July Goal Update!

Goal: Train for and run the following races: Jaeger Run for Pride, Dash for Donation, Emerald City quarter marathon, and the half at the Columbus Marathon.
Status: Successfully ran the Jaeger Run for Pride.  Race recap is here.  I actually don’t know if I’ll get to the Dash for Donation because of my new work schedule.  I already registered for it, unfortunately.  We’ll see if I can work something out. I am also considering the 5 or 10k at the Giant Eagle MultiSport Festival, but I haven’t decided yet.

Goal: Strength train 3x a week.
Status: I win this time! I win! I officially went back to the gym a week ago today. So I was in Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  That’s four days of strength training, including one day with my trainer.  I also did cardio all of those days, sometimes once at the gym and a short run later in the day. I cannot tell you how awesome it is to be lifting heavy things again.  I started out light, but I am already making progress.  I am also more actively using Fitocracy… find me here.  I am still a little frustrated that I can’t log everything I do because they don’t list all of my exercises.  All of that is besides the point: GOAL ACCOMPLISHED, at least for this past week.

Goal: Write every day.
Status: Ugh. At least I’ve been reading more…

Goal: Read at least one book a month.
Status: I finished  Storm of Swords in record time.  The last A Song of Ice and Fire book took me forever to read.  It was like slogging through a nightmare of awful things happening.  This third book still had awful things (give up all hope for anyone you ever liked), but it went a lot faster. Once finishing that, I started The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  I have seen part of the movie, but would like to read it before finishing the rest.  So far, so good.

Goal: Budget! Budget! Budget!
Status:  Because of my recent job changes, I have worked extra hard to stay on top of my budget. I didn’t do too badly in June, really.  I overdid it a little with the purchase of my new running shoes and some other miscellaneous clothing that I needed, but other than that, I have ended up in a pretty good spot.  If I made no income for July, I could still pay my bills and buy groceries, etc without dipping into my savings, so I think I’m not in bad shape at all.  Any income I make will be helpful and relieve stress, but at least I know I can do it regardless.

I will say also about budgeting that I think I have made a small breakthrough thanks to YNAB (who, by the way, came out with a new version that is AWESOME). I took another one of their free classes and it really got my brain on the right track, as in: look at the budget first. Thanks, YNAB!

Goal: Try something new once a month.
Status:  So for June, I quit my job.  I am coming up on the end of my two weeks of summer FUNemployment, which is a sad thing.  I am onto bigger and better things though, so I am super excited about that.

Goal: Gratitude.
Status: Did a little bit better. If you’ve been following my Twitter at all, you may have seen some #gratitudeproject tweets pop up.  I was especially grateful for my family and friends and all their support.  It has been really awesome.  I am going to continue with this goal since I think it’s been helping my outlook on life.

Goal: Actively work to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
Status: This links directly into gratitude, I think.  Since I’m starting a new job and starting school next month, I think that it’s time to get myself mentally prepared for the coming inevitable ups and downs.  I was so long in a bad situation that I need to make sure that I’m going into the new ones with a good attitude.

Here’s to July!

May Update!

Goal: Train for and run the quarter marathon at Cap City and the half-marathon at Nationwide.
Status: Cap City COMPLETE! Full race recap to come! I have already chosen at least two other races for the next couple of months as well.  I’ve got race fever!  I am still hoping to do the half in October, but I’d like to know that I can actually do it before I register.  Walking part of 6.55 is one thing, but 13.1 is another.

Goal: Strength train 3x a week.
Status: As of last week, I was told by my physical therapist I could slowly get back into some “gentle gym time.” I’m hoping to go either tomorrow or Wednesday.

Goal: Regularly donate to charity and start volunteering.
Status: Did my first volunteering activity at Planned Parenthood!

Goal: Write every day.
Status: Completely neglected except for what you see here. Ugh.

Goal: Read at least one book a month.
Status: Slowed down on the reading trend.  Happened across Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed. So far, it is really good.  Now I just need to take more time to read it.

Goal: Save money/budget reboot!
Status: This tied into the April edition of Something New. I will be giving a follow-up on that shortly.

Goal: Try something new once a month.
Status:  For April, I tried to live like I did three years ago. This did not go as planned. It’s strange to think about how different things are in such a short period of time. May’s something new takes place on Thursday. You’ll have to check back for it. 🙂

Goal: Gratitude.
Status: This is my new goal for May. I am going to post at least twice a week in some form (Twitter, Facebook, or on the blog) something that I am grateful for. I have been thinking about this a lot lately.  Some days recently haven’t felt very inspiring (so to speak), so I think this will help put some things into perspective.

