Sunday, August 11, 2013

A Summer Evening 5K

Last night, I participated in of the most popular races in the area, with over 6,000 other runners. It was my first time running this particular race, and was joined by some coworkers.

We arrived downtown shortly after 8 pm, and I had to use the restroom. Bad idea. The lines were 20 minutes long. I waited in line and finally got to a restroom with a minute to spare. I sprinted to the starting line - probably my fastest run of the evening! I settled in an area with what I thought were other average runners, figuring that was a good area to stay away from the rush of the starting line. This was another bad idea. By the time I crossed the starting line, 4-5 minutes had passed from the start of the race. As soon as I passed the starting line, I had to weave in and out of dozens of walkers. I had seeded myself too far back, and spent the first mile trying to get out of the mass of slower runners and walkers.

The entire race was very congested. Only toward the last half mile was I able to get some space. The turns were tight and I definitely added some length to the race by weaving in and out of obstacles and people. I'm not sure what my final time was - waiting for the chip results to come in later today. I didn't have much of a final kick at the end like I usually try to. During the race, a runner came up to me and asked me how I was doing. I told him "Fine", and he tapped me on the shoulder and said "Tag, you're it!". Once I realized what had just happened, I surged forward for all of 30 seconds, effectively wiping myself out by mile 2. Another bad idea.

It was so humid out, and I was drenched by the time I finished. The finish line was congested. I found Shane at our predetermined meeting spot, and we wandered around for a little bit before heading toward the burger joint.My shirt was covered in water and sweat, and I didn't bring one to change into. I stopped at a McDonald's and tried to dry it off with the hand dryer. It worked pretty well, although I was definitely still wishing I had a shower.

At Hugh Jass Burgers (ha ha ha), we met up with my coworkers after the race. I swapped the Redd's Apple Ale I originally ordered (too sweet) for Shane's West Sixth amber ale. We split an order of sweet potato fries with marshmallow dipping sauce (!) and a burger with a fried egg on top. Delicious.

I don't think I would run this particular race again, but it was fun to do once. I wouldn't mind going to Hugh Jass again though!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Mock Mini Sprint Triathlon (Free Tips Included!)

June 14 - my flight arrived in Denver, two days before the sprint triathlon. I was the last of the four sisters to arrive due to work obligations. The weather was amazing - 80's and dry during the day, but cooling rapidly in the evening.

Tip 1: Give yourself as much time as possible (ideally a few days) to acclimate to the higher altitude if your training was done at a lower altitude than the race. Drink more water than usual. Everyone says this, I know, but that's because it is really important.

My sister is one of the smartest people I know, and it was her idea for us to practice a very abbreviated sprint triathlon the day before the event. It gave the newbies in the group a chance to practice the transitions, and gave us out-of-towners a chance to get familiar with our loaned gear.

Tip 2: Have a smart sister and/or friend competing in the same race who can think of stuff like this. In lieu of this, ensure that you schedule your own mini rehearsal run.

June 15 - We went to the local YMCA with the bikes loaded onto my sister's Jeep. We practiced putting our wetsuits on, which felt very awkward at first. For the two newbies, it would be our first time swimming in a wetsuit. The extra buoyancy it gave was great. We swam a couple of laps, then ran out of the pool to our staging area.

Tip 3: Pull as much wetsuit material into the chest area as you can, or else you will be fighting the suit while you are swimming. Every little bit helps.  Pull, pull, pull.

Stripping off the wetsuit took longer than I thought it would, and I was surprised at how dizzy I was and how difficult it was to balance. I was probably still adjusting to the altitude. I quickly toweled off and tossed my shorts and shirt on top of the wetsuit. I pulled on my socks and shoes, put on my helmet, and hopped on the bike. After strapping my feet securely onto the pedals, I took off...and promptly fell over.

Tip 4: If you aren't used to them, don't full strap down your shoes until you have some momentum to keep your balance. On race day, I actually didn't fully tighten them, which worked fine.

