A new year means setting new resolutions. That's what we do, right? We get all excited to make better changes in our life and we scream these out to the universe like we're invincible! HEAR ME ROAR!!! ARE YOU LISTENING WORLD?! I AM GOING TO BE FIERCE!!! We're all wearing our pointy party hats with our 2015 framed glasses and we're all toothy smiles to the sound of our champagne flutes clinking! Woo hooo!! 2015!!
Then the realities kick in (or the third week of January) and some of our "resolutions" fizzle out quicker than the bubblies in our champagne. There goes our "cheers to the New Year". It's sad, but you know it's true. We have all these dreams of shedding those extra pounds, being more physically active, eating better, living a happier life, blah, blah, blah - you know the spiel. But...maybe this year will be different. Maybe 2015 will be the year that you're steadfast in your determination to prove yourself and the universe wrong! The first step is setting up realistic goals. Have you started your list of attainable goals? 2015 is your year. What will you do with it?
Here are my 10 tips for 2015:
1. Be realistic, as well as specific, in your targets. Find your focus. Is it speed? Is it distance? Narrow down that one thing you want to accomplish and set a target. Write it down and come up with a game plan on how to accomplish it. I'll be the first to admit that I'm terrified of setting goals and - gasp - sharing it with others. What if I fail? What will people think? You just have to get out of that negative mindset. And P.S. - you don't really have to let the world know. If you'd like, write it down on paper - for your eyes only. But know that you'll never get better if you don't push outside your comfort zone. 2014 was a year of Personal Bests for me. I had a new PR for every type of race - 5K, 10K, half marathon, marathon, and ultra. Now, I just have to set new goals for 2015. Will this be the year that I run the Savannah Rock n' Roll half in 1:45? I want this. However, in order to get there, I'll need to focus on training properly for it. I've got until November to make this happen. In addition, it's also wise to have a Plan B and even a Plan C for your goal. Depending on how your training goes, you can always adjust your goal. For example - If you happen to injure yourself during training, it may be time to re-evaluate your timed goal.
2. Write it down. This kind of goes back to #1. Once you've identified your target, write it down and come up with a game plan. I've never had a planner, but after seeing all my runner friends (thank you Victoria Runs) talk about new planners for 2015...my curiosity piqued. What exactly are these runners using these planners for? I began to research and found that many runners will write down their workouts in their planners and make these non-negotiable - holding them accountable for getting the workouts done. Genius!! It's also a great way to log your miles! Not to mention - there are so many cute planners out there! This will be a first for me, but I'm willing to give it try.
3. Do more than running as physical activity. Because running requires the use of your whole body, you should really be incorporating total body training to your workouts. I NEED TO DO THIS!! I keep talking about attending yoga classes and never do. I'm going to make time to do that this year. In addition to yoga, I'm going to get back into my Nike Training Club app that I abandoned in 2014. It's a great app that serves as your own personal trainer so you can workout anywhere, anytime, and it also provides customizable 4-week programs that incorporates running. It includes "how-to" videos on each type of exercise and requires minimal equipment (kettle bell, dumb bells, medicine ball, etc.). Incorporating core work, building strength in your arms, and increasing flexibility will reduce strain on your legs which will help prevent injury. For Christmas, I got my husband some TRX bands. He doesn't know this, but it was a great 2 for 1 since I can reap the benefits too :)
4. Sign up for your dream race. My first marathon was a destination race - the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco. I always wanted my first marathon to be a HUGE experience and it most definitely was! Sign up for a race that will get you excited and motivated in your training. Enter a lottery for a big race! Go somewhere you've never been before! Explore a new city and make the most of your trip. For 2015, my husband and I are running the Big Sur 21-Miler in Monterey, CA in April. Neither of us have been there, but this race has been on my bucket list. We weren't able to get into the marathon, but this will do. After my mom passed away in March, I entered the lottery for DC's Cherry Blossom 10-Miler. My mom loved this festival and we never went with her. I happened to get selected for it so I'll be running this in her memory on April 12th. I am stoked for both of these races which will help keep me motivated this year!
