Rise and Function

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There might not be much shining going on today (I feel rundown and it’s gloomy out), so all I can commit to is rising and functioning.  🙂


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My sister-in-law and my father-in-law are staying until Sunday, and Sophie made everyone a bunch of eggs and toast.  The idea of eggs wasn’t too pleasing (tummy ache), so I went with a standard bowl of yogurt + oatmeal.


It if ain’t broke, don’t fix it: Greek yogurt, raw oats, almonds, chia seeds, and banana.


You know the old saying that you should always take your own best advice?  Last night, I was getting really mad that I was feeling sick and couldn’t run… especially after tweaking my IT band last Thursday.  My knee feels awesome now, but the rest of my body is saying, “Please don’t exercise!”


Normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal, but I have two half marathons coming up – one on March 26 in Washington DC and another on April 2 in New York City.  Because I’m traveling for both races, I’m feeling a lot of pressure to get better and get back on training ASAP.


So – I decided to take my own best advice and pulled up post I wrote last March called How to Set Race Goals and Not Drive Yourself Crazy.


Some highlights:


  • Set your goals based on what YOU are capable of at the CURRENT time. 
  • Adjust your goals during your training and on race morning. 
  • Set goals based on other factors, not just time. 


In the follow-up post (How to Set Race Goals Part II), I wrote about setting non-time based goals.


So, my new non-time based goals for the DC Half Marathon are:


  • Have fun and take lots of cool running pictures in front of the National Monuments
  • Encourage people around me who look like they are struggling
  • Don’t go balls to the wall and re-tweak my IT band before the NYC Half Marathon (which is my priority)


I would LOVE to get under 2:00 for the DC Half, but if it doesn’t happen, I’m okay with that, considering all that my body has been through in the last week.  I’ll gun for a new Personal Record (sub 1:58) in NYC.


How do you set race goals without driving yourself crazy?  What are your non-time based goals for your upcoming race?



  • Corie March 16, 2011, 9:20 am

    I hope you feel better soon! It’s great that you’re reevaluating what you can do based on your current situations – it’s better to be safe and healthy rather than get an injury later that will put you out of commission for a while. Good luck!

  • jillian March 16, 2011, 9:23 am

    you are doing the MORE 1/2 in NYC, right? I’ll be there too! My IT bands are giving my grief, so I’m in similar boat. Regardless, it will be a great race – I’m really looking forward to it!

    • Caitlin March 16, 2011, 10:57 am

      Yes! Maybe we’ll see each other at the race.

      • Rachel March 17, 2011, 8:01 am

        O, me too! It’s a fun one, especially if the weather is warm and sunny–everyone hangs out in Sheep’s Meadow afterwards.

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) March 16, 2011, 9:24 am

    I hope you feel better soon Caitlin. There is nothing worse that a lingering funky feeling. Get some rest today.

  • Maryann (The Balanced Bean) March 16, 2011, 9:29 am

    Feel better soon! I have only ran one half marathon, so Im not pro at setting goals or anything…I just think its better to aim high and miss a goal (no big deal) rather to lower your standards to ensure that you’ll make it.

  • Holly @ Couch Potato Athlete March 16, 2011, 9:30 am

    I always aim to beat my last time — but if I don’t think that is going to happen (due to possible injury or lack of training) — I try to run as much as I can, or I try to run a negative split (even if the total time is under my target time).

    Honestly if I am not going to beat my previous time, I just aim to finish!

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat March 16, 2011, 9:32 am

    I don’t have any races planned at the moment (I decided that I absolutely love running but racing not so much), however, I try to set goals based on how my body feels, like for example, to be able to do a hard set of intervals and push myself hard enough to really feel like I’ve worked, as opposed to just going through the motions. I hope you feel better soon. Don’t panic, there’s still time and it sounds like a little R&R is all you need!

  • Katie @ cooklaughmove March 16, 2011, 9:33 am

    I needed that!!! My 5/3 Riverbank Run 25k training has not gone well at all and I’ve considered dropping out. Maybe i’ll just run for run, instead of killing myself (phsyically and mentally) with running for time!

  • Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman March 16, 2011, 9:33 am

    Aw, feel better soon! I think your new goals are smart. The worst thing you can do is injure yourself even more so it takes that much longer to recover.

