{2017-The Year of Black Coffee?}

Could this Starbucks latte loving girl possibly learn to actually enjoy a black coffee in the upcoming year?  I’m nearly positive NO!  So why the post title?

While I may never find pleasure or enjoyment in drinking a simple black coffee, something strange happened this year.  I’ve always been a when I have more, then I will be really happy type of person. When I have more money, more clothes, more time, more this or more that.  Case in point, during Black Friday deals I had to get as much as I could for the best deals because surely getting that deal on the scarf and that shirt and so on would make me happy.

That’s the funny thing that happened though.  When the scarf arrived I found it didn’t really make me happy.  Sure it was cute.  It was warm.  It was a good deal.  But I wasn’t any happier.

Later when trying to find room for that new scarf amongst the dozens I already owned, I grew frustrated.  I quickly shoved it on the shelf to deal with the problem later.  A problem it was when, while in a hurry the next day, I grabbed the scarf and a whole bunch fell out without time for me to put them back.  Dozens of moments like this seem to happen to me each week this year.  I never put much thought into them until recently.

I mentioned in a recent Instagram post that I’ve started listening to podcasts while I walk to help me enjoy my non-running time. I’ve begun to find an enjoyment in these walks that was unexpected since it both gets me out (some days) and gives me a chance to listen and learn. My favorite podcast lately is called The Minimalists.  The Minimalists discuss just what their title implies; they discuss ways to minimize things in your life in exchange for living a life of intention.  A meaningful life means doing and owning only things that really enhance your life and bring it purpose.

After listening to their first few podcasts and thinking about an analogy they made with coffee, I related it to my own life.  They mentioned the simplicity of enjoying black coffee. Think about it.  Black coffee is uncomplicated, found in most places, cheap and quick to make.  There is no need to drive somewhere extra or special to get a cup.  No essential ingredients or person specific ways to order.  Simple.  Less complicated.   Less expensive. Less ingredients.  Less.  (ok tasty too, but stay with me.)

For some reason thinking about the simplicity of black coffee got me thinking back to the scarf situation in particular.  What if I had fewer scarves?  What if I had less?  It would be easier to organize and find the ones I was looking for.  I wouldn’t have a mess to clean up when others fall down because I have so many.  Choosing which one to wear would be easier because there would be fewer choices.  I would save time and money by not buying more.  I would always be able to find the one I was looking for.  Maybe there is something to this less thing.

After numerous scarf-like instances this year, I find myself thinking about life in a different way.  I’ve always known I didn’t want the biggest home we could afford. More to clean.  Less money for travel and experiences.  But that’s the extent of my less is a good thing thinking until recently.  

For the first time, in perhaps ever, I find myself wanting less in my life.  In 2017 my hope is not for more.  Most resolutions and new year goals focus on more.  Having more. Getting more.  Working for more stuff.  Having the best and newest version of what we already have.  Wanting less sounds strange until you think about it. Less things to clutter my home.  Less time wasted on things that don’t truly make me happy.  Less stressing about things that don’t matter.  Less not liking my body.  Less debt. Less of what is not important.

This canvas has hung in our entry way for seven years. I’ve always been drawn to it and often would pause in front of it to think about if I was living a meaningful life. I finally feel like I might know how to start to make that happen.


This year I’m going to get rid of the things I don’t need to make our day-to-day easier and more managable.  This year I will spend less time on what is not important to me.  This year I will buy less stuff and instead spend only on what makes my heart content or is a need.  This will lead to less debt (more money for those student loans) and less stuff.  I will work hard to get in the best shape I can to have less stress and weight.

While I may never become a black coffee fan, I’m going to be embracing the less is more lifestyle to help me live a life that is meaningful to me.  May the upcoming year be filled with less and full of intentions that make my heart happy.

Maybe more isn’t the answer for you either.  Consider a life of less in 2017.

