Keep Running Past Your Goals / by PJ Monson


Our guest blogger today is Muffy Lavens, a current graduate student at NYU.  Muffy earned her MS in Public Relations and is a certified Zumba instructor and avid runner. You can find her every Saturday cross training with CentralSweat! 


I have always been athletic. At three years old I was taking ballet classes and figure skating. In elementary school I added soccer and tap dancing to the list. Yet for some reason, no matter how hard I tried, I could not run the mile. I remember dreading the days we were tested on it. I wasn’t as fast as the other kids and I always seemed to finish in 12 or 13 minutes. And the very worst part was that I never seemed to get any faster.

It wasn’t until middle school that I hit my stride. I started competitive figure skating and we had to do a lot of cross training. Running happened to be a part of it. Funny thing is, when I had to do the mile for school that year, I ran it in 8:43 (yes, I still remember the time) and I couldn’t believe it. I was supposed to be the 'slow one.' Every time I was tested on the mile after that, I finished in a range of 7:30-9 minutes.

When I got to college I was terrified I would gain the “freshman fifteen” so I went to the gym three times a week and ran two miles every time. I was still skating too so, in retrospect, I don’t know why I was so worried about it. What I needed to worry about was what was going to happen when I stopped skating.

I finally gained the “freshman fifteen” my junior year of college. I hated that I let that happen.  Nothing motivated me throughout the semester. I was still hitting the bars with my sorority sisters and going to the cafeteria instead of cooking.  So my senior year I decided to do something about it! New Year’s came along and I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was going to be to run a half marathon.


I started out small with a 5K because it was my first race ever. It was called the Tangled Royal Family 5K. I surpassed my fastest time!  From then on, all I wanted to do was continue racing. I ran three other 5Ks before I finally geared up for the half marathon.

Last November I achievedmy GOAL and completed my New Year’s Resolution by running Disney’s Wine and Dine Half Marathon. You would think I would have been on top of the world! However, immediately following the race, I never wanted to run a half marathon again. I was sore, tired, and had chaffing in places I didn’t even know possible. All I wanted to do was go home and never move again.  What was wrong with me?  I had achieved my goal, hadn't I?

It took me about a month to decide that despite my negative feelings, I needed to set a goal and follow through, come hell or high water.  I started to research races and tried to get people on board with me (races are always more fun with others!). I’m currently set to a 10-Miler in October and a half marathon in February!  I wish I could tell you that I look forward to each run because of the high it brings me, or the feeling I get while I am running.  And sometimes I can say those things!  But most of the time, it is simply about making a choice and following through.


All it took was setting one goal to get me back to my active lifestyle. I’m a huge believer in setting goals, but I’m also a big believer in “don’t stop there.” Just because you’ve reached your GOAL, doesn’t mean you can’t run past it.