Naturals, and FlipBelt)

A lot of people have asked me what my goals are for this race.  Well, I am clearly not a favorite in the books to bring home the olive wreath this year, but you know what they say, “On any given Monday…”  🙂  So, here are my goals:

Finish. Pretty simple right?  The marathon distance is tough, and this course is VERY tough.  The marathon distance can be relentless on the body, so being able to start and finish the race healthy is the #1 goal.

Run a PR. This will be my last full marathon, so I would like to PR over my last full marathon.

Run a Sub 4 hr marathon.  Everyone has to have BIG dreams right??  That would be a 9:09 min mile.  I can sustain a sub 9 pace for the half, but I just don’t think it’s in the cards for me for a full marathon, but who knows?? If I’m going to dream, might as well dream big right?

So there is it friends, this has been an incredible journey and I hope to run the strongest race I can that day, but no matter what happens on Monday, I will be wearing a huge smile because I have not only helped raise money for an incredible cause and organization but I was able to run a race I’ve wanted to run for years.  I want to thank each and everyone of you for your kind words and support over the past few months, whether you know it or not, it has been so greatly appreciated!  I feel so fortunate to have met such wonderful friends and cheerleaders through this blog, so THANK YOU and I love you all! <3

Lastly, a couple of people asked how to track me on race day…so if you are interested, my bib number is 27420 and I will be pushing off from Hopkinton at around 11:25am!  You can track runners three different ways:

1. Download the Boston Marathon App! Available on the App Store, search Boston Marathon, you’ll be able to track me in real time.

2. Text 27420 to 345678. You will get text messages as I cross 4 different checkpoints along the course.

3. Go to baa.org on race day, and you can track my progress there as well!

 

Wish me luck!!

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Question of the day

Any additional words of advice/wisdom for me on Monday?

26.2 miles…my journey to Boston begins today!

I said I would never run another marathon unless it was Boston, and well….I was alerted in late Summer that I have been given the opportunity to run the Boston Marathon in 2014.

bm 2014To say I was honored and shocked would be an understatement.  Last April I submitted an application to run for a very specific charity and was told that they received over a hundred applications for only 8-10 spots.  It was a very competitive process where I had to write essays, etc.  I was notified last this summer that I was accepted!  This race is every runner’s dream and not only do I get to run it, but I get to raise money for a cause that is near and dear to my heart, the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF).

MMRF PowerTeam logoMy mother was diagnosed in August 2012 with Multiple Myeloma, an incurable blood cancer that affects the plasma cells in the bone marrow. Although progress has been made in treating multiple myeloma, the five-year relative survival rate remains one of the lowest of all cancers. After many months of grueling treatment, my mother had a Stem Cell Transplant at the Dana Farber/Brigham Hospital in Boston in April 2013. We found out at the end of July that she had achieved a Complete Response!! I cannot tell you what it felt like to hear those words, it was indescribable. However, even though this is a treatable disease, it is still incurable and we know that it will come back.  The MMRF is the world’s number one private funder of multiple myeloma research and their work is dramatically improving the outlook for patients with multiple myeloma.   I feel deeply honored to have been chosen to raise money for and run the Boston Marathon with this incredible organization, with the hopes that there may be a cure for this disease in the future.

With that, I’ve been thinking about this day for quite some time now.  I knew it was slowly sneaking up on me and I have been trying to wrap my head around what my life is going to look like for the next 16 weeks.  I had a clear plan in place, researched for a few months all the training plans out there and then decided on the training plan I would use and even tested it out for a few weeks to ensure I made the right decision.  Then, I encountered a small injury to my foot and I was told the plan I was determined to follow needed to be changed as my Dr. did not want me doing any speed work until March.  I spent the last few weeks in a panic, researching and talking to anyone and everyone I knew to determine what plan I should change over to.  I knew I didn’t want to run more than 5 days a week and I needed to be able to cross train, as I teach Group Power every week and I wasn’t going to give up yoga either.  The last marathon I trained for consumed my life.  All I did was run and I didn’t want the same experience this time around.  After a lot of anxiety and flip flopping, I decided to stop over thinking it (I’m a notorious for this) and just settle on the Hal Higdon Intermediate 2 plan, with some slight modifications.  So, as of right now, this is what my training plan looks like from now until April 21st.  I will likely make other changes as I see necessary, but this is what I’m looking at in a nutshell:

2014 BM training SARA

I’m not going to pretend that seeing a few week’s total mileage up to 50 miles makes me a bit nervous.  I never tracked my mileage for my previous marathons prior to my last half and this full marathon, so I have no idea how high my mileage ever went, as I was training with a running team and just did the mileage they told me to do on the days they told me to do it, so who knows, maybe I was running close to that, but I have a feeling I was more in the realm of 35-40 miles.  This is going to be a challenge for me and it’s going to be important to foam roll and be diligent about keeping my body healthy.  However, running mileage like this is sure to make my motivation jar balance increase nicely over the course of the next few months!! 🙂

