Friday, January 25, 2013
I made it!
From the start line to the, uh, start line? How about from the car to the start line? From the couch to the car on my way to the real start line? Either way, yesterday was the official training kick-off run, and I managed to meet most of my pre-training goals to get myself back into shape for it.
I'm back down to around 123 pounds now, which is much more comfortable. Another two and I'll be really happy (and I think it's possible with the first month of easier runs).
I've dramatically cleaned up my eating and my tracking. There've been a couple rough moments where I was tempted to have that 'one last treat', even though I'm not exactly banning treats from my diet. I used to call those food funerals, because I'd start a diet by telling myself I could never have a certain food type again and then I'd go out and gorge myself on it. Instead of saying treats are off limits, I'm asking myself some questions:
A) Do I really want it?
B) Does this fit with my training right now?
C) Do I still really want it?
D) Can I eat something else that will still be tasty, but more useful to my body?
So far, none of these 'treats' have passed all four tests. I've passed on PMS pity food, opted for fresh fruit for dessert instead of ice cream, decided not to go for that one last chocolate bar, and didn't pick up anything sweet (or cheesy) when I was hanging around the grocery store bakery while waiting for a prescription yesterday. I'm weaning myself off of a slight emotional addiction to feeling like I need a small treat every time I go out (or, when things get bad, feeling like I need one every day).
We'll see if I decide to do cake day at work or indulge in a farewell cookie next week, but at this point I think I'm on a roll and I want to stay in this mindset. Like I said, I notice a big difference when I clean up my eating. It's not just about cutting out the bad things - I'm also bumping up the good stuff. I've managed to hit my minimum protein range every day, and my meals are just a lot more balanced. It takes more work (some people do sudoku or crosswords to relax at night; I'm working on my nutrition puzzle) and I have further to go with it, but even one week has made a difference.
This week's mini food goal is for my Sunday long run. We're starting out with an easy 10k, and I'm not going to eat back the 500-ish calories I burn in the form of Starbucks treats. Instead, I'm going to go home and make up a good batch of apple flax pancakes. Still a sweet treat, but better for me.
Speaking of group runs, I had my first last night. I've essentially done the classroom portion of the marathon clinic before, because my group last year was a HM/Full split. We'd do the same class, and then run different distances. I signed up for the clinic at a different store this time (the timing worked out better for me and it's the same distance from my house), so I was curious to see how different it would be.
First surprise was at how packed it was. I shouldn't have been too shocked about that since the store sits right at the heart of Calgary's top running spot, but I was expecting a group similar to what we had at my last clinic. The store was completely filled, and this was just the marathon group. There also seemed to be a lot of repeats, too. People who were regulars for the clinics. At my last one, I think we only had one repeat, and most of us were new. There was a good sense of camaraderie, and it actually made this group feel a little more like a club than a class.
On the flip side, because the group was so large, things were a lot more organized in terms of pacing groups and goals. I liked the discipline. The pace for my group last night (targeting between a 4:30 - 4:15 finish) was a lot slower than I usually run, and it was good for me. I have a really hard time slowing myself down when I'm out solo, so having a group with a rock solid pacer (and easy conversation) helped. With my smaller group last time, I found myself in an awkward pacing spot - I didn't fall back with the slower group, so I'd push myself to catch up to the leaders and probably run a little faster than I should have. I was particularly bad for that on long runs. I think it did make me a faster runner overall, but the marathon is a different game and I NEED to learn how to make myself slow down so that I still have something left in the tank three hours in.
So, I came home after one of the most relaxing runs I've had in ages - clear night, nice temperature, good company - feeling really pumped about the next 18 weeks.