Category Archives: Goals

A Refreshing Approach to Goal Setting

Last week I wrote about trying to be present and find peace all while still setting goals. It seemed to resonate with a bunch of you and I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who things about these things.

Reader Kelley left a comment directing me over to Marie Forleo’s newest video interviewing Danielle LaPorte on this EXACT subject. What an awesome coincidence! 😉 I really loved everything she had to say but I was especially drawn in at first when she described the kind of disconnect that I’ve definitely felt this year while working through my goals.

I know it’s a bit of a commitment, running a little over 20 minutes, but I think there is so much great advice here. Check it out when you have a little time to spare and the desire to be inspired:


Of course after I watched it I ordered The Desire Map instantly. When I get through it I’ll be sure to give it a full review. Thanks, as always, for your encouraging comments and emails the other day.

Onward and upward with this 2014 business!

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Dress Rehearsing Your Goals

It’s the holidays and we should all stay present and enjoy the season! But can I confess something to you? I am already excitedly thinking about goals for 2014! (Ok, ok — I bet this comes as a shock to absolutely no one.)

Buddy Goals

I just LOVE goals and experiments and (most importantly) KEEPING TRACK because it just tickles my brain. Goals and I go together like Buddy the Elf and Smiling — it’s a Can’t Stop/Won’t Stop situation. Whether I achieve the goal I set out to or completely fail in the process I just love seeing my intentions and efforts turn into real change over time while learning new things.

We are right about to embark upon that time of year where people like to publicly complain about how resolutions are stupid. No one ever keeps them! We are just setting ourselves up for failure! THE HORROR!  But I firmly believe (as I’ve said a million times around here) Failure Is Awesome! And while I am clearly and firmly in the Pro-Resolution Camp, I understand that everyone isn’t as dorked about setting goals as I am.

But if you are contemplating setting some new goals for yourself next year, or if you are just starting to tinker with the idea of trying something new, I wanted to share with you one of my favorite things to do during December that help me set me on a path of success come January.

Enter: The Dress Rehearsal.

To me, the month of December is FULL, and I generally don’t try to commit to new routines or make sweeping changes. Tis the season to celebrate maintenance as if it were serious progress, right?  But that is absolutely the beauty of trying new things in December — you can try something, perhaps fail at something, and then when you get to January you’re like “Doing this new thing without all that holiday complication? Man, that feels like a piece of cake!”

Mind tricks. I like them, you see.  🙂

Here’s what I’m trying new in December:


Have you heard of 43 Folders?

It’s an organization/reminder system based on David Allen’s awesome productivity book Getting Things Done. I read it back in July and thought there were a lot of good ideas in it, but wasn’t really in an implementing mood, you know?  But I’ve been thinking about it a lot because over the last few months  Garrett and I have drilled down that a good amount of our life stress comes from this feeling of not using time effectively. When we have it we’re not using it, and then we have to scramble at the last minute to get things done when we DON’T have time. UGH. Something needs to change for sure.

So we decided to dress rehearse a new solution this month. Best case scenario, we love it and the holidays run even smoother. Worst case scenario, we do it for a week, get too busy, forget all about it and then we try again in January learning from our mistakes. Anyway, here’s a quick overview of what it entails:

43 Folders Overview

It’s a really simple file folder based system (you have one for each of the 31 days of a month, plus one for each of the 12 months of the year) and the idea is  you can place physical ephemera you will need on a specific day (Invitation to a Baby Shower on Saturday December 13), reminders of things you want do on a specific date (On December 6, Buy Baby Shower Gift), or pending things you want to review later (I printed out the baby shower registry the day I got the invitation, then put it in the December 6th File Folder.) Each day in the morning (maybe with your coffee!)  you open the folder with the current date. Use what you need, prioritize your to do list accordingly, push back things to another folder if they aren’t urgetnand then put your folder in the back and bringing tomorrow’s folder to the front. At the end of each month, you open the folder for the new month and deal with its contents—like putting items in the correct day folders. Make sense?  If not, this is a helpful video overview.


