I love the calendar turning over to a bright, shiny new year. The brand new start offers endless possibilities for new running adventures and accomplishments. For me, it’s a time to reflect on what I’ve done, take stock of where I am, and make new goals. I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions, but I do like a good goal-setting session, and a new year is a perfect time for that. I’ve been running for almost two years. My initial goal was to run the 2012 St. Jude Country Music marathon in Nashville with my daughter Jenny Yarger. Jenny was fundraising for her little cousin Cara Hawxby, who was undergoing treatment for leukemia at St. Jude. I was turning 50 years old, I was overweight and to say I was out of shape is an understatement, but I gradually went from walking to running, and I was making some progress. However, injuries plagued me that first year, and I missed so much training that I knew I wouldn’t be able to complete the full marathon, so I dropped down to the half. Jenny completed the full marathon with her dad. I finished the half in 3:03 behind an 80-year-old woman that I just could not pass to save my life. When I crossed the finish line, there wasn’t a place on my entire body that didn’t hurt, but I was beyond happy. During that year, David Murphy and Jon Wilson started the Idiots Running Club on Facebook, and I found a whole new level of support and friends. I’m not sure I would’ve continued running if it weren’t for the IRC. Running is hard, and I’ve never been one to to stick with the hard, uncomfortable stuff for long. Since those first days, I’ve learned that the most memorable moments in life are those that happen after conquering the hard, uncomfortable stuff. I was injured so often that first year of running that I felt like I must be doing something wrong. I heard about Coach Jeff Kline of PrsFit through the IRC. I knew I needed some advice, but I thought he only trained “real runners” and big-time triathletes. I didn’t think he’d want to train a chubby grandma. I asked David Murphy about the possibility of getting some help from Jeff. David was quick to tell me that I was a “real runner” and that Jeff trained all types of runners. (Just a little side note to everyone – not a good idea to use the term “real runner” around David. If you run at all – you’re a runner.) Using Coach Jeff’s training plans, I spent 2013 building my strength, adding endurance and learning all I could. I ran lots of races, set some new personal records, and I completed my very first marathon. It took me 5:45:47 to finish. Yep, it’s slow, but it’s still 26 point freaking 2 miles! My two daughters and my husband Tim, along with David and a bunch of wonderful Idiots, waited for me at the finish line. It was a memorable and wonderful moment – the reward for making it through the hard, uncomfortable stuff. Yesterday, David Pittman, fellow Idiot and PrsFit team mate posted this: “What’s your big athletic goal for 2014? If you don’t have at least one that’s so big it scares the bejeezus out of you, think of one! You’re capable of far more than you think. STRETCH! PUSH!” Hmmm. Since then, I’ve been thinking and thinking. I need my 2014 big athletic goal to be realistic, but just barely. What scares me? Running my idea of fast for a long distance scares me. It hurts. It’s hard and it’s uncomfortable. Could I break 5 hours at Bass Pro in November? I do have 11 months. I could lose a few pounds – that would surely help, right? Is this realistic for me? 45 minutes faster? Whew, that’s a really big jump. I asked my husband first, “Do you think there’s any possibility I could run Bass Pro in 5 hours?” He said, “Well, that’s a huge percentage of improvement, but I believe it’s possible.” I asked Coach Jeff, who quickly said, “Sure, let’s do it!” I asked my fast-running friend Jamie Rigdon, who is now a PrsFit coach herself. “How much walking did you do on your first marathon?” she asked. “Quite a lot at the end – especially the last five miles,” I said. “Then, given the time frame, I believe you can do it, because by then, I bet you’re not walking much at all,” she said. Still not completely convinced, I asked my friend and PrsFit Coach David Murphy, who never sugarcoats anything. He knows where I came from, and he’s watched my progress from the beginning. After a long pause, he said, “It’s doable. BUT it will not be an easy year. You’ll have big miles building up to the training period. Big SLOW miles, but still big miles.” I can do big, slow miles. It will be hard and uncomfortable at times, but that’s the whole point, isn’t it?