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.

meatless, vegetarian, 2011So for the second "Making the Commitment" post, I've decided that February 2011 will be a "meatless" month. That's right, no meat.

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.

Image: Suat Eman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net