Being Realistic

I don’t normally talk about my goals on the blog too often, mostly because I never achieve them. I know lots of other bloggers often write about their goals because they say their blog keeps them accountable. Well, this blog doesn’t keep me accountable for shit. I wish I could say that I feel guilt or disappointment that I didn’t reach a goal because I put it “out there,” but I don’t. I’m perfectly fine letting everyone know I fail.


I wrote a goal post awhile ago and when I look at those goals now, I see that I only achieved two out of six of them.

I’ve also mentioned wanting to lose 10 lbs, but that hasn’t happened either. I’m unwilling to give up beer and cupcakes for the long haul.Β I eat well most of the time and I work out hard, but beyond that I still want to live. So maybe I’m not serious enough about goals? Or maybe I’m just the queen of goal-achieving suckage?

So mean. Yet so cute.

Yesterday, I tried to make up a 10-miler that I should have done this weekend. I made it 4.3 miles until I quit. I was tired, it was my day off, and I wanted to be on the couch. Not even a good excuse.

Next weekend, I’ll be out of town so I won’t be able to run long then either. Which brings me to the one goal that I (also) haven’t met: running a sub 2-hour half marathon. It’s the one goal that I actually really care about. I’ve been trying for two years and it still hasn’t happened.

I got close…once. A long time ago (2:02:41).

The fact that I might not be able to get in a long run for two weeks before my race doesn’t seem like the best strategy for making my goal happen even though I’m trying my best to keep up with speed training. So basically what I’m saying is that I suck at achieving goals and given my track record, I think we know how my race will go in two weeks.

So anyway, I’m not saying all this to fish for encouragement. I’m not. At all. I’m saying this because I wanted to share two posts from other people that I really liked about meeting goals:

  • This post about a half marathon PR that is really inspiring (especially since he didn’t really want to run the race).
  • This post about a marathon DNF (that’s Did Not Finish for the non-runners) that is still pretty inspiring even without the happy ending.

When I have trouble inspiring myself, I’m glad there are people out there that give me a little inspiration when I need it.

You catch all that, Pants?

I thought so.


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27 responses to “Being Realistic

  1. Well, even though I was SO undertrained and a TOTAL failure, glad I could inspire you! But I will say this–hard truth coming at you–meeting my goals has always taken sacrifice. Hard speedwork and tempo runs. Early mornings. No booze. No sugar. I think it’s good to know, though, that even if you DO do everything right, sometimes goals just don’t work out. So as long as you’re not basing your self worth on your success or failure, I think you’re good. I mean, perfecting your cupcake eating strategy is a good goal, too.

    • Paula

      I have perfected my cupcake eating. That was priority one over running. Duh. I have been doing good on my speedwork/tempos! It’s just the long runs that haven’t been as awesome as I would like. So if this race was just a 2 mile HIIT run, I’d be good to go. πŸ˜‰

  2. I’m not crazy about public goals either. I typically make a list of NY “resolutions” that I aim toward, but I try not to beat myself up about them throughout the year. This is the second year that I’ve tried to lose (again) the last 10 (20) lbs, but it’s just not happening. I think the only way I was able to do it in the past was not having a full-time job and being active 2-3x a day like a crazy person.

    I was just looking at my race history and realized that I didn’t PR any distance this year. I know it’s not always about PRs, but I hate to think that I’m getting slower, not faster. It’s a tough mental thing to get over even though I’m definitely more consistent about running when I’m training for something than not, which I suppose regardless of time is something to be proud of. I still tell people I have NO CLUE how I ever hit a 2:04 half time because now I can barely eke out 2:25. What drugs was I on?!

    • Paula

      I feel the same way about my PR! Like, how did I do that? I remember I had tummy issues for the last 5 miles of that race too and was looking for a port-o-potty most of the way. I can’t even run that fast without the tummy problems now. If you find out what drugs you were on, send some to me in the next two weeks. πŸ˜‰

  3. Yep, I’ve given up throwing out “goals”. I know I just did a resolutions post, blah blah but whatever. I definately keep my running goals off the blog now because I like to take the Paula route of running secret races and hitting PRs.

