Thanks to Wendy @ Takingthelongwayhome for this blog post inspiration — check out her list of 60 Blog Post for Runners here. I may have to come up with my own list — if I can think of more; Wendy did a great job!
The Pros Anyone that reads my blog for a while knows that I put a great deal of thought into most decisions. This one wouldn’t be an easy one. So let’s start off with the good stuff:
Mr. Judy grew up in Wellesley. It wouldn’t be that hard to twist his arm into going to Boston.
Boston is within driving distance, which makes the logistics a bit easier to handle.
Dave McGillivray, Race Director Extraordinaire.
You may have to be fast to qualify for Boston, but the course stays open a long time.
The Cons If I ever run a marathon, which is something I put a lot of thought into, actually, I’d, well, put a lot of thought into it:
The course. OMG, the hills! Obviously I’ve never run Boston. I did do the one and only Runner’s World Heartbreak Half — there I am in the photo above, drenched afterwards, from an unseasonably hot day and pouring water all over myself during the race. The course was partially designed by Dave McGillivray, and it tried to mimic Boston: start with a downhill, Newton hills (including Heartbreak) towards the end. I remember thinking to myself you have to deal with these starting at mile 20? Are you NUTS?????
The weather. You truly never know what the heck the weather’s going to do: broiling hot or snowing, yup, it all happens.
Training through Winter. I may run through Winter, and I have trained through Winter, but not all that often. There’s a reason for that — Winter is tough to run through in the Northeast!
The crowds. I have done huge races a few times. I’m actually okay with big or small, but Mr. Judy is not fond of crowds. And I’m not fond of not being able to find my own running space.
The expense. I don’t know how much Boston costs, but I’m guessing it’s a lot. Of course, someone is handing me this entry in this scenario, because it’s for darn sure I’m never qualifying on my own, but still.
If a dream doesn’t motivate you to work hard, to get up early and get to bed early, to sometimes make the hard choices between training and going out — maybe it’s not the right dream for you. — Chocolaterunsjudy
It seems as though the pros outweigh the cons, but not by a lot. I have to admit it’s not something I’ve ever given a lot of thought to, because I’m not going to raise that many $$$ or qualify. It’s not my dream.
My dream for a marathon? I don’t really know. I still have that feeling that someday I’d like to tackle one. Right now is not the right time for maybe. Maybe it will never be the right time. Or maybe someday I’ll find my own running space in life and see just what is out there after 18 miles.
Would you do Boston if your entry was paid for and guaranteed?
What’s your dream marathon?
Do you think it would feel as satisfying if you didn’t have to qualify?
A new year is all about new goals, right? Or maybe it’s just about the same goals but in a new year. Once you set those goals — how do you reach them? There’s lots of talk about SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound).
I think the secret to your goals is even easier: baby steps.
Take baby steps You heard me: break your goal down into very small steps. Once you’ve done that, if you’re still having trouble working towards your goal, it just means your steps aren’t small enough. You need to break them down even more.
Let’s break down a race goal Of course you’ll train differently for a 5k than you would for a marathon, but the basic steps to carry you to your goal are the same:
Pick a race and register for it.
If your race involves travel, book those plane tickets and make the hotel reservations. Early. Earlier than you think you need to do. I like to make sure my hotel has a refrigerator and microwave for those early race morning breakfasts (and leftovers!).
Get fitted for the proper shoes.
Either hire a coach or find a training plan (online, in a magazine, in a book, make your own).
Figure out when you have to start training for the race. I like to add in a couple of extra weeks to my training plan — life happens.
Put all the workouts on your calendar. This could be a digital calendar or a physical calendar — or both! Share with training buddies or significant others so they know when you will be available (or unavailable).
Also put any big events you’re aware of during your training period on your calendar. Think about how that event will effect your training. Decide how you’ll juggle the event with your training.
Make sure to book support appointments in advance: massages, chiropractic, fitness trainer.
Will you need a fresh pair of running shoes before the race? When will you buy them? Don’t wait til the last minute only to find out they’re not available in your size!
