Speed, efficiency, time management, pacing, performance – these words are very much on my mind right now, both in my athletic training and everything else that goes on each day. Why? Because I’m realizing that now more than ever I simply can’t afford to waste time.

I’m trying not to put *too* much pressure on myself, but after a lackluster 2011, I really want to get back in the game this year. I want to do well in the NYC half. I don’t have to PR, but I want to at least get close to my PR, since I haven’t done that since September 2010. And I want Boston. My opportunity was taken away from me and I want another one. Surely that’s not too much to ask?! My chosen race is Chicago 2012. I know that puts me into an even later registration date if I do qualify, and training will be really tough with school and work, but I’ll give it my best shot.

My recent time on the track will help me get there. Today, I had on my schedule 1M, 2x2M at goal half marathon pace with 800m recovery, 4x100m strides with 100m recovery, 1M. It was really daunting, given I haven’t done tons of tempo work lately, plus it is a miserable, cold, windy and rainy day here in NYC. However, I managed to get myself out the door, and decided to simply go for it. And guess what? I did great. It was hard and I’m feeling very sore right now, but I felt strong while I was running and am pleased with my pacing.

Originally, the idea of running so many laps around the track wasn’t very appealing, but it went by quickly compared to the treadmill since I was focusing on each lap in order to keep track of my time/pace. I was aiming for somewhere around 1:50-1:52 per lap, which equates to 7:20 – 7:28 min/mile. I also would’ve been fine with averaging anywhere up to 7:38 (which is a sub-1:40 half marathon), but ideally I’m trying to get at least 1:39 (7:33) or closer to my PR of 1:37 (7:24). My overall average pace was 7:23 across 4M, and my splits were 7:21.1, 7:22.2, 7:23.9 and 7:23.4. I started too fast and I slowed down, but we’re talking less than a three second range, so that’s fine. I don’t really know if I have such a fast half marathon in me, but I want to give it a shot. I need some sort of positive race experience (in terms of achieving a fast time) to give me confidence for Chicago.

More importantly though, I desperately need to become more efficient with my time when it comes to school and everything else, including this blog. I need to strip everything that is not school or work down to the essentials – and I need to start prioritizing. As much as I love this blog, it has also become a very successful way to procrastinate. Yes, I confess – I am currently procrastinating. A huge mountain of homework is waiting for me and instead I am choosing to write. Bad, very bad. Writing, cleaning and cooking – my main procrastination methods! I keep thinking I have “all day” to do a huge list of things, but the reality is that those hours fly by and before I know it, it’s 6pm and I haven’t finished any of my work. Today is a perfect example. At least I got my track workout done…

I guess I need to lock myself in a library until I get used to being back in school and can work at home without getting so distracted. There’s no way I’ll stay afloat otherwise! But it’s also about pacing myself while I’m studying. I’m just too slow right now, partly because I haven’t been in this type of environment for so long, but also because I’m letting my perfectionism get the better of me. An assignment that should’ve taken me less than an hour took me over three. In the time I took to read one chapter of my Physiology book (which is the only reading I’ve done – I’m so behind already), I thought I would’ve finished at least two. Granted, I was trying to study it not simply read it, but still. I keep surprising myself by how long it’s taking me to do pretty much anything. At Yale, I juggled my music with a heavy course load and so much more and I got straight As. There’s no way I could’ve done all that while working at my current speed!

I’m reminding myself that I’ve only been in school for a week – and I really loved my first week! Every class is interesting – even the one with the horrible textbook – all my professors are wonderful and I am 100% positive that I made the right decision to pursue this degree. This weekend is my opportunity to catch up on my work, since I don’t have class on Fridays. I want to go into my second week feeling like I’m organized and on top of all my material. I can do it!

Everything – whether it’s pursuing a running goal or a major career change – takes time, hard work and perseverance. This is a huge adjustment and I just need to get the hang of things again. I’m highly motivated to do well in my classes this semester – paying for them myself certainly helps with that – and I’m confident I’ll get back into an academic groove, just as I know I’ll get back into my running groove.

Have a great weekend everyone! You know what I’ll be doing…