Monday, March 21, 2011

First race for 2011

Well, my training has been on and off through the fall and winter of 2010. But I got it together in early February and managed to stay healthy and train consistently.  This is my first race for 2011.

Harry's Spring Run-off
March 20th 2011, Stanley Park

Official results:

55:08.64 net time

40/51 Women40-44
344/490 Total Women
764/959 Overall
6:54/km avg pace

I have decided that 2011 will be a "recovery" year. 2010 was very training-focused and I felt that other aspects of my life - work, relationships, hobbies - were a bit lacking in attention. So... I am not planning  on doing a triathlon this year. Because to improve in triathlon I will have to spend more focused time on my swimming and cycling. Time that I am not prepared to carve out t the moment. I have tons of work to do on my swim - kicking, open water confidence. More importantly, my cycling needs some serious work - confidence, bike handling. These will require more training, more financial investment, and more learning. And while I am all about continuous learning and improvement, I feel that 2011 is not the year to do that. Perhaps 2012. 

So the focus, then, for 2011, is simply to stay healthy, train consistently, and keep up my running fitness through a series of 5k, 8k, and 10k races, leading up to a half marathon or two later in the season. I want to become a better runner, fine-tune my form and simply enjoy running. 

This first race felt good. It felt great to be racing again - to build, taper, feel the nerves at the start and pushing myself. This was a good finish time, too.  My previous 8k time had been 56:58, although I had run some previous longer races with a faster pace at the 8k mark. But, considering I had been struggling to stay consistent and healthy, this 55:08 finish is faster than all my recent training runs. I'm very pleased with it. I am also pleased about how I had prepared for this race, on my own and not coached. I planned out my own training and taper, and it worked very well. I would probably still get coaching help for a longer race like a half marathon, but for a short race like this, I was completely confident about setting up the training plan myself.

Next up, a 10k in April perhaps...

Monday, June 7, 2010

I Came, I Saw, I Finished!

May 24, 2010. My first triathlon. 17 months in the making, DONE and in the books. 

It was one of the most challenging, frightening, frustrating, and ultimately, rewarding things I have ever done. What an incredible learning experience! Getting here, as I have tried to chronicle in this blog, was an extraordinary exercise in self-discipline, time management, trust, conquering fears, and pushing limits. I learned so much about myself, and more importantly, the value of having a support system -- awesome friends who cheered me on and lived vicariously through my journey, as well as experienced athletes who offered encouragement and advice -- thank you, all!


I was a nervous wreck the week prior to the event - nervous to the point of wanting to get sick so I wouldn't have to get through it. At the same time, there was tremendous excitement -it was finally here!

Setting up at transition

The organized chaos that is the transition area really does nothing to calm a nervous racer down. The speakers are blaring, gear and people all jumbled together. I wanted to run away. But then I thought, "I'm here. There is no turning back now. I just need to get this done."

Body Marking

I had no time goals. None. This being my first event, I tried not to put any extra pressure on myself. Having all my friends know I was doing it was pressure enough. My only goals were to experience it, finish, and learn from it so I know what to do better next time. (Yes, there will be a next time because I'm just that crazy.) I had calculated, based on my training, that I could reasonably complete it in 2 hours and 15 minutes. Anything less than that would be icing on the cake.

Nice form, right?

I was in the last wave of swimmers - because all the slow swimmers must start last. I was especially nervous about the swim and the interminable wait just made it worse.  I just wanted to get through it without struggling or having to stop. Basically, I wanted to survive it without becoming an embarrassment.  Surprisingly, the swim went very well. Better than I expected. For all my nervousness, my training just took over once I got in the water. I kept a very even pace, and felt good. It was over before I knew it. 

Then it was on to the bike.  You want to know something? I also suck on the bike. Well, I can ride a bike, but the bike I got for racing is very fast and I am very scared on the downhills (a common problem I learned). And because I am afraid of said bike, I have spent very little time on the roads with this bike. Race day, I was very nervous about looking like a fool who couldn't get on and off the bike fast enough, or worse, falling off and looking like an even bigger fool. (Looking like a fool is a very real fear of mine, as you can probably tell.) I had my pedals changed into one of those combination-types so I could opt not to use the clipless pedals. My only goal: stay ON bike and don't fall off. Needless to say, I was very slow and cautious. BUT, I did not fall off and managed to stay cool the entire time, even when the elites started to catch up to me and were yelling for me to keep right so they could pass. Whew!
Trying to look cool...and upright

What a relief it was to finally get on the run! Running, I can do. I have come to love running. The irony is when I first started training, running was the one thing I could not do. I had to learn how to run, but thought I had the bike and swim licked. See the pattern here? I basically had to start from scratch in EVERY component. Those of you who grew up in sports and are natural athletes are probably thinking I am the biggest dork for struggling through all 3 sports. But I did. 

