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Posted on Jan 5, 2012 in Dear Diary, Races | 30 comments

The Plan

Making the New Year’s Resolution (or any resolution, or goal, or intention, or insert-synonym-here) is the first step. Making a plan to actually follow through with said resolution is the second step. Actually following through with that plan? That’s the hard part.

As you’ve seen, I’ve really been trying to get my eating back into gear over the past few days. Calorie counting is back in full force, along with primarily home-cooked and brought-from-home meals. We are all aware, however, that eating is only half the battle. Unfortunately, it’s time for me to face the music with that other pesky part of this weight loss game:


Exercise. (DUM DUM DUM)

I have barely broken a sweat since the Hot Chocolate 15K at the beginning of December, and it’s time to change that. I’ve admitted many times that I really can’t get myself to exercise without some sort of strong motivator, namely races. So! Here is my official announcement of my big racing plans for the foreseeable future!

I will be running the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler on April 1st, something that has been on my list of fitness goals since I started this blog. Can you believe it?! After the 9.3 miles (allegedly) of the 15K, this shouldn’t be too crazy, but again, I haven’t run in a month soooo, I’m going to need to build my stamina back up like WHOA.

What’s more, my goal is not going to be simply to finish this time (what was that about maintaining realistic goals? Ha!) No, this race is actually just going to be a precursor to something even greater, if you can imagine…

I will be joining some incredible, superfast bloggers in a relay for the Massachusetts Reach the Beach race on May 18 – 19! I’ve never done a relay race before, let alone one of this magnitude (200 miles in 36 hours, essentially!) and I am a turtle compared to amazing ladies like Tina, Anne, Theodora, Ashley, and Monica (among others!) who will also be on the team. There will (hopefully) be 12 members on our team, and we will rotate throughout the day and night (!), each running a total of 3 legs. Each stretch can be anywhere from 3 – 7 miles (I’m gunning for the shorter ones, obviously).

This is why my training plan for both the Cherry Blossom and this race will not only include stamina and endurance training, but actual speed training. SAY WHAAAT??! I know. It won’t be anything crazy or completely unrealistic, but I will be trying to hold my own. It’ll just be too embarrassing for me to drag down an entire team of awesome runners and bloggers by being slow. Nothing motivates me like the potential for humiliation! As dictated by the race rules, the team average needs to be 10 min/mile or less. I figure that since a bunch of my teammates will probably be running 8 – 9 minute miles, if I can weasel myself down to around or under 11 minutes per mile, it should still balance out. And hopefully nobody will hate me for it. I’ll be trying really hard guys, I promise! 🙂


So there you have it. Two BIG milestones to meet and BIG motivators for me. As part of my training, I’d like to participate in some smaller races, primarily 5Ks, to help encourage the running-without-stopping and running faster, as well as to make training more fun (I hate running but I love races!) Anyone know of any local 5Ks coming up in the next couple of months? I’m eyeing the Love the Run You’re with 5K in Arlington on February 12th (I’ve heard good things about Pacers events!) but am open to recommendations!

What am I doing here?

I should make it clear that I do NOT intend to allow myself to fall into the trap I did when I was “training” for the 15K. Namely, the “I just ran 7 miles, I can eat whatever I want!” trap. This is why I’m going to rely on you guys to help me realize when I’m starting to make those rationalizations. Yes, my caloric intake will probably not be limited to 1500 calories on days when I’ve had a long run, but neither does it allow me to consume all those calories in the form of cupcakes and french fries. So say we all.

What’s your plan for making your resolution stick?

PS: As of today, my new monthly column in the Falls Church News-Press is out! Check out the first edition of Fit in Falls Church today!


  1. I’m SO glad I found your blog and that you have a facebook page! You’re so inspiring! I have been tracking my cal on sparkpeople.com, and not drinking– that’s one of my big downfalls. I didn’t exercise last night, but am tonight. The not drinking is tough for me. My husband promised me that he wouldn’t drink in front of me, but yesterday on Day 2? He brought home a six pack. Thanks, husband.

    • My husband has a freakish metabolism and has no idea what a calorie even is. He will sit and eat a bag of chips right in front of me each night and not think twice about it (yeah I really want to smell/hear/see that). Ah, men…

  2. I think this is great Gretchen. Signing up for races can be a huge motivator in my opinion. It gives you something to work towards and you get the satisfaction of completing it. Sadly, I didn’t get into the Cherry Blossom race AGAIN! I was pissed. This is my 3rd year signing up, 2nd on the lottery. I’m going to volunteer, which is great, but I was pretty upset. Everyone I’ve talked to (about 7 people) who entered the lottery got in. Craziness.

    Anywho, I think these are some great goals. I made a list of races for the spring too, though I haven’t signed up for any as of yet. I need to do that today. http://www.coffeecakeandcardio.com/page/2/?s=I+hate+running


    • If I end up doing the Love the Run You’re With 5K in February too, we should meet up after or something! 🙂

  3. Hey Gretchen! Your column is awesome! I especially love the tip to “tell everyone” because I think that is a big key to making it stick. When I have any goal in mind, I always tell people, because it holds me accountable. For me, it works for BIG things (like when I said I was going to become a Bodypump instructor- and thought about not following through with it- but sucked it since I had told everyone!) or something tiny- like the other day, I told my friend that I would try out Bodystep class with her- then just didn’t feel like going and wanted to do something else instead, but made myself go because I had told her I would.
    Sorry to ramble- you know what I mean.
    I can make resolutions stick because mine are small and reasonable. I’ve been rockin’ the ‘drink more water’ thing- and you will rock your diet this year- I’m sure!

