Thursday, January 26, 2012

RECOVERY: Sex in the City vs. Ironman - Do Women Have to Choose Between High Heels and Running Shoes?

Ladies, if you had to choose, would you rather be Carrie Bradshaw from Sex In the City, or Chrissie Wellington, 4-time Ironman world champion?  Recent news headlines may make you think you have to choose....

Carrie Bradshaw (played by Sarah Jessica Parker)


Chrissie Wellington (played by herself)
Most women I know love their shoes and, particularly, their high heels.  I'm no exception.  They make us feel sexy, they make us look taller, they reflect our personality.  Likewise, most triathletes and runners I know love their running shoes. I'm also no exception.  They make us feel powerful, they help eliminate injuries, and, yes, they reflect our personality.  But now, an Australian study  is saying that high heels may make us more prone to injuries.  This may be where our Sex In the City and Ironman worlds collide...

The Study

The study, published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, focused on nine women who had worn high heels for at least 40 hours a week for the past two years. According to the study, women in high heels walked with shorter, more forceful strides, using their muscles rather than their tendons, thereby leading to muscle fatigue and increased risk of muscle strain.  Essentially, wearing high heels contracts the calf muscle, shortens it, and puts more mechanical strain on it.   

Adding further insult to injury, wearing high heels can lead to flat feet by weakening the tendons in the foot and causing the arch to fall.  High heels also have long been associated with osteoarthritis, hammer toes, bunions, and corns.  And to top it off, the Australian study also says that this damage to your feet can lead to inflammation in other areas in your body, such as in your body and possibly even your heart.  How could such beautiful little fashion statements be the source of so much potential pain?? 

The Impact on Your Workouts

Think you can counter the ill effects of high heels by shoving your foot into a flat shoe at the end of the day?  Think again.  According to the Australian study, "In a person who wears heels most of her working week," the foot and leg positioning in heels "becomes the new default position for the joints and the structures within.  Any change to this default setting . . . [constitutes] a novel environment, which could increase injury risk."  

Awesome.  So when I come home from work each day, where I've tromped around in my cute little Steve Madden high heels (which are vegan by the way - no leather), and then throw on my New Balance Minimus shoes to run with my midfoot strike (which works my calf muscle) I'm actually increasing the risk of a calf strain.  Gee, had I not ripped the hell outta my calf muscle by jumping rope with small children, this may never have occurred to me.  To think - my fashion sense may have contributed to my painful third degree calf strain, three weeks of crutches, and almost two months off of running...

What's A Fashion Conscious, Athletic Female To Do? 

The Australian study recommends easing back on the high heels - to maybe two or three days a week, and also lowering the height of the heels.  It also recommends taking your high heels off when you're sitting down to give your calves a break.  

Personally, I also recommend a strict regime of foam rolling, probably right after you take your high heels off and before you head out for any run as part of dynamic warm-up.  For me, accupuncture also has worked to lengthen my calf muscles and remove old scar tissue.  Massage, active release therapy, or graston techniques could have the same therapeutic benefits too.    

Bottom line, we women can be both Carrie and Chrissie - a Carrie Wellington or Chrissie Bradshaw combo.  We shouldn't have to choose.  Fashionistas by day, wearing our high heels (in moderation), and kickass runners/triathletes by night.  Just make sure to warm up your calves before switching from heels to running shoes and take care of your calves afterwards with foam rolling or massage.   

Fashionista meets Ironman...We don't have to choose one or the other...
How much do you love your high heels? Will you be able to make some adjustments to allow the fashionista to co-exist with the athlete? 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

THE RACE: Pets Hold Our Hearts In Their Paws

Throughout most of my childhood, we had the most amazing and smartest dog named Muffin.  She was part poodle and part "whatever got into the fenced yard."  She would grab her own leash when she wanted to go for a walk, bark at you when you walked in the door and then proceed to untie your shoe laces, and sit up and say please with her paws.  On car rides along the flat Nebraska farmland, if you said "Muffin, see the cows?" she'd jump up in the window of the back seat and go absolutely bonkers as she shoved her nose as far into the corner of the windshield as she could to smell the cows. And she loved, loved, loved M&M's (this was before the days when we really knew that chocolate was bad for dogs.  Plus, I grew up in Nebraska where you fed your dogs pretty much anything).  At Easter, we'd hide Easter eggs for her to find and she would push and paw them around until she broke them open and got the M&M's out.  