Test out your shoe, clothing, accessories like fuel belts or hydration vests, nutrition (if necessary), and hydration choices on your long (or longer, if the race is a shorter distance) runs.
Test out your pre-and post run meals on your long runs. If you’re traveling, look to see if you’ll be able to get similar meals near where you’re staying. What will you do if there are no tried and true options for you at local restaurants? If you’re staying local and you want to eat at a particular restaurant, consider making a reservation for that pre-race meal.
As the race nears, decide on your goals: finish with a smile on your face, run with a friend, crush a PR, enjoy the views? It’s your race, but knowing what you want out of it going into it can help you have a good time.
There are so many decisions that can go into a race, especially if you’re traveling for that race. There are so many steps to training. It can seem overwhelming in the beginning. Breaking down a large goal into easily doable steps will make it seem more doable, less frightening.
Breaking down a large goal into easily doable steps will take out so much of the pre-race anxiety and get you to the starting line feeling prepared. — Chocolaterunsjudy
Final thoughts: It works for all goals
Breaking a large goal into baby steps is the trick for reaching any goal: running, weight loss, career, getting stronger, getting more flexible. You name it and you can baby step your way to it.
Do you make goals and then never think about how to get to them? How does that make you feel?
What baby steps would you add to training for a race?
What are your goals — for 2020, for this month, this week? Please share!
Do you ever feel like you can run a certain distance — doesn’t matter if you’ve trained for it or you’re injured — you’ve done it in the past so you know you can just go out and do it, right?
Maybe not This post isn’t aimed at any one person, which I say because I can think of a few of my friends who might think it’s aimed at them, and it isn’t — or maybe, in a way, it is. I’ve seen so many runners who take on distances they haven’t trained for, either due to life happening or injury recovery.
So many runners get onto social media asking what other runners think of their situation, and the advice is often of course you can do it. Do they know how you feel? Do they know your body?
Marathoners, in particular, have a tendency to get cocky and say “it’s just 10 miles”, because in marathon training, that’s a baby long run.
I can say this of course, because I’ve never run a marathon. 18 miles is a far cry from a marathon. It doesn’t take a toll on your body the way a marathon does.
The next time you’re thinking of taking on a distance you know that you’re really not prepared for, I hope that you’ll at least stop and give it some thought.
Is running this distance worth the potential injury?
Do you really want to run this distance, or do you just not want to throw away the money you’ve invested in this race?
If you decide “I’ll just use this as a training run” — can you really? Or will you get caught up in the excitement of the starting line and run too hard?
Respect the recovery, too I know I am always harping on recovery, but that’s because it’s so important! Is it that important to you to run this race — or is it more important to you to recover well from your last race and have a better “time” at your next race?
The first time we tackle any longer distance (let’s say any race that is double digits — but it might be a smaller distance for your body) it’s really wise to take some time off of running afterward. Even if you feel fine. Maybe especially if you feel fine.
As your body gets used to running that distance, you won’t need as much recovery time. But the first time? First times are special. Society today seems to reward people only when they push harder and farther. The real reward? A healthy, uninjured body.
Instead of pushing yourself into the next big thing, take some downtime to bask in all that you accomplished and thank your body for all that it does for you. Your body will thank you for that! — Chocolaterunsjudy
Final thoughts: It’s only . . .
We’ve all said it: it’s only 5 miles. It’s only 8 miles. It’s only a half. It’s true that as you train, your body adapts to longer and longer distances. It’s kind of miraculous. That doesn’t mean that your body is a machine that can just keep going without breaking.
Learn to listen to your body. Sometimes even learn to ignore your body and listen to your brain — your brain may tell you that you’re not ready, or that you need more rest, but your ego (or social media) might tell you you can do it.
It’s never “only”. It’s hard. Racing is hard. Sometimes even just running is hard. Ignoring niggles, outright injuries, and what your body or head is telling you you need — it often doesn’t end pretty. Be smart, and you’ll enjoy running a long, long time.
Do you take time off running after a hard race?
