Making the Commitment: Meatless February
Note: After my first "Commitment" post I have since decided to drop the Roman numeral title idea and will now go with titles similar to above. Just like last year, I have started the year off with no clear cut goals, mainly due to injury concerns. Having dealt with injuries in previous years, I wanted to set the 1,000-mile goal early last year, but I waited a while before going public with it. I had to get through the Shamrock Half injury free before committing to running 1,000 miles. It had been a while before I really thought long-term with setting my goals.
If you have followed me long enough you can probably see my pattern: while shooting from the hip ("31 in 31," getting to the 170s in December, making lists of foods to not eat right away) I don't do very well, but when I set a long-term goal or a goal a few months out (April streak, 1,000 miles, Richmond Marathon) I do fairly well. Last year I set my goal of the April streak in February. I needed to prepare myself for it mentally, as well as physically, to continue running after Shamrock. And of course the marathon goal was a year in the making -- perhaps too long term. (Sometimes I wonder if I would have gone for the Baltimore Marathon or the Marine Corps Marathon if I would have been OK.)
This brings me to thinking a lot about 2011's goals. I have to do what works for me -- setting goals well ahead of time, but also ones that make sense. In another words, SMART goals -- Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic/Relevant, Timely. I have them in my head, but I don't like lists. Every time I've made a list of goals, something happens. For the first time in forever, I made a race schedule last year only to have things fall apart when I got sick and had a DNF.
My recent ITB injury has me fearing injuries again. Setting a goal for a PR in a half marathon is just crazy talk right now. It's not even a realistic goal not knowing how long I'll be away from distance running, not that I'm giving up hope for doing Shamrock yet. For now, though, I have to put running goals to the side and do some other things. That's why the #2011commitments tag will last throughout the year and is about more than just running.
I'm not going to go vegan on you -- I still will have fish and eggs. Just no steaks or burgers or pork or chicken. Why? I want to do something different with my eating. I feel stuck in a rut. No burgers. No beef burritos. No New York Strip (not that I actually eat steak very often).
Why February? Well, it is the shortest month of the year. If I stick with it afterward, then fine. If I don't, then so be it. What happens after isn't as important as getting through those four weeks of change and committing to it.