January Firsts

The year 2013 brought a lot of firsts for me.

I traveled to India.

And experienced my first Indian-wedding-caliber hangover.
And experienced my first Indian-wedding-caliber hangover.

I started a new job.

The view from my new building is the pits.
The view from my new building is the pits.

I taught a goldendoodle the ways of the force.

Er, taught a goldendoodle the ways of the force I did.
Er, taught a goldendoodle the ways of the force did I.

I went to my first NBA game, ran my first color run, went on my first pirate booze cruise and marched in my first New York City parade. And let’s not forget that epic birthday weekend in New Orleans, a city I visited this year for the first time since my conception. Thanks for that piece of information, Mom and Dad. Really made the trip special for me.

Unfortunately, 2013 also marked another first for me: It was the first time in recent history I failed to achieve my New Year’s resolutions.

I’m sure there were plenty of years in the not-too-distant past when my January resolutions also went unfulfilled, from that time I resolved to meet Harrison Ford to that time I resolved to marry Harrison Ford to that time I resolved to have my restraining order lifted by Harrison Ford, not to mention every single year prior to 2011 when I resolved to lose weight in the year ahead — and failed.

Not keeping my resolutions is nothing new for me in the long term, but at least during the past few years, I’ve been on a bit of a successful streak. In 2011, I resolved to lose 30 pounds and did; the following year, I wanted to run a marathon and accomplished that, too. I also vowed to floss in 2012, and — against all odds — have managed to keep that dream alive.

It helps when your niece goes in to get whatever you missed. Wait, was that joke too gross? Yes? Ok, delete it from your memory.
It helps when your niece goes in to get whatever food particles you missed. Wait, that joke was gross. Let’s forget I said anything.

But 2013 was different. Although I never actually put in writing  my New Year’s resolutions, I know what I wanted to achieve in 2013: a marathon PR in New York City. And not just any PR. I wanted to finish in 3:45.

Looking back now, I realize how silly that resolution really was. I’d finished my first marathon in just over 3:51, and while shaving 6 minutes off a multi-hour race may not sound like much, finishing in 3:45 would have required me to maintain an 8:35 pace the entire race — or almost 20 seconds per mile faster than my first marathon in October 2012. Add to that the fact that I trained less this year, with fewer long runs, virtually no speed training and a couple extra pounds on my frame, and hitting that elusive — and very arbitrary — 3:45 mark was simply not in the cards.

This. Is. As. Fast. As. I. Go.
This. Is. As. Fast. As. I. Go.

So with last year’s unresolved resolution in mind, I’m setting my sights on more achievable and measurable goals in 2014. Rather than setting up one lofty target for the new year, I’m going to target a series of self-improvements that I should be able to squeeze in even with my more demanding work hours and my rediscovered passion for sloth.

So without further ado, here’s what I’m aiming for in 2014:

Run a new PR. It doesn’t have to be a marathon or a half marathon or even a double-digit race. It could be a new 5K or 5 miler, or even a new distance or type of race altogether. Takes some of the pressure off each individual event if I have 12 whole months to achieve this.

Attend one group fitness class a week. Ideally, this would be yoga, but if I can’t get out of work in time, any strength training or even cardio class will fit the bill. This should help keep my cross training alive during racing season and make my $80 a month gym membership feel slightly less like a farce.

Eat five fruits or veggies a day. Let’s be honest, all five are probably going to be fruit. Chocolate-covered doesn’t count.

Stop ripping tags out of clothes instead of walking three steps to get the scissors. I mean, seriously. How many holes do I have to rip in new pairs of underwear before I realize my lazyman’s approach to tag-removal should probably be retired?

Go to at least one cultural event a month. Despite the plethora of museums and shows and art in this city, it’s easy to spend your entire weekend at the gym, at the bar or, let’s be honest, in bed with your sister’s Netflix account. At least once I month in 2014 — and hopefully more — I’ll step out of my comfort zone with a gallery visit or Broadway performance or musical act. It doesn’t have to be highbrow, as evidenced by my January activity that’s already lined up: bull riding. Stay classy, New York City.

What are your 2014 resolutions?



3 thoughts on “January Firsts

  1. Please be very, VERY careful on that bull. It’s surprisingly easy to end up underneath those brutes, and if one of its hooves makes contact with one of your knees you’re looking at a nasty torn meniscus, at the very least. Seriously, one of the speedier women in my run group is the grand-niece of Larry Mahan, and she recommends against it unless you’ve had plenty of specialized training. If it were me I’d use that Netflix account to pull up “Urban Cowboy”, watch Debra Winger ride the mechanical bull at Gilley’s, and call it a day — but then that attitude is probably why I didn’t score a single PR at any distance this past year… — Vaughan

    1. Let me rephrase: I will be watching professional bull riders in Madison Square Garden at a safe distance with a beer in each hand. The only stampede I expect to experience is waiting in line for a hotdog.

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