My childhood dog, Muffin...Yes, she went to Olan Mills with me to get our pictures taken...
One of the things I am most grateful for in my life is not having a date for my junior prom so that I happened to be home the night that Muffin died....

Now, with my 15-year-old dog, Bailey, I'm keenly focused on the fact that he won't be around for much longer.  In the past year, he's slowed down and aged considerably. He's not suffering, but he certainly has his slow days like we all do.  And there are a lot of changes that you need to make to accommodate an aging dog...changes that are hard and that test your patience.  Mopping up piddles on the floor - several times a day - is just part of my day now, and it's a rush to wrap him in a towel and carry him downstairs in the morning without peeing all over me.  Our walks are slow and some days he wants to go farther than he should.  But he eats like crazy, loves to get back rubs, still plays with his tennis ball, and gets uber excited when I fix him chicken.  (Yes, I'm a vegan, but my dog loves chicken like it's crack and he's 105 years old, so I think I can compromise).  I cherish every day that I have with him and his aging has taught me a lot about life, taught me to be more patient, and made me realize that at some point, we're all gonna pee on ourselves...   

My best buddy, Bailey...
When the time comes for Bailey to go, I pray that I'm with him.  As painful as it is to think of having to be the one to decide that it's time for him to go, I'd rather be there with him, giving him a back rub, as I send him off, than having him die alone in the house some day while I'm at work....He's been with me for over 14 years, through every good and bad moment I've had, so I want to be there for him in his last moments...

The loss of our pets can rip out our hearts.  While they're here on earth with us, we give them our whole hearts.  They love us, through thick and thin, good days and bad. They love us even when we may yell at them for messing on the rug or barking, or for scratching up the couch.  They are loyal to us, sometimes to a fault.  They never care what we look like, how fat or thin we are, or whether we make a lot of money...all they care about is getting some lovin' when we come through the door, some quality time with balls or toys, some good food and treats, and a warm bed.  Our pets show the truest form of unconditional love that there is.  So when they leave us, it can be as painful as the loss of any other loved one.  If you don't believe that, then maybe you've never loved a pet the way they should be loved....

In the past year, several of my friends have lost their beloved dogs or cats.  Their grief was as real and painful as I've seen when anyone goes through any other loss...and it's important to allow yourself to go through that process of grieving the loss.  As a psychology major, I remember that there are five stages of grieving - DABDA:  

D:  Denial
A:  Anger
B:  Bargaining
D:  Depression
A:  Acceptance

With any loss, including that of a pet, it's important to allow yourself to go through all of these stages, in whatever order they come, and however long it takes.  The fact that you've lost a pet instead of a human, doesn't mean that the DABDA process is any less important.  The Humane Society also has some tips for dealing with the loss of your pet.   And if you doubt the power that pets can hold over us, think of all the strong, macho men who wouldn't cry if their grandma got hit by a car, but would weep like a baby if that happened to their dog....Pets are our achilles.  In fact, some of the few times that I've ever seen my dad cry was over the loss of his hunting dogs....

In the past year, several of my friends have lost their beloved cats or dogs.  I've seen their hearts break, and my heart broke for them.  So here's a tribute to those wonderful animals I've known in the past year who held a special place in their humans' hearts:  

Ali (cat):  You never came out to visit much, but we always knew you were there and your mommy loved you so much.  I'm sorry that Bailey would freak you out!  I hope you're getting all the shrimp you can eat now!
Monkey (cat):  You were my friend's first baby.  You could calm her with your purring, so I hope that once in awhile you can purr in her ear to send her some love.  
Kaya (Husky):  You were my boyfriend's first girl - and I didn't mind.  His heart broke into a million pieces when you were gone and he misses you every day.  
Odin (Bull Mastiff):  You were the neighborhood's biggest boy and everyone loved you. I'm so glad that you went out in style with lots of cheese and your mommy by your side. I miss seeing you lumbering down the sidewalk with that goofy grin on your face...
Winston (cat):  If your mommy could have made a pedestal to put you on, she would have.  You really were the cat's meow, king of the house, and your mommy's loving baby.