After disengaging my feet from the pedals and getting back up, I got on my bike again, this time waiting to tighten the straps until I was riding slowly. It took some coordination to reach down and tighten each one, but I got the hang of it.

We rode a few miles around neighborhood roads. I enjoyed using an actual road bike (all of my training had been in spinning class or on my rusty hybrid bike). Changing the gears was different and took some getting used to. It also was a lot more sensitive to turning than I was used to, and it took some time to be able to stand and ride without wobbling.

After sightseeing some of Boulder's neighborhoods, we returned to the Jeep and dismounted from our bikes. A few laps around the parking lot completed our mini sprint tri.

Tip 5: At least practice running just a short distance after biking before the actual event. Running feels different for the first few minutes after being on the bike. Your legs don't feel quite like your own.

The practice run did a lot to help me feel more confident about the transitions between the events. I had a better idea of the things to look out for (i.e. not falling off the bike).

Monday, June 3, 2013

Weekly Goals #12

1.  Write and mail letter to my grandma.  Report: Done! Writing it down here really helped to motivate me to do it.

2.  Get large cup of water every lunch time at work and finish it by the time I leave for the day.   Report: I believe I did this about 3 of the 5 days.

3.  Finish painting living room wall.  Report: Nope. Still not painted

4.  Get new shower curtain. (I need to just do this so I am writing this down).  Report: I refreshed our existing one with a good wash with bleach. Looks as good as new (almost).

5.  Listen to 4 TED talks and 1 Ravi Zacharias podcast.    Report: Done, plus some extra RZ talks. I really respect him. I got to hear him speak at my college once before. He's one of the best Christian apologists I know of.

6. Go on one trail run. The sprint tri run portion will be on dirt, so I would like to practice. Plus, trail runs are great and they kick my butt.   Report:  Err, sort of but not really. I did a regular run but tried to run on the grass more.

7. Go on one 18+ mile bike ride outside.  Report: I think it was 14 miles, but that was OK.

8. Be good to myself, especially this weekend. I will probably be working a lot t his week, and want to make sure I don't allow the stress to wear me down. This is kind of a vague goal, but I know how I feel when I am kind to my body and mind.  Report:  It was a good week :)

9. Go to church either Friday or Sunday. It has been a choppier of weeks since I have gone and I miss it.  Report: I didn't go.  Sigh. Not really any great excuse, other than I just didn't feel like it.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Weekly Goals #11

Report out on last week's goals:

1.  Don't go to the grocery store until next weekend.

Result: Done. I went to the dollar store after work on Friday and picked up some pretzels and salsa, but that doesn't count in my book (I like my book, it's an easy read). It got a little low at the end on groceries, but not bad at all. It encouraged me to finish up stuff that had already been purchased.

2.   Swim, bike, and run at least 1x each ( sprint tri distances...0.5 miles, 17 miles, and 3 miles, respectively). I am considering running an actual 5k race for the run.

Result: done, with personal records for two of them! I swam the half mile in 25 minutes, which is a big improvement considering that my fastest prior time was 27:30. I attribute the speedier strokes from some tips I looked up 15 minutes prior to swimming. They obviously made a significant difference. It is still not a fast time by any means, but for me, it's a great improvement!

The biking was actually a spinning class on Thursday. I had intended to go on a bike ride today, but my legs were sore after yesterday's 5k, so I nixed that idea.

Speaking of 5k, that's how I got my run in this week, with the sweet bonus of an unexpected PR of 25:48. Yeah! Again, nowhere near the fast zone, but an improvement for me, and that really is what counts for this amateur athlete.

3.  Go to one yoga class. I have not been in a few weeks and I miss it.

Result: Just barely fit it in to this week, but done. Those few weeks off were definitely felt as I struggled with some basic poses. Part of it was being tired still from the 5k, but most of it was being out of yoga-shape. I felt great although tired when it was over. Yoga is good stuff. I am looking forward to doing it more once the triathlon is over.

4. Call my old retirement account and close it for good.

Result: done on Tuesday, with (bonus) a check coming my way. 

