Training for a Half-Marathon on List of Goals for 2010

I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions. If I want to do something badly enough, I try to do it during the year. This year, though, I’m feeling more motivated to think about my goals for 2010, in part because I have a lot I want to accomplish in the months ahead.

I’ve found that writing down my goals helps ground them in reality and sometimes makes them seem more feasible. And publishing them for an audience of readers creates more of an incentive to actually live up to what I say I’m going to do!

So, here’s some of what I hope to accomplish in the year ahead:

Start cooking more for myself — and others. After a long day at work, it’s much easier to heat up a veggie burger or some soup than it is to make a meal for myself. I have no trouble, though, cooking for others, and I love seeing people eat the food I make. Since coming home, I’ve prepared more meals than usual, probably because I have a family to make meals for here. I find that the more I cook and bake, the more relaxing and enjoyable it becomes.

Help out with some Habitat for Humanity builds. Nearly every Saturday morning, the local Habitat for Humanity chapter for St. Petersburg, Fla., has organized construction days for people who want to help build a Habitat home. I’m not a morning person, and Saturday is my one day to sleep in, so I often don’t wake up in time to volunteer. I’m hoping to help out with at least a few builds, though, this year.

I led Habitat for Humanity groups all throughout college, and spent three of my four spring breaks building homes in Rocky Mount, N.C., Baltimore, Md., and Concord, N.H. These were some of the best weeks of my college career. Even though I hardly knew the people on the builds prior to our week-long adventures, I always came away with a sense of accomplishment and a new group of friends. Seeing how happy the soon-to-be homeowners looked when they saw their houses being built was enough to remind me why I spent my spring breaks putting up drywall, painting walls and hammering lots of nails.

Continue to write more personal essays. Someday I want to write a memoir. It’s a lofty goal, I know, but I already have a lot of material for what could become a book about my mom and how her death has shaped me. In the past decade or so, I’ve written dozens of personal essays and filled up more than 20 journals. I don’t journal as much as I once did, but I still write a few entries a month in addition to the personal essays I write for my blog.

When writing essays for publication, I try to be truthful to my own experiences while addressing universal themes that others can relate to. The best indication of a “successful” personal essay is one that touches others. If I can help just a small group of people through a piece of writing, and make them realize that they’re not alone, then the time spent writing was more than worth it. In 2010, I hope to write more personal stories and draw greater connections between my more recent essays and those I’ve written in the past.

Run a half-marathon. Since I started running cross-country in high school, I’ve always wanted to run a marathon. I’m not quite ready for one yet, though. So I’m going to attempt a half-marathon — a Disney Princess half-marathon. I’ve been running regularly, and I recently ran in some 10K road races, so I feel up for the challenge. My best friend from home is flying from Massachusetts to run the race with me, as is her mom, who was our high school cross-country coach. We’re planning to wear tiaras during the race, and there’s been talk of even wearing a tutu. We can’t help but want to embrace the race’s theme. …

Swim in a triathlon. One of my friends recently signed me up for the St. Anthony’s triathlon in St. Petersburg. I’m going to do a mile-long swim while my two other friends bike and run. When I first heard that I’d have to swim a mile, it didn’t seem as though it would be that difficult. But I was thinking from a runner’s standpoint. An open-water, mile-long swim is pretty far, especially for someone like me who doesn’t swim regularly. I’m willing to do it, though, so long as the waves aren’t too rough the day of the race. My plan is to swim two to three times a week when I get back to Florida after the first of the year, and do a few open-water swims. Any training-related tips would be much appreciated.

I’m still thinking about how I plan to measure the success of these goals. I’ll keep you updated on my progress in the coming months.

What are some of your goals for 2010?

Published by Mallary Tenore Tarpley

Mallary is a mom of two young kiddos -- Madelyn and Tucker. Mallary absolutely loves being a mom and often writes about the need to find harmony when juggling motherhood and work. Mallary is the Assistant Director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin, where she manages the Center's various programs related to distance learning, freedom of expression, and digital journalism. Previously, she was Executive Director of Images & Voices of Hope and Managing Editor of The Poynter Institute’s media news site, Mallary grew up outside of Boston and graduated from Providence College in Rhode Island. In 2015, she received a certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University. She now lives in beautiful Austin, Texas, with her kids, husband Troy and cat Clara. She's working on a memoir, slowly but surely. You can reach her at

6 thoughts on “Training for a Half-Marathon on List of Goals for 2010

  1. St. Anthony’s triathlon is a heck of an event for your first race. My best suggestion is to go to a pool and join a technique class. Swimming in a triathlon is all about proper technique, and open-water swimming doubly so.

    If you’ll be able to do a half-marathon and swim a mile, I would think you should add a sprint triathlon to your goals. Most sprints are between 1/4 and 1/2 mile swim, 9-16 mile bike, and 5k run. You could do it easily; you’d just need to learn how to bike, and St. Pete is the perfect place to practice. They happen all the time, but the main seasons are Fall and Spring.

  2. Bring it on Disney : ). I can’t wait. Training started Monday and I’ve survived the chilly days so far. I can’t wait to hear how your warm, short and T-wearing runs go down in FL. It’ll bring me positive thoughts for these cold days!!

  3. Mallory,
    I enjoy checking your blog to see how you are doing. I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions either, but enjoyed reading your goals, and I am inspired by you to craft some personal essay. The ones I have read about your mother are beautiful.

    Good luck on your half marathon! I know you can do it! I rediscovered my love of running this year, and have set a bold goal for the spring: a 50k mountain race. I’ve never raced a marathon so 31 in the mountains is pretty daunting, but I live near the trails and am determined to do this. I’m keeping a blog about my journey:

    Cheers! Happy New Year!


    1. Liz,

      Your comment made my night! I’m so glad you’re feeling inspired now to do some personal writing. I’d love to read your essays as you write them.

      And the mountain race sounds pretty amazing. I’ll definitely start following your running blog. You can be my inspiration for the half I’m training for! 🙂


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