The Pet's 10 Commandments

1. My life is likely to last 10-15 years. Any separation from you is likely to be painful.
2. Give me time to understand what you want of me.
3. Place your trust in me. It is crucial for my well-being.
4. Don’t be angry with me for long and don’t lock me up as punishment. You have your work, your friends, your entertainment, but I have only you.
5. Talk to me. Even if I don’t understand your words, I do understand your voice when speaking to me.
6. Be aware that however you treat me, I will never forget it.
7. Before you hit me, before you strike me, remember that I could hurt you, and yet I choose not to bite you.
8. Before you scold me for being lazy or uncooperative, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I’m not getting the right food, I have been in the sun too long, or my heart might be getting old or weak.
9. Please take care of me when I grow old. You too, will grow old.
10. On the ultimate difficult journey, go with me, please. Never say you can’t bear to watch. Don’t make me face this alone. Everything is easier for me if you are there because I love you so.
Is there a companion animal to whom you'd like to pay tribute?  Please do so here...


Saturday, January 14, 2012

AID STATION: The "You Can't Get Any Easier Than This" Vegetable Soup

I'm having some girls over tonite for dinner and because I'm a horrible cook, I need to stick with easy dishes.  I've been on such a soup kick all winter, primarily because several years ago my best friend gave me a pressure cooker, which I only recently realized was awesome for making soups.  I was scared to use the pressure cooker for the longest time because I was afraid I'd blow up something. But a few months ago I finally read the instructions and it's easier than I though.  Plus, it allows me to make soups much more quickly.  One of my favorite soups I've been making is a very simple, but quite delicious vegetable soup that not even I can screw up.

You Can Get Any Easier Than This Vegetable Soup

I really don't have any measurements for this...You basically throw in as many veggies as you want, but here are some suggestions.  This makes enough for me to eat over several nights (so probably enough for a family for one night) or you can also freeze it.

  • 5-6 large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 3 celery stalks, sliced in half then cut in chunks
  • 1 head of broccoli (stems removed) and chopped in small chunks
  • 1-2 potatoes, cut in bite-sized pieces (I use russet potatoes)
  • 1 cup aborio rice (I like this because it plumps up really big and is good for soup)
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 TBSP vegetable oil
  • vegetable stock (6-8 cups, depending on how thick you like your soup)
  • soy sauce
  • bay leaf
In a large soup pot or your pressure cooker, saute the chopped onion in the oil for 3 minutes, the add the garlic and saute for another 2 minutes.  Then, throw in all the veggies, the potato, rice, bay leaf, and veggie broth. Bring to a boil, then simmer until all the veggies and the potatoes are soft - maybe 25-30 minutes. Or cook according to your pressure cooker directions.  When the soup is ready, I add a couple splashes of soy sauce - just gives it a little more flavor.  Don't forget to remove the bay leaf before eating!  

Easy peasy....


Friday, January 13, 2012

THE RACE: 10 Tips for Staying Safe on Your Workouts

You work hard to get into shape, train for your goal race, shed those pounds, tone up, feel healthy...whatever your reasons are for running, biking, or swimming.  But do you think about your safety as much as you think about your workout?    

It's a Dangerous World 

The news recently has covered the story of Sherri Arnold, a 43-year-old mother of three and teacher, who disappeared recently from the small town of Sidney, Montana during her morning jog.  The FBI has joined local law enforcement to search for Sherri, but unfortunately, all that they have found so far is one of her shoes near the jogging path where she was last seen.  As frightening and maddening as this is, sadly, there are other stories like this, every year.  

I'm sure that a lot of us are like Sherri.  We set out for our morning or evening runs, eager to take in the fresh air and get the blood pumping.  And if you live in a small town, like where I grew up, you wouldn't think twice about going out alone for your run or bike ride...You know most people, it's a safe town, nothing ever happens.  Or even if you live in the city, you think you can stick to the "safe" areas, your "usual" routes, and you'll be fine. Sherri's story, however, reminds us that this is a dangerous world, no matter where you live - whether it's a car blowing through a stop sign into the cross walk, or a stranger trying to abduct you.  