  • Ali @ Ali on the Run March 16, 2011, 9:35 am

    It’s great that you’re able to adjust and re-assess your goals. That way it’s a win-win situation — and you’ll get great photos in front of the monuments! Best of luck at both races. And remember: there will always be another half marathon you can enter, run and conquer.

  • Natalie March 16, 2011, 9:35 am

    For years I would get really frustrated with myself if I couldn’t/didn’t accomplish the racing goals I set, until last year when I suffered from a broken foot due to over-training. The injury put everything into perspective for me! Completely healed, I still set race/mileage goals, but listen to my body first and foremost…after all, there will be many more races.

    • Caitlin March 16, 2011, 10:59 am

      Aww sorry about your stress fracture! Those are the worst.

  • Kris March 16, 2011, 9:36 am

    Best of luck! Be careful on the More/Fitness course. It is two + loops of Central Park and fairly hilly.

  • Jen @ keepitsimplefoods March 16, 2011, 9:36 am

    Take care of yourself, lady. If you want to meet up while you’re in D.C. let me know!

    Btw, I’m hosting a coconut oil giveaway on my blog this week, starting today!

  • Marisa @ Loser for Life March 16, 2011, 9:38 am

    That sounds like a good plan, Caitlin. You have to take care of YOU. It’s all part of being healthy 🙂

  • Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin March 16, 2011, 9:38 am

    “I can rise and I can shine, I just can’t do them both at once.”

    How’s that? 🙂

    • Caitlin March 16, 2011, 11:00 am

      True that.

  • Liz March 16, 2011, 9:40 am

    I totally know how you feel. My leg has been giving me trouble for the last week so I’m taking some time off before the National Half. Lucky it isn’t too serious because I still plan to a. start running again in a few days and b. try to PR still.
    You will definitely have fun at the race either way though! I’m planning on staying after the half to cheer on the full people. I’m excited to be a runner and spectator in one day!

  • Krissy @ Make It Naked March 16, 2011, 9:42 am

    I’m running the National too. I’ve had to adjust my goals after being sick what seems like all of winter. I’m also running the OBX 1/2 April 9th so hoping to feel better about that one! I like your “have fun and take pics by the monuments goal” – living here you forget how awesome that is. Feel better!

    • Caitlin March 16, 2011, 11:01 am

      Yay 🙂 Maybe we’ll see each other on the race course and can get a pic together!

  • Kara March 16, 2011, 9:42 am

    My goal for my next race (a ten mile one) is to have fun! I’d like to beat my old time of 1:27, but if I don’t, it’s no biggie.

    Hope you’re feeling better soon!

  • Ash @ Good Taste Healthy Me March 16, 2011, 9:45 am

    Sorry no tips as I’m not a huge runner but I do hope you feel better soon. It seems you’ve been feeling crummy for a few days now. 🙁

  • Michelle March 16, 2011, 9:45 am

    My goal for my May 1st half marathon is to not walk.

  • Baking 'n' Books March 16, 2011, 9:45 am

    I need to set goals in life. Not having a plan is making my mind a mess.

    Hope you are feeling better soon!

  • Chloe@321delish March 16, 2011, 9:47 am

    I FEEL YOUR FRUSTRATION! I took a voluntary week off for vacation but was ready to get back into it when I got home. Second day back, I crashed my bike 🙁 So now I am on the sidelines feeling like I am losing momentum each day. I am also running the 1/2 marathon next weekend so have it in the back of my mind! We run for fun though right? Pretty awesome that we can run 13.1 miles…no matter how fast.

    • Chloe@321delish March 16, 2011, 9:48 am

      ps: I am running the D.C. 1/2 marathon!

      • Caitlin March 16, 2011, 11:03 am


  • Heather @ Side of Sneakers March 16, 2011, 9:52 am

    Being injured is SO frustrating, but as much as you want to run, make sure you’re listening to your body and taking care of yourself (like you always do;))- sitting on the sidelines for months is much worse than sitting out one race! If only I had listened to my own advice 😉

  • Evan Thomas March 16, 2011, 9:56 am

    I had a time goal for the National Marathon, but after reading Matt’s e-book I became convinced that finishing your first marathon is the goal, especially when all you’ve had during training is injuries.