So — that’s what we are dress rehearsing that in December. We’ll might screw up, but who doesn’t screw things up during the holidays, right? 😉  We’ll get an idea of what we like, what we don’t, what will work better, etc — and then come January, we’ll go at it LIKE WE MEAN IT. I love a good dress rehearsal to work out the kinks. Have you started thinking about your goals for 2014? Are you dress rehearsing any new habits right now or just cheering yourself on for maintaining?

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A Nice Reminder

So hey, remember that Partner Competition at our gym that I was bitching about on Friday? The one that Garrett signed us up for?

Dude, you guys, WE WON OUR DIVISION. I mean, what? Who the hell was judging and how did THAT happen?


We competed in the scaled division (I STILL CAN’T DO PULL UPS AND GOD DAMN IT, IT HOLDS ME BACK EVERY TIME) but we had fun working together as a team, coming up with a strategy that embraced our strengths, supporting one another, and I really can’t believe we ended up winning. I was secretly hoping that we would come in 3rd, because all the teams had to compete in 3 workouts, but only the top 2 teams in Rx and Scaled competed in one final head to head workout for all the marbles. So, you know, call me lazy but a 3rd place would have suited me juuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuust just fine! 🙂


The energy at the gym was super fun, as usual, and it was great to see so many people I like putting it all out there. I don’t have any desire to be a real competitor, but it’s definitely nice to do stuff like this in a safe environment every once in a while because you really do push yourself a little harder. Both Garrett and I PR’d our squat clean 1 Rep Maxes, and I really think we just didn’t want to let each other down, so we just did the best we could.
Just sayin.

I’ve been pretty down on myself, fitness-wise, as of late because I haven’t been working out as often as I’d like, or by the time I get to the gym at the end of a long work day I’m zonked. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs over the last 3 years and these days my performance hasn’t been particularly newsworthy. But this weekend reminded me of how good it feels to have fitness goals and how fun it is when you reach them. I don’t know what that means for the rest of the summer, but I feel like both Garrett were reminded again this weekend about why we like our gym so much. And the fact that we all got to hang out and celebrate at the annual anniverary party BBQ afterward was just icing on the cake!


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2013 Summer Bucket List

summer  bucket list copy

I like how summer just snuck right in this weekend. I was contemplating not making a bucket list this year because work is still taking up a ridiculous amount of time and brain space, but I just can’t. do. it. I had to make one!

This year’s bucket list is decidedly short and mostly superficial but I think that is just what I need. Work is taking up a lot of time, so I want to make sure my time outside of work is full of silly, superficial pleasures. To me, that will make this summer a success!

1. Get tan. Stay tan.

Oooh, I am already working on this in the best way and I can’t wait to tell you all about it. Sometimes I don’t mind being super pale. Sometimes I like a little color on my skin. This summer — will be the SUMMER OF COLOR!

2. Prioritize manicures + pedicures.

Iowa realization: it brings me great pleasure to look at my fingernails and have them look nice. It’s really not that difficult and I like it a lot. GET IT DONE.

3. Get at least 2 more massages.

Secondary Iowa realization: getting a massage after a crazy week of workouts feels amazing, and I’m worth it.

4. Learn the words to some really awful cheesy pop songs. Sing them incessantly while driving.

When the sun’s blazing and the air conditioner is blowing — the only thing that makes running errands fun is belting out a little Justin Timberlake. Or Daft Punk. Or Selena Gomez. Or Taylor Swift. Sorry, it’s a fact. 🙂

5. Smell like summer ALL THE DAMN TIME.

My shower is stocked with coconut conditioner. My lotion smells like the beach. My skin is tan, my house is clean and smells like a sea breeze. Summer – 24:7.

6. Find a maxi dress you love FOR REAL this summer.

This is like searching for Bigfoot. But dammit, I am COMING FOR YOU!

7. Eat on the patio at least once per week.

Icy beverage, paper plates, the smell of BBQ in the air? YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS.

8. Don’t be too sad about the garden.

I didn’t plant a summer garden this year and really, it’s depressing the crap out of me. But I need to snap out of it and start to plan fall. YOU ARE STILL ALLOWED TO ENJOY ZUCCHINI AND TOMATOES, HOLLY. EVEN IF YOU DIDN’T GROWN THEM YOURSELF.

9. Workout a few mornings per week.

Afternoon workouts are harder these days for two reasons: 1) it’s a million degrees out and 2) I have a lot less mental tenacity after work these days. I want to squeeze in some AM Sweat Sessions.