The run course was mostly uphill. I remember thinking, "WTH?" I was so worried about the swim and bike that I put no thought into checking how the run course was set up. The uphills were painful, but 5k is such a short distance, after having run 21k only 3 weeks prior. I had enough left in the tank and felt really good on the run. I would later find out that my 5k time was my best ever. I must have been really pushing. 
The Finish Line

Crossing the finish line strong was the best feeling. I was among the last to finish but I didn't care. I finished in 2:02:32 - well below my projected 2:15 finish time. Here's the official time breakdown (including transition times):

SWIM (750m) 25:54
BIKE (20km) 1:06:35
RUN (5km) 30:05
Total 2:02:32

In the end, all the training I put in made it easy to get through the physical challenge required of me. The real difficulty was getting past the mental obstacles. And that is something I will have to contend with as I move forward. I need to believe in myself, trust the training, and not let my fears paralyze me.

What an amazing journey. Setting the goal, doing the work, getting it done, crossing that off the bucket list. I feel like a different person. I have been transformed. This non-athlete became a TRI-ATHLETE! 

What's next (some changes since last post):
Scotiabank Half Marathon - June 27
Point Grey Sprint Triathlon - July 25
Kelowna Apple Triathlon (Open Water) - August 21
Turkey Trot 10k - October 11

Monday, May 3, 2010

Stepping Outside My Comfort Zone: My First Half Marathon

Experienced runners say you should savor running your first marathon/half marathon (or whatever distance). There will be other races but you only have one first, so take the time to enjoy yourself and make it an experience you'll remember. So true.

Yesterday, May 2, 2010, I ran my first half marathon. 21.1 kilometers or 13.1 miles. It's just a half marathon, not a full one. I ran it in 2:32:30. In other words, slow. Turtle pace, if you ask most runners.  I'm what they call a back-of-the-pack runner. But, it was a Personal Best time for me and since I'm only in competition with myself, this first is going to be well-remembered. 

The entire exercise (pun intended) of getting to that first half marathon was, for me, about being stretched. From beginning to end, it was about stepping out of my comfort zone - an uncomfortable yet completely rewarding journey.

I didn't even start to entertain the thought of running a half marathon until late October last year. Having only run short distances, a half marathon seemed completely daunting. And CRAZY. The only way it was going to work was if I wasn't doing it alone. The decision to do it with Team in Training was a way to be part of a team that kept me accountable and committed to a cause outside of myself.

My training, I thought, was the going to be the easy part of the whole thing. I am quite disciplined and can put in the hard work. I knew that if I was able to get from zero to 5k, then 8k and 10k in 10 months, I could eventually get to 21k. But early in the training, I fell victim to overuse injuries - a common occurrence when a beginner takes on "too much too soon". I was training for this half marathon and a sprint triathlon simultaneously. As the mileage began to climb, I developed Posterior Tibialis, an inflammation of the tendon on the inside of the ankle. With the help of my excellent online coach, I slowly recovered from the injuries and made my way back. He really focused on keeping me healthy until race day. 

The "team"aspect of Team in Training is great. But even that didn't come easy to someone who is quiet and shy like me. I showed up at the Sunday Group Training Sessions (GTS), ran my distances and went home. I wasn't one of the gregarious ones, but I did manage to make a few friends and enjoyed the Sunday long runs.

And then...there was the fundraising. This was probably the most difficult part. I have a heart for causes and have often considered joining charity endurance races, but always reconsidered when there is a fundraising component involved. In my mind, raising money would come so easy to someone who is outgoing. In other words, not me. It took ALL OF ME to get out there and ask for my friends' help. I knew it was something I had to do, but I had knots in my stomach all through the fundraising. I had to constantly remind myself that this part was not for me, but for all the kids, families, and patients affected by blood cancers. I wish I could have done more, because the cause is huge and worthy. I want to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone who supported me. Also big thanks to the staff at Team in Training, particularly Veronica Ma, who held my hand and offered SO MUCH support to get me through the fundraising - thank you for your dedication. I reached, and exceeded, my fundraising goal!

