Thursday, January 26, 2012

Intentional Simplified Goals for 2012

Over the last few years, I have come to understand that beginning the New Year with aggressive goals while wonderful in concept, typically fall by the wayside just as soon as I commit to them.  As a result of this, I have adopted the "soft start" approach to my goals.
By this, I mean, that I begin the year with what I think will work out for me, tweaking as I go through January, and implementing full force by Feb 1st.  This takes the "pressure" off of me to accomplish things at one of the busiest times of the year when my schedule is stretched to the limit already and my routine is typically off-kilter at best.
This year, I have had the added blessing of awaiting the arrival of my new grandson!  He arrived just over a week ago and now that he has come, I can begin to get back to my "routines".  I am currently in the weeks before Rocky, coming away from a bit of a knee injury, and battling a bit of a cold, something I always seem to get the week before Rocky.
I plan to run the race with a modified time goal which will better reflect the level of fitness I feel I am at right now.
Below I have listed my fitness goals for the year.  They are very realistic, some might feel even a bit too lax, but for me, I need to see progress rather than always coming up short in the ability to reach my set goals.  If I surpass these goals, then all the better.  What I am aiming for is Intentional Training.  Whatever training I do take on should serve a purpose whether it is to relax, to strengthen, or to increase endurance, speed, etc.  I don't want to exercise without a purpose, just to say I did something.
  • Strengthening:  2 work outs/week, allowing for recovery and illness, 80-90 workouts
  • Can include, push ups, abs, weights
  • Swimming:  2 work outs/week, allowing for recovery and illness, 75 - 80 work outs
  • Runs in miles:  1500 miles
  • Yoga/stretching:   45 workouts
  • Volunteer:  2 events
I have a few other mini-goals that I plan to fit in along the way, but nothing that I would be too upset about if I didn't achieve them in 2012.

As far as races go, I plan to stick to shorter distance training, meaning no 100's for 2012.  I suppose this may also mean no 100 at Rocky 2013 for that would require training for it in 2012.  My body needs a bit of a rest from the constant long runs.
I want a shot at some of the races I have not done so well in over the past two years.  Mostly the Capt'n Karl's series.  I plan to make Cactus Rose and Bandera my main races for the year.

On the personal side of things, I have established a few new parameters through which everything else will need to pass through.  I have decisions to make about what to hang on to and what to let go of.  There will be a lot of letting go, but in the end, saying "No" to those things will allow me to say a deeper "Yes" to the things that are most important to me.
Reaching this point in my journey has taken several years, hours of journaling, and tons of reflection and prayer.  I have already began to cut many things from my daily life.  One of those "things" was Facebook.  I know I have done this before and I have always returned to it out of fear that I was missing something.  This time, it feels different.  I have a sense of freedom that I didn't even realize that I had given up while caught up in all that FB is.  What I have found most interesting is that of all the "friends" that I had on FB, less than 5 have made an attempt to talk to me since leaving it in December.  I am done with relationships that are convenient and I am choosing to be intentional in real life friendships.  Let's sit down and have a coffee and a chat, the old-fashioned way.

We also made the decision to give up all the cable channels that seemed I was blocking anyway for the sake of the children.  I didn't think it would be a big deal to me, but I have discovered that I apparently was quite fond of certain shows that I really miss.  We also, in giving up the extra channels, lost our ability to DVR some of our favorite shows.  This was difficult to get used to, but now, several weeks into our letting go of it all, we are all seeing the effects of less TV around here.

More reading is getting done.  There are toys everywhere.  There are puzzles being built most every day.  My laundry is folded and put away.  And we aren't as tired from staying up to late.  Our TV and Netflix watching has become intentional.  In other words, we sit down to watch something because we really want to see it, rather than previously when we just plopped down in front of the thing and got sucked in.
Network TV is horrible at best and since that is all we get now, I find that I can hardly even tolerate the TV being on.

I have been reading some great books, taking notes, and jotting down ideas for my own writing at some point down the road.  I think I can honestly say, I feel as though I have been lifted out of a self-imposed fog as I come away from the influence of FB and TV.  Admittedly, it was hard at first, but things are fitting together nicely now.

Over Christmas, I was discerning what I would need to strip away from my life and I realized that it was going to be quite difficult.  I love most everything I do.  My problem lies in the continuum of time.  There are only 24 hours in a day and I can not possibly do all that I "want" to do in that time, at least I can not do it joyfully.  I do not want my children to recall me as a woman who seemed to always appear stressed out or angry.  And if I am really enjoying everything I am doing, why do I come across as stressed and angry?  Most probably, for me, it is because I am not doing these things for the right reason.  Yet, I hated the thought of saying "no" to so much.
As I snuggled on the couch with Boo, it hit me.  I needed to stop thinking of all of this as saying "no".  I needed to think of it differently.  "What am I saying YES to?"  I am saying YES to God.  YES to my husband.  YES to my children and grandchildren.  YES to my health.  YES to our financial peace.    If I can keep my focus on these YESes, then all the rest of the world will be just fine.  So herein lies my filter.  If I consider doing anything, it must fall into one of the 5 YESes I have identified as the MOST important ones to me.  This helps to relieve me of the usual guilt I feel, which in the past has always been a big motivator for me, guilt.  Such a dirty word, such a useless emotion most of the time.

