Sunday, February 23, 2014

The next journey

A new journey is beginning. On Friday I registered for the Wineglass Marathon in Corning, NY on October 5th. No, this is not my first marathon. In 2010 I ran both the Disney Marathon and the Marine Corps Marathon. If you’ve read my blog for awhile then you know that this is my first full marathon since I was unable to run the 2011 Marine Corps Marathondue to a three month bout of planter fasciitis.

So the question is, why this and why now? Simply, it’s time.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say I have some unfinished business after 2011. Before I had to stop my training, I was on pace to run about a 5:45 at MCM. If this happened, it would have been about a 20 minute PR for me.  I had actually declared to some friends early in 2013 that I was going to run the Baltimore Marathon that year, but when it came time to register I went with the half. 

As I said to my trainer last month, I’ve wanted to do another full for some time but it wasn’t fair to my body to do it in the shape I was in. If I was going to devote the summer to training, I want to do better than the last. 2012 was a year of getting back on my feet and staying injury free. 2013 was to continue that streak, and begin finding some of the speed I’d lost, and I ended the year with very good races. Two months into 2014 and I’m already down about 8 pounds and have had very solid training over the winter. The time is right.

I’ve also entered the lottery for the Marine Corps Marathon at the end of October. Yes, I could potentially be running two marathons in the same month. Honestly, I would be surprised if I get picked. If I do, then there will be some decisions to be made. It is possible that I will defer to 2015, but it is far too early to tell for sure.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Weighty Issues

I've often mentioned that I'm not the stereotypical runner since I carry extra weight. I've always bought into the myth that I was fit but fat. Surely if I can run 30+ half marathons I don't have anything to worry about except a few extra pounds? I've been forced to face reality over the last 6 months.

Over the summer I had to do undergo an endoscopy due to a re-occurrence of GERD issues, due likely in part to my weight. During the course of this it became apparent that I was dealing with hypertension as well, and suddenly I found myself on two new prescriptions and doctors suggesting that I need to find a way to drop pounds. To say this helped send me into a funk was a minor understatement. I was already not handling a recent birthday well.

I went on vacation in September, and the pictures didn't lie, I was back at my highest weight as an adult. I had successfully dropped 20 or so pounds in 2010 while running two full marathons and nine halfs that year, and they came back with a vengeance since then.

As if I needed any further evidence that I need to focus on my weight, in January I went through a Bod Pod body composition test. I knew things weren't great, but I needed to know exactly what I was dealing with. I figured my body fat percentage would be over 40%, maybe 42%. Results showed it is 48%. Yes, nearly HALF of my body is fat. That's a sobering thought, especially when you consider that 30% and above is considered obese.

So, what am I doing? I'm NOT dieting. Yes, you read that right, I need to lose weight, but I'm not dieting. I'm not following any kind of restrictive fad, instead I'm focusing on lifestyle changes as a way to lose weight and keep it off for good. And guess what, I'm losing weight, I'm not starving myself, and I FEEL GOOD.

I'm focusing on home cooked food with little processed ingredients and heavy on veggies. If I want a snack, I grab fruit. I focus on protein and limit my carbs to some extent. But you know what, if I want something I'm not going to deny myself, but I will adjust for it later. It's all about finding balance and avoiding extremes. I've also been taking vitamin D and fish oil, at my doctor's suggestion.

These changes also coincided with the start of training for my first race of the year, the New Bedford Half Marathon on March 16th. I'm doing the most intensive training I've probably ever done, at least 4 days of running and 1 day of cross training. This has certainly helped, too. And, it's become something I want to do, not something I feel like I have to do. I feel stronger and faster with each work out, and the confidence is starting to come back, too.

I'm six or so weeks into this and down several pounds and have likely said goodbye to a few inches as well. This will be a long road, but I'm motivated to get healthy and not have to go down it again.