  4. Angie @ Fitness Girl Kitchen Stories

    Goals is something I talk on my blog mostly about running. And i am always proven wrong because of injuries. So I barely talk about them anymore. The links you provided are very inspiring. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Wow… first off a bazillion thanks for linking to my race review, and I’m pretty goshdarn honored to be somehow inspiring! Usually I’m just known as “a pushy loudmouth always stickin’ his nose into everybody else’s bizness”, thanks to an unfortunate Tweet from my Aunt Sylvia (may or may not have actually happened) (may or may not actually have an Aunt Sylvia). So um…cool πŸ™‚

    Here’s the paradox of the whole goal thing: it always seems the most gratifying if you can back it up with empirical analysis, rather than through a healthy dose of perspective and catharsis. I’m always telling people it’s not about how fast they run, their pace, their time, the whole competitive angle; it’s simply about getting out there and doing it, period. Challenging yourself to cross the finish line, strong and upright, and let the competitiveness/statistics be damned. But in the end, what am I always doing? The Qualitative Analysis. How did I stack up? Did I do better? Am I running faster, what’s my Age Grade percentage, how do I measure up against other men [stupid freakin’ gorilla Y-chromosome], other men my age, did I hit a time/pace that justifies all the long hours I’d much rather be playing videogames, watching TV, chowing on Dim Sum and perfecting the time-honored lost art of Norwegian Hammer Dancing? (“Kan ikke rΓΈre dette!”)

    I always get hung up on the numbers. ALWAYS! I beat myself up when I head out to do 5 or 6 miles and just hit a wall at 4 and then peter out entirely. Or when I check my GPS report later and the results are freakin’ dismal. Because like anyone who is competitive — and let’s face it, we run because we ARE competitive — there’s the inevitable letdown when you set a hard, empirical goal and you fall short, or even fall really freakin’ long. I also wanted to sub-2-hour, at Disneyland last August, and I wasn’t even close. I didn’t even PR. I had spent 4-months on a strict time-improvement running program, and saw basically ZERO improvement. I had a fun time at the race, but… I was so crestfallen at the time, I couldn’t even blog about how disappointed I was. I just stuck to the positive and put on Pollyanna ‘Glad Game’ face. Except I’m nowhere near as cute as Hayley Mills was. Or is!! #oldcrushesdiehard

    But then, you know, there’s one simple, real, genuine, and yes, EMPIRICAL truth about running and races. No matter how you do, no matter how fast you go, no matter how slow you end up, or what hurts, or if some guy in an Elvis costume does a celebratory twirl just around mile 5 and clothes-lines you right in the trachea, causing you to hit the asphalt faster than Norman Lear at a Methodist Cake Walk [no idea where that came from], no matter how little you see in your actual results, no matter how disappointed you are in yourself, or discouraged, or angry, or indifferent… you ran faster, stronger, and better than everyone who stayed home. Who slept in. Who never bothered. Who went out doing shots the night before off the midriff a stunning 20-something Thai knockout (may or may not have actually been female) and was still driving the porcelain bus when you got up at 4am with not enough sleep and too much anxiety. Your victory was lining up at the start line and getting your game face on and ignoring the Roscicrucian team snickering at your homemade “Johnny 5” costume. The victory is in the doing, or the attempt, or the will try and train and hurt and bleed and tear yourself apart only to put yourself back together even stronger.

    Whoa… does anyone else hear the Rocky theme playing?…. Crap, that’s the schmuck from Purchasing’s ringtone… he makes THE worst coffee.

    Goals are awesome and important and necessary, something to strive for, but you know what happens when you achieve them? They’re never enough, because you immediately set another one, because you’re competitive, because you don’t want to sit on your laurels, get complacent, etc. But look at EVERYTHING you’ve accomplished. Take a page from neuro-linguistic programming [or, like I do, the Cliffs Notes version, because what I know about NLP I could fit in a thimble and still have room for the Chinese Army]: grab the person you were before you started running and became dedicated to an ideal that required discipline, determination, and endless hours of hard work, and have them analyze who you are now. Obviously I’m making massive assumptions here because I barely only know you through your blogs, but I’d wager that, in lavish amazement, her proverbial jaw will hit the floor, Norman Lear-style [which btw is the next big Korean dance hit].

    (Me? Two years ago I was a stone’s throw away from 300 pounds, smoking a pack a day, anemic, and so fat, slow, and lazy, he wouldn’t recognize what I’ve turned into. Funny how turning 40 turns almost anyone into a walking, talking mid-life crisis cliche.)

    Always hold on to your goals; you need them to drive and motivate you, but not define you. And as my frankly fictitious Aunt Sylvia used to say: “Kan ikke rΓΈre dette!” before tragically plummeting into a thresher. WHOA totally didn’t mean to write a book here…

    • Paula

      I’m trying to decide if I should read this comment or wait for the movie. πŸ˜‰
      And who told you about the Johnny 5 costume?
      But seriously, I get it. I am the master of holding onto my goals. For years and years. And of course you are inspiring! Didn’t you say not long ago that your body is comfortable at a 2:15 half pace? Well, look at you now!

