Yesterday, my training for the Dallas Marathon hit the halfway point. 8 weeks down. 8 to go. I feel like I’m rolling along to my goal, while keeping up with the other stuff life sends my way. Last week I was fighting off a stuffy head/congestion for a few days. One morning, my youngest asked me if I was okay because I never sneeze that much. Tuesday, my boss reminded me I had sick hours I could use. I didn’t feel bad though; I just had the sneezes. I was glad to have a cutback week in my training, and really tried to get extra sleep. I finally started to feel like myself again on Friday.
Saturday’s 16 miler went better than expected, as I was trying to catch the group that was moving a little fast. I was trailing behind, feeling like a turtle, but talking to myself (yes, out loud) about how good I was doing. I’m trying to work on my mental game too.
I surprised myself with this average pace.
All day long, I expected my appetite to kick in, but it didn’t. For this training cycle, I just haven’t been as hungry. This is highly unusual behavior. Most of the time after a long run, it’s hard for me to eat much at all. I recover with chocolate milk, and maybe a banana, and that usually holds me over until lunchtime.
So what has changed?
A lot, actually.
I’ll start with this contrast:
By the way, free race photos are a great perk! Maybe one day I’ll be able to pin a bib on straight.
The picture on top is from a race 6 months ago. The Fairview Half. A race that fell after a high mileage marathon training season that started in August and ended in March. It may not look like a huge difference to anyone else. But at the time of the race in April, I felt terrible about myself. I was injured, and hobbled through the last mile. I was frustrated with my size, because all my shorts were tight and I was chafing in new places every time I ran. I had been running for over four years, and my weight had hit its highest point since I started. So I started making little changes.
The second picture is from last Saturday’s Showdown Half. While it wasn’t my fastest half, I felt stronger than I have in a long time. My clothes are fitting again, and I feel better about myself and my body.
The weight difference between the two races: 4 pounds.
The scale tells lies.
So how did I manage to change without losing the 10 pounds I so desperately wanted to get rid of?
I started doing planks and pushups every night. Forward planks, side planks, pushups on my knees. Anything I could do that would help boost my metabolism. Over the summer I focused more on strength: squats and lunges several times a week, donkey kicks, leg lifts. All the fun stuff. The triathlon training brought more changes in upper body strength. For the first time ever, I had definition in my arms.
I ate more fruits and vegetables. Tuna, almonds, spinach, spinach, spinach, yogurt, string cheese, sweet potatoes. This type of lunch is normal now:
I also found that I just feel better when I eat this way. I think by running fewer miles per week, adding the swimming and biking, it has helped sustain my appetite. My gut is still there – I don’t think it’s going anywhere ever – but now it’s not the only thing I see when I look at a picture. The changes may be minimal, and this may all sound vain to some people. For me, though, it means I am healthy and stronger. I feel more like an athlete – more balanced. And I’m doing it the way I should. With my history of disordered eating, it really is a big deal.
Okay enough of a rabbit trail, time to get back to training.
I’m looking forward to my second triathlon this Sunday in Denton – Monster Tri. I’m excited to see how the swim portion of the race goes this time.
Have a great week!