Thursday, February 3, 2011

An Urban Foodie's 2011 Resolutions

Ok, so now that's I've finished posting all the recipes from the holiday dinner, it's time to declare some resolutions for the new year! I know my "New Year's Resolutions" post comes about a month late, but I was busy catching up with all the blogging I didn’t do over the holidays! Plus, I don’t really believe in resolutions in the traditional sense anyways, so the late-ness isn't much of an issue. Instead of vague resolutions that most people make starting January 1st, I like to celebrate the new year by taking stock of the past and listing some goals that encompass the entire upcoming year.

I’m not sure if my yearly goals are actually “New Year's Resolutions”, but they are usually one or two clearly defined goals that take into consideration past years’ goals and future long-term goals. That way, each year that I reach my New Year’s Goals, I’m also getting closer to other, larger goals. Doing it this way also means that, I generally have more manageable goals that I’m able to meet, whereas most resolutioners would be falling off the wagon right about now!

The Past: Previous Years’ Resolutions
I started this way of celebrating New Year’s back in 2007, when I decided I was tired of making resolutions that fail every year, just like 95% of the population. So I decided that my long running goal was to lead a generally healthier lifestyle. Out of that overarching goal, I made what’s turned out to be my longest running New Year’s Resolution to date. For New Year’s 2007, I decided to “stop eating meat for a while, include more vegetables in my diet, and see if I feel any healthier”. Well, four years later, I’m still not eating meat, include tons of veggies in my diet, and feel much much healthier than I did when I first came up with that goal!

In 2008, after happily losing a little weight from my diet change, I decided I wanted to take this “healthy lifestyle” thing a little further. So my 2008 goal was to get lean enough so that I could be in good enough shape to train for a triathlon the following year. At the time, I was only lightly active, so it took a lot of work pushing myself with workouts, cleaning up my diet, and dropping from a size 12 to a 4, all within the first few months of 2008. But I was able to do it, and maintain my size & lifestyle for the rest of the year. The following year, I was able to meet my goal of completing my first triathlon in 2009. In fact, I even went overboard and ended up doing 4 tris that year (1 sprint and 3 olympic distances), as well as two half marathons. Yes, my first running race was a half marathon! Oh yeah, I also won my tri club’s Rookie of the Year award. I guess they liked my attitude!

Last year, my main goals for 2010 was to complete my first marathon, my first half-ironman triathlon, and if training was going well, do a century ride (100 miles on a bicycle). I trained my butt off and was able to complete those goals in April, July, and September, respectively. I even threw in my first open water swim race in September, as well. I was shooting for extra credit by trying to complete my second marathon in October, but my body complained, so I gave it a reprieve, even though it meant my first DNF at a race. Better to live to run another day, rather than to be unwillingly forced to the sidelines!

The Present: My 2011 Goals!
So now here’s where I stand. I’ve been resting my hip from running to avoid injuring it, but with my running sidelined and the holidays overlapping, it’s meant I’ve gained a little extra weight since my second marathon attempt. My overall goal for this year is to be faster at the half marathon & half ironman distances. In the future, I may consider doing more marathons or even an ironman, but I would first like to improve my times at the half distances.

The Future: Plan of Attack
In order to achieve my speed goals, I first want to lose the extra weight I just gained. It’s definitely much harder to run now that I’m carrying all this extra baggage! So from January through March, my main focus will be weight loss. I even bought a body fat monitor to make sure the weight I’m losing is fat and not precious muscle. Initial testing has told me that my body fat percentage is on the "high" side of normal, so I'd like to push myself down into the "lean" category.

To hold me accountable, I’ve already told everyone I would give up alcohol until the next time my friend Lake visits (he moved to New York for school and can only come visit over breaks). However, if I can achieve my desired leanness before he comes back, I will have a beer to celebrate ;-)

In conjunction with the weight loss efforts, I would also want to incorporate more speedwork into my bike & run training, and strokework in my swim training. Track workouts with my running group, bike sprints to my favorite TV show, and masters swim practices should all help out with that!

And obviously, since this is a food blog, I will definitely be in search of healthy recipes and diet-friendly dining options, which should lead to diet/training/racing-friendly cooking challenges while I’m working to achieve all these athletic goals! Hey, a girl’s gotta eat, right? ;-)

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