To Run…Or Not to Run

Tomorrow morning is the perfect morning to go for a run.  It’s supposed to be a cool 64 degrees (I’m ignoring, for the moment, the 96% humidity forecast).  My husband will be home to watch after our little men, leaving me to run free and out of doors.  We have a day of house projects planned (as much as anyone can really do said projects with two very involved little helpers) and a run would be the perfect way to kick off the day.  A little runner’s high goes a long way when you’re painting, trimming hedges, and digging up the summer garden.

But I’ve been out for what feels like weeks.  Even though I’m finally feeling better, I have a cough that just won’t quit.  My foot is still tender.  I feel slow and heavy.  and I’m just so inclined to stay in bed, enjoy an extra cup of coffee and a few extra snuggles before starting the day.  Maybe I’ll start back on Monday and make a real go of it…maybe I’ll just wait till my foot is absolutely 100%….maybe, maybe, maybe.

To run or not to run…that is the question.

Resolve

It is taking an unbelievable amount of resolve not to bag the entire idea of running a fall half marathon.  The race is 12 weeks from Saturday and while I still feel confident that I can get to the starting line, my confidence is waning.

Shin splints.  Preschool camp cold.  And now, to top it all off, a foot issue.  It’s minor and hopefully (fingers crossed) it has been taken care of, but it has put me off running for another few days (and hopefully no more).  Sidelined once again.  Is there no balm in Gilead?

I desperately want to get back out there.  I want to stick to my training plan and start marking off workouts.  I want to set big goals and I want to actually accomplish them.  But my body has other plans right now.  I’m trying not to hold too tightly to my plan and to trust that this time off is ultimately what’s best for my body, but man.  It’s tough.  The perfectionist in me wants to just call the whole thing off; have a good laugh over the sheer irony of starting a running blog to document goals and training and racing the very week the wheels fell off the bus.  But not today.  I won’t quit today.  This doesn’t mean that I won’t quit tomorrow, but today, I chose to remain hopeful.  I chose to believe that this setback is just a minor one.  I am summoning all my resolve and am not quitting.  Not today, at least.

Plus, I have new running duds I’m anxious to take for a spin.  I can’t quit before that happens, right?

Weighty Wednesday

Weighty Wednesdays

I just want you to know that I’m fully cognizant of the fact that the alliterative title of this post is trite and most likely not recommended, but it could not be stopped.  I love a good alliteration.  My apologies henceforth.

As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m trying to lose some weight.  Let’s call it baby weight, even though my baby will celebrate his first birthday in a few weeks.  And to be totally honest, said weight wasn’t completely lost after my first, who celebrated his third birthday last month.  Ahem.  So yes.  There’s weight and it needs to be lost.  It isn’t a great deal of weight, relatively speaking, of course, but it is there and I would like it to be gone.  It’s been so, so long since I’ve been able to comfortably fit into my very favorite jeans and I would like to be able to do that, regardless of the number on the scale.

My eating habits tend to be, to borrow a childhood rhyme we often recite to our curly headed son, ‘very, very good but when they are bad, they are horrid.’  We eat a fairly well balanced diet, but very often my problem is overeating said diet.  That coupled with emotionally fueled chocolate chip binges (horrid!) has left me with a solid 10-15 pounds that I have not been able to shed since I became a mama.

Finally, finally I’ve decided that enough is enough.  The weight isn’t going to lose itself so I decided to start making a concerted effort to monitor what I’m eating and to cut back.  To this end I started using My Fitness Pal (MFP).  Again.  I have a long and sordid history with MFP.  I started using it not long after my first child was born.  I would log a couple of days here and there and then grow so frustrated with the sheer amount of effort that was required to log every calorie eaten, never mind the additional effort required to stay within an allotted amount of calories, that I would give up on tracking after a couple of days.  Repeat, ad nauseum for the last three years.

Plus there was this little niggling voice in the back of my head that rejected the very premise of counting calories because I didn’t want to be that kind of girl.  No, no.  Instead, I wanted to be one of those effortlessly slender girls who could eat whatever they desired and stay pencil thin.  I didn’t want to be bothered with something as banal as counting calories.  No, I wanted to be uncomplicatedly thin.  Unfortunately, the reality of my genetics and eating habits will not allow it.  So be it.