The most interesting aspect of my training was going through the taper period. Putting together the bits and pieces I hear from my running friends, I envisioned "The Taper" to be this wonderful period where your training load is significantly decreased, and you top up your body's carbohydrate stores to prepare for race day.  Everyone seems to love The Taper. After more than 4 months of training, I was really looking forward to experiencing it myself. I was tired and thought, "FInally, some downtime". I was wrong. 

First of all, because of the injuries I had to get through, my taper was delayed. Typically, you gradually decrease workload 4 weeks from race day. With only 2 weeks to go, I was still making up for lost time and had just ran my maximum mileage then at 10 miles (16km), running for 2 hours. There was no more time and I would have to wing it for the last 3 .1 miles (5km) on race day. But I felt good and my coach was confident I would have no problem getting through it. I had 2 weeks to taper. 

When I got my schedule for the first week of the taper, I thought, "Hmmm...this is no easier than last week's schedule." The runs were maybe 10% shorter, but instead of long steady runs, I had speedwork to do 3 times a week. Whereas my Team in Training teammates (who had been tapering ahead of me) only had a 5k "long" run that Sunday that would take a maximum of 30 minutes, I had to do 1:30 - with speed intervals. Where was the magical taper? I had to ask my coach, who patiently explained that intensity, in the form of tempo runs and speed intervals, were a necessary part of the taper, as your body uses the built up lactic acid in the muscles from the decreased workload to give you "fresh legs" on race day. It's all so scientific, and even though I did not fully understand it at the time, I had to trust the experience and knowledge of my coach. 

Week 2 of taper (the week before the race), was significantly different. I had 3 rest days, which I had never ever seen on my schedule before. Typically I get 1 rest day, sometimes none. Hurray for rest days! And, I only had 3 short runs to do, although they still involved speed intervals. However, my excitement over finally getting to race week slowly dwindled as the week wore on. I probably felt the worst on this week, even counting the days I was out with injuries. Tapering does strange things to your body. I was VERY sore. My knees hurt, my shins hurt, my ankles hurt. I was bloated, and I felt fat. I had anxiety issues, worrying that my body would not hold up on race day. I was irritable and cranky. Taper = not good, I thought. Although I knew that in theory it was good for me, because I had not experienced it before and did not understand what my body was going through, it was NOT FUN. I probably made a bunch of newbie mistakes, too, in areas like my nutrition. I sat in bed on the eve of the race, with very sore legs, questioning whether I had what it takes to finish 21.1 kilometers the next day. In retrospect, it wasn't that bad, except that it wasn't what I expected and I did not know any better. I'll know for next time.

This was it. It was here. There was nothing left to do but run the 21.1 kilometers. I had to trust the training. It didn't matter at this point how I felt - I just had to get it done. And that, for some reason, made me calm as I woke up and went through all the pre-race preparations. Team in Training had arranged for all of us to stay overnight at the Fairmont Pacific Rim, a brand-new hotel downtown close to the race start. That was a VERY nice treat. After having our team pictures taken, we got on the bus to the race start. 

A bunch of us went to use the washrooms at the hotel to avoid the porta-potty line-ups at the race. As a result, we missed the first 2 buses and had to get on the last bus leaving the hotel at 6:30am. The half marathon start was at 7:00am. We got to the race site with 20 minutes to spare but there were a few things to do -  I had to drop off my backpack at Gear Check, find Alex and hand off my sweatshirt, wallet, keys and cellphone. The race start was a mess! I got to Gear Check, but I couldn't find Alex anywhere. And, I had to use the washrooms again. Darn race day nerves! With 14,000 people racing, the line-ups for the porta-potties were insane but I had no choice - there is nothing more uncomfortable than racing with a full bladder, and I did not want to stop halfway through for a potty break. I heard the announcer count down the start of the half marathon. I was still in the line-up and Alex was still nowhere in sight. A kind lady gave up her spot so I could go first. Thank goodness for chip timing. 

