Goal Setting

In order to be successful, a person needs to set goals or else there is no way of being able to measure that success. When I ran track and cross country in high school, I remember a discussion on goal setting, which has stuck with me ever since. Before a big race, we were always taught to have three goals. The first goal was a realistic goal. The second a hard goal. The third a dream goal. During this past July during Badwater, I stuck to this 3 goal system. Being physically trained for an event is important for obvious reasons, but I feel like its only half the battle. Having set goals and being mentally prepared for an event, in my opinion, is just as important.

Realistic Goal
In high school track, my favorite event was the mile. I didn’t quite have the leg speed for the 800m and the 2 mile was just too long and boring… says the ultra distance runner. My realistic goal for the race was a goal I set for myself that wasn’t necessarily “easy,” but it was a time that I had hit in the past and that I could with out a doubt accomplish. Back in high school, it was breaking 6 minutes in the mile. This year at Badwater, since it was my first time running the race, it was “simply” finishing the event in under the 48 hour time limit and getting my coveted belt buckle.

I feel like this goal is important to have because it is good to have a goal to fall back on. During races, CF competitions or whatever sporting events you’re participating in, things don’t always go the way you planned them out to be. Maybe a nagging injury flares up or there is an exercise in a WOD that you haven’t mastered yet. It doesn’t mean you should just give up and quit, but you should be able to roll with the punches and deal with the problem in front of you During Badwater, my hip started hurting unexpectedly around mile 35 of the race, which I feel like slowed me down a little, since I had to stop for to ice, stretch and have it massaged periodically. However, just because I got thrown a curve ball, didn’t mean I was going to give up. It meant resorting to a different goal, something that I could still accept and be proud of in the end. Last year when I ran the Javelina 100, I had one goal, which was to run a sub 24 hour 100 mile race. When an injury came up half way through the race and threw me off my goal pace, I dropped from the race, when realistically I still could have walked and finished the race. In the end, I regretted my decision. Instead of quitting I should have resorted to a different goal of just finishing the race.

*side note: I do not suggest running though serious injuries!

Hard Goal:
A hard goal is a goal that you really have to push yourself for. For example, setting a new personal record in a race or finally mastering a new still in CrossFit….. Muscle Up, I will conquer you soon!

During Badwater my hard goal was finishing under 40 hours. Since I never had ran the race before, I couldn’t break any of my previous records, but I knew that if I really wanted to finish in under 40, I would have to push myself hard and allow things to hurt a little bit. This goal I feel like is really about how bad you want something. During Badwater, the thought of not finishing the race never crossed my mind, but I had some really low points where I wasn’t quite sure if I was going to be able to reach this goal. Around mile 115 though, it was as if a light went off in my head reminding me how hard I had trained for this race and how bad I wanted to get that sub 40 hour finish. My hip still hurt, my feet ached, it was hot out, I was pretty much over running, but I was determined to get under 40 hours. My pacer, Traci, joined me out on the road, we both put our iPods on, I put my head down and we started booking it….at a speedy pace of 11-12 minute miles! At that point in the race though, that was flying for me and I really had to push myself out of my comfort zone, but it was exhilarating. I finished the race in 38 hours and 53 minutes, reaching my “hard” goal. Knowing that I gave all that I had left in me out on that course was an incredible feeling and worth every second of pain and suffering that I endured to reach that goal.

Dream Goal:
This goal is one that you may not ever reach. It may even be kind of ridiculous. It is a goal that keeps you motivated to keep coming back for more. Not to say it could never happen, but it would happen on one of those days when you’re going balls to the wall and everything falls perfectly into place. In high school, it was to run a 5:20 mile. I never reached that goal, but boy did I try to. My fastest ever was a 5:39, which I was completely thrilled with, but of course I didn’t just want to stop there, I always wanted to keep improving. For Badwater, it would be running under 30 hours or winning the race. But now having run the race, I know areas in which I can improve on so that someday maybe I can hit that goal. However, even if I were to hit that goal, I would just set a new dream goal. The sky is the limit so DREAM BIG and so always keep striving for improvement.

Keys to help sticking with your training goals:

1. “The will to succeed is important, but what’s more important is the will to prepare.”
Come up with a game plan or strategy as to how you will reach your goal. Don’t just wing it and then have high expectations! While training for Badwater, I had the help of a coach who had run the race before and planned out my workouts for me weekly.
2. “The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best.”
Always surround yourself with positive people who believe in you or have similar goals.
3. ”Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”
There will always be negative people who don’t think you can do something. Instead of letting them get to you, turn that negativity into motivation to prove them wrong!
4. “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
This year at Badwater, there was a 70 year old man who finished and beat me by 5 hours! If you really want something, never use age as an excuse.
5. “A goal is a dream with a deadline.”
If you are thinking of doing an event, sign up! It will help hold you accountable. Plus, no one likes to lose out on money!
6. “Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.” – Lance Armstrong
Tell friends and family your goals. When you make them public, you are much more likely to stick to them, rather than having to go back and tell them your lame excuse for quitting. Being sidelined with a serious injury is one thing, but I would hate to tell people I quit a race because I was tired or it was hard. And more importantly, I would be angry with myself.
7. “I’ve worked too hard and too long to let anything stand in the way of my goals. I will not let my teammates down and I will not let myself down.” – Mia Hamm
Think of the reasons why YOU want to achieve your goal and constantly remind yourself of them.
8. “To uncover your true potential you must first find your own limits and then you have to have the courage to blow past them.”
Never be afraid to set your goals high. Your body is TOUGH and can do more than you think could ever be possible.
9. “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather in a lack of will.”
When you feel tired and lazy, remember there is always someone out there working harder than you…
10. ”When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”

