Setting Goals for August

C came over last night and we had some quality girl time involving Catfish, dinner and wine. I was going to take a pic of our deliciousness but I was so hungry I forgot!

Have you seen this show on MTV? Major guilty pleasure. The host, Nev, helps people figure out if their online love interests/friends are really who they say they are. Some of the relationships covered have been going on for years without the people ever meeting or video chatting. The episodes can get a little cuh-razy, like this one and this one

The concept for the TV show came from a documentary by the same name, in which Nev figured out he had been the one being deceived. Not only was the girl he was developing a relationship with fake, but the real woman behind the girl had created a whole cast of supporting characters. It was fascinating.

Anyway! Before I jump into goals for August, let’s recap July:

July Goals

  • Work back up to my regularly scheduled running program. What does that entail? 3-4 runs each week, slow and easy, 4 miles and under. Incorporate long runs back into my rotation by the end of the month. Review Anatomy of a Runner. Accomplished! I’ve been keeping track of my runs in my Weekly Workout Recaps and have been consistently getting in three runs a week under 4 miles. This week I have my first run over 4 miles planned.
  • Sign up for a Fall half-marathon (it’ll be my first!), and find a training plan. Sorta Accomplished. I’ve researched local half-marathons this fall, but I haven’t taken the jump and signed up for one yet. I’m not worried about finishing, but I am worried about how long it will take me. Still debating if I want to wait until Spring to give myself time to build a better base.
  • Start putting together Shutterfly photo book project. Negatory. I could make excuses like my computer with all the pictures on it died, but really I’ve just been slacking.
  • Explore two new recipes and new healthy snacks. Accomplished! I made this pasta salad and experimented with a cherry-orange compote.

cherry orange compote

  • Help a friend set up their Etsy shop. Negatory, I just didn’t make this project a priority this month.
  • Get more involved with a cause I believe in. Negatory. I think this was too vague for me so I never really went anywhere with it.

Since I started setting monthly goals in June, I’ve learned a few things. If the goal I’m setting is too broad, chances are I won’t get started on it. The goals I’ve been most successful with are the ones that have been the most specific. If the tasks aren’t specific, they’re much easier to put off because I can’t estimate exactly how much time it’s going to take so I think I’ll need large chunks of time which can seem impossible to find.

Another thing I’ve learned is that a lot of my goals tend to involve projects (Shutterfly photo albums, setting up Etsy shops, getting involved with causes), but within a single month if I try to focus on starting all of them without a plan of action then I feel overwhelmed and start none of them.

Going forward my goals for setting goals (hahaha, couldn’t resist) are to keep them specific, break broad projects/tasks into smaller bite-size steps, and think critically about what I want to accomplish for the month so I’m not listing ten things I have no chance of completing.

August Goals:

  • Incorporate hip strengthening exercises into workouts at least 2-3x a week.
  • Add three new items to the Etsy shop. Research two venues for marketing outreach.
  • Select the best pictures from Hawaii, and get through editing each one.
  • Critically evaluate my morning routine: what do I currently do, what could be improved, what could be added to get my day off on the right foot. By the end of August, incorporate one new thing into my routine that adds value to my mornings.

I’m the type of person who loves to-do lists, especially the part when you get to cross things off. Most of my lists are task-driven, however. This is the first time I’ve made an attempt at formally writing down goals and trying to keep a bigger scheme in mind. I’m not adding it to this month’s list, but at some point I think I might be working on some type of short-term, long-term, and longer-term goal planning. It sounds positively riveting, right?

Always, Sierra

What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?

What are some of your goals for August?

Weekly Workout Recap and How About Those June Goals?

I was hoping to wake up early this morning (6:30) for a trail run to beat the heat that’s struck California in the past few days but that didn’t happen. Instead, I moseyed out of the house around 9, and the weather was already brutal.

heat

I know, I know, I’m a wimp, but it was in the 80s by the time I finished! I debated about skipping the run, but knowing I had a draft of my first weekly workout recap waiting for me pushed me to stick it out. Accountability? Thank you blog!

I headed to Crockett Hills Regional Park. It seems to be one of the more unpopular regional parks in the East Bay (you mean you don’t like refinery views and the sound of traffic when you run?), but it’s got a lot of gently rolling hills which make for good training.

Crockett Hills Regional ParkCrockett hills trailCrockett Hills trailCrockett hills trailCrockett Hills trailCrockett Hills trail

It also has a special place in my heart because it’s the first place I had a Shut Up + Run moment. TMI?

What I had planned on being a trail run ended up being a hike/trail run combo because of the heat. That’s okay with me though. When things get warmer than what I’m acclimated to, I switch to running on effort instead of running for pace. Mostly because I like to avoid things like chills, dizziness and fainting.

The smartest decision I made was wearing my Brooks D’Light Mesh Tank. I was worried that it was too thin when I first got it but today it really helped to keep me cool. I know your day wasn’t complete until you saw my fancy hair and flared nostrils.

trail run

Even though it wasn’t the run I had planned, any run is good in my book. Here’s what my week looked like.

Monday: 1 mile warm-up on the treadmill (5.5 mph @ 2% incline) and 45 min strength

Tuesday: 3.55 miles street running, 11:21 average pace

Wednesday: Unexpected rest

Thursday: 3.93 miles street running, 12:54 average pace and an exercise in getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. It was so freaking hot!hot

Friday: 35 min strength

Saturday: rest

Sunday: 3.22 mile trail run/hike

Total Mileage: 11.7

Overall: The past 2-3 weeks were scaled back in terms of mileage due to travel and general life busyness. I’m working on building my mileage back up, so I’m good with these numbers. Especially since two of the runs were in weather  hotter than I’m used to running in. It’s the summer, time to suck it up and acclimate!