Tips to Keep You Safe

Years ago, I didn't usually tell anyone where I was going, even if it was for a weekend hike, and I rarely took my phone on my runs or rides.  In the past couple years, however, I tell someone where I'm going, usually the exact route I'm taking, and I always have my phone and ID with me.  That's not to say that any of those things will keep me from being hit by a car or abducted, but in a world that can sometimes be out of our control, it's good to try to control as many variables as you can. So here are some tips I've come up with to help keep you safe, or, in the unfortunate even that something does happen, to let someone find you or identify you quickly: 

  1. Tell someone where you're going, the route you'll take, when you're leaving, and for how long you'll be gone. Make sure to call that person when you get back. 
  2. Take your phone with you, even if it's a 20-minute run.  Buy a little fanny-pack for the run or a bento box for your bike.  
  3. Wear or take your ID.  I wear a Road ID because it has all the information that emergency responders would need to know and can access online:  my emergency contacts, address, medical info, and any other information. Don't worry, the online information is secure and can only be accessed by you and a special code that emergency responders have.  A Road ID is well worth the small investment.  If you don't have a Road ID, at least take your drivers license.  
  4. Wear reflective gear or bright colored clothes, even during the day.  At night a head lamp or arm/leg bands with lights are a good idea.
  5. You won't like this...but, leave the headphones at home!  I know you like to groove to your music on a run (and some people even do it on their bike, which drives me even more nuts!).  But having one more distraction is dangerous when you need to be paying attention to the road, to cars, to people jumping out of bushes....And how well can you hear if someone is coming up behind you with music thumping in your ears?  Besides, most races nowadays don't let you run with headphones anyway, so just get used to it!  I never take my headphones, not even on a long run.  Just listen to the soundtrack of the world around you...   
  6. Stick to your known routes, be aware of your surroundings, and try to go where there will be a lot of other people.  I know that some of us run/bike to get away from people, but in some areas, this may not be your best bet.  Would you rather be surrounded by other runners/cyclists, or by yourself when you fall and sprain your ankle or see some strange person coming toward you? 
  7. For women (and maybe some men), stop being so nice!!!  I'm guilty of it as much as the next woman when it comes to stopping to help a stranger or not wanting to say no to someone.  But our female tendency to be nice, helpful or accommodating, can get us in trouble.  I'm not saying you have to be a bitch or ignore someone in need, but use your God-given instincts - they exist, they operate all the time, and we often ignore them.  If you want to learn how to better trust your instincts to possibly save your life, read the amazing book The Gift of Fear by Gavin DeBecker.  You'll realize how much your head overrides your natural instincts, often for the worse. 
  8. Also for women (and maybe some men), take a self-defense course.  I took karate for 5 years and also took a self-defense course through the local police department a few years ago.  The police department class was amazing because it took place over 3 or 4 nites, where you learned basic self-defense moves to use in a variety of situations.  Then at the end, the police dressed up in huge marshmallow-men suits, simulated an attack on you, and you had to fight them off - literally - they wouldn't stop until you actually stopped them.  Check out your local police department or even college campus for classes and get some girlfriends to go together. You'd be surprised how some simple moves could save your life.  
  9. Take a whistle that you can blow in case there's trouble.  Also...YELL!!  If someone is approaching or following you, yell at them:  "WHAT DO YOU WANT?!"  "BACK THE F#*% OFF!" Something to let the perpetrator know that you'll put up a fight.  Often attackers are looking for someone who they can catch off-guard or who they think they can overpower.  So let the weirdo know that you will not be overpowered! 
  10. Finally, this is easier said than done, but find a buddy to run or bike with.  I know that's not always possible or ideal, but even if you run with someone else once or twice a week, that cuts down your chances of something happening to you while you're alone.  
Please be safe out there, and pray for the return of Sherri and anyone else who has met with misfortunate while they were out just trying to do something they enjoy...

Do you have any other tips for staying safe during your workouts? 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

RECOVERY: Guess That Medical Phenomenon

You know that episode of the Simpsons where Mr. Burns becomes radioactive, glows green, and people mistake him for an alien...

Well, that's about what I feel like.  Although I don't glow green, I have some weird, unexplained, medical condition that leaves feeling a little alien...So I'm seeking your advice/thoughts/theories on what it could be...