5. Run for a charity. In addition to running my first marathon, I ran it through Team In Training (TNT) to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). What feels better than doing good for others, as well as doing good for yourself? I trained to run my first marathon, as well as fundraise to benefit LLS and ran in memory of my grandfather - who passed away from leukemia. There are several charities you can run for. My heart belongs with Team In Training. We have a great staff in our local TNT chapter! I'll be running the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati, OH in May for TNT. You should sign up too! Other races for spring season include the Asheville Marathon and Half Marathon (Asheville, NC) and the Publix Women's Half Marathon (Savannah, GA). You can check it out here on my website (www.ceciliaontherun.com).
6. Join a running group or find a BRF (Best Running Friend). If you're not running with a group or haven't found your BRF - go do it! I promise you it will change your life. Running with a crew or your BRF will help you be accountable for not hitting snooze on your 4:00 AM alarm - because lets face it - it's sooo tempting. When you know people are counting on you to help them in their run journey, you not only help motivate others, but without even knowing, you're improving on yours. When you're running with the same crew, you develop some valuable friendships that help inspire you to stay on top of your goals - and not to mention the laughs and funny stories we all share during our training runs. It's also a great motivator in signing up for races with one another. You're never alone when attending the various races around town and you'll even find yourselves signing up for getaway race trips. In addition, I love how much my running friends have come to support me in attending my shows at the Bay Street Theatre and the Lucas Cabaret and I enjoy my theater friends participating in run activities. It's thrilling to see my worlds collide. Looking for a running group? Fleet Feet's CREW, Savannah Striders, and Moms Run this Town are just a few local ones in the Savannah area.
7. Try something new. Are you only running road races? Maybe try a trail race. Are you only running 5Ks? Maybe try a 10K. Half marathon lover? Try a marathon. Tired of marathons? Try an ultra or maybe even a triathlon this year. You get the point. Try something different and see if you like it. Last year, I ran my first 12-hour Chase the Sun Ultra and completed my first 50-miler. It was a huge accomplishment! For 2015, I signed up for the sold-out Delirium 24-Hour Ultra. I'm still nervous as hell for this one. We'll see how it goes. I'm not setting up any expectations for this run other than to see what kind of mettle I have in me. I would love to run 100 miles, but going back to #1 and setting up realistic expectations - I've never done 100 before, nor have I run, walked, or crawled in 24 hours. This will be all new to me...and I'm deathly afraid of running through the night all by myself. Here's when having BRFs come into play. Will one of you guys help pace me and run with me?! I'm using this as a training run to see what it takes to get to 100. Try something new this year!
8. Treat your body good. I'm the biggest hypocrite for even writing that, but I'm daring myself to make changes to my everyday diet. I will drink more water - maybe I can write that in my planner every day! I've become a huge fan of sparkling water. Kroger makes a great knock-off of Perrier. It tricks me into thinking I'm drinking one of my favorite sugar-filled sodas. I will eat more raw vegetables and fruits. I will be more conscious of what I eat. I'm not saying I'm steering clear of Spanky's delicious fried chicken fingers and spuds...but I will strive to eat better and reward myself with said Spanky's delicious fried chicken fingers and spuds. My husband lost 70 lbs in 2014. He did it to prove to his doctor that he could lower his cholesterol naturally and he was determined. I'd like to be as disciplined as he is, but that's going to be tough. My goal is to try harder to eat right...and not delve into the pantry and devour the kids' Cheetos and lunch snacks. This one's going to be tough (as I'm munching on my daughter's tater tots)! Oy. Help me Claudia Deen! Ha!
9. "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia". Sometimes it's not all about you. Go out of your way and encourage someone else to run this year. Do you remember that feeling when someone offered words of encouragement while on your run? It felt great, didn't it? Be that cheerleader for others. When you see those herds of runners getting in their miles at the crack of dawn, let them know they're doing a good job. Offer words of encouragement in passing. Let them know we're all in this together.
10. Have fun! This should actually be #1 on any list, but lets just say I chose to save the best for last. The most important thing is to enjoy your run. If you're a beginner, it's going to suck. That's the truth. It's going to really suck. You're going to hate it and you're going to say, "why do people do this for fun?" I've been there, done that and so have many others. Stick with it. Please. I promise you that it will get better. And then, it will get fun. You will experience what we call the "runner's high" and then you'll be addicted just like the rest of us and we'll happily welcome you with open arms into our crazy community of runners!