10. Drink a lot of iced coffee. (Ok, not too much. But, still.)

Iced Coffee is THE BOMB. But I’m usually too lazy to prepare a batch. This summer, I will rectify that.


What’s on YOUR summer bucket list?

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2013 Goals

Holly Would If She Could - 2013 Goals

I wasn’t sure whether or not I would set any goals this year. Can you believe those words even came out of my mouth? The thing is, I want 2013 to be the year that I am PRESENT and goal setting, while super duper awesome can be the gateway drug to living in the future (for me!)

But the other big thing that goal setting gives me is a compass. It is a list of things that guide my way, and I reminded myself that they do not need to be set in stone. They can evolve. They can get bigger. They can get smaller. And I can base all of that on what I’m doing and how I’m living IN THE PRESENT.

So I did end up making an awesome list, and it’s just some things I’ve got kicking around in my head RIGHT NOW in the areas I want to focus on: Fitness, Fun, Relationships, My Jobs, and this Blog. I reserve the right to update it when and if the time seems right.

Fitness Goals

*Train for and run The Relay Did I really sign up for this. Yes, yes I did. Oh lordy!
*Run another half marathon And beat my old time, obviously.
*Continue CrossFit 4-5 per week Can’t live without it. This is year three. I can’t even believe that.
*Do a pull up. By yourself. Without a band. One of these days I’ll get there.
*Map out a plan to improve your lifting technique Buy a book, take a class, play around at open gym more…WHO KNOWS?
*If you have time, incorporate some yoga for mobility

Fun + Relationships

*Get married And do it without Pinterest Pressure
*Keep up with The Great Skincare Experiment and transition to 100% Natural Skincare
*Get professional photos taken with Garrett again
*Plan a weekend away with girlfriends
*Read 50 books
*Do another year of Project Life It’s so damn easy.
*Write one hand written note per month Birthday cards, Thank You Notes, Letters to Say Hello. Just do it.
*See a city with Garrett that is new to both of us!
*Document your outfits more in an effort to dress better at work
*Stop bringing/prepping so much food at parties Garrett suggested this one. Ha! So it’s on the list.
*Take a Butchering class
*Update home decor If you feel like it and have time

Professional + Blogging Goals

*Do more public speaking I really love doing this. Do you hear me, Universe?
*Write a cookbook I am proud of Garrett + I are having fun doing this right now. But how big of a priority this will be for 2013 remains to be seen.
*Post 52 new recipes to the blog I posted 21 new recipes last year, so this year I need to step up my game! 🙂
*Redesign website I’m all ears for suggestions on this. Do you know someone who does stellar work? Talk to me.
*Start a sponsorship/advertising program that builds community The business of blogging is a touchy subject. I want to figure out a way to have ads on this blog that are HELPFUL, not just profitable. Like what if it was awesome information people actually wanted. This challenge appeals to the connector in me.
*Meet more blog readers/bloggers I met A LOT of fellow bloggers this year and man, that is so FUN to share a totally awesome hobby. More, please.
*Be a better blog commenter Every single comment I receive on this blog literally makes my day. So I want to remember that when I’m reading something and think to myself “Oh, what I have to say doesn’t matter. I don’t need to comment.”


And the thing I want to keep in mind all year long:

Its ok to be happy with a calm life

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2012 Goals – How’d I Do?


This picture makes me laugh EVERY TIME I look at it, it is so ridiculous!

So. I made a lot of goals this year, just as I do every year. Some were stretch goals, some were easy goals, some I wrote down once and never even thought of again (ahem, my entire home improvement category!)

No matter whether I nailed them, or never even came close, I had so much fun reaching for the stars this year, and that’s why I will definitely be sharing my 2013 Goals this week. I think it’s fun to write down what you want. I think it’s fun to watch how those intentions change. I think it’s fun to see so many things checked off after a year of hard work.

For those of you who are interested, here is how my 2012 goals shook out. If I crossed them off, they got completed. If they are in italics, there may have been some progress. If I left them alone, they were probably a fail.