I am enjoying intentional simplified living, filled with an internal peace and sense of joy that I have only begun to feel the effects of.  I challenge you to jump in too.  Identify the five most important things in your life that you desire to say "Yes" to and then strive to develop that deeper "Yes".  Put them on a note card and look at them everyday.  Remind yourself that you are not saying "no" to things, rather, you are saying "yes" to the most important things.  And know that you are not alone in your efforts!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Classroom of Silence

On retreat with my confirmation teens this weekend, a message came through loud and clear.  It is a message that I have been hearing here and there over the last several weeks and Saturday, I finally heard it in a way that I had not really heard it before.  I need to spend more time in the Classroom of Silence.

Matthew Kelly talks about the Classroom of Silence is most every book he writes.  He describes how important this aspect of our faith life and our prayer time is.  Our retreat speaker, Mike Gormley, also discussed how important silence within our prayer life is.  He states that "for prayer to be effective, we need 3 things... Solitude, Stillness, and Silence.

This seemed an odd combinations of "S"'s to me.  It seems only logical that if you have Solitude and Stillness, Silence would surely exist.  And then I went to Mass and heard the readings.  The one I most needed to hear. 
the LORD came and stood there, calling out as before: Samuel, Samuel! Samuel answered, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:10
This passage stirred something within me and then Father, during his homily, said, "This reading reminds us to listen to God.  We have turned the verse around and we say "Listen Lord, for your servant is speaking!""

Of course.  I recalled all the times I must have sat in prayer and poured out my heart, my troubles, my worries, my concerns, my failures, my successes, my gratitude, and so on to the Lord.  And how often I have not listened to what He had to say.  How difficult this sit in wait to hear His voice.

But as all things, this requires practice. As my running requires a training plan, so does my faith life.  If I can dedicate many hours a week to my physical formation, can I not also commit some time to the practice of silence?

We all want to learn and we all need teachers.  God is the ultimate teacher, the supreme mentor.  When I want to learn something, I learn it best when I am taught by someone who truly knows the subject at hand.  A teacher enters a classroom to teach, (which usually involves speaking) and a student enters a classroom to learn, (which usually involves silence).  At times the student may ask a question for further clarification, but as a rule, the teacher has the floor.  Who better to teach me how to pray and how to live than the Great Teacher Himself.

Off to school...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Shoe Review - Brooks PureProject Flow

After acquiring a pair of Brooks PureGrit back in October, (you can read my review here) I knew I had to buy a pair of Brooks PureFlow as soon as I could manage to.

Christmas provided an opportunity for my husband to gift a pair to me along with some new Injinji socks.  First, about Injinji... I love these socks.  I have been wearing them for almost 4 years so when I saw these fun, striped colors, I was so excited to put them on!  They really are like wearing a party on your feet!  If you have any problems with toe blisters or toe nails rubbing against other toes, these really do solve the problem.  The only time I can not wear these socks is when it is very cold out.  The separated toes don't have the ability to stay warm and I need warm feet to be a happy trail runner.

The PureFlows fit just as great as the Grits.  Like they were made for my fit specifically.  It must have something to do with the elastic band across the top of the shoe which holds the upper nice and snug to my foot.

The cushioning is sufficient for me.  I like cushioning, so having a much lighter shoe without sacrificing the comfort factor is a definite plus.  I have yet to run past 12 miles in the shoes as I am still transitioning into the lower heel.  I hope over the next several months to be in these shoes almost exclusively.

I can't really find anything I don't like about this shoe.  Thank you, Brooks for a nice shoe, at a great price!

Friday, January 6, 2012

New Year, New Goals

I am currently 4 weeks out from Rocky and in the thick of high mileage.  The homefront is very busy with Bean home from her semester abroad till next weekend, Alicia expecting our grandson any minute now, Confirmation and ACTS retreat preparations, and laundry.  It seems there is always laundry to do.

I am no longer on FB and feel better already.  I miss keeping up with people, but the drama factor is way down and I am seeing positive benefits by focusing on things directly in front of me.   You can keep up with my training, if you are so inclined, at Daily Mile.  There is a widget on the right-hand side of this blog.  If you click on it, you will arrive at my DM page. 

I have been able to take the time to write out my plan for 2012 on paper, but I have not yet had time to compose a respectable blog post to share.  I hope to get to it soon, but my grandbaby may get here first!

Happy New Year to all!