Every year in January, Team in Training gets nutritionist Nancy Clark (MS, RD, CSSD) to come to one of our Saturday trainings and give us a pep talk. I’m pretty sure that I could recite it by heart at this point, but there’s something about hearing from a lady with that many initials behind her name that lends weight to the following eminently reasonable words: “Chill. Out.” (Sure, what she REALLY says is that you need to eat the equivalent of a large pizza every day just to sit on the couch and grow fingernails, but that’s the message I take from it).
January is resolution time. Everybody knows this. The Today Show goes from hawking the butter-based pigs-in-blankets that will make your holiday party a hit to showing back-to-back segments on Dr. Oz’s acai and broccoli smoothies and Suze Orman’s “Burlap is So Hot Right Now: Tips for Household Savings.” My gym was crawling with newbs
giving treadmills the side-eye and clinging to water bottles like lifeboats. And for the first week or so, it IS really fun to set goals. Like, “This WILL be the year that I color-code and file every receipt for my organic free-range fair-trade groceries! And then, I’ll lunge my way to the soup kitchen to volunteer!”
Marathoners are particularly susceptible to this kind of thinking. We all have a time goal, even if that time is “Before April 2011,” and so we make grand plans involving speed workouts and juicers and REM sleep cycles. But even if you start with the best of color-coded, receipt-filing intentions, all those resolutions can get overwhelming. The next thing you know you’re eating, say, buttercream-frosted marshmallows instead of the whole wheat pasta with kale that you fully intended to and FREAKING. OUT.
So it’s around this time, when resolutions are starting to waver, that we all need a little Nancy Clark reality check. Goals are great. Thinking about trying to break 4 hours, or qualify, has gotten my butt out the door on many a cold morning. But when you pile on too many grand plans, you can lose steam for actually doing the work that will get you there. It’s great and all if you can get your 10 hours of sleep and start your day with a Dr. Oz Acai-Broccoli Bonanza, but it’s far better, in my opinion, if you can roll out of bed exhausted and after some questionable nutritional choices and still put every buttercream-marshmallow-fueled ounce of yourself into your run.
Aside from Nancy and her welcome recommendation to just relax and eat a pizza, the Saturday dedications from my teammates are a pretty good reminder that all the plans in the world aren’t going to guarantee that things turn out the way you want them to. Goals are important – the goal of finding a cure is what keeps us and our honored heroes going – but the only way to reach them is to keep plugging away even when things aren’t perfect. So, from my imperfection perch (unmade bed littered with receipts and cupcake crumbs), I am asking you to please consider making a donation to help us keep plugging away towards our goal!!