Happy May!

April Update!

I think of all the months so far, March was probably one of my most productive. Despite my herniated disc acting up again, I got a lot of things accomplished. I would say about half of my goals were attended to in a satisfactory (or approaching it) manner.

Let’s check in…

Goal: Train for and run the quarter marathon at Cap City and the half-marathon at Nationwide.
Status: About halfway through March, I actually bailed on my 10k training program and started a half-marathon training program. The pace seemed overall better for me and I would end up running the required distance to complete the quarter marathon before May.  Unfortunately, with my back being in the state it’s in, we are looking at maybe only getting to walk at Cap City. Fingers crossed that my doctor’s appointment this week brings good news for my running efforts.

Goal: Strength train 3x a week.
Status:  In March, I said I wanted to do some sort of physical activity every day of the week except for one rest day.  I didn’t quite keep up with that, but I got pretty close.  I held pretty steady to approximately 3 days a week at the gym.  I even started to really track my strength training, which I have been horrible at doing previously.  We’ll wait to revise this goal until after my doctor’s appointment since I am not supposed to be lifting things as of right now.

Goal: Regularly donate to charity and start volunteering.
Status: I am not “regularly” donating, but I am trying to keep up with giving donations as birthday gifts for people.  We’ll revisit this one at another time.

Goal: Write every day.
Status: Getting sooooo much closer! I definitely picked up the blogging pace and I even started looking at the story I’ve been working on a little bit more.  Still need more consistency.

Goal: Read at least one book a month.
Status: Big win on this one.  I finished four books: A Clash of Kings, the three books in the The Hunger Games trilogy
(barely counts as it was my third time through), and What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. I have anxiously started another book already: The Portable Door by Tom Holt. I will be happy to keep this reading trend up in April.

Goal: Save money/budget reboot!
Status: Sort of sluggish for March overall on the money front. For April, this goal and the next goal are both tied in together. I think it will be a really good way of getting myself on track with budgeting in general.

Goal: Try something new once a month.
Status:  March’s something new meant going to a running clinic.  For April, please see my “In the Works” post. I am really excited about this one!

Goal: Catch up on intended blog entries.
Status: COMPLETE! Yay!

March Update!

Well, February was full of a little bit of progress for some things, a goal achieved, and other goals not. Let’s review..

Goal: Run a 5k! And then run in at least the Cap City and Nationwide races as well.
Status: 5k COMPLETE!! If you missed my celebratory post, go read it here.  As of Saturday, I officially registered for the quarter marathon at Cap City.  What’s the difference between a quarter marathon and a 10k? About .35 miles.  The 10k is 6.2 and the quarter is 6.55.  I am looking at a few 5ks between now and Cap City, but I’m not sure yet whether I will sign up for those as well.

Goal: Strength train 3x a week.
Status:  I have been in twice a week at least most weeks with my trainer.  My commitment for March is to do something every day except for Sunday.  So for instance, today I had a sesson with my trainer and then in a little while, I’m going to go out and run.  Tomorrow, I will probably end up in the gym and/or doing a short run.  I am planning to alternate running and gym days except for my days off from work where I plan to do both because I can space out the two.

Goal: Regularly donate to charity and start volunteering.
Status: I had my volunteer orientation for Planned Parenthood in February.  I have yet to actually do any volunteering, but there are a few opportunities coming up.

Goal: Write every day.
Status: I have started work again on a story that I was messing around with, though it requires some research that I have yet to do.  Still working toward this goal.

Goal: Read at least one book a month.
Status: I am almost done with A Clash of Kings (finally). I started to re-read The Hunger Games in anticipation of the movie at the end of the month and that book really flies by, so no worries on that.  If I’m lucky, I’ll finish three books in March to make it even for the year so far. Ha!

Goal: Save money/budget reboot!
Status: Getting things on track here! It would be helpful if one of the cats hadn’t required 3 trips to the vet in 3 weeks.  He seems to be doing better now, so I will forgive him putting a cramp in my plans here… 😉

Goal: Try something new once a month.
Status:  Well… I am sort of having a hard time coming up with ideas for this.  We are going to cheat for February and say my 5k was the big thing.  It was a big thing, so I guess it isn’t cheating, but still… Any ideas on things to try?  I am considering anti-social media days where I don’t go on Twitter or Facebook for the whole day. I don’t feel like it’s such a hard thing to give up, so maybe it would be more like doing it for a week.  Still playing with that one.

