On this the shortest day of the year, here is a little something to think about to start your Monday.
On this the shortest day of the year, here is a little something to think about to start your Monday.
I had one of those moments this weekend. I met up with my marathon friend and we went for a walk along the Charles River in Boston chatting about our recent marathons. For me it was Chicago for her it was her hugely successful New York Marathon where she PRd by 23 minutes and got even closer to the elusive Boston Qualifying time.
Before I get started on my Duh moment, I have to say how impressed I am with her. She did incredible and I am so happy with her accomplishment. She worked so hard this summer through the crazy heat and lots and lots of miles under her feet.
As we discussed our races and things we did leading up to the races (well everything besides the running because we had already spent quite a bit of time talking about the running each week during the summer) we found ourselves spending a lot of time discussing nutrition. I started to have another one of my Aha moments but we will call this a “well Duh” as in you should have thought about this way before now moments.
My nutrition is pretty good, basically meaning I eat well and drink lots of water. I do overindulge in sweets but I always say that is why I run, “to eat desserts!” But really something I have never focused on in my 5 marathons and 10 half marathons is the pre race nutrition.
You know…. What to eat for the week or 3 days before the race, primarily the carbo loading. Shockingly (insert sarcasm here) one bowl of pasta the night before a marathon does not last you a whole marathon. I thought you could eat well, eat your pasta the night before the race and then fuel during the race. Well that works okay if you run a half but this is not enough food to fuel you through the marathon.
As I described the wall I hit during all my marathons and discussed my nutrition to my friend, it became glaringly obvious that I need to make some changes to my nutrition plan. But it also gave me hope that if I can finish a marathon like I eat right now, what could I do if I did the fueling part correctly. As my friend put it, “the wall is 3 things, mental strength, training, and nutrition.” I have the mental strength because I have done 5 of these crazy things. I have the training although, I will up my miles to a little more for my next marathon. But it was the nutrition that was what I was lacking. My body got so tired during my last race that I forced it to even drink and had no desire to eat during my last 6 miles. This will not happen again!
So instead of feeling defeated, I have found my new focus for my next training. I have even begun to start about running a spring marathon instead of just looking for a fall one. I’m not sure why I continue to push myself so hard other than I just want to do better and feel successful and I don’t feel like I have gotten anywhere close to what I can do for a marathon. Now it times to research nutrition a little more and create a plan for the next marathon and maybe even sign up for one….
Well Duh can be a moment of “I feel so stupid for not thinking of this” or a moment of “Wow, that was the thing that was missing. I can do so much better with this knowledge.” I have had both of these thoughts go through my head but I am going with the positive one and setting new goals.
Have you ever had one of these moments?
What did you do with it?
Less than 2 weeks! In less than 2 weeks I will be done. Okay maybe not done but my 5th marathon will be in the books (I am optimistic that it will be a success).
I have now almost completed training for 5 marathons and it is true if you want to change your life train for a marathon. Each one has been different. My spring marathon I completed during the snowiest winter ever, completing four 20 miler runs on a treadmill (needless to say I try to stay a long way away from treadmills for this training plan!).
This summer brought it’s own challenges of relentless heat and humidity which only started to subside last weekend right after I finished my last 20 miler. That’s okay, my hope is that it will not be this hot and humid in Chicago in two weeks.
So this brings me to my quote for today. It’s one of my favorites and something to think about on this wonderful Monday!
Happy Monday! I hope you have a fabulous day!
Sometimes I feel like I continue to apologize for not blogging very often and then other times I think to myself that I will blog when I’m ready. I guess you can say I’m ready…. I don’t know….. Maybe I’m not…. Okay maybe I am a little bit. 😉
There has been a lot going on besides training for my 5th marathon which I think that alone is pretty taxing on ones time but no that is never enough for me….
We are still in the middle of our remodel on our home that started in April, I guess this is what happens when you only hire professionals for the big stuff and we say to ourselves with confidence that we can do the rest. Well I guess you can tell how that is going or maybe you can’t because you can’t see it but it is going very slow. We have a bathroom that is small and almost completely done and then the one that has the shower that only has flooring, shower and a toilet (it’s all the essentials, right!). Good news is that our kitchen is no longer in our living room and our house is very liveable and we could even invite people over if we were ever home to do so and we would only be apologizing for a few things undone. So those are some good changes…
We are both changing jobs in the same month which I am sure will not cause to much stress (insert sarcasm here)! Mine is at least with the same company but a new role with about a ton more responsibilities because it is running a new facility. I can do this (at least that is what I keep telling myself). I also tell myself that the people who hired me think I can do this which does help too! So tomorrow is my last day in my very familiar, somewhat comfortable role as a clinician and on monday I begin to take on the responsibilities of program director very close to home. I sometimes feel like that this is the moment that all my other jobs created me for (I hope that makes sense). It’s the role that without the other jobs in my life I don’t think I could handle but now seems to be a good time to try something new.