    • Caitlin March 16, 2011, 11:04 am

      oh so awesome – i didnt realize you were doing the DC full!

  • Juli D. March 16, 2011, 9:59 am

    My basic goal is to set a PR each year for each distance. My goal this year is a sub 20 5K and I have a race on Saturday, but I haven’t put in the hardcore work so I’m not expecting to hit that goal. I’ll still run balls out and see what happens. 🙂 Feel better!

  • Emily March 16, 2011, 10:01 am

    I’m glad you’re being so smart about reassessing your race goals! National is a really fun half and you will love just enjoying the views, fellow runners and awesome spectators. Look at it as a super fun training run for NYC.

    My next marathon is Boston and I do have a time goal, but I also know how special Boston is so my A Goal is to have a blast and enjoy the experience. If I’m feeling strong, a PR will be frosting on the marathon fun cake.

  • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing March 16, 2011, 10:09 am

    I love it when we learn from ourselves 🙂 Thanks for sharing! Hope you feel better soon.

  • Lauren @ SassyMolassy March 16, 2011, 10:11 am

    I think you’re taking the right approach. After all, sometimes you just can’t do a thing about what your body is doing. On occasions where I’ve been injured for a marathon, I tell myself.a few different goals. For the Portland Marathon this past fall I had an a, b and c goal, all of which I’d be happy with. My basic goal is always to enjoy the race, finish and try to run the entire thing.

    Here’s the post I wrote for those goals…http://justcallmesassy.blogspot.com/2010/10/portland-marathon-goals-and-musings.html

    Good luck! ANd remember, resting now is the best thing you can do and only run if your body feels okay. As several people have said to me, there’s nothing you can do in the last 2-3 weeks before a a half or full marathon that will make your fitness much better. There’s only the chance you can run yourself down and injure it more. So, in that light, staying safe is always your best bet in those last few weeks. Hang in there! Maybe some time in the trainer will help as well.

  • Bonnie March 16, 2011, 10:17 am

    Great post, and well said – sometimes it’s hardest to take your own advice, ironically so (as a personal trainer, there are times when I struggle to “walk the talk” and it helps keep me accountable to what I say to others!). Glad you are listening to your body and will have FUN on this next race! Love the encouraging others part of your goal too. I don’t have a race coming up, but I am going on a 2 month roadtrip and film tour with our film that my husband and I helped make about young adults and cancer (http://wrongwaytohope.com) and my running goal, amidst the craziness of going from the West to the East Coast in 2 months with 35+ screenings to put on is to jump out of the RV, run for fun/sanity, take photos of the experience (like you), and continue blogging about it. Should be fun! My goal that was not time-related for my last 1/2 marathon was to just enjoy the experience full-blast, and I know I’ll appreciate running in a different way over the next few months when I can’t be as structured with it.

    Love your blog, although I don’t comment every time I read; it’s the first one I check in the mornings. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your ups and downs – rest up and feel better!

    • Caitlin March 16, 2011, 11:05 am

      Thank you so much for reading, Bonnie!

  • lauren March 16, 2011, 10:18 am

    Caitlin – the Fitness/More half-marathon course can be challenging; it’s quite hilly so you should def. train on hills. I’ve raced three half-marathons (and two longer distances, 14 and 18 miles, plus the end of the NYC Marathon) on the course. Central Park is not an easy place to PR a half-marathon – just food for thought.

    • meg c March 16, 2011, 10:51 am

      agree with lauren here. i’ve been training for the Official NYC Half (Manhattan half marathon) on March 20 and that race starts in the park for the first 7 miles. Training on those hills has been tough!

      • Caitlin March 16, 2011, 11:05 am

        oh god… im hoping it won’t be TOO bad compared to charlotte!

      • Jess March 16, 2011, 1:33 pm

        I’m running the half this weekend, too, and am worried about the Park! I’ve never run in Manhattan, and don’t live in a hilly area, so I’m hoping I just run conservatively and survive until the second half and finish strong! Good luck to you this weekend!

