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Fall Goal Setting

I ran my first and only marathon in Chicago on Oct. 10 2014 (10/10/10). I was 23. I told myself, I would run one again at 25 but life got busy. I graduated with my M.A. in advertising that year, moved to Colorado Springs and started a new job. I was just trying to get a handle on life.

Four years later, here I am again thinking and plotting about running a marathon. I’ve moved to Washington, took a new job and getting married next year. I am contemplating another go at the marathon. The goal is to do another and PR by the time I’m 30.

It is really weird to see the number 30 and I know I am referring to myself. So much can happen between now and 30 and I’m nervous I will get side tracked. I know that even my upcoming nuptials will be a large roadblock. So I know I need to be deliberate in setting my goals.
Goal Setting
I’m not a motivational speaker or accredited in any way with setting goals. But, I have a nice way of thinking of them:
• Define
• Plan
• Do

So I have defined my goal pretty well-marathon before 30 under 3:59. The next steps are harder. I have read up on training cycles and consulted my online coaches (I do use an online training program). I am going to focus on short races building up to a half marathon next August or September. I am going to add in core work and cross training. Finally, I need to follow-up and stick to the plan. I know the next few months are going to be hard with the holidays, wedding and just adapting to a new place. I am going to continue to make sure to interact with my online group of runners and luckily, I’m joining up with a running group or two here. It is time to set myself up for success.

How do you set yourself up for success?

-Cara
@carabyrd

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Life After Eligabilty By Jen Hamilton

“Is it true you get headaches from not drinking enough water?”

“Yeah, you get…what’s it called…dehydrated.”

I overheard the previous exchange one afternoon at work, and for once I was thankful my desk faced the corner. That way, the two coworkers involved in the exchange could only see my back and not the smirking disbelief that I’m sure was apparent on my face.

Maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised that these girls did not know the connection between headaches and water, or that they had to think for a second to get at the technical term “dehydration.” But for the past five years I had existed in a world where the principles of drinking water to prevent dehydration were so ingrained in me that I carried a water bottle like an extra appendage. It was the world of college distance running, and like most things, it wasn’t until I had left it that I truly realized its impact.

For five years I had been surrounded by others just like me: petite, strong-willed athletes who met daily in assorted articles of spandex to train as cross country and track runners at Michigan State. I lived with runners, my friends were runners, I dated a runner. My conversations commonly included words like “fartlek,” “threshold,”  “race,” “strides,” “training room,” and “spikes.” My wardrobe consisted of running tights and t-shirts. I went to class with ice bags saran-wrapped to my calves. All of this was normal, because everyone I knew was doing the same.

Enter: the “real world.” After I graduated in May, I started working a full-time job. It was a shock to be around so many people who didn’t run, let alone exercise. Instead, they drank coffee and wore high heels. When I had the chance to talk about running, I did, often meeting blank stares. They would always view running only as a painful way to redeem themselves after a weekend calorie binge, never as a thrill or a challenge. They didn’t understand why I ran in the heat, or the snow, or at night. Imagine if I had tried to explain to them the finer intricacies of the sport, like chafing or peeing in the woods.

I missed my teammates, who understood these things. Even though I’ve been writing all of this with the singular pronoun “I,” it would be just as appropriate to use “we.”  Life as a college runner was collective experience—in action, in thought, and in spirit. I believe anyone who has had been on a team feels this way. And even though I am moving toward new goals and ambitions, there are occasional twinges of longing for the team with whom I spent so much time and shared so much.

So as I sat at my desk, I felt a certain loneliness. I wished I could tell the story to my teammates at 2:50pm, as we sit in a circle on the coarse red floor of the indoor track, waiting for the coaches to come in and start practice. Or, at the very least, I wanted to turn to someone next to me and share a knowing smile and shake of the head over the conversation we’d just heard.

But I also felt a certain peace. And that’s the beauty of the team experience. No matter where you are or what you’re doing, you can reflect on the way it impacted your life; you know that somewhere out there, someone feels as you do.

And that’s the greatest feeling in the world.