How much time, and for what distance?
Have you ever regretted not taking time off running after a race?
People have been talking so much about 2019 being the close of the decade (or 2020 being the start of a new one). Seems they can’t even agree on when a new decade starts.
So What can Change in a Decade?
A whole lot, it turns out!
There were many losses in the last 10 years: Mr. Judy’s father, my sister’s MIL, 3 furkids (Simba, Chester, Gizmo) –more, of course, but those hit closest to home.
My father had brain surgery, my mother had surgery, and we emptied out my childhood home (and I am still going through their stuff, or my mom is giving me stuff to throw out or donate) . . . then we moved my parents to a senior living community.
Now we’ve moved my Dad into a nursing home. It wasn’t what anyone wanted, but it was just the only option as my Mom could no longer cope with his worsening dementia even with a live in aide.
In the midst of all those losses, we welcomed a new furkid, Bandit, a senior rescue. It got off to an extremely rocky start, and stayed that way for many months, but with time, love, training, and Nutricalm, Bandit found his forever home in our home — his third. Lola had also had multiple homes when we adopted her, but she was still a puppy. She needed a lot of training too, but at least she got along with humans and our other furkids.
The Big Move We thought we’d retire in TX, we really did. Retiring in TX would also have meant Mr. Judy retiring from working. So we sold our home of 15 years, we packed up all our belongings (in one moving truck! — which included both our cars in addition to our furniture and stuff), and we made two plane trips to bring the boys (the cats) and the dogs to our new home in New York.
I became a Runner I still kind of don’t know how it happened, but happen it did. Apparently I had started to experiment a bit with running when we lived in TX, but it wasn’t until I moved to NY that I became a Runner.
But I was never going to be a Racer. Oh no, not me. Not this turtle.
I became a Racer Then I ran my first 5k. It didn’t change my life. I ran another 5k, though. I decided a half marathon for my 50th birthday sounded like a good goal; I ran longer and longer races. Then I ran my first half marathon . . . and I was hooked. The dream of running a half marathon in every state was born. I am still far, far away from that goal, but it’s still a goal that motivates me.
I’ve also gone on to race more 5ks, 4 milers, 5 milers, 10ks, 15ks, and an 18 mile race.
I became an occasional Trail Runner/Racer 2017. It feels so long ago. The year of 4 half PRs, including my first trail race (yes, chocolate was involved — as was my shoe coming apart in the last mile or so), my slowest half ever but hey, an automatic PR. Yup, my first trail race was a half marathon — go big or go home, right?
Since then I’ve done a couple of trail 5ks and one trail 10k. My running buddies were not interested in trails when I was training for my half, but last summer they finally decided trail running was cool, so I had some company on the trails for a change.
I haven’t ruled out a future trail half, but so far I mostly stick to road races.
Racing with the Girls
Somehow most of those half marathons (but not all) have involved running friends, bloggers and non bloggers, local and not local. Even when it wasn’t a girls’ trip, somehow almost all our vacations became racecations.
Bloggers do UT
I remembered how much I love hiking The racecation to UT reminded me that I really love to hike. Moderate day hikes (like not even all day). I’m always looking for hiking wherever we vacation now — and closer to home, too.
I lost the weight
It was the reason I started to run in the first place, to try to get those last 10 pounds off. At first it didn’t help. Eventually, though, after years of plateauing about 10 pounds above my very reasonable goal weight, I lost those 10 lbs. I’ve kept them off, too. At the moment I maintain my weight without even tracking my food, which is something I never thought would happen.
I used good old Weight Watchers. Going to meetings every week. I’ve been a Lifetime member roughly 30 years Although not attending meetings all that time, definitely often not at my goal weight all that time.
I’ve been maintaining that goal weight for about 6 years now. This last time I realized it wasn’t just about what I eat, but what was eating me. I think that’s the difference from all the other times I gained and lost 40 pounds (and yes, there were multiple times in my life that happened).