5. Write back to my grandma. 

Result: not done or even started. For a moment I considered using the excuse of not having any good stationery but realized that was a pretty sad excuse. I just didn't do it.

6.  Plant tomato plants outside. 

Result: did it just a couple of hours ago, but they are all planted. I probably wouldn't have done it if I had not written it down here. 

7. Eat lunch with coworkers at least 2 of the 4 times this week. 

Result: done.

8.  Get a head start in assignments that will be due in the next couple of weeks.

Result: done. I was able to help another coworker with his workload too, which was good. I will still be swamped as the next deadline approaches, but I did what I could this week to get a head start.

9. Remember to stop and pray occasionally. Make it a conscious effort, and eventually it will become a subconscious habit.

Result: not good. Why is prayer so hard to start? I hope as I do it more, it becomes a more instinctive reaction. A habit. 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Race Before the Real Race

As part of my sprint triathlon training plan, I wanted to run a 5k race to practice running that distance in a race environment before the actual event. Granted, it will be a different experience completing the 5k on race day after having swam 0.5 miles and biked 17 miles. But, it's as close as I can get without doing a rehearsal sprint tri before the actual event.

The race was good. The course was hilly and it was considerably humid even that early in the morning. Despite this, I did PR at under 26 min.  Hooray! It was a nice confirmation that the shorter but more intense running sessions I have been having for the sprint tri training are working. My body seems to respond better to that type of workout than to sloughing through 10+ mile half-marathon training sessions I did in the past. It's a different type of training for a different type of race, of course, but it is neat to see that my legs can run faster under different circumstances. I was really exhausted during their last mile though and ran it a few seconds' slower than the first two. I finished 6th out of my age group of 31 women and in the top 25% overall of 500 people.

Other than the PR, I also got a sweet race shirt and a door prize of a Moe's gift certificate. A good race indeed.

I have consided doing a practice sprint tri but I probably won't. For one it will take some time to recover from - time that might be better spent training on the individual events. There's only one weekend between this one and race weekend. Also, the pool-to-bike logistics are a little challenging. Finally, I don't think that a full rehearsal will make much of a difference in my time during the actual event. It falls into the "would be nice but not necessary" category. Or, in other words,"Ain't nobody got time for that!"

Monday, April 8, 2013

Sprint Triathlon Training Update

It's less than 10 weeks away: 0.5 mile swim + 17.2 mile bike + 3.1 mile run = Sprint triathlon!

It can be challenging to find time to train with my variable work schedule. On any given week day, I work between 8 and 12 hours, and occasionally a few hours on the weekend, too. I enjoy my job and don't mind working a lot (the overtime is nice, too!), but it does make it hard to plan and accomplish daily workouts. I've been maintaining the following schedule for the past few weeks (for the most part):
  • 3-4x week cardio (swimming, biking, spinning, running, or elliptical)
  • 2-3x week strength (Mainly focusing on biceps, triceps, lats, shoulders, lower back, abs, chest, thighs and glutes.
With the cardio, my goal has increasingly shifted from pure length of time to quality. I've begun to focus more on interval training - periods of moderate activity interspersed with high intensity intervals.

I used to be a big fan of long cardio sessions. Part of that was from disordered eating behaviors, but part of it was because I truly thought that the benefit of a workout was directly proportional to its length. However, based on what I've read, it looks like interval training provides a lot of benefit in terms of return on the investment of time put into it.

The research is limited, but here's a sampling:

HIIT is Tme-Efficient and Effective, Study Suggests
A Healthy Mix of Rest and Motion 

Moving forward into the last 8 weeks of training, my weekly goals look like this:

  • Swim 1x a week, adding on an additional lap each time (this will put me at 30 laps by the time of the race - need to check and see if lengthwise this is at least equivalent to 0.5 miles or if I need to tack on more.  Swimming will be the most challenging. Initially, I thought I would do breaststroke since it is my strongest and fastest stroke, but from what I've learned it can be difficult not to kick people with the frog type motion of the legs during the open swim. I have read that when executed correctly, the front crawl is around 20% faster than breaststroke
  • Run 1-2x a week, preferably outdoors on a trail to minimize impact. One tempo run, one interval (fartlek) run. 30-45 minutes including walking time. Because of my lingering injury, I probably won't be running more than 1-3 miles at a time.
  • Outdoor bike ride 1x a week, 15 miles or so (should take 1.5 hours max) + a 55 minute spin class if I'm up to it. Biking is my strongest, so while I don't want to neglect training for it, I would be better to focus on running/swimming. 
  • Weight train the following muscle groups, at least 1x per week (fit in around cardio or solo): Triceps, biceps, shoulders, chest, back, abs.  I'm leaving the lower body out for the most part. With the running and biking, my legs are getting enough of a workout. Plus, I have limited time - better ROI on the upper half.
  • once a week. I really, really enjoy yoga. It helps me to center and focus, and the stretching is therapeutic.  Plus, it hits some smaller muscles that are harder to target. 

From what I've read, I don't need to do a full sprint triathlon practice before the actual event, and in fact it is advisable not to, so I don't think I'll need to practice the full length.

It is getting closer. 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

First Experiences: Group Weight Lifting Class

Strength training. For me, it usually plays second fiddle to cardio. I love cardio- for me, it used to consist primarily of running, but that has tapered down dramatically since dealing with the aftermath of a repetitive stress injury.

I know that strength training is at least as important as cardio, and perhaps even more so. Building and maintaining muscle mass has a plethora of health and fitness benefits. While I've been aware of the many benefits of weight training, it hasn't become a regular part of my workout routine until lately, but I'm already reaping the benefits.

Equipment used:
Step blocks (to lay back on when doing some arm work)
Foam pad (to put on step block and on floor when doing abs segment)
Various weighted plates for the barbell. These will be changed out depending on the exercise. I usually get a combination of (4) 2.5 kg plates and (2) 1 kg plates

Warmup (3-5 minutes)
Slow, modified deadlifts with a few barbell rows mixed in.

Lower back/hamstrings
Dead lifts with triple barbell rows thrown in. Good form is important in order to protect your back. Weight should be in the heels, butt sticking out, and back flat. There are a few clean and presses sprinkled in - the only time in class where we get to use some momentum to help us.

Performed laying on the bench with the risers. Wide grip, with pinky fingers touching the weights. This is probably the most challenging set for me.

Bar loaded up with the heaviest amount of weight, because we're working the largest muscle groups (hamstrings, quads, glutes). Good form is imperative to protect the knees.

Curls with full range of motion (down to the thighs, up to the chest). This one kicks my, biceps, every time.

Crunches and more crunches. Up for three, down for one. Up for one, down for three. Up for two, down for two. Twist to work the obliques. Abs are always especially challenging for me.

One of my favorite sets, minus the push-ups in the beginning. Once those are over, it's side lifts one one knee with individual plates. Then we switch to upright rows with the bar, and finish up with standing side lifts.

Bar is loaded up and rested on the shoulders. One leg goes back. Lower straight down until each leg is at 90 degrees. Eventually, switch to the other side. Finish up with a few squats, which feel almost restful after all the lunges.

Triceps extension - laying on the bench, close grip on the light weighted barbell. Elbows above chest, bent at 90 degrees, then lower barbell down to near forehead. Tricep lifts involve pushing straight up above the rib cage, then back down. Finish up standing with a single plate, dipping it behind the head.

This class is great- it has become a regular part of Saturday morning for me. I have seen a difference in muscular strength and appearance.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Swim Bike Run - What?!

So, it looks like I'm going to train for and complete my first sprint triathlon this year.

I may be a little crazy, but I'm not alone-my three sisters and I are planning on doing it together. This sprint tri is comprised of a 0.5 mile open water swim, 12 mile hilly bike ride, followed by a (thankfully) flat 3 mile run.

The entire race will of course be a challenge, but especially the swimming portion for me. Swimming has historically been difficult for me.