The Start
I basically ran from the porta-potties to the start line, carrying the pouch with my wallet and cellphone under my arm and still wearing my sweatshirt. It made for a harried and uncomfortable start, but I stayed calm and quickly settled into a comfortable rhythm. I was feeling good, but I tried to hold back and just concentrate on keeping an even pace. I knew I would catch Alex in the next few kilometers,  and did my best juggling my pouch and sweatshirt until I was able to hand them off at Km 4. 

Km 5
It was raining quite hard at this point, but it didn't bother me at all. I just enjoyed the race. I thanked and smiled at the volunteers, took in the scenery, the people cheering. Mentally, I kept telling myself that this wasn't a big deal. It was just another long training run - except with spectators and water stations. I had to do that to keep from focusing on the fact that I had about 15 kilometers to go. I looked around and found some of my purple-clad Team in Training teammates, and it felt comforting to run amongst them.

Km 8
Before I realized it we were rounding the corner to head into Stanley Park, almost 8 kilometers in. I had been slightly ahead of my normal pace right from the start. Other than some stiffness in my right knee, I was feeling great. It's as if all the soreness magically vanished. I stopped to stretch out my knee for a bit, and a volunteer quickly came and asked if I was ok. I gave her the thumbs up. I really was ok; I just needed to stretch a bit. As we approached an hour, I was still ahead of pace. This was good. I wanted to be ahead so I had time to tackle the giant hill looming up ahead. 

Km 12-14: Prospect Point Hill
I kept expecting the hill from about Km 10, and it seemed to take forever to get here. I had only heard about this hill. I never had a chance to tackle it as I was off with injuries when the team did their practice run here. I was only slightly worried. Even though I incorporated little hill training in my workouts, over the months I had noticed an increase in my ability to tackle hills.  I knew that on race day, I would have no choice but to run up Prospect Point and I had to "just deal" at that point. Surprisingly, it wasn't that bad. Yes, I had to walk a couple of stretches to get my breath back but I pretty much ran up most of the way. I was very grateful for the spectators who were shouting encouragement as we rounded up the corners. One lady, obviously an athlete who has done this before, gave pointers to "swing the elbows back and lean into it!" God bless her; she was awesome. As we got up to the crest of the hill and approached 14km, I was delighted to note that I was still ahead of pace. It was all downhill from here!

Km 15
The downhill stretch was most fun. I had mentally calculated to start picking up my pace after Km 14 and prepare for the push in the last 5 kilometers. Going downhill made this easy. At this point my legs were doing their own thing, and I was feeling no pain. So THIS was what the taper had accomplished! It was so amazing to me how the body just took over. I was passing some people and going at a pretty good clip. I wanted to hit 17 kilometers at the 2 hour mark so I could cruise through the last 4 kilometers and make it to the finish line in under 2:30. My Garmin GPS watch was marking the kilometers ahead of the course by about 200 meters, but I had to go with the course markers. The course leveled off and I pushed but only managed to get to 16.8 kilometers at 2 hours. This was still faster than I had ever run before, but I had to really push through the last 4.3 kilometers to make it under 2:30. 

The last 3 kilometers were the hardest. Mentally, you know that the finish line is looming, yet you have work to do before you get there. And somehow, those last few kilometers seemed to take forever. This has always been my challenge. No matter how long the run is, when I know that the end is near, I have to mentally push through that last part. It's silly how on a 2:00 run I can run strong for 1:30 and struggle through the last half hour, and on a short 40-minute run I am fine for 30 minutes and struggle through the last 10. 
The last mile was brutal. I could feel the chafing in my feet and the tiredness in my legs; my lungs were pushing, but I didn't want to stop. I rounded the corner and saw the finish line from about 500 meters out. It seemed to take forever to get to it. The crowd was loud. "You're almost there! Don't stop!" Yeah, I know. Tell that to my legs and my lungs. It was sheer determination and a little bit of pride that got me to the finish without walking.
The hardware I earned

Finally stepping on the finish mat, the medal (my first medaled event - I guess they figure if you're still alive after 21km you deserve one?), the congratulations, the hugs, the pats on the back, the satisfaction of running at a personal best time...ALL GOOD. 

But it was the getting here that was most rewarding. The days spent training when you'd rather be sleeping. The Sundays given up to run with teammates dedicated to the same purpose. The evenings cross-training at the gym and the pool. The time sacrificed by loved ones. The many, many hours spent logging workouts and nutrition and learning from them. The after-work workouts when your body is spent. Working to get the money raised. 

