August Goal Update!

Goal: Train for and run the following races: Dash for Donation, Emerald City quarter marathon, and the half at the Columbus Marathon.
Status: I did not get to run the Dash for Donation because of my work schedule and I believe the same will be true for Emerald City.  I did end up doing the 5k at the Giant Eagle MultiSport Festival, which was great and ended up in a PR.  Hoping to write a little more about that later.  I am still on track for the half marathon, though I am nervous about mileage not being enough by race time.

Goal: Strength train 3x a week.
Status: I would like to blame my failure on this in July on a lot of things, but ultimately, I just didn’t make time. I have scheduled myself to go at least once this week and hopefully start to build back up. My new job schedule has made for some adjustments and I haven’t caught up with that yet.

Goal: Write every day.
Status: Nope. Improvement needed.

Goal: Read at least one book a month.
Status: I breezed through Savages by Don Winslow after seeing the movie.  I think I might have preferred the movie to the book, which is a rarity. I started Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner, but I haven’t stayed very well focused on it.  I am also picking my way through Kara Goucher’s Running for Women, which has some really great tips in it.

Goal: Budget! Budget! Budget!
Status:  My recent job changes have caused two things to happen: going a really long time without a full paycheck and also forcing medical things to become more expensive.  I am committed to keeping things under control, though, and excited to start saving money again once everything settles down.

Goal: Try something new once a month.
Status:  I didn’t really have a something new for July.  I may write up something a little late about starting a new job.  We’ll see if I can schedule that one in…  In the meantime, school starts this month!

Goal: Gratitude.
Status: I didn’t do this as much as I had hoped.  I find that I want to repeat myself a lot, so I am trying to open myself up to new things to be grateful for, even tough things.  Look for a best of #gratitudeproject coming sometime.

Goal: Actively work to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
Status: As of late, there have been a number of negative things that have been going on in life. There are also a lot of good things.  I am trying actively to not let myself stew in the bad.  It can be hard, but trying to see the light at the end of the tunnel is an every day practice.

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June 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: My overall training has been put on hold due to first my ankle (which thankfully seems pretty well healed) and now my hip/IT band. I’m pretty sure that I can do the first two since they are just 5ks, but I need to get myself out more. I have only run a handful of times in the past couple of weeks.

Goal: Strength train 3x a week.
Status: I keep telling myself that I’m going to go back to the gym.  My physical therapist tells me that I can go back.  I’m just nervous.  Next week, I will get in there even if it’s only once. By the end of June, I want to be back in regularly.

Goal: Write every day.
Status: I keep telling myself this is going to change. Focus required.  Yesterday, I tested the WordPress app to see what it was like posting from it.  I am hoping this will at least increase some blog activity.  I have just been feeling a little bummed in general (lack of running??) and so less than inspired.

Goal: Read at least one book a month.
Status: Finished Wild by Cheryl Strayed. It almost, almost made me want to consider doing something like the Pacific Crest Trail myself. But then I realized that I have no experience in the outdoors, I can’t take months off of work, and I am also not crazy. I am just not made of the stuff that thrives in the wild.  So…  After I finished that, I picked up Storm of Swords since the latest Game of Thrones season is almost over and I can read ahead now.

Goal: Save money/budget reboot!
Status: I think I need to get a little more specific with this one as my current methods just aren’t working.  So for June, my goal is to use x amount of dollars a week in non-required spending (in other words, not bills). No more. For instance, I have about $30 in my wallet right now and it will have to last me until next Friday.  This game only works if you actually budget out and buy the necessities like gas and groceries and then work on the rest from there, I think.  At least, that’s what I’m currently doing.

Goal: Try something new once a month.
Status:  For May, I went to see a dietician.  I’m not sure yet what June will hold, but I’m sure that I will come up with something.

Goal: Gratitude.
Status: Well this sunk like a stone. I really feel like this could benefit my overall outlook on life, so I’m going to try this one again. Let’s see how it goes.

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!

Something New: April – The Halfway Point

We’re officially about halfway through the month, so why not a little update? If you missed my initial post on this goal, please go here. The nutshell: live off of what I was making three years ago.

So how is it going? Not well. Since this is a public site, I don’t want to go too in detail about money and income. It takes away some of the impact, but it makes me feel a little more at ease. I haven’t talked to many people about this plan, but my boyfriend didn’t think it was going to work. He was right, as he so often is.

The problem so far? Things that are not 2009-friendly: Gas was cheaper, I didn’t have prescriptions to buy or specialists/physical therapists to see, etc. I didn’t even include some of my now-normal expenses into this budget.  I also have to admit that I got pretty discouraged part of the way through and probably didn’t include everything in my spending that I should have. This is where I need to get better at tracking things.