  • Holly@Chunky Monkey March 16, 2011, 10:20 am

    I love the pansies. my fav flower and I love your post! I too am injured (lungs and back) and Dr told me not to plan on my scheduled 10k on 4/2. I like your idea of taking pictures. Perhaps I will sign my daughter up and we can walk and take pics. Make it a fun play day instead. Thank you!

  • Ali @ Ali Runs March 16, 2011, 10:21 am

    This is such a great post! I’m glad you can be so honest about your goals and it is always hardest to take your own advice. So to see you actually going back through your posts and adjusting your goals based on that is awesome! You are such a healthy role model and this post just proves it once again!

  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg March 16, 2011, 10:29 am

    My goal is almost always just to finish and have fun…taking the seriousness out of racing really helps me to focus on the fun of it all…and sometimes I still get a great time to boot!

  • Sarah @ The Pajama Chef March 16, 2011, 10:29 am

    feel better soon! sometimes extra rest can do a body good…you might just do fabulous because of all the extra rest! 🙂

  • Ashley @ Feeding Ashley March 16, 2011, 10:32 am

    My goal is just to finish my first 5k. I love that I can know the weather where I’m at just by reading your blog. It’s looking pretty gloomy in eastern NC too right now.

  • M March 16, 2011, 10:57 am

    I have been putting my life in perspective these days by thinking of the tragedy and horror in Japan.
    As soon as I think how lucky I am in life,it kicks all my worries and complaining to the curb.

    I encourage everyone to donate to Red Cross relief for Japan if they can.Let’s support our brothers and sisters there!

  • Ashley March 16, 2011, 11:03 am

    Such a great & positive message! Way to set your priorities! I love that one of your goals is now to encourage others who look like they’re struggling! I just did my first half a few months ago and I know there were some times there toward the end that I REALLY appreciated the support of others (I also took advice i’d seen in blog-world and pinned a sign to my back saying “Look Mom! I’m Running My First Half-Marathon!!! Cheer Me On!!” with my name on the bottom so all the runners knew this was my first time and could cheer me on by name. Made a WORLD of difference come 11 miles deep when I wanted to sit down & just be done!

  • Sarah @ The Strength of Faith March 16, 2011, 11:10 am

    I’m sorry you’re under the weather. I was down for the count last week and it sucked! How am I supposed to blog about food if I have no appetite?

    Here’s something to make you feel better. I just got the following text from my sister (she’s a social worker who works with high risk children): “Do you have the Operation Beautiful book? I have been using the website with some of my teen girls but I need the book for next week’s group.”

    I am gladly lending her mine – she said she’s ordering one but afraid it won’t come in on time.

    • Caitlin March 16, 2011, 11:21 am

      That does make me happy

  • Cindi March 16, 2011, 11:17 am

    I hope you get feeling better!!! BTW – I’m going to be in NYC the weekend of April 1-3 too! Perhaps I’ll come see you at the finish line! 🙂

  • Camille March 16, 2011, 11:28 am

    About 2 weeks ago, I had to not run a race I was signed up for. This was the first time I had ever done this and I will be honest, it sucked… badly. But it is all worth it if you keep your body healthy and happy. Remember that your body loves you no matter if you run or not! 🙂

  • ari March 16, 2011, 11:33 am

    you’re gonna kill it. i bet your body will surprise you 😉

  • Sam (the neurotic yogini) March 16, 2011, 11:35 am

    Those flowers are beautiful! I’m a purple freak! 🙂

  • Maggie March 16, 2011, 11:38 am

    I love the idea of “Rise and Function”. It’s just what I needed to read today–I’m always feeling rundown and gloomy. 🙁

    I’ve risen. And now, thanks to you, I’m functioning.

    Side question: What do you drink with your breakfast? Tea? Coffee?

    • Caitlin March 16, 2011, 1:08 pm

      I am a coffee addict and always have a cup!

  • Sarah for Real March 16, 2011, 11:43 am

    Thank you for this post Caitlin. Perfect timing actually. I’ve got my 12k coming up in May and between life and knees I’m totally not where I’d hoped I would be. Maybe I’ll do a post to force myself to readjust MY goals instead of being sad 🙂

  • Joanne March 16, 2011, 11:44 am

    So you’re letting your body taper for the next week and a half until your race. Nothing wrong with that. You may do better than you thought you could with a longer taper.

