Monday, January 7, 2008

2007 In Review...

(written on Sat am)
Well, it's now almost a week after the New Year, but this is the first chance I've really had to sit down and reflect on what that means. I figured that before trying to figure out any new goals, maybe it would be helpful to think back on what I've learned and done and gained in the past year. So here are some thoughts:

Some things I learned in 2007:

  • I learned that I can control my body size through intentional exercise and conscious eating—note the key words “intentional” and “conscious”
  • I learned that I have multiple running speeds (when I first started, I was either running or not; now I have lots of different tempos I can call upon)
  • I learned that if I diligently follow a training plan, I can accomplish a previously un-thinkable goal (e.g. run 5k in under 30 min; complete a half marathon)
  • I learned that training plans vary somewhat, but the principles are basically the same: if you want to run farther, gradually build up to running farther; if you want to run faster, you have to train at faster paces (pretty simple stuff, on paper!)
  • I learned that getting pepped about a run beforehand makes the run much more fun (and it’s especially great when your friends give you a send-off with high-fives and the Rocky theme song!)
  • I realized that for a 13.1 mile Half Marathon, the .1 is the hardest part of the whole race
  • I learned that there is a wealth of information about running, training, etc. on the internet; some of my favorite sites: Runners World, Cool Running, Run MT (for Montana running events)
  • I also learned a lot about exercise, nutrition, and general health from Women's Health magazine (the only magazine I've ever read cover-to-cover!)
  • I learned about my caloric outputs for different exercises, as well as the caloric values of foods that I eat; this has been paramount in helping me make decisions about what to eat; my favorite website for this information is FitDay
  • I discovered that my previous idea of portion sizes was often much larger than the recommended portion size (do you know what a ½ cup of ice cream really looks like?!)
  • I also discovered that especially that fibrous/whole grain foods are much more satisfying/filling than their more-processed counterparts
  • I realized that I hate power gels; I also learned that they’re the most handy snacks to pack and eat on a long run, and thus I’m working on acquiring a tolerance for them
  • I learned that post-race meals with your race buddies are some of the best meals you’ll ever have; and that your running buddies are some of the best friends you’ll ever have

Things I accomplished in 2007:

  • Ran the following races:
    Run for the Trees (5k) in 29:55
    Rattlesnake 5k (actually it was more like 5.5k): 33:03
    Blue Mountain Women’s Run ("10k"… actually 11k): in 1:09:56
    Outer Banks Half Marathon (13.1 miles) in 2:23:09
  • Dropped my weight from in the mid-to-upper 150’s down to the lower 140’s, and maintained it for >6 months
  • Strengthened my relationship with several friends through running and working out together
  • Started a blog to keep my friends and family informed about my life, especially as it pertains to health and fitness; raised the Accountability bar for myself by publicly disclosing my goals, workout schedules, eating habits, etc.
  • Worked out a life/work balance that allows me to have a good job that I enjoy and that challenges me, have a good relationship, train for endurance events and maintain a my fitness level, get enough sleep, and still spend time with friends; it takes some pre-planning to fit all of that in, but it can be done (especially if you can double-up, e.g. workout with friends, sleep with partner, etc!)

Thanks to all of you for being my friends and supporting me in 2007. This next year I look forward to keeping the ball rolling, and to upping the bar just a bit more. Keep reading, and keeping sharing your stories, workouts, recipes, tips, etc. And join me on a training run, or find a goal for yourself, and I’ll join you for it!

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