Here's a true story that might demonstrate my lack of swimming ability. When I was 17-18 years old, I was signed up for a swimming league that met a couple of times a week. After a few months of this, the league competed in a swim meet, which was my first. The breast stroke is my least-awful stroke, so I completed in a 500m race.

When I finished the race and got out of the pool, everyone clapped. Not because I had won, but because I had finished a good few minutes behind every else. Pity clap! Hey, at least I'm persistent if nothing else.

So, while I may be a persistent swimmer, I'm not a particularly fast one.  That's okay though. I have some time to work on it, as well as biking and running, which will be my stronger components. I feel comfortable with training for a 3 mile running race - it's not likely to aggravate my injury nearly as much as running long distances has. 

I gave it some considerable thought, and I think that training for this sprint triathlon will not negatively affect my renewed recovery from eating disordered behavior. In fact, I think it may help in my recovery. Training for a competition helps to reinforce the role of food as fuel, and removes some of the emotional associations with it. If I eat well, I can train better. If I don't, my training and body will suffer. It often is as simple as that.

I will continue to watch myself though for slips or lapses, and will strive to continue to counter unhealthy thoughts with the truth instead of choosing to allow them to control my behavior.

This race is a very positive motivation for me. It would be amazing to share this experience with my sisters. Life is enhanced by experiences like these. I wasn't expecting it, but I'm happy to add "Finishing my first sprint triathlon" to my 2013 goals.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

2012 Reflection

2012 will go down in history as another year the world did not end. For me, it was a year of progress and beginnings.

Although I did not achieve all of the things I had wanted to at the start of the year, it was still a year of maintaining and starting good things. I want to reflect on some of those positive aspects of the year.

I kept asking questions until I figured out what was causing my hip pain. It took an MRI, but I finally learned that it was a partial gluteus medius tear. Recovery has been slow. I have gone from running 25+ miles per week to >10.  Because I have to use my butt muscles just in daily activities, I'm essentially "picking at the scab" and it will take some time to heal. But it will heal. There are things I can do to help it along, such as not injuring it further (hence the reduction in long distance running) and strengthening muscles around it (yoga, weight training).

I took a leap and got a job working for a company that I admire. After almost three years of working for my previous company, I was proficient at my job and there was even talk of a promotion to management. However, the culture at that particular company location did not reflect the core values that I have, and it was in an industry where I did not see a future. I began to actively pursue other job opportunities, and eventually was contacted by one of the companies that I have admired most. I seized the opportunity to work for them, and I am very glad that I did. It was a huge risk to leave a secure job to work as a long-term contractor for this company, but it wasn't reckless and was a good decision, both financially and professionally. I've had to learn a completely new set of skills, but have found a culture of excellence and continuous improvement that resonates with my personal values.  

I continued to maintain A Running Tally.  Although this blog/website was originally created to primarily chronicle my running progress, it adapted along with me and expanded to include wellness and continuous personal improvement. I began to honor my body and find my identity beyond being a runner, as described in this post.

I finished another year of coordinating the church nursery schedule. It was challenging at times, and sometimes I wanted to quit, but I stuck with it because I believe it is important to serve in some capacity. I've gotten to know some pretty neat kids this year.

Yoga has become part of my exercise routine. I tried my first class in March 2012, and have enjoyed it frequently since then.

I tried going to a chiropractor.  I only went twice, as I didn't really care for it and will likely not go again, but it was something different and I was willing to give it a shot. It was useful in that I learned from the x-rays that that I have an unusual neck condition that I should keep an eye on.

I tried a bunch of group fitness classes. Classes from Zumba to PiYo to Turbo Kick to Calorie Crusher . I have learned so much from them-especially proper form from the instructors. I expect group classes will continue to be part of my exercise program in 2013.

I helped to plan and host a weekend get-together with my mom and sisters. We had a blast and made some great memories.

I developed a deeper love for God. The more evil I see in the world, the more I desperately want the source of all good things. His comfort and love has been a constant presence in my life. The more I reflect, the more I see how He was with me throughout every part of my journey. I am but human and imperfect in my love, but I am learning from the One who loves me perfectly.