Plan a wedding/stay sane/pay cash
Get Married
Get Knocked Up 🙂
(These 3 will stay on the list, have no fear!)
Um…learn about being pregnant and all that… I did A LOT of research this year
Continue to keep a Hostess Journal
Write more Thank You Notes
Give more gifts
Be more curious, be less judgmental
Move closer towards your professional goals CHECK PLUS

Verdict: We consciously put a few of those personal goals on hold so I could pursue some of my professional goals and this year I had the kind of professional year (in my day job, and otherwise) that I couldn’t even have dreamed of when I made that list last year. I want to focus more on those family/nesting type goals in 2013 because 2012 was THE YEAR OF MY JOBS. And man could I just kiss Garrett on the mouth for all of his support in those endeavors.


Plan one fun outing per month (day trip/weekender/date night)
Have dinner with friends once per month (This was an epic FAIL)

Verdict: This was a tough relationship year and you know what, we TOTALLY got through it even more committed than ever. I’m proud of that. Now, we need to work on nurturing some of our other relationships too.



New Mexico – to visit Garrett’s parents (I’m checking this off bc Garrett got to go)
New Orleans – for The Blathering
Los Angeles – potentially if I do the AIDS Ride with my aunt
Sonoma Weekend – Jim and Gina’s wedding
The Midwest – because it’s been a while
Portland Oregon – potentially for the SCAA Annual Expo
Austin Texas – If Formula One can get their shit together
Maui – because the condo is free, even if plane tickets are not

Verdict: We did okay. This was a Dream List afterall.
Glarifees all around! #sonoma #drinkup


Cultivate a wardrobe that makes me happy Check! Too bad I have just about grown out of it after all those Christmas cookies. 🙂
Find a skincare routine that suits my stubborn face I made lots of progress
Buy a pair of investment jeans
Continue keeping an outfit list – sounds lame, SUPER HELPFUL I love doing this. I’m a nerd
Continue curating a visual style journal on Pinterest
Continue keeping a clothing wishlist in your purse to avoid unnecessary purchases

Verdict: I had fun this year with style. I didn’t take it too seriously, but I did make an effort at it. It’s fun. It makes me feel good. I’m going to continue it.


Come up with better banking systems Definitely better. Not “Best” just yet.
Add to Savings
Pay for wedding in cash Nope, but I did enough professional hustling that when the time comes, WE WILL. YES.

Verdict: 2012 was very good to me financially and for that I am so grateful.

Home Improvement

Paint Kitchen Cabinets
Replace Kitchen Counter
Add Tile Backsplash
Remove kitchen wallpaper
Hang Art in kitchen
Redo Office
Paint Master Bath
Redo Master Bedroom
Deal with Front Courtyard
Buy Patio Furniture
Install Alarm
Buy a shed
Plan and execute Spring/Summer/Fall gardens

Verdict: I’m not even putting Home Improvement goals on my list next year. If they get done, they will just be icing on the cake.


Unassisted pullup This one is rolling over.
Non girl pushups in WODs
Track WODs better
Hit Goal Weight BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAH I got over that idea this year.
Toes to Bar
Run mile in under 10 minutes, regularly I did it once, so I’m checking that off.
5K in 30 minutes or less

Verdict: I think for about 3/4 of the year my fitness was on point. After the half marathon I was just kind of like “Yeah, I’ll do that later.” I don’t like my life without regular fitness goals in it, so 2013 will surely have some of those!

100 kb snatches (each arm) + 100 burpees + 100 degree weather = HOT MESS!


Continue posting weekly meal plans
I did it until it got boring. Then I stopped.
Cook with more greens
Cook with more game FAIL
Get regular about fish oil supplementation FCLO is where it’s at!
Find Garrett better PWO options

Verdict: Similar to fitness, 3/4 of the year ruled. I am firmly entrenched in this Paleo lifestyle so much so that it is just second nature. I’m having fun fine tuning exactly how I need to tweak it to work for me and my life/performance goals.
Taco Salad using a new vinaigrette


Complete Project Life Album
Complete Personal Albums for me and G
Vacation Minibooks
Week in the Life Album

Verdict: I enjoyed it so much this year that I will do Project Life again next year, but beyond that I document enough here. No need to add extra pressure.