  6. Amber K

    Shoot, I’m supposed to have goals? I swear, I’m always the last to know. Maybe I’ll figure one out sometime.

  7. Hee hee. Love the captioned photos!

    I am the same way. I am not ashamed to not make a goal, so sharing it does not help me. I am not sure what encourages me to stick to things. Nothing that I have figured out yet!

  8. CathyJ

    Preach on sister! I make goals…but goals by their definition are desired objectives and sometimes our desires change (or get changed for us). At least you set a goal and point yourself in that general direction. I’d rather have a fuzzy focus than no focus at all. πŸ˜€

  9. Bunny in a backpack! Love πŸ™‚

  10. Verlin

    Sporting that one ear, Pants can likely claim FOUR years of listening to you as opposed to two. Last year at my office Christmas party I had a smidge too much alcohol and told multiple people to expect me to have reduced by body fat by 10% by March. I’ll let you fill in the blanks on how that one worked out.

  11. It’s funny that you posted this b/c I’ve had a similar one swirling in my head. Basically, I could have written the first few grafs of this. I feel many of the same things — I desperately want to lose weight; but I desperately want to eat and drink what I want. I want to do something like run a half marathon; but I hate running and I’m trying to force myself to get over that.

    Here’s the great thing about goals though — you’re allowed to change your mind. And letting yourself off the hook isn’t failing. It’s being smart enough to know when something isn’t going to work out for whatever reason (in my case, it’s usually laziness).

    And, by the way, you totes inspire me all the time. Between your Crossfit, running and jujitsu (or whatever cage-fighting thing you do), you’re always inspiring me to at least THINK about trying new things, even if I don’t quite get around to doing them. πŸ™‚

  12. new reader and u freaking crack me up!! luv ur humor, snarkisms and such are the best. that said, i’m sort of the same way about a few things u mentioned, one that i will not give up my fav foods. my motto is run hard, eat hard…i figure i run enough and DESERVE to eat wat makes me happy. πŸ™‚

    that said i’m pretty OCD about my running, but we all have those days where we just aren’t feeling the run. i’d suggest that since breaking that 2hr mark IS a goal that really means a lot to u…the next time u’d rather cut the run short just remember that goal. ya, sounds super hallmarky, but write down 2hr’s if u have to and put it up where u’ll see it every day. maybe write it on a running shoe, and just remember that u freaking WANT to run that time…cuz u can do it. πŸ™‚

  13. Miz

    I roll goal free these days—it’s just whats working for me right now.
    tomorrow it may allll change πŸ™‚

  14. Sometimes I make goals public… but definitely not because it makes me “more accountable”… just because it’s hard sometimes to talk about running and races and such SO much and not think about them.

    I DEFINITELY agree with you about not wanting to give up living for a few pounds or whatever. I mean– let’s just be honest– CUPCAKES ARE JUST TOO GOOD to never be eaten again.

    I think you might suprise yourself at your upcoming half. Just think of it this way– your legs will be SO FRESH. Do you have a faster friend you could run with at the race? Make them be a pacer of sorts? That always seems to work (though I’ve never personally tried it because no one I know who lives close to me in “real life” actaully runs). Either way, I KNOW you’ll achieve that goal some day.

    I have a sub 2:00 half goal too… so, hopefully we’ll BOTH achieve it… and soon! πŸ™‚

    • Paula

      Aww, thank you. We WILL get our sub-2! I did think that maybe I would be super rested by then. Which would be awesome. I’ve also heard that any training you do 2 weeks before a race doesn’t actually help – it’s all the training you do before then. So hopefully that is true!

  15. PattiR

    Would it make you uncomfortable if i profressed my undying love for you?? Aside from the fact that you’re the funniest person i don’t know – you’re willingness to be totally honest is awesome beyond belief. I too am not good at making my goals public (or even setting really specific gols to begin with) because i’m so hard on myself when i don’t achieve them. We, as women, are our own worst critics. Stop being so hard on yourself. Take the little victories when you can and celebrate them. With cupcakes and beer of course.

  16. Jina

    It’s almost certain that I will fail at any publicly professed goal. I should stop doing that, too.

  17. If I could give up beer and food with taste, I would be in far better shape. I would also enjoy an actual metabolism, but that isn’t going to happen at nearly 30. Instead, I just try to break even. I make sure I eat a lot of good food, but most days I am just so hungry, I can’t help but fall short on portion control. I am a poor excuse for a runner until I hit the road or the gym.

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