It was a good year. I hope to take the lessons I learned from this year and apply them toward 2013.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Very Belated New Year's Goals Post

This year, I started making my New Year's Goals early-December 22nd. However, it has taken until January 9th to finish them.

We all have limited resources. Our time is limited. Instead of spreading myself in multiple directions chasing many goals this year, I've chosen to focus on the few that will provide the most bang for my buck. Here they are.

A Goals: Highly important goals. If I only accomplished these, it would be a good year.

A1: Submit a draft of my book to a publisher.
I have been working off-and-on on my memoirs, and I would like to finish soon before too much time goes by. I have wanted to do this for a very long time, as I think I have an interesting story to tell.

A2: Draw closer to God.
Normally I prefer more specific goals, but this one is difficult to measure. However, there are things I can do that will nourish my spiritual life and bring me closer to Him. This will be a critical key to achieving goal A1, too.

B Goals: Goals that are important, but not imperative.

B1: Take GMAT exams.
I most likely won't be going to grad school this year, but I would like to have the option available to me next year. The scores are good for five years, and I think that I will most likely want to start working on a master's degree within that time frame.

B2: Keep doing yoga 
Maybe 1x a week at least?

B3: Maintain important relationships. 
As I get older the more I realize the importance of my "happy few" and how much they enrich my life.

B4: Be a reliable, responsible, and contributing team member at work.
I want people to be able to count on me to get things done well. I also want to be respected for my skill level, competence, and character.

C Goals: Goals that are not particularly critical, but would be neat things to do in 2013.

C1: Go hiking with my husband more. This is an activity we both really enjoy doing together, and is both good exercise and connection time with each other.

C2: Take a trip to my childhood homes in Maryland. May help with goal A1.

C3: Consider what kind of master's degree to pursue and research possible schools.

C4: Remember and acknowledge more birthdays. 

C5: Keep maintaining A Running Tally. I've really enjoyed creating and contributing to this site. 

It's going to be a good year. I'm not sure all that it will bring, but I think that I am ready and willing to take it on.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 Goals: Final Report Out

2012 has been a good year in my life. While I did not accomplish many of the goals I set out for myself (see original 2012 goals post), as I look at the year in review, I can say that some very positive things were accomplished. Some of the goals that I did not meet are ones that are no longer important to me, or could not be achieve due to events out of my control (like my muscle injury). Others are important, and I need to try to understand why I did not meet them, if I want to keep/modify them for 2013, and if so, what I can do to be mores successful at reaching them this year.

This is a both a yearly report-out and a reflection on 2012. I'm so grateful to have experienced this year of life, and I look forward to the next one.