Goal: Catch up on intended blog entries.
Status: I have drafts, oh believe me, I have drafts. Ha! My new March goal is this one.

It’s been a minute… February Update!

Well, it’s been a hot second since I’ve updated.  I’m actually planning a slew of posts, but have yet to find the time to write them.  A lot of my time off lately has been spent traveling or down with a cold of sorts, so… here’s your February goal update…

Goal: Run a 5k! And then run in at least the Cap City and Nationwide races as well.
Status: The 5k is less than two weeks away! Could not be more excited.  Today, I did 4 miles after a week of no running due to sickness.  It felt glorious.  So I know I can do the distance (did 5 miles the other day! my longest ever!).  It’s now just a matter of getting better at running steady for longer periods of time.  My reward for running the 5k is to register for Cap City.

Goal: Strength train 3x a week.
Status:  I have been working with my trainer twice a week and doing another day on my own.  At the end of the month, I have to decide whether I want to continue to work with my trainer or hold off for awhile.  My gym raised their training rates, so I’m a little hesitant to keep up with it.  Regardless of that, I do feel like I need to get into the weight room more than I am currently.

Goal: Regularly donate to charity and start volunteering.
Status: I am all geared up to match my 5k race entry fee with a donation via TEAM Water.org. I also decided on a volunteering gig.  I had gone back and forth about a couple of things, but didn’t really feel strongly about any one organization.  And then the Susan G. Komen vs. Planned Parenthood debacle took place and I had my AHA! moment.  While I have donated to PP in the past and did so when I heard about Komen’s initial decision, I realized that I should probably do more. So I signed up to start volunteering with PP.  I actually did a little work with them when I lived in Pennsylvania for a couple months, but it was very short lived.  There is a volunteer orientation this week and I am very excited about it.  If you are at all interested in getting involved head here to find your local affiliate.  The one here said that with all of the Komen stuff happening (even after the decision was reversed, I’m sure), they are in need of lots of help!

Goal: Write every day.
Status: Still something I am working hard to get into.

Goal: Read at least one book a month.
Status: I gave up reading one book and have started reading another.  Discipline with this and the writing goal is in extreme need.  It’s not like I don’t enjoy these things.  I just let my mind get too involved in other things.  Plus, the second season of Game of Thrones is going to start soon, so I have to finish the second book by then!

Goal: Save money/budget reboot!
Status: Working hard on this one.  It will be easier to stay more strict once all my traveling is done.

Goal: Try something new once a month.
Status:  So in January, I tried yoga and loved it. I have been taking regular classes at my gym and doing things at home as well.  Even in a short period of time, I can tell I am making some improvement with it.  For February, I have been a little stumped on what to do.  I could cheat and make the 5k my something new, but I am thinking of a few other things.  Better get on it, since the month is almost half over!

Goal: Keep a fucking good attitude.
Status: I think I have been reasonably successful with this.  The other day, I started to get grumpfaced and talked myself down reasonably well.  Progress!


Like I said, more posts coming soon!

2011 and beyond.

Welcome to 2012.  I have decided that last year was the year of overcoming challenges.  This year is going to be the year of bettering myself based on what I learned last year.

A quick look at 2011…

January: I started working with a trainer at my gym.  I set goals of 300lbs on the deadlift and squat.
March: I herniated my L5 S1 disc.  I have been in physical therapy for that bad boy ever since.
August: I started this blog! Because the injury was caused while lifting a lot of weight and continuing to lift a lot of weight seemed like bad idea, I started running.  The goals I had set for myself were no longer ones that I could safely go after, so I set a new goal: run a 5k.
September: I had a gallstone attack
October: …which lead to my gallbladder removal.
November: Awkward Creature began. I continued to try to heal up from surgery.  I turned 30 and registered for that 5k. I also talked about some important things not related to running and goals here and here.
December: I didn’t update much with the whirlwind of work and holidays, but I continued to progress with running and goals.

End of Year Totals:
Longest run: 2.62 on 12/22
Fastest run: 14:20 on 11/10
Total miles (once I started tracking): 86.22
Heaviest weight: 105lb deadlift 03/28 – disc day
Number of creatures: 4


So what is 2012 going to hold?  Well, I don’t like resolutions very much.  Resolutions seem so easily broken and cliche.  I have found that I really like goals.  So here is my new, improved, and updated list of goals for 2012 (if you care to check in on past goals/updates, go here).