So, it’s safe to say you are going to hear a lot about my training over the next few months,. I hope I don’t bore you and I hope you stick around to answer the multitude of questions I am sure I will have for you.  Maybe a few of you out there will also be training for early Spring marathons and we can cheer each other on! Also,  if you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to my fundraising efforts, you can visit the page below to do so.  Every dollar counts and can make a huge impact in helping to find a cure for multiple myeloma and I would be extremely grateful.

http://www.active.com/donate/2014mmrfBoston/SaraZwicker

The Boston Marathon is exactly 16 weeks from today, which means, today marks the first day of my training.  I am home with Ashton today, so after Robyn gets home from work tonight, I am going to head out for my first training run of 3 miles.  Wish me luck!

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Question of the day

Have you run the Boston Marathon before? If so, any tips for me?

Are you running a Spring marathon?  Let me know!

It is not always going to be easy…

This morning I had high hopes for my tempo run. I rolled out of bed, got dressed, put on my favorite black Nike tempo shorts and my pink compression socks and hoped I’d have one of those confidence boosting runs that I so badly need prior to a race.

pink compression socks

But, that didn’t happen.  I had a 4 mile tempo on the plan and it hurt.  I had to stop every mile or so to stretch my calves and I was mad.  Mad at my legs for failing me.  Mad that I am just a few days out from a race I have trained hard for and now it’s looking like I won’t hit what I believe to be very achievable goals for me. Mad that PT isn’t magically and quickly helping me feel 100%.  I finished the 4 mile run in 33:53.  Not a bad pace right? Well, it wouldn’t have been if I didn’t have to stop my watch so many times to stretch.

After my run, I rolled and stretched.  As I was listening to my music, mad at the world, there was a minute when I thought, I’ll just skip this race.  It was only a split second and then I knocked that thought out of my head.  Sometimes a run just sucks.  Sometimes things don’t go as planned.  Sometimes you have to change your expectations.  I immediately thought of one of my favorite Nike sayings.

Running never takes more

This is so true.  Running has given me MUCH more than I could have ever anticipated when I started running, just 3 short years ago.  In that time, it has gotten me through some of the toughest times in my life, it has helped me through tremendous loss and it has taught me how tough I am.  It has supplied me with countless friends and priceless conversations.  It has given me confidence and it has taught me appreciation.  So, while at this very moment, I am upset, I know I will get through this.  I will run my race on Sunday and do the best I can.  I am already shifting my goals to accommodate my current condition.  Who knows, maybe I’ll feel fantastic on race day, but I also know that is doubtful. What I have no doubt about is that I WILL FINISH this race.  It may not be pretty or in the time I was hoping to achieve, but I am not someone who gives up. I am committed and will embrace the struggle, because keeping life in perspective is important, especially when you have small set backs in life.  What I am going through now with bum calves is petty compared to what some of my friends and family are experiencing right now.

embrace the struggle

Okay, I am signing out of this pity party….life is good, actually, it’s pretty great, so I’m not going to let this ruin my day!

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Questions of the day

How do you deal with injury and/or bad runs?

Tell me something good about your day!!

A much needed goal

Back in the beginning of August I started to feel a bit antsy.  I had been running consistently a few times a week along with my regular strength training workouts but was started to feel bored with my running.  I had no plan, no purpose, other than just racking up the miles.  I knew I needed a goal, something to snap me out of my running funk, so obviously the first thing that came to mind was to sign up for a race.  I have always been one of those people who loved to follow a plan.  I find comfort in knowing that my workout is planned ahead of time and when I wake up, I don’t have to think because my plan “tells” me what I should be doing.  I find that it keeps me on track and I’m less likely to back out or go easy, especially on the mornings when it’s tough to get out of bed.  So, the first thing I started to do was look for a local race.  Since having Ashton, my priorities have changed and I have MUCH less time to train and travel to races, so I had to be strategic.  I wanted to find something that was close in proximity so I could easily drive to the race in the morning, something in October because the temperatures would be crisp and cool (my favorite) and had a fast course.   I have heard a million people talk about the Baystate Marathon in Lowell, MA so I decided to check it out.  I bookmarked the site and went back to it about a dozen times before I finally pulled the trigger on August 29th and signed up for it.

Baystate Marathon

 

So, on October 20th, I will run a half marathon, a race distance I haven’t raced since the Smuttynose Half Marathon in October 2010.  I will not pretend that I am not a bit nervous.  I love to run, but racing gives me a ton of anxiety, especially since this is my first half post baby and I have high expectations of myself. I have two weeks left in my training and I hope I have prepared for success.  I did not follow my previous tried and true half marathon plan, rather, I did some of my own research and wrote my own plan that worked for my current situation.  I will share my new training plan in an upcoming post, fingers crossed I’m successful!

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Do you enjoy sticking to a formal workout plan/schedule?

How do you feel about races? Love em, hate em?