I learned so much in the process. About myself. About pushing past obstacles, and conquering fears. I have grown. I have come to realize how awesome my friends are. (Ok, I always knew my friends are awesome.) I realized how far I can stretch myself, not only physically but in other aspects as well. That is it's own reward.  Oh, and there are also "less profound" lessons learned, like, how to apply KT Tape to almost every aching part of my body. I learned that chafing is real and NOT fun, and that chocolate GU is the best thing ever.

Would I do it again? The honest answer is, if I didn't have to fundraise I would do it again next week. I think a half marathon is very...doable. Now a full marathon - that's crazy. Don't quote me, though. Who knows, right?

Monday, April 12, 2010


The countdown to my first half marathon begins. In less than 3 weeks, I will have done something I have never done before. I AM OFFICIALLY STOKED!

I feel good. Strong. Inspired. Grateful.

Yesterday I ran 10 miles - a distance which is probably nothing to most seasoned marathoners - but it's a big deal for me. It felt amazing! Also yesterday, a bunch of my friends showed up in support of my fundraising efforts for Team in Training. What a great night! I feel incredibly blessed to have such wonderful people in my life. Here are some photos from A PIECE OF CAKE. Food Porn. All made with love.

The event raised over $800 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Everyone left with a sugar and caffeine high :)

This week is the last week of hard runs and high mileage before I taper.  Bring it!

PS. There is still time to give support! Click here to donate:
Liza's Team in Training page

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Half Marathon? PIECE OF CAKE!

My worlds collide. Pastry and running meet. For a cause.

An evening of fine desserts, expert coffee, and LIVE cake auction.
When: April 11, 2010 @ 730pm
Where: Cafe Crema
            1495 Bellevue Avenue
            West Vancouver, BC
Tickets $20 at the door.
Space is limited, so please email me to reserve your space (

All proceeds in support of TEAM in TRAINING and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada. Please help my efforts to run a half marathon and raise funds for this very worthy cause. I'll do the running; you just need to come and show your support!

About the cake auction:
Three 10-inch one-of-a-kind designer cakes up for bids.
and one I'm affectionately calling...DOTS.

You DON'T want to miss this, do you? Really, you can't afford to.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Base-building January

I'm back - and with a huge update, because I have disappeared again for a whole month! But there's a good reason: JANUARY. While everyone else tries to make good on New Year's resolutions, triathletes go into base-building mode. The holidays (as in over-indulgence, messed-up schedules and missed workouts) are behind us now and without a solid base going into the new season, failure is almost certain. It's time to dig deep, focus, and get into a routine. January is no-excuses month.

So that's the hole I disappeared into this past month. If it seemed like training was all I thought about all month, that's because it was. It had to be this way. You see, last January when I first embarked on this journey, I pretty much went in blind. Eleven months of trial-and-error have taught me a lot, but in order to get the best results, it was time for a more scientific approach.

Coach Jeff (hiring him was the best thing I did) has been a tremendous help in gaining a better understanding of such concepts as periodization, eating for energy, and injury prevention. The great thing about a coach is not even having to think about the science. He feeds me my weekly workouts, and all I need to do is get them done, log the results, and log my nutrition. He analyses how I feel, how I eat, how my body responds to the various stresses, and adjusts as necessary. It's been an amazing month of swim-bike-run workouts. Six days a week. I can see results, and I am thrilled.

Here's a sample of the workout schedule I get each week:

Jan 11

1400.0 m

200 warm up
6x50 kick with fins (:30 rest)
6x50 swim (negative split at 25 wall)
200 pull
6x50 swim (25 easy, :5 rest, 25 fast)
100 cool down

Jan 12


warm up for about 5 minutes then run 30 minutes in upper zone 3 lower zone 4 cool down with 10 minutes easy run. 

