Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Happy New Year!

About a week ago, I rung in the new year...well, sort of.

You see, last Thursday, November 10th, I started running again after a much-needed, and much-appreciated 2-week break. Meaning, November 10th was Day 1 of training for the 2012 season, which will culminate next summer at the Olympic Trials.

I had plenty of time during my break for reflection, and the primary conclusion I came to about my 2011 season is this: While I am content with my performances, I still have regrets, and things I believe I could have done better. With next year being a big one, I don't want to cross the finish line with regrets. So, I knew in order to get there happy with whatever result may come, is to make a resolution, or resolutions, plural actually.

I have always been committed to run at my very best, but having some new years resolutions, and sticking to them like they were an extra 10 Commandments straight from above, is my plan to get to where I want to go in 2012 (perhaps London would be nice? :)

What are those resolutions, you may ask? Here is my list of 10 things that I believe will help me continue to move forward in my goals, and a little explanation of why...

1. I will have FUN- I have found that having fun correlates to good performance for me. Enjoying what I do keeps the nerves and pressure out, and leaves plenty of room for me to make some enjoyable memories. Enjoying the company of the people I compete against rather than being intimidated by competitors fits into this category as well.

2. I will be be my own ADVOCATE- this one is all about speaking up. As an athlete, I am the only one capable of listening to my body and communicating what it is telling me to my coach. There were times throughout this past year that I second-guessed the plan, but didn't say anything. I have been in track and field for 10 years now, I think it is about time for me to feel comfortable adding my input to my own training plan. Another piece of this puzzle was deciding to represent myself in the coming year rather than using the services of an agent. I think that being in charge of my own logistics will remind me that this is MY career, and I need to take responsibility for it.

3. I will embrace REST as an active part of my training. This fall, I was out on a run with my husband. At the time he was dealing with some plantar fasciitis that wouldn't budge. He said to me, "I don't get it! I am doing EVERYTHING for it, I am icing, sleeping in the Strassburg Sock, getting PT treatments, doing the prescribed exercises, taking ibuprofen...the list goes on and on..." I then asked him, "When was the last time you took a day off?" His answer: January. While I may take a day off more than once every 9 months, I do tend to plan a day off, and then change my mind mid-way through to day and head out for a run. I need to remind myself that sometimes doing nothing can do more than doing something out of "over-achiever runner guilt".
PS, Ben's foot is better now, after he took a BREAK from training. Aren't bodies amazing when they are given a chance to heal themselves?

4. I will be STRONG- more specifically, I will give 100% in the weight room, and I will do something to strengthen my core every day. I have always worked hard in the weight room, but I think the girl in me would always hold back a little bit. Well, what I have noticed is that the girls I can't seem to beat, are bigger than me. Hint taken. Beyond that, I know a strong core means a healthy athlete, so maintaining good core strength will help keep me injury-free.

5. I will race INTENTIONALLY- there were a couple instances last year that I jumped into a race, simply because it seemed like a cool opportunity (eg. China, and the Pan American Games). While I still drew positive experiences through those races, I didn't get the performance out of myself that I wanted, probably put more stress on my body with travel, and missed an opportunity to train for a race that I WILL be ready for. It is time to expect more than some good learning experiences. It is time for results. I want to go into races because they fit well into my entire season plan, each with specific goals in mind, and game plan visualized to get there.

6. I will EAT and SLEEP like an athlete- this is an obvious one. Having a balanced diet, packed with fruits/veggies, whole grains, and more natural/less processed foods is the name of the game. Sometimes the price of healthier foods prevents me from eating as well as I should, but Ben and I have agreed that there is room in our budget to buy the foods that will help us both reach our athletic goals, and will pay off in good health. I am also a dessert-lover, so I have committed to the plan of eating just one sweet goodness serving per day, and be more realistic about what a "serving" means. I am sure some people might criticize that and say I should cut out unhealthy food all the way, but in my opinion dessert is an essential for happiness, and will help me maintain my weight when I am training hard. As for sleep, I am looking for 9 hours/night, usually from around 11pm-8am. Just as important as the amount of sleep, is keep that schedule consistent.

7. I will SHARE my gift- I believe I have been given this gift of running to inspire and help others. I had the opportunity to speak at a high school, to coach, and do a couple other things here and there this year that were so much fun, and inspiring to me as well. In the future, I am going to be open to more opportunities like that, so let me know if there is something I can do to share!

8. I will adopt the mindset of MOVING FORWARD- this is to remind me not to sweat the small stuff such as a bad workout, one bad race, minor setbacks in training due to weather or sickness, etc. Taking a holistic approach and reminding myself that the things I am doing on a daily basis are propelling me towards my future goals will help me see the big picture, and have an ever-improving mindset.

9. I will making running my PRIORITY- this is pretty self-explanatory, but one of the specifics here for me is to run right away in the morning whenever I can. Sometimes I get wrapped up in cleaning my house, doing yard work, shopping, or other random tasks, and then attempt to get a quality run in after that, and it just doesn't work as well that way. I figure if running is truly my top priority job, it comes first, before all those other random tasks that will still be there later in the day.

10. I will BELIEVE- nothing is possible without the belief that it can be done. I know that. Now I just gotta live it.

Ready? Break!