Last Wednesday I returned to tracking, only this time I changed the way that I did so.  I did a little upfront work (calculating the calories in meals I eat daily, snack and meal planning) and a great deal of pre-logging of food and I decided that come hell or high water, I would track my calories for an entire week.  While I was hoping to stay within my given calories per day, I decided that my first goal was to actually track every day.  In the past, every single time I exceeded my caloric limit I would fall of the tracking wagon.  Staying on the wagon was my only goal for the week.

I’m thrilled to say that not only did I meet my goal, but I actually lost weight doing so!  I’m down 5 pounds after a week of tracking.  I think that number is a bit padded due to my sickness these past few days (I knew it was dire when nothing sounded tasty), but either way, I’ll take it.  Even in just one week, I became more aware of what I was eating, when I truly needed to eat (hunger vs. boredom), and how to better budget for treats.  Because there will always be room in this girl’s diet for a treat.

More than the weight and even more than the jeans, I’m hoping that this experiment will help me become more aware of the ways in which I’m fueling this body.  I want to go faster and longer and I know that fueling is a big piece of my overall training.  I’m going to try and hold myself accountable by reporting my loses (and hopefully I’ll only have loses, though I recognize that may not be the reality of the situation) here weekly.  On Wednesdays.  Weighty Wednesdays, you might say.

And oh, said training.  It is not going well.  I attempted a tempo run this morning and pulled out after just a mile and a half.  The sneezes and wheezes are still holding me back.  Too much, too soon.  I’m hoping that a couple more rest days will put me back in action, but every day that passes brings me one day closer to race day.  But I’m quickly losing my resolve.  More on that…tomorrow.

Training, Day 2

Alternately titled: Sick Day

Here we are a full two days into half marathon training and I’ve already missed a day!  Egads.  For those of you waiting on tenterhooks, I did in fact complete yesterday’s easy three miler that kicked off the training plan.  I did not, however, complete today’s workout.  The mutant preschool cold virus has intensified and I’m left sneezing and wheezing in it’s wake.  If it was just the sneezing, I’d probably have given it my best effort, but it was the wheezing that kept me home.  According to this Runner’s World article, it’s best to refrain from activity when symptoms are below your neck.  Therefore, I refrain.

Please oh please oh please let me back at it soon.

My little man cubs have just been tucked in for the night.  I shall follow suit, sending myself to bed.  Let the Gilmore Girls watching, nose blowing, ice cream eating begin!  Hopefully the extra sleep (and extra ice cream) will put me back on my feet as soon as possible.  Like tomorrow.  Please?

Setbacks

Today is the first day of my half marathon training plan.  I had a whole post planned about said plan and my goals for the race when I was felled, suddenly and swiftly, by an obnoxious cold brought home from camp by my preschooler.  My eldest starts preschool next week and as it will be our first adventure into this world of time spent away from one another, we decided to do a little trial run in the form of camp last week.  Wacky Water Week Camp, to be exact.  He absolutely loved camp and while he is full steam ahead for preschool, I wonder if this lovely bug he brought home is but a mere foretaste of what the germ-y school year holds for us.  I truly hope not.  We do not do sick well.  I mean, who does?

I was brought to my knees by this vicious preschool camp cold and I’m not sure that my “easy 3 miles” will happen today.  It’s as if this fiendish little cold virus knew I’d just started my running blog and was at the ready to attack.  I’m certainly not starting half marathon training out the way I’d envisioned: strong, motivated and ready to own this plan.  Instead, I’m a sniveling mess toeing that starting line and considering quitting before I even really get going.

This isn’t the first setback.  About a year and a half ago, I decided that I was ready to train for a marathon.  I’ve always wanted to run one and I thought I was finally in a good place to tackle that goal.  Our son finally started sleeping through the night (at about 18 months; my body just involuntarily quivered at the sheer mention of his lack of sleep that first year) and I finally felt like I had my body {mostly} back.  About three weeks into that training cycle the second line appeared on the pregnancy test.  I immediately tabled all marathon plans and instead ran as much as I could throughout my second pregnancy. This past spring, about six months after giving birth, I began slowly easing back into running.  Or so I thought.