Goal: Run a 5k! And then run in at least the Cap City and Nationwide races as well.
Status: As of today, I am running below a 15/min mile and up to 28min straight.  That equals out to about 2 miles of running steady. That is so far ahead of where I started, I feel ridiculous.  Almost to that 5k! I’m considering the quarter marathon for Cap City and the half for the Columbus Marathon.  If training allows! Ha!

Goal: Strength train 3x a week.
Status:  My physical therapist and I decided that I could hit the gym a bit more aggressively as long as I checked in every other week.  We also decided that I am pretty much retired from the barbell.  The idea of 105 lbs resting on my shoulders for a squat and compressing my back where it was injured is just an awful idea to me.  So I’m doing squats and deadlifts with dumbbells and various other lifting.  Just no barbell.

Goal: Regularly donate to charity and start volunteering.
Status: I gave little bits of money here and there during 2011 to places like NPR and Planned Parenthood.  My end-of-the-year giving went to the Polaris Project and Water.org. (I actually joined up for TEAM Water.org as a way of combining running and charity in a commitment to match race entry fees with donations.) It wasn’t a lot of money to any one place, believe me, but I figure a little is better than nothing.  I just want to do that little bit more regularly.  I am also looking to get involved with Habitat for Humanity as well as possibly the Columbus AIDS Task Force. The volunteering aspect is still sort of floating around in my head, so we’ll see where that lands.

Goal: Write every day.
Status: Starting soon, I’m going to attempt the idea of waking up early to write a little before the day starts.

Goal: Read at least one book a month.
Status: A little updated from my general “read more” goal that I’ve had going on. I have been slogging along with books lately, so if I at least say one a month, I have something to gauge my progress by.  That’s not limiting to one.  That’s just at least one. Currently I’m still reading two books at once. Follow progress here: the K experiment @ Goodreads.

Goal: Save money/budget reboot!
Status: The ongoing budget/money struggle. Ugh.  I am actually pretty pumped about it right now.  I started fresh today with a brand new YNAB budget. I have spent far too much time watching videos on how best to use YNAB for budgeting goals. A lot of the videos there could be used by anyone for whatever budgeting method you use.  Now that I’ve set some things up better, I think I’m going to get a good handle on it.  I still have my emergency fund and car savings going.  I realized recently that I used to live on a lot less money.  I’d like to be able to live on a lot less and save/give/do a lot more.  So that’s really the goal: live better on less. I’d like to start into 401ks and such this year.  30 seems a little late to that game, but better late than never!  That will take a lot more research though.

Goal: Try something new once a month.
Status: This month, I’m trying yoga. My gym offers free classes and I signed up for this Thursday. Next month, I think I’m going to try my hand at smoothie making. Please give me your recipes.

Goal: Keep a fucking good attitude.
Status: I have a struggle with this. I’m trying to get better.  I’m trying to turn bad things around to good things and face challenges with better attitudes. I think all the above goals will really help this one.


So. Lots of goals.  Lots of plans.  We’ll see how this goes.  I’m hoping that all the physical and other struggles of 2011 are behind me and I can get everything going in the right direction. 2012 is going to be a good one.  Even if the world ends. 😉

Status Update: December

Here it is, almost a month later.  Time is flying by this year.

I’m removing some of these goals and adding new ones.  The reasons will be listed below.

Goal: Run a 5k!
Status: I am going to do a proper running update here in a second, because there’s some stuff going on here.  But all in all, there has been some really good progress. I ran my longest time and distance consecutively today.  That was a pretty awesome accomplishment.  I felt really good afterwards (though my legs were a bit wobbly, I have to admit).

Goal: Achieve previous weight-lifting benchmarks – 105 on squat and deadlift.
Status: I am removing this goal.  While lifting is something that I’m doing in small doses and with small weight, I feel that just getting back into doing a normal lifting routine should be my main focus.  I am doing a little bit more physical therapy to get back into the gym properly and after that we will see how it goes.

Goal: Write every day.
Status: I have been keeping a bit of a December goal going on elsewhere and I have been writing for Awkward Creature, but that’s about it as of now.  I am still hoping to start getting up a little earlier every day and starting off the day writing.  I think getting into a routine is really important with this.