I became a Yoga Teacher Like so many things in my life, I couldn’t tell you exactly when I started practicing Yoga, but I can tell you I’ve been practicing it a long time. I wanted to take my Yoga Teacher Training for a long time, at first I thought for my own knowledge; YTT is expensive!
Finally I decided to invest in me. I committed to YTT, and I knew that I wanted to teach. We did a specialty Yin Yoga module, and I knew that was what I wanted to teach. I also always knew that I wanted to make my practices meaningful, with mantras, inspiring quotes, meditations.
I started a Youtube Channel
Just squeaked in with that one! I believe that Yoga is so beneficial to everybody, and Youtube is a great way to make it accessible to everybody. I wasn’t going to start it this year, but I had things I wanted to share, so I sucked it up and I got it done.
I started this blog It’s not my first blog. In fact, I’ve been a WordPress user for a very long time. My first blog was in about 2000, although I’m pretty sure that that one at least started with me just coding in HTML. I’ve had previous blogs about my cats, about graphic design, and a really short lived one about cookbooks.
This blog is the first personal blog I’ve had that really found its audience. My previous professional blog about graphic design did quite well, and I managed a large, thriving community of designers and those interested in design.
A decade can definitely change you!
Thank you for walking (or running) down memory lane with me — if you got to the end, you deserve a prize and I thank you for reading!
I can honestly say that I am a different person than I was ten years ago. Some people like to do the same things, year in and year out. Go to the same places for vacations. Live in the same city you were born in. There’s comfort in that, but despite the fact that change can be stressful, I like to change things up.
Jobs, where I live, hobbies, activities, where I travel to — even where I run! I haven’t really worked at one job more than about 10 years, although my stint at About.com (RIP) was a bit more than 10 years, but not by much
Change is the only thing certain in life. Well, death and taxes, I suppose, but aren’t they just changes after all?
I got to racing so much in November that apparently I was too busy writing up race recaps and never recapped November! It’s my favorite time of year to race, which is why I have so many long sleeve tech shirts (which I like to sleep in).
Running has been going well on just three days a week. No goal races in the near future, just keepin’ on keepin’ on. Running didn’t hurt me, but life? It’s been tough. Love can definitely hurt sometimes.
Love hurts, love scars Love wounds and mars
Don’t get me wrong: I’m believe that it’s better to have loved & lost than to never love at all. Endings, though; endings can hurt. If we didn’t open our hearts, it wouldn’t hurt — but then we’d close our hearts to so much love. The hurt lets us know that we’ve love and been loved. In the case of love, no pain, no gain.
By the way, there’s a new video on my Youtube Channel. Once the hustle and bustle of your holiday is over — especially if maybe you’ve eaten a bit more than you planned to! — check out my Yin Yoga Runner Stretch & Digestion video here. This one is a longer one, so make sure you can carve out a little me time for yourself.
I’ll be making more me time a goal for January! Will I be able to meet that goal? Stay tuned!
Getting in scheduled runs Still no schedule, no racing, no big races on the horizon . . . but still running. And I definitely deserve an A for some of the cold temps I’ve been running in lately!
Recording my runs I was doing well, but all the video editing I’ve been doing eats up way too much of my time. I know it’ll get easier as I learn the software, but still, things have gotten a little spotty again.
Grade Earned: B-
Dynamic Warmup Still skimping on the warmups — but yes, I’m at least doing a few things before I start to tun. Even on the days when it feels like single digits.
Grade Earned: B+
I have been doing well with foam rolling before my runs. Not at any other time, but you do what you can. I moved the stick upstairs with the thought of occasionally using it . . . it remains untouched so far.
Grade Earned: B
Nutrition Nutrition has been a struggle as it always is in the shorter days, but for the most part, so far, I seem to be winning that struggle. A little indulgence here and there, which of course is fine — trying to make sure I don’t use the holidays as an excuse to indulge all the time — that’s the trick: pick your indulgences, enjoy them, but don’t make it an every day occurrence.
Grade Earned: A
Massage? Not this month.
Chiropractor Appointment? Still need to schedule it. Been too busy with other appointments.