My Medical Phenomenon

For more than 15 years, I've had some bizarre "phenomenon" (for lack of a better word) whereby my body bleaches/discolors certain colors of linens and clothing.  I'm not talking about sweat stains.  I'm talking about a tan or green towel that looks like it's had bleach splashed on it after I use, even before I wash it, and despite the fact that I don't use bleach.  A green or purple shirt that will get little bleached-looking spots on the neck or chest after I wear it.  Sheets and pillow cases that almost look like they've been tie-died because where ever my face, hands, neck, and chest have touched them, they become discolored.  Here's an example of the latest victim:  a light blue hand towel that has tannish discoloration all over it, which started happening just a few times after I started using it...

Light blue hand towel with tan discolorations from my hands and face...This towel is only a couple months old and was supposed to be stain/fade resistant.  Apparently, this towel line never met me before...
The Facts About My Phenomenon

Now, before you jump in with a bunch of questions, let me give you the key facts:

  1. This has been happening for at least 15 years, during which time I have used a multitude of face and hand soaps, make-up, facial creams, lotions, etc.  So this is not being caused by any one particular product.  I've also lived in two different states and several different homes where this has occurred.  
  2. The discolorations will happen from my bare hands and face - in other words, when I'm not wearing any make-up or lotion.  Ask my boyfriend.  One day, I fell asleep on the couch on his chest while he was wearing an olive green shirt and I was wearing no make-up or products of any kind.  Before he washed the shirt, he noticed that where I'd had my face and hands, the shirt had tannish discolorations.  Also, there have been times when I've used a new towel a few times just to wash my hands, and after 5 or so uses, the discolorations appear.     
  3. The discolorations sometimes happen after I've used a linen or worn a shirt once, before it's been washed.  Other times the discolorations happen or appear after the linen or shirt has been washed (and I don't actually use any bleach when I do laundry, so it's not being bleached in the laundry).  Basically, there doesn't seem to be one specific point in time when the discolorations appear.  
  4. The phenomenon does not happen with black or white colors, and I don't think it's happened with anything red.  It seems to happen with more "earthy" colors - tans, browns, greens, blues, and even grays...Which stinks, because those are the kinds of colors I like.  
Where You Come In

With that background, what on earth do you think it could be?  I asked my doctor about this a couple years ago and she had no clue what it could be. I've tried to Google answers and haven't come up with anything sufficient.  So, I thought I'd use a lifeline and ask the audience what they think....

I'm in no way concerned about this phenomenon.  It's not life-threatening, obviously, given that I've been single-handedly discoloring my clothing and linens for 15 years and I'm still tickin'....It's just a huge annoyance!  Not to mention the innocent casualties that are caught in the cross-hairs of my potent glands and pores...Oh the horror of all the ruined towels, sheets, and shirts!  

So, I'm curious...If you have any brilliant insights, I'm all ears.  Now, I'm off to go wash my hands and face and torture yet another light blue towel with my alien substance before I climb into bed and further bleach my poor, soft innocent sheets...

What do you think my alien condition could be?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

TRANSITION AREA: Show Your iPad some luvin'

Just a quick post to let you know about one of my favorite new things.  Last year for Christmas my mom bought me an iPad, which I love!  I use it all the time when I travel, especially for work when I have to lug my clunky work laptop.  Having my iPad allows me to take the work laptop and still have all my personal music, movies, email, etc. taking the small, lightweight iPad instead of my own personal computer.

The only downside to the iPad was that I couldn't upload camera pics...until now.  Meet the Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit.  Now you can either take your camera's memory card or the camera's cord, and upload your photos to your iPad.  Why is this handy?  Well, as good as our smartphone cameras are, they really can't match our regular digital cameras, and most of them can't take good action photos.  So if you're at your kids' sporting event and want to take the great pics to upload instantly to Facebook, now you can do it with the Camera Connection Kit.  It's quick, simple, and allows you to upload the better quality pics from your camera on-the-go. It retails at Apple stores for $29.00.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

AID STATION: Zesty Black Bean Soup

With the winter months upon us, all I want to do is eat soup! My body definitely is seasonal-dependent.  In the summer months, I really can't drink anything hot or eat hot soup, and the winter months are the complete opposite.  It's actually hard for me to want to eat fruit in the winter because it's not warm and cozy.  