Post 52 recipes
Redesign site so it is more useful
Stick to editorial calendar more regularly
Write a Free Paleo E Book so you don’t have to keep sending the same email over and over again when friends ask 🙂
Share your inspiration with others


Read 50 books – I read 40. We’re all good.
Write 26 individual book reviews
Continue with Monthly reading recaps
Include Garrett’s book reviews on the blog – he wrote one. And then he was like “Uh, blogging is hard.” 🙂
Participate in BlogHer Book Club
Succeed with The Bookshelf Project I made progress. So it’s all good.

Verdict: Books! I love you. I will continue to read you! And talk about you here because I am nerdy.


I’m ready to close this chapter, so I’m off to put on my sweat pants and fire up my netflix to ring in the New Year!

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November Progress + December Intentions

Wow…so this is probably the last progress report of the year. That’s weird to think about. I guess I should also start thinking about what next year’s goal setting/tracking will look like. These updates worked somewhat well this year — the idea was to stop allowing “achieved vs un-achieved” be the only barometer of success and celebrate PROGRESS — but I think the first half of the year was slightly more successful. There is going to be lots of thinking done on that front — what do I want next year to look like, what do I want to focus on — but honestly I just don’t think I’m in the right head space to start planning that just yet.

Maybe in a week or two.

November was a rough month, you guys. 50% success as far as intentions go: We had some fun meals with my family and Garrett’s mom’s visit was definitely a success in that it happened and we all made the best of it. But obviously with Garrett’s grandma dying and all of that it was a much different visit than I think any of us thought it would be. But I think that was even more powerful, actually. I can’t tell you how many times Garrett and I said to each other during that week, “Can you believe a week ago we were concerned with dust bunnies and meal planning and now…NOW all of that sees SO IRRELEVANT.”

Time is weird that way. I mean, I am a planner. There is no way I will ever NOT be someone who makes lists and sets goals and makes plans. (More on that later this week in my monthly book update. During November I read this book which was so interesting!) But the time is going to go by whether we make plans or not. Most of the time I find that sentiment super motivating — time is going to go by anyway, might as well get stuff done. But something about this November has just made me realize that I spend a lot of time planning for the future and that definitely does make it challenging to live in the present.

I posted this picture on instagram last week and I have literally been thinking about it daily since I originally saw it.
I've been thinking about this SO MUCH lately.

I do a lot of thinking about the future and it helps me in a lot of important ways. But one of the consequences of that is that it also creates a very particular anxiety in me that has just sort of weaved its way into my lifestyle. And I think I want to work on that. So with that,

December Intentions

I’m just going to aim for some peace.

I would like to try and finish this year being focused on the present. Sure there are lots of things I want to accomplish, and I don’t plan on sitting on the couch for 31 days doing nothing, thinking about nothing, and going where the wind takes me. But I just need to be in the moment a little bit.

What that looks like? I have no idea, but I’m willing to throw my plans out the window and find out.

I’m hoping that this will help me narrow my focus for 2013 and give me a little bit of clarity. I have done A LOT of thinking about how I thought 2012 would look and how it actually looked and definitely have some things to say about that soon, but I want to make sure I close out what has been an awesomely successful and challenging year in a peaceful place, so that I can start a fresh page next year.

How are you doing with living in the present? Did you have a phenomenal 2012? Are you planning for 2013 yet? What’s on your plate?

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Coffee Talk


Despite wholeheartedly agreeing with this post on Robb Wolf’s site this morning — which in some ways says, HEY! Make sure the act of goal setting helps you actually focus on what’s important, rather than focusing on the idea of achieving the goal (which HELLO can cause stress) — I am still doing some day-dreaming about what I want to accomplish in 2013.

It’s a sickness I have (you’re all well aware of this if you have been around here any length of time) and while I definitely sometimes struggle with focusing on achievement and bottom line instead of what’s actually important, there is a part of me that really loves the big picture planning part of setting some annual intentions.

(Worth noting: I am not actually setting any goals or making lists or being a complete loon about it…I’m just marinating, which I actually kind of love to do.)

The point of bringing all of this up though is that I thought some of you might be marinating too. Maybe you don’t even realize it, between the holiday hullabaloo and everyday life and normal commitments, but maybe just maybe, you have some goals or thoughts or wishes or dreams sitting in the back of your head that you would like see happen in 2013 too. In the spirit of friends helping friends, I thought I’d suggest some virtual coffee talk.