Do I need a hair appointment? Made it after reading this, LOL — I had been thinking about it, so this got me to do it!
Grade Earned: B
There’s been a lot of yoga, for obvious reasons. I’ve been able to do a bit more strength training, but with more travel to my parents on the horizon, that will probably drop back down. I’ve started to incorporate Soul Strolls on the treadmill since often the roads are too iffy or the days are just too short.
Grade Earned: A-
November/December 2019 gets . . .
. . . an B. I know, lots of As, lots of good stuff, but the goals . . . I met 4 out of 7 goals. Not so great. Life has been busy. I may not have been staying with my mom as much, but I was still going to see my parents. Obviously that’s going to ramp up again and I will be away a lot again.
November Goals: (yes, never made goals for December)
Strength train 2 – 3x week. Y. Slowly began to do a bit more, but it will be a struggle with more travel for the forseeable future.
See if I can at least sometimes get back to a 4 x week running schedule. N. Nope, too much going on in my life right now. I’m happy with where my running’s at, though..
Approach another studio about getting on their substitute list. N. I kind of put my eggs in one basket with the first studio. I recently discover my eye doctor is a sub there. You can’t make this stuff up!
Foam roll when I’m able. Y. Before runs.
Continue to try to eat intuitively — unless the weight starts to creep up.Y.Still not tracking, still mostly maintaining (which means I bounce around a few pounds, but it’s not an upward creep). Being home more did help. Hopefully I’ll find the right balance going into 2020.
Meal plan on the weekends! N. Still struggling with it. I still need to keep reminding myself that this is a goal.
A race? At some point?. Y. Three of them, in fact: two in November and one in December.
Which leads me to January Goals:
Strength train 2 – 3x week. There will be a lot of back and forth, with no ending date. I’ll do what I can, when I can — as always..
Maintain running 3 x week. I’m doing well on that schedule and with nothing big on the horizon see no need to ramp it up.
Study chair/slow yoga. Another to-do on my long list of to-dos to get off the ground teaching is to target some of the senior centers around me. I need to get comfortable with chair yoga. Not saying you can’t do regular yoga if you’re a “senior”, of course!
Foam roll when I’m able. Keep foam rolling before runs. Try to grab the stick occasionally.
Continue to try to eat intuitively — unless the weight starts to creep up.Winter is always my tough season when it comes to eating. I stopped tracking 8 months ago, and have continued to maintain my weight — a huge win for me!
Meal plan on the weekends! I’ll keep putting this in until I get back to it. Which I haven’t managed yet.
Carve out more me time. Between YTT, my parents, teaching yoga (which requires a lot of prep work for me — someday it’ll be more muscle memory, but that day is in the future), the dogs, trying to learn video editing! — let’s just say I’ve got away from some of the self care routines I know are important to keep me healthy.
If you live up North like I do, everything is just harder in winter. Running feels harder because you have to bundle up so much. Running is slower because you have to watch out for black ice. Heck, just getting out the front door can be a daunting task in Winter! And it’s not even technically Winter yet!
Why cool down? There are many benefits to cooling down after exercise. You know those dreaded DOMS (delayed onset muscle sorness)? Cooling down may not completely prevent DOMS, but you’ll feel a whole lot less sore and stiff if you allow your muscles to slowly relax after working them hard.
Cooling down allows your heart rate and blood pressure to start coming back towards normal, which may help prevent fainting (yes, it can happen!).
Finally, cooling down does exactly what it says: it allows your body temperature to come back to normal.
How I cool down from running I try to arrange my runs so that I walk for roughly a quarter mile post run. Simple, right? Sometimes I will walk the dogs post run, and that is always a great cool down since between the two dogs stopping to pee every minute, it’s barely walking — but it definitely helps everything soften up.
Once I get back to the car or house, I will usually do a short session of stretching. Muscles stretch better when they’re warm.