2012 'A' goals:
  1. Run a sub-55 minute 10k. Not achieved due to a decision to reduce running to allow my body to heal from a repetitive stress injury. I am OK with not achieving this goal. It was more important to me to reduce my running to allow my body to recover.
  2. Run a sub 2 hour half marathon. Not achieved due to same reasons.
  3. Design, prototype, and test my running apparatus idea. Not achieved. I am not sure how I feel about not doing this, except that it doesn't seem as important to me right now. If I were to re-do this goal, I probably would make it a B or C level goal.
  4. Continue improving eating habits. Some progress, but not as much as I was capable of. It made me realize just how important my health is to me, and how critical it is to treat my body well. More on this in 2013 goals, but it is going to be a higher priority for me this year.
  5. Support my husband through the end of his 2nd year of law school, whatever summer work he ends up doing, and the beginning of his 3rd year of law school. Done, and I'm proud of all he's accomplished. He got a good government job for the summer that continues part-time until he graduates this May. I think he would agree that I have given him a good amount of support and understanding when it comes to school and work and his goals.
  6. Write at least 150 blog posts. Not done, but I am OK with it. My blog has changed some since I started it back in November of 2012, in part because of my running injury. I had originally intended for it to be a chronicling of my running training with other aspects of my life thrown in, but it has developed into more of a chronicling of continuous improvement which includes some running and a lot of other activities. The volume of posts is not a high priority for me anymore-I would rather take the time to write fewer, hopefully high-quality posts.I finished this year having written about 40 posts.
  7. Write at least 50 pages of memoir. 80% done. I was only 25 pages in before Christmas break, but used some of the time to crank out another 15 pages. I think this will be a bigger part of my 2013 goals.
  8. Between the two of us, save at minimum the equivalent of half of my 2011 salary. Done. A job change resulted in a significant pay increase which helped with this. Plus, we did not spend much money this year. Our biggest purchase was a new bed, which we got only after a few months of trying to put off buying it. Turns out that a good bed is a pretty nice thing to have.
  9. Draw closer to God. Pray for at least 5 minutes/day on average (have to start somewhere). I think that I have drawn closer to God this year. I recognize His presence and love in my life more.  As for praying, I did this off and on, but not with much consistency. Drawing close to my Maker should be the number #1 goal in my life, and some times it is. Those times need to be more frequent. There are two things that have helped me spiritually. One is being able to listen to encouraging and worshipful music while at work. I could not listen to music at my previous job, but started in July I have been able at my new job which requires more computer work. It's been very good for my soul. The other thing that has helped was that I began seeing a counselor toward the end of October 2012. Even after just 5 sessions, I can tell that it is helping me to become healthier and whole and has encouraged me in my faith. This is a very important lifelong goal, and one that I will be continuing in 2013.
2012 'B' goals:
  1. Take week-long finance course at work. Not done, but OK with it. I tried to get into a course, but it had filled up already. I was registered for the next course, but I left that job before I could take it. OK with not meeting goal.
  2. Execute another Six Sigma project at work. In progress. My current job is less manufacturing oriented, but I've found some areas where I can apply six sigma techniques.
  3. Learn more about mold design and manufacturing. Done, although in July I switched gears completely to work with metal stamping, which I definitely prefer to rubber molding. It was a good career move, and I'm very glad I switched industries.
  4. Finish painting our living room ceiling: Done!
  5. Explore where we want to live after Shane graduates. Done. We have narrowed the list to the following in order of preference:  Greater Lexington region, Knoxville, Winston-Salem, Raleigh-Durham, Charlotte, and Cincinnati.
  6. Tighten ties with family and good friends. I think several key relationships have gotten closer (my husband, parents, brother, older sisters, and some of my nieces and nephews). I've focused my time and energy on these important relationships, and it has been are very much worth the investment. It's definitely been worth it.
2012 'C' goals:
  1. Grow a small vegetable garden on my patio. Done, and enjoyed a rather bountiful harvest of low-maintenance cherry tomatoes. I don't think I'll do it again this year, but it was fun.
  2. Try running with a running group. Just once. Nope, but OK with it.
  3. Try a yoga class. Done! And Turbo Kick, and PiYo Strength, and Calorie Crusher, and Urban Iron, and Total Body Conditioning, and Zumba! 2012 has been the year of the group fitness class as I experiment with workouts other than running. It has been a blast, and I've really enjoyed adding new activities to my workout repertoire. I have benefited greatly from yoga, and plan on doing more of it in 2013. 
  4. Cook more and experiment with new recipes. Done. I think I will probably be doing not as much of this in 2013, though. I enjoy cooking, but there are other goals that I would rather spend the time on at this time.
Overall, I feel a sense of accomplishment with 2012. There were some goals I could have made more progress with, and I recognize that. I hope to take the lessons learned from not accomplishing as much as I could have with some of the goals and apply them to 2013.

One of the things I have learned is that quality over quantity is important. Some of the A goals didn't need to be that high of a priority, and I think that fewer goals overall would have been a good idea. Therefore, I will have fewer A goals in 2013, and that category will be reserved for the ones that are of extreme importance to me. I might consider C goals to not even be goals at all, but rather things that might be neat to do, but not necessary at all.

Life has a way of throwing unexpected stuff at us too. Dealing with the running injury and the job change required me to adapt and change how I looked at some of my goals, and even whether or not I pursued them.

It was a good year. By God's grace, I hope 2013 will be even better.