You probably aren't asking yourself any of these questions this morning, but I have, so I thought I'd share my answers.
Marathon again? I'm still chasing that sub 5 hour marathon. Honestly, I'm so keyed up about it right now I wish I could run one tomorrow to try again. I'm not sure that would be helpful or successful, but that's how I feel. I'm itching to go again. But the reality is that I absolutely need to lose some weight if I want to get faster. The speedwork and tempo runs I tried to use to get faster injured me. And that's likely because I'm carrying 15-20 pounds more than I should. (Before you object to that number, please re-visit horror show photos the race.) If 10 pounds can give me nine minutes off my marathon finish time, then I should try very hard to lose 10 pounds. But next time I think I'll be doing a spring marathon again. Training in the winter has its flaws, but I think I'm better with cold weather running that hot. I just seem to fall apart in the heat.
Sea level marathon? Most definitely. Of all the things that were a struggle, breathing wasn't among them. It was nice. It didn't give me a huge advantage time-wise, but it makes running feel so much easier. I went for a "shake out" run on Thursday before the marathon, and it was the best run I think I've ever had. Just 3 miles but I felt like I was floating rather than running. It was a beautiful thing. Having said that, never underestimate the course profile. I knew there was a hill from mile 16-17, but until we drove the course on Saturday I failed to grasp the steepness of that hill. It was on par with parts of the Leadville Heavy Half. It wasn't steepish. It was STEEP. And it was the beginning of the end, because that's where I started walking. And once I start walking, it's walk/run from then on.
Larger marathon? I absolutely loved all of the spectators and support for this race, and even all of the company along the way with other runners. I didn't chat a lot with other runners other than to bitch about the weather a couple of times, but it's nice just being out there with other people at your relative pace. It's a trade off because it was nearly impossible for David to figure out where to meet me, and apparently there was a long of cursing and u-turning the car to get to mile 19. Would I rather see lots of people with great signs yelling my name and ringing cowbells for complete strangers, or would I rather see my husband three or four times along the course? Of course I would prefer both, but he can't be with me all the time. He goes by in a couple of seconds, whereas in a big race you are never really alone.
What now? I always get the post-race-no-training-plan blues. This time, however, I'm implementing Operation Swimsuit in preparation for our trip to Belize. (Did I tell you that we're going to Belize in January? We're going to Belize in January.) What that means is that I need to be jiggling that thigh until it jiggles off. I've given myself this week to come down off the marathon, not exercising one single little bit. Then we're back to counting calories, and burning 400-600 calories per day in cardio for the next three months. I'm also going to be doing a whole lot of lunges and squats, based on those race photos, I'll tell you that. I'm
I've run one race each month for the last 12 months. I was planning on racing once a month this year for a 12 in 12 thing, but I'm not sure if I'll do any more races this year. Maybe a couple of 5Ks, but honestly I'm not even sure I want to do those. I love racing, but I'm tired of the interruption it adds to my training for a longer race. I've run six half-marathons this year. That's crazy. But also what's crazy is that my times haven't gotten significantly better. Which tells me that racing isn't the same as training, and I need to be working more on the latter. It's hard, though. I get emails for races and I get the itch to register. It's difficult to resist, especially when a medal is involved.
The other thing I want to do is volunteer for a race or two. I always feel so grateful to the volunteers, but in the last year I've raced 12 different events, and 12 different times complete strangers supported me, cheered for me, congratulated me just because I had entered a race. They don't get paid for it, and the certainly don't get thanked adequately for it. It's a wonderful thing to do and I want to pay that forward. I also hear stories from Mr. Bump or other people who've come out to watch me race about seeing the whole race, rather than just the bit I'm in, and I would love to see that. It's hard to appreciate it as a great feat when you're in it--you're just slogging through. But I think it will be obvious from the sidelines.
I actually emailed the people who run the Winter Distance Series, which I ran last year. If you volunteer, they give you free entry into one of their races, so that's kind of awesome. I'm excited, even if it means standing out in the cold all morning on a Saturday in December, January, or February.
I'm thinking about some yoga classes, and maybe joining a running group. Just to mix things up. I've never been a social runner, or for that matter a exercise class person, but maybe both will help. Neither is like a blood oath, so I think I'll live even if I hate them. I'm kind of awkward in group settings, and my last attempt at a running group resulted in me taking off on my own at about mile 3, so yeah. Not so good at that. But I do like running with a friend, being able to chat and therefore ignore that self-defeating voice in my head and also whatever body part is cranky.
My main focus right now is dropping some weight, which began on Monday and let me tell you, I forgot how much this sucks. The first week is always the worst, and after that your body stops screaming "FEED ME WOMAN!" And the other part is that you sort of get consumed by it. You're constantly calculating when and what you can eat. That gets easier eventually, too after you've been at it a bit and your routine gets settled. I have chosen the hardest three months of the year to attempt weight loss, but I've done it before, and I know I can do it again.
I'm going to start chronicling all this a little closer here, for my benefit if no one else's. Dieting can be such a struggle and a slog, so I'm sure you'll be interested in it's minutiae. See you soon.
What's the hardest part of the day when you're dieting? Any tips/tricks?
The hardest part for me is the afternoon at work. I bring my breakfast and lunch most days, so the gremlins don't generally come out until 1:30, and then they start shouting "FEED ME WOMAN! I'm bored! I'm stuck in this chair. Reward, please. Gimme gimme gimme." Also going out to dinner can be a disaster. It's so easy to blow it without knowing it. But I try to look online and figure out what I can eat before we leave the house.
My tricks/tips are peppermint tea, gum, and evening exercise. If I exercise after dinner, I've got to take it easy or I'll vomit. Built in governor.