    I try to set 3 time goals: the first basically would be a 100% perfect run, the second is very achievable and the third allows for one of those bad running days. Still, no race ever goes as planned so to ease my anxieties, I simply tell myself to treat the race as a training run. No pressure – enjoy the experience. 🙂
    Happy running!

    Non Time based goal for Boston: Enjoy the race and just be pleased that I qualified no matter how I do in the race.

  • Rachel March 16, 2011, 11:49 am

    i am SO feeling your frustration! i didn’t train all last week b/c i was on vacation visiting family. now i’m back home & i’ve developed this annoying cough/chest cold. GRRR! 2 weeks down the tubes. i feel like when i finally am able to get back to the gym, i’ll be starting from scratch 🙁 but i guess i’ve just got to listen to my body & get better.

    • Caitlin March 16, 2011, 1:09 pm

      I hope you feel better soon!

  • Beth March 16, 2011, 12:01 pm

    I’m running the National Half as a relay, so my goal is mroe to have fun with my team than to meet a certain time.

  • Emily G. March 16, 2011, 12:02 pm

    Completely off subject, but I’m a huge Lady Gaga fan..have you really listened and disected her lyrics for “Born This Way”? They go hand-in-hand with the Operation Beautiful message! Lovely song!

  • Natalia - a side of simple March 16, 2011, 12:05 pm

    Aw, sorry you’re not feeling well. It’s tough when you’re training hard and feel like your body should be keeping up with your mentality, too! Don’t worry, you’re going to rock your half and whatever you achieve will be just right for you 🙂

  • Johanna B March 16, 2011, 12:09 pm

    Sometimes functioning is all you can do and that’s ok. On days like that I just keep putting one foot in front of the other for as long as I can.

  • Clare @ Fitting It All In March 16, 2011, 12:12 pm

    Ugh taking your own advice can be the hardest thing! My first marathon is a few weeks away and I have NO time goals. I just want to finish!

  • Joanna@ Drizzle of Sunshine March 16, 2011, 12:26 pm

    Those flowers are beautiful! Spring is almost here and I’m EXCITED! Hello sun dresses!!

    Right now I’m training for my FIRST 5K! I’m a baby runner 🙂 My goal right now is to just push myself and try my best. I’m only in competition with myself. I just want to finish and run as much as possible. I used to run no more than 30 seconds at a time. Now I’m doing 2 minutes run and 1 minute walking intervals.

    • Caitlin March 16, 2011, 1:13 pm

      Good luck on your first 5K! It’s going to be awesomesauce.

  • Ashley March 16, 2011, 12:42 pm

    I’m training for a full marathon on May 1. I chose an advanced marathon training plan, which I followed religiously until Tuesday. I feel like my body is falling apart under this mileage. So I redesigned the next six weeks and am trying to be ok with adjusting my goals. So far…it’s a process. I am really struggling with feeling like I “failed.”

    • Caitlin March 16, 2011, 1:15 pm

      You didn’t fail 🙂 Not all plans are made for all bodies. Failure would be training through despite knowing it doesn’t work for you.

  • Paige (Running Around Normal) March 16, 2011, 12:44 pm

    Sorry to hear you’re not feeling great! I think rising and functioning is all you can ask yourself on some of those days!

  • Christine @ Bookishly Boisterou March 16, 2011, 12:44 pm

    I have a out-of-town 1/2 (in my home town) this weekend and it’s supposed to rain and I know I’ll be tired from driving the day before and sleeping on my mom’s couch. SO, my goal is to just enjoy running in a familiar place and visiting family. I see it as my long run for the week.

  • Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife March 16, 2011, 12:59 pm

    I love this post- it is so important to realize goals are good, but a healthy body is even better!!

  • Kate (What Kate is Cooking) March 16, 2011, 1:02 pm

    I know what you mean- I woke up sick and I have a half marathon on Sunday 🙁 Such bad timing! I don’t know what to do!

  • Ash Bear March 16, 2011, 1:10 pm

    Caitlin I really like this post! It’s so easy for us to hold ourselves accountable for goals we set ages ago when our body, mind, or even weather was thinking something else. I know you’ll rock it just because you have such a great spirit and mindset. Just be careful with the hills in Central Park and your iT band. Unfortunately the MORE half is 2 loops of Central Park which means Harlem and Cat hill 2x.