(mmmm…coffee. I’m not doing SUPER well on the coffee moderation by the way, but that’s probably a whole other post. ha!)

Anyway, while I would not call myself an expert on much — being stubborn, bossy and consistently talking at a volume that is inappropriate come to mind instantly — I do have lots of thoughts in my head, and a complete lack of shame at sharing my own opinions.

(Who even invited her? All she does is talk!)

So I thought I would offer this up for those of you who are interested: Between now and the end of the year, if you have a question, concern or situation that you would like me to weigh in on (Maybe something that will help you plan or crush some of your 2013 goals, maybe something you are just curious about, maybe a topic I have written about here but that you would like a follow up on or more details) let me know. You can either leave it in the comments, or if it is more personal and long winded, feel free to shoot me an email {{ hawoodcock at gmail dot com }} I will try and have my responses show up in a blog post near you, and hey if we have enough questions maybe we will make it a regular feature. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, because what if nobody has any questions. THAT WOULD BE EMBARRASSING. HEH.

In case you would like a place to start, here are some of the things that I feel pretty confident giving endless opinons about:

*Strategies for Going Paleo
*Talking About CrossFit
*Harnessing Motivation
*Time Management
*Getting Creative Goals Off The Ground
*Setting Goals in General
*Losing Weight

But as I mentioned above, feel free to hit me up about anything. Consider me your own personal Internet Dear Abby. I’m always interested in what readers want to hear more about and I’m definitely game to share my thoughts if you think they would help you out in a particular instance.

So talk to me folks. What is on your mind. Let’s have a cup of coffee and chat, shall we?

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October Progress + November Intentions

November is here, fall is ramping up, the weather is amazing and life is good. October was a great month, despite the fact that I ate my weight in Halloween candy more than once, and I’m looking forward to finishing up the year feeling relaxed but accomplished. I think my goals are reflecting that.

I had 4 main intentions for October

*Successfully go without caffeine for 30 days

Well, I did it, but I’m not sure I would call going without caffeine a success. It sure was informative though. If you missed it, here were my thoughts on that. Sadly this past Saturday morning I woke up and had 2 whole cups of coffee throughout the morning and I was literally SO AMPED I was uncomfortable. My tolerance level was definitely affected, which in the end is a good thing I guess. Starting tomorrow we are brewing half decaf at home!

*Run a half marathon

Hooray, I totally did that!

And as I’ve already said, it’s kind of lit a little bit of a fire in me. I’m trying to keep the heat from that fire under control for the rest of the year because I don’t want to go and put a bunch of running events on my calendar and then feel overwhelmed, BUT — I’m totally enjoying working on my running on my CrossFit rest days. I even fooled around and tried some Yasso 800s this morning just for giggles. I totally didn’t do 10 and for the record I have ZERO desire to run a marathon but it was good times!

*Start Outlining Cookbook

Done and Done.

This week I’m going to tell you more about my cookbook plans and I’m kind of excited to share them. We’ve been doing lots of brainstorming in our house around it, and you know how it is when you are thinking about something ALL OF THE TIME but not really talking about it? It feels weird. So we will remedy that this week as I plan to share exactly how we are approaching it. It’s going to be a ton of fun, and I’m totally planning to involve you all.

*Keep Socializing to a Minimum

Ah yes, Be Anti-Social. I was pretty good at this actually. Lots of lounging and relaxing with the pup this month and I don’t regret that one bit.

(Garrett is doing his Burt Reynolds impersonation in this picture I think.)

We have definitely still had plans, and my mom came out for a weekend but mostly all our socializing has been of the mellow variety, and it was much needed!

October was great, so let’s build on that for November!

November Intentions

Have a family dinner with my mom’s side of the family – We’re hanging out with Garrett’s family on Thanksgiving so I want to get my mom’s side of the family together beforehand (since traditionally that’s who we have Thanksgiving with.) A fun potluck, a yummy menu – should be a good time. Thumbs up for family dinners.

Spend A Week With Garrett’s Mom – Guess who will be in town the week of Thanksgiving? Garrett’s mama! I want to make sure I do lots of planning ahead for her arrival so while she is in town the 3 of us can spend some quality time together. I have the entire week off, so I want to make sure we have some good meals and good times.