Do I ever skip the cool down? Oh yeah, it happens. I would say 90% of the time the cool down walk happens. The cool down stretch — probably about 70% of the time. I am more likely to stretch it out when it’s warm out, for obvious reasons. When it’s cold, sometimes I do stretch — and sometimes I stretch when I get back home. It’s a lot more effective if you stretch out immediately post run, before your muscles have stiffened back up.
If nothing else . . .
Walk a little post run/race. Trust me it will help in the “long run”. If you have a little more time, do a quick stretch — I’ve got one on Youtube for you here! Yes, this was my actual post run stretch after my long run last week (notice the sweaty armpits). Just keepin’ it real.
I am also working on a longer Yin Yoga video to help you destress and relax, maybe for Friday’s post.
Do you even think about cooling down after a workout?
Are you less likely to cool down when it’s cold out?
Do you have favorite cool down stretches to share?
Every year I choose a word to focus on; a word of the year, if you like. Unlike some years Strong didn’t just pop into my mind, but I have a feeling that I’m going to need to be Strong in 2020. Of course we always need to be strong, but I have a feeling it will be a challenging year, which seems to be my norm for the last few years.
Strong for family Although we brought my Dad home, it has not been going well. His dementia continues to worsen, and he continues to try to walk on his own, which has resulted in many falls. Even with an aide, it’s just too much for my 91-year-old mother and we are looking to move him to a nursing home. Somehow I will have to find the way to tell him that he needs to be there, and I’m not sure how I will do it; he will not understand.
Strong in Patience This one is tied to dealing with my family. It takes a lot of patience. Patient with my Dad. Patient with my mom, who needs someone to vent to and someone to help her make decisions she doesn’t want to make. Essentially she has already lost the great love of her life, even though he is physically there. Patient with my sister, who is also tired of being the point person when there are hospital trips.
Strong for friends
I have a few friends going through tough times. Some struggling through some of the same issues as me, some through illnesses.
Strong in confidence I am planning to start up a Youtube channel. At first I thought I’d wait until 2020, but I realized that that’s just fear of putting myself out there. It is definitely scary. I have some things I’d like to get out for people to use during the month of December, so it’s time to bite the bullet and just do it.
Strong in determination
I have plans and dreams and it will take strong determination to bring them to fruition.
Have you ever picked a word to concentrate on for a year?
Do you have a 2020 word? What is it?
Have you ever had to work on the fear of putting yourself out there?
Looking back and forward
There was only one half in 2019. There may only be one half in 2020. Running was on the back burner for much of the year, but running continued to be strong with PRs here and there (and really close almost PRs!). No injuries, knock on wood. One trip to the ER. Completing my YTT (Yoga Teacher Training) and teaching some yoga.
After being very sick in the Spring, I felt I needed to work on my running endurance so I stopped using run/walk intervals. I walk each mile to drink water and eat something on long runs. I still run/walk up steeper hills, because I’ve found that works better for me than running up them. Sometimes I just walk towards the end because I’m tired — and I always regret it when I do that!
One mile felt really long at first. Heck, some days it still feels really long! I seem to be doing well with it, though. I didn’t run a half after I’d ditched the intervals, so I’m not sure what I will do when that day comes again.
We lost Gizmo at the beginning of 2019, but he had a good, long life and was only seriously ill a short time before we helped him cross the rainbow bridge. I told my brother early in 2019 that I felt my Dad was going downhill, slowly but surely. He still is, obviously. It’s been a very stressful time for the whole family.
Here was my prediction for 2019:
Here’s what I believe about 2019: no matter what happens in 2019, with the right attitude, I will love 2019, I will accept the highs and the lows, and no matter what life throws at me, this too shall pass.
2019 was a hard year. I don’t think I can say I really loved it, but I did accept the highs and the lows, and yes, there was both. I believe that my Dad most likely won’t see 2021, and that is a blessing; and if that is the case, I hope it’s peaceful.
I know no matter what 2020 will be a difficult year, again filled with highs and lows, and again, I will do my best to be strong for my loved ones — and for myself. I will rejoice in the highs and accept the lows and what they may have to teach me. I will take whatever curveballs life throws at me and become a stronger person because of them.