  4. I’m so excited that you’re joining us for Reach the Beach! You’ll be great and hopefully having these two races on the horizon will help you with speed training. I’m on the opposite end of you and have to remember that for me almost 80% of it is what I put in my body as lately I haven’t had an issue with the workout portion. Two days in and I’m feeling great! 🙂

  5. Way to be courageous, woman! Awesome commitments! You can totally do this! Don’t forget to find the sweetness in the sweating! : )

  6. Great job!! You are an awesome woman!! I too am facing the same challenges and realized that goals needed to be set, announced and worked on. I joined a half marathon training group just before the new year!! A 20 week program that holds me accountable to Wed night and Saturday 7am group runs. It was the best goal I could have set for myself. I hope you know that you are an inspiration and reading your blog helps convince me that my poor excuses can’t be used any longer. Thanks for sharing your wonderful journey with us and for being so honest along the way.

    You are going to do great picking up where you left off!!

  7. That’s really cool that you are doing a relay! I have a hard time with speed training too but sometimes I repeat to myself, “If you want to get faster, you have to run faster.” over and over and that seems to help.

  8. I did the Love the Run You’re with 5K last year and liked it a lot. There is a big uphill toward the beginning, but then you get to go down it at the end!

  9. Awesome plan Gretchen! Cherry Blossom is way too massive so I’m doing the GW Parkway Classic 10 miler instead (also in April). It’s put on by Pacers and they do great events so you can’t go wrong with Love the Run you’re with in February.

    Check out runwashington.com for local 5ks and other events.

  10. Looking forward to getting back into the running thing with you!!

  11. That relay sounds so awesome!! I would love to do something like that. You’re gonna rock it!!!

  12. Congrats on the column! That’s really fun. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for it.

  13. Fun relay! Although I know that I would be one of the people lagging behind if I ever decided to do something like that.

    I’ve decided to try hot yoga recently. Everyone I know who does is in really good shape and tell me that once I get passed the excrutiating heat and learning part, they LOVE it. So I have already told 3 people, 4 including you (and everyone who reads this comment) as a way of stopping me from wussing out. Hopefully it’s something I’ll be able to enjoy with time as well. It starts this weekend!

    • I really enjoy hot yoga! Once you get past the initial shock and sweatiness, it really makes you feel amazing afterward. I just don’t do it frequently because it’s so expensive around here, unfortunately.

  14. Congrats on the column and I can’t wait to get all sweaty with you in a van!

    I mean…

  15. I like your plan! Don’t worry too much about your speed though. I totally understand your wish to get faster since I’m about the same speed. I do the Ragnar Relay every summer, which is very similar to the Reach the Beach. I always put my pace in at a 12min/mile, and this year we even had another girl at a 12.5min/mile with no problems qualifying. We were all slower than our desired paces and had no problems there either. Have fun!

  16. Sounds like a GREAT plan! I love relays and want to do more! Good luck girl! You’ve got this!

  17. Good Luck with your races! I’m thinking about signing up for an aquathalon (not quite up for a tri..just yet) to motivate me to actually get my butt to the pool and after this blog post, I’m gonna do it! You’re an inspiration. I’m sure you’ll be fine with your pace, alot of my runner friends aim for a certain pace but then end up falling under it when it comes to the race itself. I, however, no nothing of such matters as I prefer excercise of the horizontal kind.

  18. Ok, um, oops. Just reread the last sentence of my comment and I just wanted to reiterate that I meant swimming. Not any other enjoyable acts in which one may partake in a horizontal position. Just swimming.

  19. My big thing was not calling them resolutions. The idea of the word lets me think they can be broken. Calling them goals makes them more achievable.

    I also love ratios (for every 4 workouts : one day off) and rewards for consistency not weight loss. I can control consistency with eating and exercise. Weight loss comes from that.

    Sounds like you have a great plan Gretchen!

  20. Those are awesome goals! I’m always in awe of people that can run. Good luck, can’t wait to read all about the races!

  21. You can do it! I began back in November working out on either a treadmill or elliptical machine 4 times a week at work, depending on which was available. Now since the New Year began I’ve been using an elliptical machine for 40 minutes 7 days a week. After I lose about 15 or so more pounds I plan to switch to the treadmill again to train for a 5k. I don’t have any 5k’s scheduled yet, but I’ve never done one and I’m making it a goal to do one someday this year. After the 5k, I’ll move onto bigger and better things.

  22. Pacers events are definitely the bomb-diggity. I’m thinking about Love the Run Your With and maybe the Four Courts Four Miler in March.

  23. Congrats on your upcoming races. I think a relay will be so much fun. I also fall prey to the “I ran x # of miles so I can eat whatever I want”. That would be why I trained and ran a marathon and gained a few pounds.

  24. Great post Gretchen, we’re delighted you’ll be running in our MA event and good luck with the training!

    • Thanks Martin! I’m sure it’ll be the experience of a lifetime!

  25. HALLO FRND. I recommend doing “Love the Run You’re With” if for no other reason than the adorable monkey t-shirts. Fun race, and last year I WON the karaoke competition at the afterparty!!! Not because I’m a good singer, but just cause I’m weird and people like that. I endorse any race that includes a free adult bev. 🙂 Also, if you guys need more team members for Reach the Beach, let me know! It’ll be a blast, I’ve done Ragnar and American Odyssey and had a great time. I’ve heard Reach the Beach is the original awesomeness and I’ve wanted to try it someday. I’m doing Cherry Blossom 10 Miler this year too! The only resolution I’ve managed to keep up is to do a race of at least 10 miles every fall and spring for.. well, as long as I can. Kept up 2 years now, so not too shabby! It’s not that hard for me anymore though, since the distance doesn’t seems much less scary so I train less and keep getting slower times. Maybe we could meet up at the track sometime for speed workouts, eh, eh? I SUPPORT YOU, GOAL-SETTER! 🙂


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