It’s a shame that I actually am having to force myself onto my blog today after nearly a month of utter internet silence. It’s a shame because this past month I have made such major progress towards becoming a runner.

Briefly, I’ll give you a running update, and after that I’ll get to the more interesting stuff:

1. My 10:36 minute miles has dropped to a 9:56 minute mile – that is a :40 second difference in just a month! A lot of that was made possible because I am learning how and when to push myself in running (which, for the record, is SO different from in yoga).

2. I have gone from thinking of the treadmills as “vicious, evil, monsters who like to revel in my humiliation” to being able to go into the gym and jump up on one like he’s my favourite pony and I’ve ridden since I was born.

3. The shins. Ohhhh the shins. ouch. They aren’t really getting better, but I do find that with a 30 minute warm up on the elliptical the pain is significantly reduced. I also find alternating between running a mile, walking for 2-3 minutes, and running another mile helps immensely.

4. I can finally say I am at a place where I know if I had to run Beat The Bridge tomorrow, I could do it. I probably wouldn’t be particularly thrilled with my performance, but I know I could finish it, and even probably run the whole way.

Now to the juicy stuff. It’s a new year (2011! Yeah!) and since this blog so much focuses on setting goals, and achieving them, you are probably expecting some epic resolutions for the coming 12 months. The fact is, that is simply not the kind of goal setter I am. As you may have noticed, I set my big goals kind of randomly, when the timing feels right, and when the right challenge comes along. This very seldom coincides with December 31st (actually, it tends more to coincide with November, for whatever reason). One of the mantras I do live by, however; is “keep setting goals and achieving them.” This mantra is what drives the rhythm in my life. I set goals, small ones and bigger ones, every single day. Take a look in my day planner, and you’ll see what look like mini to do lists on almost every page. I am a goal setter, that is who I am, and the beginning of a new year does nothing to encourage that or discourage it in any way. Goal setting gives my life meaning.

This year, however, I would like to add a bit of a theme to the goals I will set, and that is I want each of them to make me a better person in a new way. My big goals I’ve blogged about so far have been athletic ones, but the new big goals I am going to tackle are not. I have a few ideas, but I haven’t quite fluffed them out yet. In this way, this new year will be different. I will continue to set goals and achieve them, I will continue to challenge myself both physically and mentally, and I will continue to let this add meaning and value to my life, but I will expand my ideas of what can be thought of as a goal.

As a quick refresher, remember to set goals that are SMART. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and have a Timeframe! Good luck with your own resolutions, and I wish you all the most productive, successful, SMART, New Year you have ever had!

-C

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So on Wednesday I went to the gym.

I’m going to let you process that for a minute…

ok?

Those of you who follow this know what a big deal it is that I went, because in the past, I have been the first to say how much the gym sucks. The thing is, it has been snowing here in Seattle. Snow derails my (already mediocre) ability to run outside.

When my dad and sister said they were going to the gym, I decided to go along. I bought a ten visit card for $10 at Prorobics, which is a lovely facility just West of Laurelhurst (all of my $10 went to Children’s Hospital btw!). Truth be told, I could not bring myself to run on the treadmill. I had every intention of doing so, but when I walked into the room, I couldn’t. Running makes me feel a little self-conscious to begin with. The treadmills, shiny and metal, computer screens flashing, were all lined up in the very front row of the gym. They placed the machines, strategically it seemed, right below the televisions where the other patrons glued their eyes. No way was I going to turn my pathetic jog into a performance art. No way, no how. So I grabbed a copy of Vogue, chose an elliptical machine, furtively entered my weight, and pressed the button for cardio workout. Easy as pie.

The workout zoomed by, and I stayed warm doing it.

The thing about training for something is, the day of reckoning is going to come whether I am ready or not, and I want to be ready. I want to say I did my best, and I want to be able to run that whole entire 8K. Run, do you hear me? Not walk. So since I’m going to have to find a way to train, whether it’s snowing or raining, or 90 degrees, I’m going to have to make peace with the gym. I’ll have to get brave enough to try the treadmill too, but I think for now I’ll be proud of myself for just going. My plan is to try the treadmill and get comfortable on it at a time when the gym is not busy, that way I won’t feel like a stand-up comedian with a tough crowd.

What is your favourite piece of gym equipment?

-C

But it really should be!  Joe has been working out a lot lately, but with everything else going on in my life I have let yoga taper off a bit.  I have started to forget what I learned during my challenge, and that is that there are no excuses ever (reference basically every day 1-30 post for more info).  I know it makes me feel better about my body, it makes my mind calmer, it makes me a better person.  period. Lately, however, I have been allowing myself to slide down the slippery slope of laziness, and  so I thought to myself “well maybe I don’t have 1 1/2 hours for a yoga class, but I can do a 30 minute work out at the gym with Joe!”

So I put on my work out clothes, walk the block to the gym, pay my 5$ for a drop in, and as I walk out of the smelly locker room into the chaos that is machinery… the hamster wheel – like tread mills and elliptical machines I remember how much I HATE the gym.

I know some people thrive on that chaos.  It gets them pumped up and motivated.  For me it was slightly traumatic.  Going to a place like that actually makes me feel worse about myself.  It makes me want to go home , wrap myself in a blanket, and eat a bag of chips… or a brownie.  My comfort zone consists of order, calmness, zen.  The gym is not zen.  On top of that it is so so so ****ing booooring!  (There’s a four letter word for you!).

Yoga suits me because it is a perfect balance of challenging and soothing, it takes focus, builds self confidence, and increases health and quality of life.  I guess it took cheating to bring me back to my one true love.

I’m going to yoga tomorrow with or without a yoga buddy.  I need to do it for myself, and going to the g** made me realize that.

-C