So it’s been a little over three months since I declared that I was going to run a half marathon and lose 40 pounds. Just reading that sentence seems a little crazy. But that’s what I’ve been trying to do. I’ve got three months to go and amazingly it looks like I’m halfway to both goals.
My first month of watching what I ate went swimmingly. I lost 10 pounds without effort, which is why I love it when I behave like a good vegan and eat properly. I’ve tried to avoid smashing down bags of Lays chips and jumbo portions of Sour Patch Kids. Sometimes I’ve failed but I know that when you take excessive sugar and bad carbs out, fat has an easier time leaving the body. Today I’m not sure how much I weigh because the scale died from constant checking, but according to the Wii scale, I’ve lost between 17-20 pounds. About halfway. With three months to go I just might make it. An additional fifteen to twenty pounds seem possible. I’m not sold on that number though. When it feels right I’ll know and that may be about 10 pounds away.
Which brings me to the running.
Last time we talked about this goal I was ready to break the milestone of running 10 minutes without stopping. Today I can run a 5k (3.1 miles) without stopping, and then walk 30 seconds before hitting it again. On weekends I try to have a long run of 6 or 7 miles. I also stopped running on the treadmill because longer runs are simply unmanageable inside. One weekend I went to a high school track and ran an incredible 24 laps. When I finished I thought, “Wow, you should just do that on the street. At least you can look at something.” So, I’ve started to just head out and run.
An amazing transformation. I really can’t believe I’m doing this. I always wanted to run long distances regularly but I never imagined that I could discipline myself to do it. My dedication and desire to run 10-15 miles a week has really surprised me. This dedication seems to have crept up on me ….or maybe I’ve just been too focused on the pain.
There’s a t-shirt that says, “Pain is weakness leaving the body.” Well, I must be pretty weak because from the day I started running in October there hasn’t been one day without hip to toe soreness or pain. Not one day since have I walked down the stairs without the silent scream. It’s becoming… irritating. This is especially remarkable for me because in my house I am famously known for stating the obvious—“I hate pain.” So for me to endure this and continue is a “teachable moment!” Still, if I weren’t at a symbolic halfway point, a place where I’m thinking the pain will soon begin to subside, I would be convinced to reconsider.
At the end of the day I believe my pain has come from too many long runs too quickly. After I quickly graduated from the Couch to 5K app, I logged on to Nike + and tracked my outdoor runs on my iPhone app. Nike’s half marathon training program is pretty intense and I never felt I was recovering enough, so a couple of weeks ago I returned to my race’s more conservative beginner program.
I’ve been reading running magazines and books and I’ve learned how to judge injury from soreness. So far I haven’t had a run stopping injury. But now I run with a knee brace on because somewhere after 4 miles I notice a instability in my left knee. Last week I started wearing a lace up ankle brace on my right ankle. Something bad starts happening to my ankle after 6 miles. Icing and epsom salt baths help tremendously. I think I’m now steady enough to keep going, healing on off days and strengthening during runs while increasing the miles toward March’s destination of 13.1 miles.
Here’s a video I watch on my iPhone when I’m soaking in the tub, wondering if I’m up to this. It’s totally inspiring, summing up the struggle and triumph of running and reaching for a goal. And the song that’s playing? Can’t put that on my iPhone and run because I wouldn’t be able to run while crying! From the site Beautiful Athlete
Running can be lonely and that in itself is a lesson to be okay with. No one in my house is able to run. I haven’t been able to hook up with anyone in my neighborhood so far. A few weeks back I joined a local running group and headed out to a meet up. We met in a parking lot and decided which way we were going to run and everyone took off. They were so much faster than me. It was humbling that I never saw them again until the run was finished. I focused. Ran my pace. Did 3.5 miles running alone. I did have thoughts of never showing again but I’ll get past that. A marathoner once said, “Whether you come in first or last you still finish.” So in my mind I try to get past ego while pushing my speed gains appropriately. I may never be fast. Another runner once said about trying to be a speedster, “Maybe you just suck at that.” Maybe I do and I’ll always be a turtle. But when I close my eyes at night and think about the next days run, I’m a gazelle passing everyone. I would love to have a running buddy to help me get through the rough spots but if I must do this alone I suppose I’ll be better in the end?
Running burns an incredible amount of calories. After a 6-7 mile run my monitor say’s I’ve burned well over 600 calories. This seems like a good thing but an hour afterward I’m asleep–exhausted. I run most times in the morning so I’ve had an overnight without food. Even a quick breakfast can’t prepare me for my run’s calorie burn. If I don’t eat a lot and well throughout each day I can be in trouble. Depleted and weak. It’s a challenge. But I try very hard to eat lots of good carbs for energy and keep the protein sources coming to keep my muscles strong. I take iron tablets daily to combat my well-documented anemia that is often worse in runners who deplete blood cells from the repetitive striking on pavement and the battery that is running. But I love it.
I’ve decided to run a 14K next month to prep for the half marathon the month after. 14k is almost 9 miles. I figure if I’m not able to do that by then, I may not be able to manage things by race time. This is a curious balance—losing weight, yet needing to eat enough to keep me strong enough for the next days run. Sometimes if it’s safe to zone out like on the track, I’ll run listening to an audio book, but I’m starting to run more and more without the need for distraction. I find solace in the sounds of my own hypnotic shuffle. It’s actually kind of fun. Wow. Am I becoming a runner?
I hope you enjoyed this post. I’ve thought a lot about enhancing the experience of Kindle subscribers who get the blog sent to them wirelessly. Writing longer posts on occasion will give you more to chew on while reading bedside. See you next time!
In the meantime, here are a couple of interesting links and bloggers I’ve come across.
Good Form Running presented by New Balance Shoes
Runners World Article, “Why is Running So White?’ (link)