Sarah

{Back to the Basics}

 

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I never planned to go over three years without running a marathon.  I didn’t know in 2014 that crossing the Missoula Marathon finish line, my second marathon in nine days, would be my last for a while. Two kids later and that’s my story.  With plans to cross another state off of my goal to run a marathon in every state coming in September, I’ve decided to use 2017 as a year of regaining fitness and strength. 2017 will be a year to return to the basics.

Since it’s been a while since I’ve trained for and ran 26.2 miles, I’m going to start small, build strength and endurance, and work up from there.  I’m going to train for a 10k first, something I’ve never done before (the training part).  I know I could run this distance without following a plan, but I want to slowly increase my mileage while letting myself recover from having a baby even more. I wanted a plan that would slowly add in miles and balance cross training.  After completing my 10k plan (8 weeks), I will reevaluate and select a half marathon training plan (12 weeks) and then a marathon plan (18 week).

The 10k plan has me running three days a week, which seems perfect for right now.  I will add in more days as it seems to be appropriate.  Hal’s plans are so customizable and adjustable for every runner’s ability level.  I’ve used many different plans in the past, but often come back to his.  His plans make it possible to adjust midway through to a tougher or easier plan if needed.

I’ve always liked the way a training plan simplifies the process of reaching a distance goal and have used many different versions. I like being able to look at my plan and know what to run and how without having to put too much into organizing these details.  There are so many training plans out there that I don’t need to create my own.  The plan I’m following lets me choose my cross training, which gives me plenty of personalizing (and I’m so excited to mix it up with some fun workouts).  Right now my life is chaotic to say the least so looking at a piece of paper and seeing what my workout is for that day is what I need. Being able to rearrange days is also essential as my days don’t always go as planned.

My 10k plan started last week and will last 8 weeks.  Because gaining strength all over and remaining injury free is my goal, I’m following a novice plan with cross training days being essential.  On cross training days I will continue my workout DVD’s (Knocked Up Fitness and Katy Bowman are a couple I use) and DR exercises from Katy Bowman’s book Diastasis Recti and several I’ve found online.  Cross training will remain a key part of my marathon training.  As I progress in strength and fitness, I will add more running and speed.  I also plan to change-up my cross training as my DR closes.

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It’s been nearly 4 years since I trained hard for a marathon.  I missed qualifying for the Boston Marathon by 1:36 at the RnR Arizona Marathon in 2013.  Since then I’ve had two babies, which has made it difficult for me to remain committed to my training.  I plan to revisit this goal when I’m in better shape and have more time to devote to it.

Three years is a pretty large gap in marathons and my body is in no shape to be chasing after a PR.  My training will reflect that.  There will not be many speed workouts or tempo days.  You won’t see multiple high mileage weeks in a row.  I won’t be doing several 20 milers or more.  There will not be two runs in a day.

You will see rest days and a gradual increase in miles.  My training plan will in a way follow my baby getting older.  I like that this should prevent me from becoming too overwhelmed and make my small goals lead to accomplishing my big goal.  It really takes the pressure off and lets me enjoy being a mom while letting me do what I love.  It should also set the stage for advancing my training the next marathon cycle.  Why I thought jumping into a marathon training plan after my last baby was the only way to go I don’t know.

This time I feel so much more confidant in my ability to do this largely in part to the progressing plans plan I have.  When choosing a training plan the most important aspect to consider is how it will fit into your life and your current fitness level.  If the miles and workouts don’t match your current life (fitness level, demands outside of running, etc.), then you will have a really hard time succeeding.  Even with the perfect plan will it still be hard?  Yes!  Will balancing training, working, being a mom and breastfeeding still be overwhelming? I have no doubt!  Will some difficult choices and sacrifices have to happen? You bet!  Will it be worth it? Of course!!

If you’re returning to running in any capacity (new, former, had a baby, kind of been slacking) this is a perfect goal for 2017.  Join me in reaching your fitness goals by starting small and working your way to your big goal for 2017.  I will be documenting my training here and on Instagram (sneaksandstilettos) to help myself stay accountable and hopefully get some of you to go after your 2017 goals.

We have to start somewhere; let’s start small.  Baby steps!

Sarah