Get my Christmas Cards In Order – This sounds so easy, but I basically fail at it every year. So I’m going to put it on the list this month, and since it’s short I expect to get to it, dang it!

Workout Like A Maniac
– The holidays are a time when stress is at an all time high and my food rules tend to get…oh, how shall we say? A bit lax. So I want to make sure for my sanity and for my physical health that I am putting in the time at the box. I may not be a picture of clean living, but I will definitely commit to giving 100% to my exercise routine this month.

And that’ll just about do it. See ya at the finish line.

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Lake Natoma Four Bridges Half Marathon Recap

Hey-O! Guess who has four thumbs and didn’t die this weekend?

Finishers! (With free bananas. Because we are always about the food.)

These girls!

We may have precariously placed bananas, but WE ARE NOT DEAD. WOOT!
I wanted to tell you all about it yesterday, but my schedule was very full with laying on the couch, taking bubble baths and napping. I’m sure you understand.

Race Day

So Sunday morning started very early and with a very large helping of Pepto Bismol. We don’t even usually keep things like Pepto Bismol on hand, but I had a brilliant moment of clarity that morning and remembered that my mom had given Garrett a gag-gift basket for his 30th birthday full of “Old People Things” like Preparation H and other sundry items. Included: GENERIC PINK BISMUTH. Score. I’m pretty sure it was from The Dollar Store and probably expired. But whatever! I pounded that nastiness like Lindsay Lohan shoots Patron. It was amazing. Nerves, man.

We headed out to the course, stopping for coconut water and coffee (Yep, I had me some half-decaf on race day. I NEEDED IT DAMNIT!) parked the car, donned our bibs and then lined up behind about 1000 other people for the porta potties where we may have had the same conversation over and over right up until the race started.
Shit's gettin' real. (Cc: @homesweetsarah )

It went something like this:



And so on and so forth.


Most of the people around us seemed pretty calm and stretchy in their spandex though. There were even lots of people in costume — like these jail birds and their warden, who apparently were going to run the entire race chained together like it was no big deal.

I didn’t want to be chained to anyone, I was just ready to get this freaking race started because I needed a place to channel all that nervous energy.

And then all of a sudden we were off!

The Course

The course started off so great! We traipsed through the darling streets of downtown Folsom, towards Lake Natoma and down a bunch of small hills. I think at mile 2 I even shouted out “Downhill Forever!” I smartened up though and realized that for every hill I was going down, there would be one I’d have to truck right back up. This will at least give you an idea of the ups and downs of the course.

Man, there were so many! It really kept things interesting while running but since Sarah and I did not run any hills at all while we trained it definitely felt a little different. Around mile 5 I began to get a little nervous because my legs were feeling a little more fatigued than usual with all the ups and downs (DUH) and I still had more than half the race to go. Also, because there were so many downhills I was still running faster than my planned pace.


Hmmm…pacing, let’s talk about that for a minute. So obviously I only had loose pacing goals since my main goal was just to finish. I was hoping to average a 13:30 minute per mile pace throughout the entire race, which would yield a 3 hour finish time. Yes, I know there are Kenyans who run marathons faster than that, but WHATEVER.

I knew my limits and despite that fact that I am comfortably running miles between 10 and 11 minutes right now, 13 miles in a row is a whole different story. And I hadn’t done ANY sort of training beforehand regarding pace so I just picked 13 as my arbitrary number and went with it. At mile 5 I was averaging just about 12 minutes per mile, which was sort of worrisome, but with all of those down hills it wasn’t that surprising. But my little leggies were starting to feel tired. Wait, my leggies aren’t little. Anyway, at that point I just wanted to keep going.

The First Real Killer

Right before Mile 7 though came the first killer hill. It looks so tiny on the elevation map but OHMYGOD I just about died when I saw it (for locals, it is that stretch of Hazel Avenue right by the Aquatic Center. Hmmm…when you are driving up it, it doesn’t seem that steep. ha!) This was the first time I had to walk, and boy were my legs happy to do just that. I had been telling myself “Just Don’t Stop To Walk” over and over because I was afraid of losing momentum, but this hill was just going to be a little too much, so I took the time to engage some different muscles and walk up that thing. Glad I did, because I ended up being REEEEEAL tired later on.

