Thank you for letting me share my thoughts on the December Go the Distance challenge. I’d say thank you for selecting me, but seeing as I was the only volunteer, you’re rather stuck with me. [hardy har har.... I'd gladly be stuck with you, Carrie :P] Robby has put together a fantastic challenge and I’ve really enjoyed it. I’ve also learned so much and changed so much from when I did the OctGTD challenge.
When I set my first goal in the October challenge, I was freaked out. I remember my hesitation after putting in my goal number and pushing enter. Here I was telling the whole blog world that I was going to achieve a certain goal at the end of a month. And all these people were going to watch my miles add up or not. Scary stuff!
But I did it! I realized very quickly that no one was judging me on what I achieved. There were so many people who were just there to cheer me on, when I was doing well, or when I wasn’t. This challenge was for me, not for them. That first month, I set the goal rather conservatively for myself. For November, I added to the numbers by what I felt was a lot and really got into ticking off the mileage after each workout. For both months, I tracked running/walking and elliptical training.
On December 1st, I pledged to complete 70 miles only running/walking. I’ve just begun an 8 week training plan for my first 10K on Super Bowl Sunday, so I looked at my plan, added up the mileage required and went with that. My goal was basically to keep myself accountable to my training program and take advantage of the awesome support system of the GTD gang on Twitter.
After the first week, my hip flexor started to hurt. I had to stop working out for a few days. Then I realized that I can’t count and I had my weeks messed up, so my mileage didn’t increase at the rate I’d thought for the month. By 12/18, I had only completed 26.85 miles (40% @ almost 60% of the month). By then, my hip was feeling fine but I didn’t want to increase my mileage to the point of injury again to meet my GTD goal.
I had to adjust my thinking a bit to just be happy with my slow increase of mileage. As a result, I noticed that I was actually getting closer to my goal. All of a sudden, that 70 mile mark was within reach. I did adjust my cross-training days to be walking with a few short jogs in order to get some more mileage. On New Year’s Eve morning I had 1.5 miles to go, so I took my dog for a brisk walk to surpass my 70 mile goal by .5 miles! I did it!
Thank you to Robby for organizing this challenge and for putting together the spreadsheet of all spreadsheets for us to track our progress.
On the spreadsheet, we were also asked to track our water intake and our fruit and veggie consumption. Personally, this was the hardest part of the challenge and it was also the most informative. For me, I had the hardest time tracking my water. My reusable bottle is 24oz and on most days, I drink at least 3 bottles full (especially on workout days, I’d get 2 of them in before getting home from the gym). My regular drinking glasses hold 15oz. and I know I’d drink one at lunch and one at dinner. Just the mental tracking of the water made my brain hurt, so I decided early on that I’d mentally estimate and just give myself the 64oz. if I know I exceeded that.
The fruit and veggie tracking was even harder. I have to say I didn’t Go the Distance in my tracking of this. I’d record my efforts 1x per day. I’d remember my meals and put in what I remembered. What I did notice was telling – on days that I consumed the proper servings, I also ate rather healthy. The days where I fell short of the RDA were also the days that I went overboard on sweets or overate in general. For me, this was almost the best part of the challenge. I’ve tracked food and calories and all that for a long time. But, I have never broken out fruit and veggie servings separately and noticeably. I’ll remember this for when I feel my eating getting out of hand – simply track fruits and veggies on their own and I’ll see how I’ve not eaten enough and therefore gone overboard with less healthy for me foods.
I’ve learned that I don’t usually tackle a project that I know I can’t complete. I’m risk-averse in that way that I don’t want to set myself up for failure. During December, I thought a lot about how I’d feel if I didn’t make that 70 miles. Was I going to be okay with that? I think it would have been ok since I had also kept up my mileage and only not been able to get the goal because of my injury. If I had found myself skipping workouts because I didn’t feel like going or was tired or something, then I think I would not have been satisfied with my performance.
In wrapping up the month for everyone, I wanted to talk about those who may have not been so active with us this month. Looking at the spreadsheet, there were approximately 25% of the original 72 people who didn’t record any progress. Where did you all go? Was it an additional challenge for you to commit and track publicly to the goal? Did you work towards your goal and just not record anything? I do hope you see that the challenge is a positive one and that all are welcome and all are encouraged to succeed in even the smallest of steps.
Going the Distance does not equal achieving 100% of your goal. Going the Distance is about setting a goal and working towards bettering yourself. Sometimes we need to challenge ourselves to step it up in order to see change. Which brings us to January. Robby has stepped it up for us with the help of the wonderful Rachael to bring a challenge that incorporates strength. I’ve signed up to complete 75 miles and 12 strength workouts.
What are your goals for January’s GTD challenge? I can’t urge you enough to set a goal and do this for yourself. Start the year off right and take care of yourself. Happy New Year!
Other #DecGTD wrap-ups:
Simon has a little bit about #DecGTD here.