Remember - 2015 is your year. I can't wait to see and hear all about it!
For years, I sat there at our monthly Chamber Ambassador meetings, listening to Jennie Brewster talk about Team In Training (TNT) during the announcements portion of our meetings. Jennie is a Campaign Specialist and heads up TNT for Savannah's local chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I always wanted to do it, but the farthest I had ever ran was 3 miles so I put it off for next year. Next year came along and I'd gradually added some more comfortable mileage, but the confidence still wasn't there. I pushed it off again to "next year". I was procrastinating out of fear until 2013. Last year was when I made the bold decision to run my first marathon through TNT. Not only would it be my first marathon, but it would be a destination run - San Francisco Nike Women's - and not only that, it would be for a good cause - the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). This was the best decision ever. It was the greatest experience and one that I will never forget!
For 2014, I took a fundraising break and donated to others who helped me during my TNT fundraising. Spreading the love! Now, I'm jumping back in and am registered to run Cincinnati's Flying Pig Marathon in May. Go Team! I'm ready to wear my purple as TNT coaches and mentors cheer me on and ensure that I cross the finish line.
Why join Team In Training? Here's why:
1) Saving Lives: You are part of an exclusive team that trains to save lives of blood cancer patients. You train for a full, half, or even a tri with one goal in mind: to find cures and ensure access to lifesaving treatments. The funds raised help advanced targeted therapies that zero in on cancer cells and kill them, as well as immunotherapies that actually use a patient's own immune system to kill cancer. You're like a hero! I can't tell you how moving it to see survivors on the course cheering you on. I've even had someone come up to me on the course and shake my hand to thank me. It's amazing and so moving! Do not fear the fundraising! We will help you in your fundraising!
2) Training: Not only are you playing a huge role in improving and even saving lives, you are enriching your own by doing physical activity to benefit your own livelihood. You get weekly workouts with trained coaches to help you reach your potential and beyond. It doesn't stop there either. Your coaches, as well as coaches from other chapters, and mentors are scattered on the race course to help you with your every need. Not only that, you get to cross the finish line at some of the most incredible sold-out and lottery-run local and national events. I ran the Nike Women's marathon in San Francisco. It's a lottery event, but due to TNT, I had a reserved spot in the race! Also, new this year here in our area, TNT has partnered with Fleet Feet Savannah's CREW program. TNT participants will have access to their great half marathon training program. I'm actually one of the coaches for the morning session. Hope to see you out there!
3) Priceless Friendships: My Nike Women's trip was so much fun. We had a great local group presence and we all dominated in the fundraising arena - the top 3 representing Georgia! The entire weekend was spent sightseeing and exploring the city over great food, laughs, and bonding. Some of us continue to register for local and destination races. We still train and travel together. I love my run buddies!
Come join the fun! Experience how it feels to work toward a fitness goal, as well as providing support and donations to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society! Contact me for more information!
Check out our spring events and register today at www.teamintraining.org/ga. Use coupon code COTR2015 for 75% discount on registration making it only $25 (which goes toward your fundraising)!
If you'd like to help me in my own fundraising, you can donate to http://pages.teamintraining.org/ga/flypig15/carango.
Wow! How crazy that 2014 is coming to an end. This year has been such a blur. I signed up earlier in the year for Fleet Feet's Lucky 13 race series and the Enmark Savannah Bridge Run was 1 of 3 mandatory races in the program. With a 5.5% grade, the bridge run is challenging and there are so many people - advanced and newbies who come out and push themselves on Savannah's toughest (and only) hill - the Talmadge Memorial bridge. This year, I helped coach a 10-week bridge run training program through Fleet Feet's CREW on Tuesday and Friday mornings. It was nice to see and hear all the excitement this past Friday morning as we gathered for coffee and breakfast. It's awesome to see a runner's confidence build after weeks of training and our CREW was more than ready to dominate the bridge on Saturday morning.
