Throw out, make a list and run less. 2018, here we come.

I don’t usually set New Year’s resolutions. I admit to starting off January knowing I’d take the rest of the year to lose all the extra weight put on from all the festivities during the holiday. KK and I typically map out the road races we’d like to run in the year and also book our holidays around these dates.

But in terms of actual goal setting, all I have in my head is a list of really bad experiences that I don’t want to repeat going into the new year.

I did make a few minor behavioral changes which I’m hoping make a difference.

Here’s five things I’ve changed going into 2018:

  1. Ditching the plastic

The new Woolies grocery bags. We just need to remember to take them with us shopping.

During our weekly grocery shopping, we collect around x10 plastic bags to carry our groceries. We use the excuse that “we use the bags for dustbin bags during the week.” But we don’t need to, so we swopped the bags for Woolies enviro-friendly bags. I must tell you, they’re huge and carry quite a lot of goods.

  1. Americano vs. Cappuccino

Confession: this pic was taken in December while we were in Cape Town. It’s a cappuccino. LOL

I know that diets don’t last but if I make small changes to my eating, then that alone should help. Those Vide ‘e cappuccinos are just mucho grande cups of frothy milk and when I’m having two or three a day, it adds up (around the belly). Americano is purely black coffee and while I know the best solution would’ve been to swop for water, one or two coffees with less milk won’t hurt. Baby steps.

  1. Getting organized

Labelling all our cupboards & drawers makes it a lot easier to pack items away too.

My sister stayed over in December and exposed just how disorganized we really were! She helped me re-pack my cupboards, throwing out old clothes, linen, pots and food. Oh gosh, my medicine cupboard was a mess! The trick is to keep it clean and organized.

  1. Making a list

I make to-do lists all the time at work. But I’ve never made a shopping list before. KK and I head over to Woolies and buy the things we think we need. It’s only by sorting out my cupboards with my sister that I realized that we had loads of food that was going old or duplicates of items that we were not using. Let’s not even talk about my freezer! Just by making a list, I’m buying less now too & saving money.

  1. Run less but more

I’m loving my new Garmin fenix 5S. With such a great strap, I’ve been wearing it to work. Hitting my 10 000 step goal is tough!

KK and I are both coming out of 2017 with injuries. KK missed Kaapsehoop, he pulled out of Otter, did not enter Two Oceans. With my pulmonary embolism recovery and sprained ankle treatment, my running has been slow & reserved. It hasn’t entirely stopped us. KK has been walking a lot and I’ve been enjoying the shorter runs. We’ve become Parkrun fans! But there have been discussions about whether or not 2018 is a rest year for us both and a refocus on strength training. (The verdict is still in the air at this point. Notice that KK still entered Comrades & Otter 2018).

I’m unsure how I feel about 2018. I’m cautious. Overall, I’d like to have a better control over my life and I suspect the only way I can gain this is by focusing on the small things.

The small things, the small differences which eventually are the big changes. I can only try, right?

Goals. I found a recipe for success! 

I had a rough idea in my head of my 2017 goals. Some random things like make time to read and more time to blog, walk the dogs, spend more weekends over at my Mom, visit my Dad more regularly, stress less at work, lose weight (yeah, who doesn’t list this!). But it was only when seeing KK’s running calendar and knowing the finishing times for the races he plans to run this year that I realized that as much as I’d like to think I’ve set goals, unless I follow up with a proper action plan, I’ll never succeed.

running goals, race dates

Firstly, he has a 2017 calendar with all the race dates written in which is lying in our study. Most of the races have already been entered and paid for too. After discussing race goals, his Coach sent him an entire training program via Google calendar up until Comrades. It lists his daily running schedule and distances. And boy does KK take it seriously! Every time I look, he’s analyzing Strava and comparing his runs. (LOL, like most of us runners! Obsession much!)

In the last few weeks, we’ve had quite a bit of rain which didn’t stop him from running. Pffft! Unlike me. I’ll confess that sometimes I secretly appreciate that I can sleep late on a weekend listening to the rain fall. 

Drenched! But smiling!

KK is dedicated to his running goals. He is consistent, motivated and disciplined. But more importantly, he has a vision. He knows the races and times he wants to run this year and knows exactly what he needs to do to achieve this. He has a plan and he works at it. That’s the perfect recipe for successful goals right there.

The races I’ve entered so far are as follows. Let me know if I’ll see you there?

  • Dischem 5km
  • Johnson Crane 10km
  • Vaal 10km
  • Pick ‘n Pay half marathon
  • Two Oceans half marathon
  • Drakensburg Run-The-Berg
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Deer in the headlights moment!

Now all I need to do is put my plan in place as to how I manage to make time to read and more time to blog, walk the dogs, spend more weekends over at my Mom, visit my Dad more regularly, stress less at work, lose weight, all in between training for these races.

Easy peazy, right? YIKES!

Losing focus in order to refocus

On the eve of the Sarens half marathon, I lay wide awake in bed knowing something was gnawing at me inside with regards to my running but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I was unsure if I was over-training, if I was mentally or physically drained but something wasn’t right. After an hour of over – analysis, it suddenly dawned on me what was wrong. Here’s what I realised:

  • I keep comparing myself to other runners I follow on social media instead of focussing on my own running journey. In my mind, everyone seems to be running faster times and improving a hell of a lot quicker than me. (Really?)
  • I’ve constantly been improving my PB, yet after 7 months with Coach Dave, I am still slower than some of the familiar faces I see at the races. I can’t keep up with runners that I used to. Why not? This bugs me.
  • I am trying to keep up with my Running Junkie Two friends and frustrated that I can’t.
  • Once again, I am caught up in that mad whirlwind they call “Two Oceans” and desperately wanting to run a good time down in Cape Town in a race I really hate.

You see, it isn’t just one thing. It is a few things that added up to one major issue: I have lost sight of my goals. I have started to look around at everything else except at my own running journey and the progress I have made since August last year.

But it’s even more than that. Lying in bed at 00h35, I knew that I wanted to run Sarens faster than 2:46 but I had no race plan. No strategy. I didn’t even know what my average pace should be. How crazy that after so many months of running, I had not worked this out in my head!

Surely no runner should go into any race so unprepared. Surely it’s the same with life? With no plan, no vision, do we really know how to reach our goals and how to measure success? set goals

I need to go back to the drawing board. I need to reset some of my goals because the goal posts have shifted. And they should shift as I improve, right?

Sarens was a great race, by the way. I ran it in 2:44.