My other half will be taking on a new challenging role in an established company about 40 mins away from home. We are very hopeful that this will be the last transition he makes in his career. It seems over the past 5 years the companies he has gone to work for have not turned out so well and have eventually closed their doors which is very stressful on my end but we are pretty sure this place has some long term stability. Yeah!!!! So another good set of changes…..
Now on to the running part (I know you thought I would never get there!) This seems to be changing too for the better. I am doing the same running plan as my last marathon but added an extra day and the exciting part is that I am not having to do it all on the treadmill like I did for the spring marathon (I never want to do that again!). Today I went for an eight mile pace run and I neglected to look at my training plan before I went out and thought I remembered it saying 1 mile easy, 6 miles at 8:38 pace, 1 mile easy. So that is what I tried to do. I struggled at first and had trouble getting into the pace but then just decided to relax. When that happened I began to get faster and in the end my last two miles were 7:57 and 7:49 and they felt pretty easy. I don’t know how that happened but I think it comes from all the crazy track workouts and sprints I have been doing in the insane heat and humidity. So once again some changes…..
Really our whole life is about change, isn’t it? I feel like if I don’t learn something new each day or challenge myself in some way each day I am not making the necessary changes in my life to be a better person and/or a better runner. I really do want to be the best me I can be! (sounds very crazy but it’s true) I want to get the most out of my life because as I tell my clients, “We are never promised another day and we should really live in the moment and that is why it is called the present, it is a gift.”
So there are lots of changes going on in my life and as much as I am resistant to those changes because of the anxiety they create, I also want to welcome them with open arms because without them I will not grow, progress or change and I need to do that to live!
I don’t know about you but slowing down is a struggle for me. In everyday life, with everyday situations I work my hardest to get the outcome I want and know if I slow down I may not get it. I work hard and want to reap the rewards. But sometimes it takes slowing down to reap the rewards.
I know, I know, that does not make sense. Here is my take on it. We need to slow down to enjoy the journey. We need to slow down and look around and appreciate what is there. Appreciate what we are doing, the process. Life is more about the journey than the end product. And best of all I think the end product will be better because we have taken the time to enjoy the ride (Oh and life is a ride!).
Right now at our house there is a LOT of things up in the air. One example is my house itself. We are in the middle or mid beginning of remodeling. Not quite sure how to describe it other than we have our living room floor in but plywood in the kitchen and bathroom, a toilet on our back porch and half my kitchen in my living room (which does make it easy to get a drink since the fridge is only 10 feet away from the couch!). I want to speed this process up because it sucks to come home to chaos at the end of the day. Also we have some transitions in jobs that are happening and that is a stressor I would much rather skip thank you very much!
So how do I handle these things and not be so resistant to change, enjoy the change and the adventure. Well for me, I try something new with running. Why not? It’s my stress reliever! Today I began working on slowing down my running. I know it sounds weird that I would try to slow down when most of the time we are all trying to speed up but I’ve been trying to figure out how to go father and keep a stronger pace. All the stuff I have been reading has been talking about slowing down to be able to run further and actually in the end go faster. I don’t know about you but I struggle to slow down and then by the end of my runs I am pushing myself to the extreme and then I am faster but at the expense of the rest of my body. I’m exhausted, my old, tired body becomes more sore and struggles in the repair stage/rest stage.
Today I worked on trying to stay in a low intensity state of mind and time by running at what I thought was a low intensity. You are supposed to do this with a heart rate monitor but I forgot mine so I went by feel. I figured that if I went at least a minute slower than what I thought, I would be about 80% of my effort and hopefully in the low intensity area. Not sure where I got a minute from but when I read about elite athletes they mentioned running some runs 2 mins slower than their actual race pace. Since I am a weekend warrior, I figured one minute would be good. The whole philosophy is to run most of your training runs at low intensity effort and the other 20% at high or moderate intensity. Here is a link for a better description from Running Times.
I’m hoping it works. Today it felt pretty good.
That brings me back to slowing down…
At first it was hard. It was hard to wrap my head around being outside doing the 10 mile distance and it taking longer than usual. It was hard to keep a slower pace. It was hard to hold back. But I started to get out of my head, look around a little more, just enjoy the fact I was doing something I really enjoy and feel each step. It began to get easier, I started saying “Hi” to everyone on the trail, smiled a little more, and enjoyed the breeze at my back (then hitting me in the face on the return). The benefit was that I enjoyed the journey. When I got done, I was ready to be done, but I wasn’t hurting from pushing too hard, I wasn’t upset that it was in the 80’s and I should have gone out earlier, I was relaxed. I felt like I listened to my body and my head was in a better place. Overall I would say it was a success and I am looking forward to training for my next marathon this way and hoping that it will work. And as far as slowing down and enjoying my everyday life journey, that still needs work but I think I learned some things to help:
1) Quit being resistant!
2) Change is okay and necessary.
3) I need to smile more and enjoy the journey.
4) Stay in the present moment embrace what is going on maybe even finding solace in the chaos.
5) The change will make you better and stronger!
It’s amazing what a good long run will do for your brain! 🙂 Happy Running!
Anyone ever tried this plan? Did it work for you? How about slowing down in general, do you struggle with this as much as I do?
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