These are a few of my Favorite Things

Sunday, February 1, 2015

February Resolutions

The new year typically seems like a good time to set goals, whether it be to pen some sort of Bucket List or to commit to New Year's Resolutions.  Sometimes, I have a tough time going along with the flow when it comes to things like this.  In most aspects of my life, I tend to feel rushed or inauthentic if I'm trying to accomplish a prescribed action by a prescribed time.  New Years resolutions prove this point, as I never want to rush into a commitment on January 1st if I'm not really behind it.

However, I'm now one full month into 2015.  I've had some great successes and adventures thus far, yet I've found the same 3 goals hanging in the back of my mind, dictating many of my thoughts and actions.  As it turns out, there are 3 things that I want to resolve to do this year.  On day one of month two, I'm calling them my February Resolutions.

From Bill Waterson's classic Calvin and Hobbes.

1. Make new Friends

I've always been a lone wolf runner.  I like to run on my own time, at my own pace, in my own world.  Part of this is surely due to my lack of planning.  You can't schedule a run with a friend if you can't schedule your runs consistently in the first place!  Part of this is also due to the fact that my job in retail tech support has me dealing with people constantly, and the runs can be a respite from the incessant interactions.  In 2014, I made a significant number of running friends online, via Instagram, Twitter, and the respective communities of Girls Gone Sporty, Nerd Herd Running, and runDisney.  Really I knew this all along, but camaraderie feels good!  It's both encouraging and fun to have friends in the race with you!  In 2015, I'd like to grow my support system of runners, both online and in person.

To follow through with this goal, I've already re-upped my membership to local group Venture Outdoors, and intend to participate in some of their hikes and outdoor adventures.  I also intend to start running from time to time with the Steel City Road Runners or other local groups.  Additionally, I plan to give back by volunteering with Girls on the Run and plan to attend my first info session this week!

Haley and friends 2014.  They sure are dears, but sadly unable to provide the companionship of human runners.

2. Cook more Food

I'm making this one tangible and measurable.  Going forward in 2015, I'm going to cook at least one new food or meal each week, and share the results on my blog and Instagram.  I have the bad habit that too many Americans share; I love to eat out.  I fall too often for the greasy food-court food convenient to my work, or the friendly but fatty bar food close to my apartment.  The insane thing is that I actually enjoy both the action of cooking and the reward of eating the home-cooked meal, but I don't do it nearly enougham .  To make sure that I am nourishing myself with better choices, I am committing to cooking more, and blogging weekly to hold myself accountable!  Also, I'm going to revisit Michael Pollan as reading material on my commute.  I can't imagine I won't be inspired.

If I make anything decent, it's pretty much always eggs.  I love eggs, but excited to master some non-egg dishes in 2015.

3. Go sub-5 in my Marathons

For many marathon finishers, the 5 hour mark is an inevitable.  For reference, Oprah Winfrey finished just under 4.5 hours in her first marathon, and 4-4.5 hours tends to be the average range for most finishers these days.  For me, 5 hours seems unbreakable.  I've finished all 3 of the marathons I've started, but I've done so in approximately 6 hours each.  Walt Disney World was longer, though I reserve the right to a "slow" race time when the race includes interactions with heroes, villains, and the beer vendor at Epcot's Morocco pavilion.

I run for fun.  I love being Goofy, silly, and nonchalant in my races.  There is still that part of me, however, that wants to push, challenge myself, and achieve the sub-5 hour time that I know is in me.  Heck, there may be even faster times in me.  But sub-5 is the first step.  I've not yet run a marathon this speedily, but I've run quite a few 5K, 10K, and half-marathon distances at paces destined for a sub-5 marathon finish!  In fact, putting a recent 10K time into a prediction calculator has me able to finish a marathon in less than 4 hours 40 minutes!

I've already started training, and have 2 marathons on my calendar for 2015.  I'd love to accomplish this goal at the Pittsburgh Marathon in May.  It may happen, but realistically I also know that Pittsburgh is a challenging, hilly course, and going sub-5 would mean taking almost an hour off of my fastest prior Pittsburgh time.  My realistic goal for Pittsburgh is to achieve a PR.  In October, I'm running Marine Corps.  Fast, flat, and in one of my favorite cities on Earth, I am confident that I can reach my time goal in Arlington and DC.  I just need to man-up and follow through with the training between now and then.

Finishing my first marathon at the Pittsburgh Marathon in 2013.

I am looking forward to achieving all 3 of my February Resolutions in 2015!  I also look forward to learning more about how others are attacking their New Year's Resolutions, personal goals, and other challenges during this year.  After all, this is the year that Marty McFly discovers himself riding a Hoverboard, so you know it's gonna be a good one.

Great Scott!  (Photo from