Smart goals are not always easy

Full disclosure, the term “smart” goal is not one I came up with; there is an entire field of study that dives deep into the effectiveness of having “SMART” goals. But nowhere in the definition does it state that SMART goals are easy #BQorBust. For a goal to be smart it should be; Specific (simple, sensible, significant), Measurable (meaningful, motivating), Achievable (agreed, attainable), Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based) and Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).

My goal is to qualify for the Boston Marathon (specific and simply stated), there is a time limit for my age group 3:15 or under (measurable and definitely motivating), I was able to finish a marathon in 3:35 (3:15 is therefore achievable), Qualifying for Boston is one of my long term goals of races to run (relevant and realistic) and finally not only is the qualifying time literally time-based I am also time bound as races are cut-off at a certain point in the year.

This is not an easy goal and my second week of training hasn’t been either;


Fatigue is starting to set in, last week was a busy week and this week is no different. I chose to run in the evening for my recovery run which probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do but I needed the extra hour of sleep. I had an all-day meeting today (conference call) but we broke for lunch and I got a 30 min workout in at lunch which helped literally wake me up. Left work at a decent time and headed out to the trail, it’s hot outside 94°F so finding a mostly shaded route was the smart thing to do. Ran 3.8 miles in 31:19 much better


Ok so my goals are smart but I never claimed that I was… last night we had dinner out and I ate as if I still weighed 230 pounds… not smart knowing that I had two runs today, well not smart regardless. Woke up at 5am, even at this time in the morning the heat and humidity is still brutal in the south… this run sucked!! 3.54 miles 30:26. Now, I know that’s not entirely bad, but I know better than to stuff myself the night before an early morning run… I’m off to work and my morning is booked solid with meetings so no opportunity today to break for gym time, I have to leave work early for a dental appointment and here is where things get fun… my one hour visit turned into two and my simple procedure turned into minor oral surgery, yay!! By the time I left the office I was in some serious pain… from there I drove to pick up my oldest daughter, she wants to talk and I can’tL, then it’s off to pick up my son (who quickly reminds me that I’m not mommy) and we are off to my middle child’s taekwondo tournament… did I mention I was in real pain?!? After the tournament more driving and finally get home, 8:49pm and I’m out the door for my second run 5.89 miles 49:10 shower and some painkillers and I’m out!


Today is a cross training day, so the plan is simple and so is my goal; take it easy! I had a few meetings in the morning, not a terribly busy day which is good. I am however having one little issue, remember that little procedure I had done yesterday, well I can’t eat solid foods so my energy is drained (Any suggestions?)… Lunch break and I hit the gym; 1 mile warm-up 8:22, core and upper body routine in the middle followed by 1 mile cool-down 9:47. I have to eat something other than soup… I’m getting the shakes and tomorrow the plan calls for an hour long run.


So I decided to forgo the morning run and move it to the afternoon. As you can imagine nutrition is of key importance while training and I need to get my body adjusted to an all liquid diet for the time being… I have a relatively easy schedule at work today so I got my circuit training in at lunch 3.02 miles 30 pull-ups, 60 dips, 75 push-ups & 90 sit-ups in 33:40. Trying to get in a good workout in preparation for Saturday, Asheville, NC Spartan Super!! I have been just the right amount of busy today which is good, I’m still not feeling 100% but the hour long run still needs to be done. Got home after picking up the kiddos, dinner, showers and get everyone off to bed… 9:31pm and I’m out the door; 7.23 miles in 1:00:39 not too bad for still being in pain.


Today is a rest day and I am not moving a muscle. This is a “SMARTER” goal for the week! By the way that is actual thing, look it up… If it wasn’t so hot I’d hang my hammock in the back yard…


The training plan today calls for a hill workout and a recovery run. Today is also the Spartan Super in Asheville, NC which means I have a 2 hour drive to the mountains an 8+ miles obstacle course race (OCR) and a 2 hour ride back home, this is going to be fun! The goals for today are; race smart and finish. I’m still in some pain but it’s not too bad, however because I haven’t eaten well the last few days I’m still feeling a little weak. Up at 3:45am in the car by 4 and I’m off; all checked in ready to race… race is delayed for 45 minutes… Finally we are called to the corral and we are up the mountain, 8.5+ miles, 26+ obstacles, 2800+ feet of elevation gain and about 90 penalty burpees later and I’m done 2:24:57. Not my best, but no injuries and certainly not my worse showing either. The lesson learned here; I am not a weight lifter so flipping a 400 pound tire is certainly not my forte, note to self, next time just go straight to the penalty box and save your back and about 5 mins… In the car right after a quick rinse and a 2 hour drive home… So when your plan calls for a “recovery” run on the same day as the Spartan Super… you take the family to the park and run slow and steady 2.9 miles in 32:54. I think I’m going to call it a day after that. Especially since tomorrow is my long run…


Remember I said I wasn’t smart?!? I think I just do that on purpose to push myself to the limits… So it was an easy breezy morning around the house, made some breakfast for the crew, sat on the couch for a little bit and then it came to me; why not go out to the USNWC and run my long run in the trails… then we can just hang out and do so many activities… super smart… Good thing the weather wasn’t all that bad, a cool sunny day in July, I will take it. 10 miles of trails in 1:51:20 followed by a late lunch and some adventure rafting, at some point in time you have to call it a day and wrap up the week, nothing says you can’t do it in style…

Just remember, even the best laid plans come with their share of challenges, be prepared to deal with the unexpected as you draft your goals. Think of what can happen and plan to mitigate the risk of occurrence. Make sure you are setting smart goals! When I first set out on my healthy journey my initial goal wasn’t to lose 60 pounds in a month; they were to get to 220 pound by x date or to run a 5 k by y date, they have always been smart goals; specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound. With a lot of emphasis on the achievable aspect of them; I know I can lose 10 pounds in a month but if I were to set the goal to lose 60 pounds in a month, then that would no longer be a smart goal…

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