So in the search for new yummy soups, I came across a quick, delicious, and nutritious recipe from the Whole Foods App on my iPhone for a Zesty Black Bean Soup.  I love this app because it lets you search according to meal course (appetizers, beverages, desserts, etc.), category (budget, kids, entertaining, etc.), special diets (like vegan or gluten free), and ingredients, so you can really customize your search.  It also lets you save recipes as favorites, share them via Facebook, email, and Twitter, and add the ingredients to your shopping list with one click.  If you don't have a smart phone for the app, you can go to the Whole Foods recipe site to search for recipes.

I made this Zesty Black Bean Soup last night and added some pasta to it to make it a little heartier.  It was delicious!  

Zesty Black Bean Soup

Serves 4 to 6


Per serving (about 19oz/541g-wt.): 280 calories (60 from fat), 7g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 1540mg sodium, 45g total carbohydrate (13g dietary fiber, 8g sugar), 12g protein


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 pound baby carrots, sliced
1 bay leaf
Salt to taste
1 red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with their liquid
1 quart vegetable broth
Hot sauce to taste
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish (I actually leave this out)
I also added about 1/2 box of whole wheat pasta for some extra yum! 


Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add carrots, bay leaf and salt and cook until carrots are just tender, about 7 minutes. Add onions and garlic and cook 5 minutes more. Add cumin, cinnamon, beans, corn, tomatoes and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. (If you're going to add pasta, I added it the last 10 minutes and brought the soup to a low boil, then reduced the heat). Stir in hot sauce and chopped cilantro. Ladle hot soup into bowls and garnish with more cilantro.

Monday, January 2, 2012

THE RACE: Finding Your Resolve

Most Americans are now in the process of plowing full steam ahead into their various New Years resolutions.  I have no idea what percentage of people actually are successful in keeping their resolutions, but I have a feeling that the percentage is very low.  Why do so many of us fall short of keeping our resolutions?  Why do we feel the need every year to make new resolutions or repeat past ones?  How can you successfully keep your resolution(s)?

Well, you can Google a lot of answers to those questions.  But don't bother.  In my opinion, your ability to keep your resolutions and your motivation year after year or to continue to make resolutions, boils down to one thing:  Your resolve.

A lot of things in my life have taught me about resolve.  Getting through law school, taking the bar exam, starting new jobs, and competing in triathlons.  But I never really thought about what "resolve" means.  "Resolve" is both a noun and a verb.  In its verb tense, one of the many definitions (according to Merriam-Webster) includes "to deal with successfully; to find an answer to; to make clear or understandable[.]"  As a noun, "resolve" means "fixity of purpose."  So what's that mean for you?

Well, before you go making a list of various resolutions that you want to keep this year, consider whether you have the resolve to do so. So many people seem to set themselves up for failure by making resolutions that are well beyond reason. Instead of deciding to lose 5 pounds, they try to lose 20.  Instead of trying to pay off $10,000 in credit card debt, they decide to try to pay off $20,000.  Instead of running their first 5k, they decide to run their first half-marathon.  And when they fail, it's not because they lacked the ability; rather, it's because they lacked the resolve - the fixity of purpose - from the outset.

If you want to keep your resolutions this year, start by first taking an honest look at your resolve.  I'm all for setting the bar high and pushing your limits.  But that assumes that you have the resolve to do so.  Don't aim for Mt. Everest when you can't even seen the mound of dirt in front of you.

To keep your resolutions, you need to look at both the verb and the noun of the word resolve.  First, what problem/issue/goal this year do you want to resolve or find answer to?  Second, can you commit to the "fixity of purpose" to undertake that resolution.  If you can't, then you should amend your resolution.  Take it down a notch and don't view your resolution as one unattainable goal.  Look at it in baby steps.  If you don't have the resolve this year to lose 20 pounds, then resolve to lose 5...then another 5 next year.  If you don't have time to train for a marathon this year, then train for a half marathon and shoot for a marathon next year.  Understand what you have the resolve to do so that you won't set yourself up for disappointment down the road.  You truly can accomplish anything you want and you really should shoot for the moon.  But only if you are able to fully commit to that purpose.

What do you truly have the resolve to do this year?