This was my 2nd year of doing the double pump - running both the 5K and 10K - which means you run 3 times over the bridge. I was even featured as the Runner Profile in this year's race booklet. How awesome is that?! As one of my most favorite races in town, I decided to focus on fun and really take it easy for the last race of the season. I ran with my local chapter of Moms Run This Town (MRTT) - a free running group geared toward moms (I use that term loosely since it's really open to any ladies). It's a very empowering group and one that motivates and inspires. I sign up for races all the time due to the excitement and conversation that builds up after talking to these ladies. You start to feel invincible and can do anything - which is how I came to sign up for my first 24-hour run - the Delirium coming up in February. Anyways, I digress. My point is that it's an awesome group of ladies who all share the same passion in running.
Last year, we all dressed up as various forms of Wonder Woman and took 1st place in the costume contest. This year, we went with Rosie the Riveter. I loved the concept (and I'm kind of bias since I'm the one that pitched it). We didn't win this year, but we still placed 3rd. The Savannah Tri team won 1st place as "Tybee Watch". They were a hoot! Seeing Todd dress up as Pamela Anderson sealed the deal! 2nd place was amazing! They were dressed as "Cool Runnings" and they actually ran and carried a luge! They put a lot of work and effort into their costumes and it showed. Even though we didn't win, I loved dressing up as Rosie. It was so much fun and I think we truly showed spirit on the course. It really encompasses our group as a whole - We Can Do It! These ladies sign up for races - from ultras to 5Ks and they get it done! There are road trips planned for destination races to carpooling to local races in town. You'll always find an MRTT showing at any run. Last year's winnings were spent on a tent and cooler to set up for races. These ladies have so much spirit that they will come out and stay up all night at an ultra marathon just to offer support to runners on the course. It's truly amazing.
The Rosie costume was simple and perfect for a group this large. We all went out and got our denim shirts on our own and Katie, one of the chapter leaders, supplied us with the vinyls to iron on to our shirts. Another MRTT member sold the polka dot headbands we wore for the race. Saturday morning was a blast as we all gathered together - a crowd full of Rosies with our red-stained lips, denim shirts with "We Can Do It" on our backs, and our red headbands. There were so many photo opportunities and we totally ate it up. I'm loving all the pictures posted!
I ran with Jacy and Katie for the 5K. We waited near the Thunderbird Inn (close to the finish) to run in with as many other Rosies as we could before the 10K started. We laughed, joked, and had so much fun playing up to all the photographers on the course. The goal was to have fun and fun we did have! I could hear the awesomeness of CUSSES blaring from the speakers as we crossed the finish line. I just wanted to jam out at the after-party with a beer in hand and eat some of that yummy brunswick stew, but we headed over to the 10K start line to finish out our double pump.
While running the 10K, we made a pit stop at Coffee Fox (I love that place) so Jacy could use the bathroom. We had been talking about drinking beer the whole time that we ended up buying a beer and then chugged it down so that we could catch up to the back of the race. Talk about a beer mile! We just started the 10K and hadn't even reached the first mile yet. We joked and laughed and ran until we caught up to the back of the race. We caught up with our friend Kelley, dressed as one of the Runaway Brides and told her about our pit stop. We decided that we'd all stop again at the Chevron before we hit the bridge to do another beer chug before we made the trek up the big ole hill. Victoria and the crew were cheering us on and we were feeling so energetic! So energetic that I managed to do a few cartwheels on the bridge :) We had so much fun cheering on all the runners who were making their way back to the finish line. I don't think I've laughed and smiled that much in a race before. To say I had fun is an understatement. It was pure happiness. Sometimes it's not all about winning or beating a time. Sometimes it's about just having fun, smiling along the way, sharing laughter with those around you, and encouraging others along the route. What a way to end the racing season! But now that the year is coming to a close, it's time to get focused again!
I hope you guys have started thinking about next year's race plans! We're already kicking off training for the Publix Women's Half Marathon & 5K this Tuesday. It's not too late to sign up! See you out on the road!
If you look up the idiom "on-the-run", it means to constantly travel or moving from place to place. Welcome to my life! I get asked the question - "Do you ever sleep?" at least once a week. The truth is - I am always on the run. My weeks are filled with work, training runs, dropping kids off to school and extra curricular activities, traveling out-of-town for races and soccer games, theatre rehearsals, civic duties - you name it. In addition to being an avid runner, I'm a happily married wife, mother of two, an actress, singer, a Fleet Feet CREW coach, and work full time as the Marketing Manager for Thomas & Hutton Engineering Co. I love being on the run!