Jan 13

1500.0 m

200 swim
100 drill
100 kick
12x25 w/:30 rest (descend 1-4, 5-8, 9-12)
8x50 odds: ALL OUT, evens recovery
300 with fins
100 cool down

Jan 14

01hr 00min 

The main set of this session is all to be done in Zone 3.
15 mins steady
6 x (50 secs fast spin/ 40 secs easy spin)
Main Set:
12/10/8 mins at low Zone 3 at 90-100 rpm
3 mins rest between rests
4 x (20 secs fast spin, 40 secs easy spin)
Cool Down:

Jan 15

1500.0 m

200 warm up
6x50 2x(kick, drill, swim) w/:45 rest
6x50 w/:60 rest 2x(back, breast, free)
6x50 @ 2:00 (descend effort 1-3, 4-6)
300 with fins 2x(50 kick on back, 100 swim)
100 cool down

Jan 16

no PLANNED workouts
Jan 17

01hr 15min 

Nice steady ride in zone 2 relax be on the aero position through the entire ride


Make a smooth transition from the bike and run 20 minutes very easy

Simultaneously, training for the BMO half marathon for Team in Training is in full swing. Every Sunday morning for the past month, I have been getting up to meet my TNT run team at Granville Island for our Group Training Sessions. It has been going relatively well. I have some minor issues with my ankles resulting from the increasing distances, but so far we have them under control.  One of the rewards of running with Team in Training, for me, is getting to know fellow teammates - people from various backgrounds united by a cause and running so others won't have to face life with blood cancers. It's been very inspiring hearing their stories. What a cool bunch. Go Team!

It's been slow-going, I'm afraid. The downside to digging into my training this month is that I have devoted no time at all to my Team in Training fundraising efforts. I am embarrassingly only at 8%. HELP!

It is now time to kick up the fundraising a notch. Just as the thought of my first race in April scares me half to death, the looming fundraising deadline gives me tummy aches. Again, HELP! :)

In December, I created and raffled off this Gingerbread Village. It raised over $132. Thanks to all who donated! There's SO much work still to do...

Apr 24 Delta Triathlon (sprint distance)
May 2 BMO Half Marathon
May 30 Shaughnessy 8k
Jun 18 UBC Longest Day 10k
Jun 27 Scotiabank Half Marathon
Jul 4 Subaru Sprint Triathlon
These are the races I plan to do this year, assuming everything goes well. There might also be some minor races squeezed in between, and some others later on in the season.

The season marches on. I am 3 months away from my first triathlon, and 3.5 months from my first half marathon.  GULP. Lots of growing to do!

If you would like to help my fundraising efforts for Team in training, please click HERE.

Monday, December 21, 2009

When life takes over

Christmas. It always feels like life goes from normal to insane or, as I like to say, from "mix well" to "beat until light and fluffy". If you've ever read a baking recipe you'll know the difference.

I actually like Christmas. I like the festiveness of the season. It is so much fun to turn the bakery into Santa's little workshop. I like getting together with friends and loved ones. Most of all, I love what Christmas stands for - not the commercialism, but the Saviour-come-to-earth part. Taking part in the Christmas program at my church, squeezing rehearsals in despite the craziness, is a highlight.

This year, however, is a little different. This year, I added all this "crazy athlete stuff". Winter training. Let me sum it up: STOPS and STARTS. Trying to get workouts done when you are exhausted and it's gross outside and you don't feel like it because it is dark and all you want to do is sit in your PJ's. Add in some niggling injuries, fighting off viruses, and the pressure of "not getting it done", and you get an athlete who feels like a wimp. Clearly I was wrong to think that the energy and fitness I had in the summer was enough to carry me through the winter months.

But, I have tried to keep a positive attitude through it all. Today, 3 days before Christmas Eve, I feel like I'm on the homestretch. I have baked enough Christmas goodies, the Christmas program is shaping up beautifully, and my energy levels are pretty good. I am eating well, trying to get enough sleep, getting my workouts in, and keeping the stress at bay.

The best news? I have a new coach! I am thrilled to have Coach Jeff Kline at PRS Fitness assist me in achieving my fitness goals. I "met" Coach Jeff on Twitter. He is awesome and I am very excited to have him on board. He is going to kick my butt, keep me on the straight and narrow, and most of all, provide structure and direction to my workouts. I am so looking forward to the next year.

My 2010 goals:
2 sprint distance triathlons
1 half marathon
3 10k's
5 5k's
This is what I want to do at the minimum. Anything more will be a bonus. I know it's nothing too crazy, but for a non-athlete, I would be thrilled to have this done next year.

I think a New Year's toast is in order. Here's to health, fun, and achieving goals in 2010!