Goal: Decrease sugar, caffeine, and dairy intake.
Status: I have been steadily keeping to one cup of caffeine a day.  My dairy intake has been been reasonably limited to sandwiches. Sugar is something I am still working on, but I think my next goal is going to be just focusing on better nutrition overall.  I am hoping to eat a salad every day, etc.  Still sort of working on what I want to do with this, but the salad is a start.  I definitely do not eat enough vegetables.

Goal: Read regularly.
Status: Finished Born to Run, which I really loved.  If anyone has suggestions along that vein, I would love to hear them. It has been pretty slow going with Clash of Kings, but I have been drifting between a couple of other books at the same time.  Matt Taibbi writes a great column for Rolling Stone, so I picked up his book,  Griftopia. I also grabbed Sacred Economics by Charles Eisenstein (the guy in the OWS video I posted here), but haven’t really gotten much into that.  Incidentally, you can read the entire thing for free online at Reality Sandwich.  My plan is to stick with Sacred Economics for a bit and then go back to Griftopia, which has excruciatingly long chapters.  For someone who picks books up pretty randomly, it’s hard for me to stick with 50page chapters.  Maybe if I gave more consistent time to reading, but I really sort of snatch time on lunch breaks and other times at home.  Also, I have been trying to keep a reasonable tally of things over at Goodreads.  I started an account there back in 2007 and have only been back and forth randomly.  Lots of old to-reads and such, but I’m trying to keep it better updated.

Goal: Save money/get budget on track.
Status:  Things are going pretty well along here.  I still have some of the surgery bill to take care of and with Christmas coming up, things get a little crazy but I’m feeling pretty good.  I’ve been noticing spots where I can really decrease my spending and am actively trying to pursue doing that.  I’m currently switching internet providers, which will save me almost $40/mo, all of which will go into savings. I also decided to put my heating bill on a budget plan, so no crazy surprises over the winter on that. Progress!

Goal: De-google.
Reason: Let’s be honest: Google is kind of big in a scary sort of way.  They follow you around and house all of this crazy data about you.  All those ads that are tailored to you seem nice, but what’s really going on there? Actually, the real thing that started me thinking about getting away from Google was the fact that they redesigned Google Reader in a bad way and then didn’t listen to feedback from their users.  It was a move trying to force people into using Google+, a service that I tried and left. I’m not really interested in using their services if they aren’t going to listen to their users and force unwanted products upon people.  Of course, I’d like to get away from Facebook too based on how they also follow you around the internet, but unfortunately there are too many people I would probably lose touch with (family especially).
Status: I have officially changed all my RSS feeds over to NetVibes.  I am in the process of changing emails around, but I have used gmail for so very long that it’s hard to get that all settled. I also have the problem that certain things won’t reset to the email that I’d like to use, blah blah blah.  So that’s an ongoing battle.  I have been reading posts like this one and working my way through.  We’ll see how far this goes.

I was actually going to list volunteer as a poll worker for the next election, but I already put in my application for it, so… Goal: accomplished!  There are a couple of other goals I’m working on in the pre-goal stage, so to speak.  But some goals have to wait for other things to fall into place first.  Hopefully by next month, I will have some new things to add.

In the Meantime…

This morning was my follow-up with the surgeon.  He took off my steri-strips, told me the incision and everything is looking good (though I personally think it looks kinda weird right now), and told me I have no restrictions.  He also said that the lightheaded feeling and a couple of other side effects may or may not be because of the anesthesia.  Some people are pretty sensitive to it, but that should go away. I also still have to play it safe, of course, and pay attention. For instance, I know because of the strain I feel at the main incision site that I have to be careful about lifting things.  And I still feel like I tire easily, but I think that will probably get better as I increase activity (lazy begets lazy) and still heal. Healing is tiring! My body is still probably looking for it’s gallbladder every now and then.

Today will be the third day this week that I’ve gone out walking.  I did a teeny tiny bit of jogging yesterday.  I mean teeny tiny and that was enough.  Hopefully today, I’ll get going a little bit more.  I am anxious to get my Couch-to-5k progress back on track. I know I still have a lot of work to do before I do the 5k in February.


So what would a beginning runner do with herself when she can’t train? Read.  Here’s what I’ve been getting into the past week and a half:

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

Barefoot Running University :: specifically this

HuffPo Countdown to the NYC Marathon by Emily Faherty

Running with Your Cat, How Much Running Should I Do on Pavement?, Breaking All the Rules :: Runner’s World

Post-gallbladder surgery running discussion here.


Kitten-assisted reading.

The kitten loves a good running book.