When you achieve a goal, its ok to savor the moment. Be proud of yourself!


The Graston Technique

Grit, Guts and Glory

A couple weeks ago I posted this picture on my Facebook, which got quite a response from people. I don’t blame them for being concerned. It looked like I either got the crap beaten out of me, fell off my bike and got some gnarly road rash or had chaffing from hell. However, it was none of those things. It was from a massage!

I was introduced to my massage therapist, Jess, by my boyfriend, Mark, and have been treated by him for a little over 2 years now. I see him on a weekly basis to help work out any injuries or little kinks going on with my body. During almost every massage, Jess does some tool work on me called, Gratson, which is what cased the bruising on my back. Even though these tools caused major bruising, I swear by them and think its totally worth it. I…

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508.. week 1

So after taking 2 full weeks off from any form of exercise (unless walking our 15 year old dog counts) and eating whatever the hell I want… I started training. For the 508.. dun dun dun!!! (pretend scary music is playing).

Cycling is hard. And there is so much stuff going on all the time! Like shifting gears and big rings and little rings. They are confusing. Apparently I have been riding in my big ring the whole time when I was suppose to be riding in my little ring? But then I changed it and it made riding uphill a lot easier, but then I tried to change back into the big ring and then my chain fell off and I kind of had a meltdown. Running is so much simpler.. you just go!

Besides having a meltdown about bike chains, the week was fairly good and I got in some good rides. Today was the best though, even though I didn’t bike as much as I was suppose to. The plan was to try for 145. I woke up early and got in 45 on my own through Santiago Canyon and then my friend, Sara, met up with me back at my house and we were going to do another longer, but slightly easier loop. However, Mark decided he wanted to join and that he wanted to go back through the canyon and take me on this nice “lollipop” loop to get in some good hills. I have learned though that good hills to Mark means steepest hill possible. I was not very excited about this (because I am still a slightly nervous nellie on my bike) but I knew that if I want to survive the 508 and its 36,000 ft of climbing, I better get my ass use to some hills. We went up the hill, “Modjeska Grade,” when I was 61 miles into the ride, which also marked the farthest I have ever ridden. At first it wasn’t so bad, but then we went up and up and up and it got HARD! I had to even stop and catch my breath once, but I made it and may have enjoyed it slightly.

After the death hill, we finished riding through the canyon (for my 3rd time of the day!) and back home. I had another semi meltdown on the way home. I was tired (I know.. wah wah), and I was over riding for the day and knew that once I was home I wasn’t going to go back out for any more miles and I wasn’t even close to my goal mileage for the day. I tried to convince Sara that I just am not cut out for the 508, but she was a good friend and didn’t give into any of my bull shit.

When I got home, I was at 84 miles for the day and exhausted. I texted,Traci and Coach Lisa and told them the bad news that I only made it to 84 for the day. For some weird reason, I thought maybe they would side with my stupid negative thinking that maybe I’m not cut out for the 508, but of course they didn’t. Lisa just said.. lets try for 75 tomorrow and Traci reassured me that 84 miles is still a far ways to go and also still a distance PR for me. I had a pity party for about 2 more minutes after Lisa suggested doing another long ride tomorrow. I was still doubting my cycling abilities and riding again tomorrow didn’t sound like fun at that moment, but then of course I got over it, got on the phone with Sara, and we started mapping out a ride for tomorrow and another long ride for us next weekend.

I know a couple paragraphs up I said that today’s ride was the best.. but then I went into a rant, doubting my abilities of the 508, so it probably doesn’t sound like it was a good day at all, but it really was great, I promise. I got to ride with my boyfriend and one of my best friends. And it was a beautiful day out. I had a couple low points, but those things happen sometimes and I’m just glad that I have friends that can snap me out of them 🙂 Also, bonus points, I got some sexy tan lines!

So onwards with 508 training!

And final note… My twin sister who I was separated at birth with (Traci Phillips) and I started a blog called “Grits, Guts and Glory.” We will be sharing stories of our own endurance adventures and also of others who have motivational stories or unique stories of what really goes on in the endurance world. In addition will be having some cool interviews with athletes and other sports specialists. Check it out at gritsgutsandglory.wordpress.com.