    • Caitlin March 16, 2011, 1:15 pm

      How bad are those hills (distance, incline?) Any idea?

  • mary (what's cookin' with mary) March 16, 2011, 1:11 pm

    Sorry to hear you’re not feeling well… Feel better soon! 🙂

  • Jess March 16, 2011, 1:30 pm

    Thanks so much for the reminder! The NYC Half Marathon is Sunday, and my right knee decided to ache this week. I’m stretching, icing, and running my last runs very conservatively, and adjusting my goals (from under 2:10:00 to under 2:20:00). I’ve never run in the City, so it’ll be fun either way, right? 😀

    FEEL BETTER, CAITLYN! You’re so motivating!

  • Sarah March 16, 2011, 2:33 pm

    My IT band is shot as well. I went to a rowing camp this spring break and it was too rough to go out rowing one day and our coach made the INCREDIBLY STUPID decision of sending us on an hour and a half long run…we are not runners and have not trained to run distances like that. My advice with injuries is to remember that this is your body forever…not worth messing it up over one race! I hope you feel better soon…all that garlic should help 🙂

  • Jen G. March 16, 2011, 3:07 pm

    I have never commented before but love your blog. I think you will accomplish your under 2 hr goal…I bet the time off will be beneficial in many ways. I am running the National Marathon but at your under 2 hr pace you’ll be ahead of me. Good luck!

    • Caitlin March 16, 2011, 3:09 pm

      Good luck on the mary + thanks for reading!

  • cindylu March 16, 2011, 3:10 pm

    I’m struggling with this for the marathon this Sunday. Based on my training, I have a ballpark, about 20 minutes. I have an ideal time, a second goal and then a third goal I should be able to make unless I break down. But I hear from a lot of people I should just strive to finish and “enjoy the experience.” I know when I’m running my best, I do enjoy the process, course, etc.

    I’ve only done one distance twice. The goal for that race was simply to beat my last time. Totally doable.

  • Kara March 16, 2011, 3:46 pm

    AHH I am running the more half marathon too in a couple weeks and yesterday I woke up feeling kinda icky and was praying I felt better today, no such luck! very frustrated about feeling too crappy to get my run in today! Seeing your posts were definitely a lot of help! hang in there girl

  • Allison @ Happy Tales March 16, 2011, 4:08 pm

    Oh my goodness. I can COMPELTELY relate to this post! The half I did this past weekend was not for a time whatsoever. I wrote a post about how i mentally dealth with trying to slow myself down and just *enjoy* myself as the miles went by. And I have to say, I was quite successful! And i feel so good that I am still injury free and have now knocked out an 18-miler, as well as my 5th half-marathon! Seriously, if you need some mental tips, check it out!

  • Nikki March 16, 2011, 4:23 pm

    Ten days before my very first 5K I got the flu, a sinus infection, and bronchitis 🙁 It blew big chunks. Hope you get to feeling better!

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin March 16, 2011, 6:43 pm

    It’s funny how sometimes we can give out advice, but not take it. That’s awesome that you’re able to take your own!! It must be hard knowing you may not reach your original goals, but at least it’ll be better for your health in the long run! 🙂

  • gabriella @ embracement March 16, 2011, 9:09 pm

    I’m really hoping to run the more half under 2 but I have barely trained outside let alone on hills. Then again, I know I have a really good walk/run method under my belt and I think it’s possible. Hope to see you there so we can encourage each other up those hills! Every time someone talks about them I so nervous.

    • Caitlin March 16, 2011, 9:48 pm

      I bet you’ll be fine! That’s what excitement is for.

  • Valerie @ Cupcakes & the City March 16, 2011, 10:12 pm

    Good for you for looking at this reasonably! I always feel like non-time goals are the best anyways!

  • Little Miss Runshine March 17, 2011, 12:50 pm

    Hello! I am a new follower!

    I am hoping to run Boston in 3:20.
    I want to pace myself smart and enjoy the race!

    Good luck in your half marathons! I hope you heal well!

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