The next couple of weeks will be the real test. As rent is the biggest bill and that will have been paid, the second two weeks of the month will have slightly more money. If I was living this budget month to month, this extra cash could be used in the first two weeks of the next month to balance out spending. I’m going to see if I can spend less to make up for the more already spent, if that makes sense.  So maybe overall for the month, I can come down to even.  Let’s hope!

I’m hoping I have also figured out a way to simplify things. I was actually working off of two separate budgets in YNAB, but I have since transferred it all to one budget and just adjusted things around so that my 2009 allowances are factored into the appropriate categories. I know, I know. I really made it way more difficult than I needed it to be.  And, of course, I am kind of geeking out about my budget since I just took one of the YNAB classes and found it really helpful.  I have actually completely revamped how I was doing things and feel like I’m on a better path overall.

Next two weeks, here I come!

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!

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.

Running! Update!

My last few posts have been lacking a certain… something… Like running!  Lots of excitement there!

My birthday was the 19th and, as promised, I registered for my first 5k.  Lucky for me, the boyfriend agreed to run with me!  So Royal Family 5k, here we come!  I am really just beyond excited.  Now, if I could just get that pesky sister to come, too…

In light of being officially registered for the race, I got back onto the Couch-to-5k train.  I am almost done with week 5 and I am only doing it when I am running indoors on a treadmill.  I am still having some serious trouble pacing myself outdoors.  I have also been having some trouble with my asthma as well with the air getting colder.  I am going to see if breathing through something like a neck gaiter will help me since the air will be warmer that way.  I’m also going to start just using my rescue inhaler before a work-out, as is often directed for people with exercise-induced asthma. I use my maintenance inhaler every morning, but maybe that’s not enough as it gets colder.

Last week, I had the pleasure of running with different people, something I haven’t done before.  On Tuesday, I went out to a park with my friend.  He helped me on my running form and breathing techniques.  It was really eye-opening just to run with someone else who was paying attention. I felt bad as I am still slow and still walk often during runs, so he wasn’t getting much of a work out, but I benefited a lot from it.  After that, on Thanksgiving day, my stepbrother, his girlfriend, and I went out for a quick go around my sister’s neighborhood.  My stepbrother had us doing fun things like sprints and skips, etc.

I am trying to work on things two-fold.  I want increased distance and increased steady running time.  They will both come together, but I know I have done more distance when breaking up my run with walks. One way or another, I just have to keep progressing so that 5k is in the bag by February.  Even if I don’t get as far as I want, I still have to say that I am learning nothing feels better than getting out there and running.  I don’t always feel like it, but once I get going, I always feel better after.

Status Update: November

Back in August, I started keeping track of some goals…  I have not been super awesome at keeping up on the status or even keeping an eye on my goals in general.  It’s about time to get back on track now that all the surgery stuff is as out of the way as it can currently be.  So… UPDATE!

Goal: C25k
Status: To be honest, I gave up following a program and just started to run/walk/runk at my own pace.  I have goals and I set pace goals or time goals as I can.  I go out each time with the idea of doing at least 2 miles.  This week, I should average almost 10 miles for the week if things go as planned.  I may find myself back on the program more officially, but I can tell you that I do about 2 miles in about 30min and if I stay on that track, I will have no problem with the 5k in February. The required pacing for that is 16min/mile and I’m already above that. Speaking of the 5k, registration will happen on the 19th as a birthday present to myself.  I’m super excited.

Goal: Achieve previous weight-lifting benchmarks – 105 on squat and deadlift.
Status: I just started back to some weights this past week.  I did some squats with a 20lb bag and it seemed to go ok.  I have also been deadlifting with free weights. Jury is still out on whether I will ever get to this stage again.  It felt good to do some strength training again though.  The sore arms and chest the next day felt great.

Goal: Write every day.
Status: If I can get this blog going more regularly, I can write more regularly.  It’s a muscle I just can’t get into a training schedule. I heard someone suggest just waking up and writing for 10 minutes first thing every day.  I am going to try it.

Goal: Decrease sugar, caffeine, and dairy intake.
Status: Caffeine seems to be about 1 drink a day.  One cup of coffee a day is okay by me right now.  Sugar… I have at least drastically decreased the amount of high fructose corn syrup in my life.  I guess that’s a step.  I have been keeping around one dessert like food in the house (the current favorite is chocolate covered almonds), but I’d really like to stop consuming anything of that nature on a regular basis.  Since surgery, I have been hyper aware of dairy intake and would like to see a little more decrease in that as well.

Goal: Read regularly.
Status: Finished Game of Thrones! Am almost done with Born to Run and have also started Clash of Kings. Progress!

Goal: Save money/get budget on track.
Status:  Two weeks ago, I increased my automatic savings. A few extra bucks in each account is nothing to ignore. My car savings is up to about 20%.  Emergency fund is about 25%. I am going to start actively analyzing my spending more instead of just tracking it. First step was getting into the habit of tracking it so that I could analyze it.  Now it’s onto the next step…

All in all.. Progress, I’d say.