January 9, 2019

2019: Goals

Last year, I didn't have many explicit year-long goals.

The only fitness goal I openly stated was that I wanted to try to improve my fitness to the point where I could run "very good" on the Cooper Test. I didn't even come close (it requires running 8:23/mile for 12 minutes).  My first cooper test of the year was at a 9:34/mile pace.  Over the course of the year, I dropped it down to a 9:16/mile pace.  But, I also decreased my 5K pace over the year down to 9:34 (so my 12 minute best became my almost 30 minute best pace) and I ran an 8:52 minute mile at the end of the year.  Both of these made me happy, as my fitness obviously improved.  Any year where you end the year better than where you started is a good one!

I bought myself Lauren Fleshman's Believe
Training Journal for Christmas
This year, I decided to set some concrete running goals:

1. A sub 1 hour 10K (looking for a good late fall option as the target race, with a few races over the course of the year to inch towards that time)

2. A sub 29 minute 5K (I'm hopeful I can do this sometime this Spring)

3. A sub 8 minute mile (this one is a stretch, so in the meantime I'll be happy with sub 8:30 as a stepping stone by June)

4. Very Good on the Cooper Test (probably not doable unless I can get close to the sub 8 minute mile, but I'll chip away at it)

I'm still scheduling my workout and target race schedule for the first few months of the year, and I'm looking forward to having a few racing opportunities to ratchet down towards these goals and hopefully also see and catch up with some of my running friends.

Example weeks from my food log
(can you spot the two weeks with travel & visitors?)
Another thing I did last year was I labeled my days as red (ate red meat), beige (ate poultry), blue (ate fish/seafood), or white (ate ovo-lacto vegetarian).  If I ate two of the categories, I used the color that was higher in the unhealthy/environmentally damaging order.

Due to the negative health associations and negative environmental impact of red meat, I started last year with a goal of keeping my red days below 1/3 of the total and just observing the other days. About halfway through the year, I realized that achieving this goal would be harder than I assumed.

The story I tell myself is that I eat vegetarian about 75% of the time.  And, when left to my own devices (E & I, eating alone, at home), I definitely did eat vegetarian about 75% of the time, with about 5% of my meals containing poultry and approximately 10% containing red meat, while 10% contained fish.

But, any time we have visitors, or we travel, I end up splurging.  Because I don't really enjoy most poultry, splurging for me generally results in red meat.  It was very easy to see the weeks where we had visitors, or were traveling simply by looking at the color patterns on the spreadsheet.

All in all, I finished out the year with 40% of my days being red (145 days), 8% beige (28 days), 15% blue (54 days), and 36% white (133 days). I definitely eat red meat more often than I thought I did.

Logging by day instead of meal does not give me a great insight into the actual percentage of my meals that contain the various protein sources.  I was insistent on logging any day where I had a piece of bacon or 2 ounces of charcuterie as red, for the sake of honesty.  Also, occasionally, I'd opt for a second serving of red meat on a day when I knew it was already marked red -- the day was blown, so why not indulge even more?  So, this year, I'll continue with the color coding for the frequency imagery, but I'm going to do the actual logging by servings (4 oz), with a half serving for small things like a piece of bacon.

In the interest of my health and the environment, my 2019 food goals are: less than 100 servings of red meat & at least 100 servings of fish/seafood (with a focus on sustainable sources) while maintaining my relatively low poultry intake (and thus getting a majority of my protein and other nutrients from plants, dairy, and eggs).  And, of course, I'll continue to try to eat locally sourced and produced food wherever possible (with the *most* local source, of course, being my garden).

Winter lettuces and veggies -- ready to go into the garden.
If you are interested in learning more about the environmental impacts of food production, I highly recommend this fascinating study.



Arvay said...

Too bad we can't ship you moose. :(

bt said...

@Arvay -- I'd save some of my red meat servings for moose any time. I assume you can't ship due to legal requirements? Because if not, PLEASE SHIP!

Arvay said...

Actually, people ship fish all the time. Maybe it *is* legal! I'll look into that! Also, your food spreadsheet is rather inspirational. Some good food ideas in there I have not eaten in a long time. (You'll observe it's 6 a.m. in the morning, and I'm thinking dinner!)

bt said...

@Arvay -- it's definitely the combined health/environmental thing that's got me pulling back on the red meat. If it was just the health, I'd probably be much more comfortable with low-medium heat preparations of unprocessed lean large red meat muscle cuts. Most of the current published data seems to correlate prepared meat products, high fat cuts, and high temp cooking with the majority of the negative health correlations.

But the environmental effects of the farmed red meat are very hard to ignore. I did the math and *just* the median CO2e of a 250 g of beef is the equivalent of a 500 mile flight, this doesn't take into consideration the acidification, eutrophication, or land or water use. Free range big game, on the other hand...