The Summit

At the summit (and the 7 mile marker) I started barreling down the hill so happy to not be going up anymore. But then I suddenly had the sad realization that running on tired legs DOWNHILL isn’t all that much more pleasant than running uphill. Tired legs are tired legs. Pace-wise this is where the race really slowed down for me. And at one point I was really hoofing it and feeling like I was working really hard and I was pacing behind a senior citizen who was SPEED WALKING. Ohmygod, mentally I almost lost it right there when I couldn’t pass the the grandpa with the walking stick, but I kept on trucking.

Luckily this was also where the race got pretty scenic and serene. It was the back side of Lake Natoma and with lots of shady trail areas so it was somewhat enjoyable, if only for the view. This is the thing that I have learned to appreciate most about running — the scenic places that it takes you that you may otherwise never go. There were a lot of those moments during this race where, despite being tired I felt really glad that I was getting to experience this gorgeous place that I live. But even good scenery couldn’t distract me from how slow I felt and how hard I was working for every step.


At the 9 mile marker I stopped to chug a Gu, stretch my hips and look at my cell phone. I had texts from Garrett and my Mom cheering me on and that helped me get a bit of my mental focus back and pick up my feet.


Aren’t they the cutest? My mom’s *may* have made me feel a little weepy for a minute. But it also helped me get a little bit of my fire back! (Or at least what fire I had left!)

Miles 10 and 11 though were a total blur. Everything hurt, all I could think about was crossing the finish line, and I started daydreaming about buying the biggest bottle Gatorade available. I’m not even kidding you, I was having IMPURE THOUGHTS about Gatorade when I hit the 11 mile marker. Luckily there was an aid station at 11.5, so I chugged a little bit of the Gu Electrolyte Beverage that they were shilling and it tasted like Dom Perignon. But then it was back to the grind.

When I got to Mile 12 I started really having doubts about finishing. In hindsight that was so dumb, of course I would finish I only had one mile to go, but in the moment all I could think about was that the last mile was completely uphill and just thinking about that was crushing mentally. The brain ALWAYS gives out before the body does. I began to walk and just feel really bummed and defeated. This is also for sure where my (already slowing) pace really crapped out. But then I came around the corner and saw the last bridge that we would be crossing, and it was a pretty one.

I picked up my feet, shuffled across that bridge, did a hybrid of walking and running when the winding hills to the finish line got hard and then finally spotted Sarah at the top of a big incline. She was wearing her finisher’s medal and I could see the finish line and so I harnessed up every ounce of energy I had in me and crossed it — and it felt amazing!!!!!

Official Time: 3:12:02

I didn’t break any records or anything (My average pace ended up being around 14:39) but you guys I’m just so happy to have finished. It’s a start! And it can only get better from here!

Thoughts for Next Time

(Wait…Next time? My Mom and Garrett just dropped dead over the fact that I’m saying there is going to be a next time. HA!)

I ran this half marathon as an exercise to see if I could, really. I wasn’t sure I could go for 13 miles, I didn’t really put a lot of effort into training aside from my regular CrossFit routine and a few long runs, and hey — I finished. Check Plus!

But in the past couple of weeks, and especially during the race, all I could think about it is what I could possibly do if I had tried a little harder to work on speed, or running hills, or if I really gave some energy to learning to pace myself consistently. This was a challenge that was a lot of fun to tackle, but I feel like the process of this race has helped me learn so much more about myself and my running skills and it makes me excited to do better.

So of course I HAVE to do it again. I mean, right????

But I’m taking the rest of the year off. Not thinking about any crazy events, not doing any major training, just enjoying the fact that I accomplished a big deal goal that I wasn’t sure I could do. I’m proud of that and I definitely took a minute to appreciate that after the race on Sunday. I also took a minute to appreciate this when I was done running:

I would like to tell you I came home and ate a delicious salad or some healthy dinner, but I MAWED a Chipotle Burrito and it may have been the best one I’ve ever had. And then…I slept like the dead! It was a restful sleep free of anxiety dreams and running worries and it was a great way to finish off the weekend. Thanks for all of your kind thoughts and tweets and encouragement throughout the entire process you all. I literally wouldn’t have made it across the finish line without you!

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