And what about those June goals? How’d I do?

June Goals

  • Set a PR in See Jane Run 5K – Accomplished!
  • Find a one piece bathing suit so I can start swimming laps again – not accomplished but really I’m fine with that. Rocking a few new two pieces though!
  • Try to get a little ahead of the game with my blogging content – not really accomplished. I was hoping to generate content a little more ahead of the game than the day of, but time crunchiness hasn’t allowed that to happen…yet!
  • Experiment with 2-3 new recipes (probably some type of vegetable/bean/grain salads) in prep of July camping trip – I’m calling this one done! I’ll be making them this week and telling you all about them soon enough.
  • “Break in” my new hiking boots (I’ve taken them out once and they’re so comfy I don’t think they’ll need much breaking in!) – My hiking boots have been lonely and neglected. Moving this one to July.
  • Stay active on my girls trip to Mexico – Accomplished!
  • Volunteer at the Special Olympics – Accomplished, post coming soon!

Always, Sierra

Are you facing the heat where you live too?

What did your weekly workouts look like?

Do you set monthly goals? Yearly? Not a believer in setting goals?

Reading Nook: Eat & Run, Scott Jurek

eat&run

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What can one of the most successful ultramarathoners teLL us about Enduring in Life?

What You Eat Affects How You Perform

Scott is an advocate for a plant-based diet, and manages to convey his passion for it without sounding preachy. He grew up on meat and potatoes, but noticed over time that the more leafy greens and whole grains he ate, the better he performed and felt.

A few key moments led to his adoption of a plant-based diet. One was while completing a physical therapy internship. He noticed a connection between his patients and what they ate.

He climbed into bed and looked at the lunch tray waiting for him: Salisbury steak drenched in something brown and congealed, instant potatoes, iridescent-looking canned peas. His expression said it might as well have been a tray of rocks. He didn’t say anything, but it was as though he was shouting. That’s when I heard part of the secret. What we eat is a matter of life and death. Food is who we are.

The more he incorporated whole, plant-based foods into his diet, the more benefits he noticed.

Meanwhile, I ran farther. I ran faster. The periods of soreness and fatigue that resulted were shorter and less severe. I was convinced it was the result of the plants I was eating and the meat I was not eating. The chili showed me I could recover faster without abusing my taste buds.

Whether or not you’re inspired to explore a plant-based diet, Scott shows us the value in experimenting with food and paying attention to how it affects performance. Some of us can carb load on beer, and some of us can’t handle the sauce. Cutting out processed foods and incorporating more colorful vegetables is something I aim for everyday.

Where You Come From Affects Where You Go

Everyone has a past. We can’t control where we come from, but we can choose how it directs our future.

Scott’s past included a stern dad, an unexpectedly and increasingly ill mom, and a heightened sense of responsibility and duty.  He learned to endure before he knew what endurance was, and he adopted a motto that would keep him going in his toughest races, and his darkest moments.

Sometimes you just do things.

This motto helped him win the Western States 100 seven consecutive times.

Be Open to Life’s Tangents

I didn’t run because it always felt good. My muscles ached, I had blisters, and I was having to go to the bathroom on the run – that was the summer I learned about the runner’s trots (cramps, gastrointestinal distress, and the urgent need to move your bowels). That was the summer I got honked at and run off the roads of northern Minnesota. I enjoyed the sense of movement and progress, discovering that I could reach places on my own without anyone driving me. But that’s not why I kept running. I ran because I wanted to ski.

Scott started running because he needed to build conditioning for skiing, and now he holds the United States record for 24-hour distance on all surfaces (165.7 Miles/266.01 Kilometers). That’s 6.5 marathons in one day!

Life doesn’t always go in straight lines. One passion can lead to another, and hidden talents can be sparked. Be open to the adventure, and welcome the paths that deviate from the main road.

Enduring Builds Strong Bonds

“It hit me that night – as I was contemplating a life alone on a country farm – how important friendship was to me. It also struck me how ironic it was that my most important friendships had come from a sport singular in its isolation and demands on self-reliance. Ultramarathons aren’t won by teams, yet the bonds I have forged through this sport of obsessive individualism are stronger than any others in my life.”

Ultramarathons are an exercise in enduring alone, but together.

Each runner has only themselves to rely on during a race, but they’re all fighting against some version of the same physical limitations and mental demons. It doesn’t seem strange that shared passions would lead to such a strong sense of camaraderie.

In The End, It’s The How That Matters

It’s easy to get wrapped up in deadlines and debt, victory and loss. Friends squabble. Loved ones leave. People suffer. A 100-mile race – or a 5K, or a run around the block – won’t cure pain. A plate filled with guacamole and dinosaur kale will not deliver anyone from sorrow.

But you can be transformed. Not overnight, but over time. Life is not a race. Neither is an ultramarathon, not really, even though it looks like one. There is no finish line. We strive toward a goal, and whether we achieve it or not is important, but it’s not what’s most important. What matters is how we move toward that goal. What’s crucial is the step we’re taking now, the step you’re taking now.

Always, Sierra

What steps are you taking on the way to your goals?

What type of food helps fuel your runs?

Have you ever run an ultramarathon?

Do you have a motto or a mantra that gets you through the tough times?