I’m not sure if I completely underestimated what “slowly easing back into running” looks like or if my body hadn’t fully recovered from the pregnancy but I was soon suffering from what I (thanks to google and the opinions of several far more qualified runners) diagnosed as shin splints.  I’ve never had any running injuries in the past so this was all new territory for me.  I continued to run for a few weeks.  Not my smartest move, but in my defense, my shins never hurt when I ran.  It was only afterward would they begin to ache.  Finally, finally I waved the white flag of surrender and took two full weeks off from any exercise.  Which lead to three weeks.  Which lead to starting this running blog to get back up off my arse and continue training.

I’d started training for a fall marathon at the beginning of the summer and that is why, in large part, I was so unwilling to take time off because doing so would mean letting go of that marathon goal.  But, in the end, it was a dear reminded me that I have years and years and years to train for big goals, but only if I’m smart now.  If I listen to my body and allow myself the time that’s needed to heal and get better, I’m putting a deposit in my running bank.  If I keep making withdrawals now, I’m going to bankrupt my running life before I even really get going.  She was right.  I took the time off and let go of the marathon goal…for now.  It’s still there and I really, really hope 2016 is my year, but I’ve learned not to hold onto it too tightly.

Instead of a fall marathon, I’ve decided to run a half marathon.  Conveniently there is a half marathon in my very town this fall that aligns with my training timeline just perfectly.  So that’s my goal.  A half marathon in November.  13 weeks from now.  I am ready (rotten preschool camp cold aside).

Race to Grace

Right now there are approximately as many pounds between my current and ideal weight as there are miles in my goal race.  Despite my very best intentions, left to my own devices (and this, it should be noted, is not speculative: hard data has been collected) I will NOT:

Wake up tomorrow morning, determined that this will be the day that I will stick to my eating plan (note: this is not an actual plan, it is more along the lines of “thou shall not scarf down the crusts of my children’s peanut butter and honey sandwiches they deign not to finish; do not consume chocolate chips by the handful while contemplating what my actual snack shall be,  and do not, under any circumstances, open that bag of tortilla chips for it shall be eaten in entirety before the husband comes home from work. Amen.”) and fuel my body properly for the training that I will require from it.

OR

Run the workout I have planned (particularly, though not exclusively, those workouts that include such words as: tempo, hill repeats and strong finish) and not deviate do to such crippling circumstances as “just not feeling it.”

Instead I will eat whatever is convenient (see aforementioned pb & honey discarded crusts) and run whatever feels comfortable (3-4 miles at an easy pace taking as many “stretch” breaks as needed or desired) and never accomplish anything.  I will spend loads of time reading other people’s running blogs and will probably, maybe, definitely order new workout clothes online believing that this shirt, these shorts, those shoes will actually make me fitter, faster.  If wishes were horses and all that.  Or, in my case, if wishes were online shopping orders…

Rather than continue apace (see what I did there?), doing what I would normally do (read: doing nothing, accomplishing nothing), I decided that a little public accountability was in order and lo, this blog was born.  I hope that this space will help me to focus in on some big goals and to actually take the steps towards really achieving them, rather than sitting around, always taking the easy way out, not finishing what I start.  Working hard, not wishing hard.

It will take a lot of determination, actual running vs. reading about running, and a great deal of grace.  Grace for me.  Grace towards my body, not the same as it once was after carrying and birthing my two sweet boys.  Grace towards my very spirit, my true self.  The self that tends towards extremism and does not allow for doing things part way, preferring to quit instead of doing things even slightly less than perfectly.  Grace for those around me.  Grace towards my children whose very existence requires more of me than I have to give.  I’m thankful for that because it requires me to rely on true Grace and the reminder that I’m not meant to be able to do it on my own.  Grace towards the process when I want to quit because it’s hard and I’m not getting where I want to be fast enough (in all possible senses of the word).  Grace towards mistakes, missteps and upsets.  Grace upon grace upon grace.

So it starts today, my race to grace.