Scale Lies and Small Changes

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.

FullSizeRender

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:

IMG_5875133670-118-010h (1)

 

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:

IMG_6473

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Showdown Half 2015

For the second time in as many years, I ran the Showdown Half in Fairview. Last year, I was a pacer and this year was a totally different experience.

Gone were the jitters of being able to lead others to their goals, and instead were the nerves of seeing what my body was capable of over 13.1 miles. My half marathons so far this year have been few in number, painful (plantar fasciitis), inconsistently paced, hilly, or just had poor weather. ¬†So far, my fastest half in 2015 was the Dallas Rock ‘n Roll with a 1:53:27. I still don’t know ¬†how I managed that with my foot pain.

After my Thursday workout last week, which consisted of repeats based on minutes and effort, I decided I liked the way the miles ticked off without me watching my pace. I can’t explain it, but it just felt better. So I decided I’d try running by effort on Saturday instead of pushing a pace. I didn’t foresee a PR, and since I’m in the middle of marathon training, I didn’t know what to expect.

Saturday morning I was ready to race. I have found that by cutting back my races this summer/fall, I look forward to them more.

IMG_6601

IMG_6602

I had two loose goals in my head. 1) Break 2 hours. 2) Stay under 1:55:00.

I lined up with my friend right in front of the 2:00 pace group. Once we started I let the pace come naturally. By mile three, I had pulled ahead of the 1:55 pace group, and that’s where I stayed. I didn’t check my pace. I gauged my effort on my breathing. The temps were in the mid 50s, so it was wonderful running weather. The only area I had trouble was with the sun. I felt like a vampire, since I do most of my training in the dark. The sun was blinding me, and we were running right into it for most of the first half.

The downfall of my running by effort plan was forgetting about the hills. The second half of the race was extremely hilly. I guess I didn’t notice them so much last year because I wasn’t pushing as hard. By mile 10, I thought I might cry if I saw¬†another uphill. Then there it was. I kept pushing, breathing like I was in the last mile¬†of a 5k. It was rough. I reminded myself of my fast finish long runs, and running up a hill to get home. This is what I’ve been training for – races like this. I kept going, periodically checking my overall time with the mile markers in the last two miles. Up until mile 10, it seemed I was on track to run under 1:53, but the hills were zapping my energy. I finally took a few walk breaks in the last mile until the nausea subsided. I was out of Nuun, and my last gel (from mile 9) didn’t seem to make its way down smoothly. I was so happy to see the flat area that led to the finish line.

I grabbed my food and found a curb to sit on. I was wiped out, but so glad for the chocolate milk!

IMG_6606

The medal was pretty great too!

IMG_6607

Then I hung out with others from our local group. One runner ran her first half marathon, exceeding her goal. I love seeing the joy from doing more than you thought possible.

My official time was 1:54:28 so I met my two goals. I think if the course was flat I could’ve run under 1:53. But I’m happy with my progress, and so excited to finish a half marathon pain free. My foot is doing excellent this time around. It really was freeing to run without checking my pace constantly. Although I did have an idea of what my time was, it was good to tune in to body and effort level. I still need to work on my mental game though. I had a few arguments with myself over the last three miles.

I’m trying to decide if I want to add one more tune up race in my training in early November. There are a few good ones to choose from. It also seems that I’m in a good position to keep my 4 hour marathon goal for Dallas.

 

 

 

 

Work a Miracle: Life and Training

Back when I was planning my training for the Dallas Marathon, I wrote about my realistic expectations and other areas of my life that would affect my training. You can catch it here if you missed it. Last week was the perfect example.

Homecoming.

First the parade on Monday:

IMG_6442

Then the Revue on Thursday:

IMG_6484

Then we had Friday night’s game where the junior high band (and my youngest daughter) during the 3rd quarter. My parents came in as well, so it was a busy night.

IMG_6497IMG_6499

Let's not leave out Captain America!

Let’s not leave out Captain America!

 

When I got up to do my long run Saturday morning – my 1st 20 miler of the training cycle – I didn’t know how it would go. After less than five hours of sleep, and so many activities, I was tired. I started early and ran in my neighborhood until it was time to see my daughter off (it’s contest season). I was so ready to head down to the park and meet up with the group, because I was getting kind of tired of listening to my head. I managed to have the lyrics of Fall Out Boy on repeat for several miles. “I can work a miracle, work a miracle.” “She wants to dance like Uma Thurman. Bury me until I confess.” Yes, it was stuck in my head and did not go away for almost 8 miles. Although it must have helped, because I was averaging a 9:35 pace.

My dad once asked me if I wore earbuds when I run. Not usually, because I like to be more alert of what’s going on around me. Rarely in a race do I listen to music. I told him, “being stuck in my head for 26 miles is not a pretty place to be.”

Over the next several miles with the group, my pace stayed consistent and I was surprised. I was chatting and feeling good. The weather was amazing at 53 degrees and it certainly helped. My friend and I had a faster runner helping us out through the last several miles which kept my overall pace from dropping. When I headed home, I tried to drop down to race pace for the last mile and a half. I was hanging on until I hit the uphill to get home. Overall, I’m pleased¬†with how it played out.

IMG_6505

 

I feel like I recovered well from the 20 miler. I took a nap on Saturday – that’s two weeks in a row! Then there was the Homecoming dance Saturday evening. Translation: No sleep while waiting on child to come home.

IMG_6571

Love this girl!

Sunday, after sleeping in and easing into my day, I took some time to take care of the yard and later headed to the pool for cross training. My legs felt pretty good, and my foot has been doing just fine.

This week I’m running the Showdown Half on Saturday. This will give me a better idea of my goals and expectations. I haven’t run under 2 hours since March. I have to remember to work from where I am.

Ever had a song stuck in your head on a run?

How do you manage life busyness while training?

How’s your training going?