Five half-marathons, four 5k races, three sprint triathlons, two 10k races, and one full marathon. All in one year, and all in memory of someone who never knew she was strong.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Born to Run and Other Random Babbling

I am probably the last one out in fitness blog-land to read Born to Run by Christopher MacDougall.  I finished it this week, and all I can say is wow.  First of all, it was very well-written, and the story and research and science were all super interesting.  Like many others who have read it, I was instantly tempted to run out and try my hand (feet) by barefoot running all over the neighborhood.  I haven't yet, but the author's plight really spoke to me. He is tall and a bigger guy, not built like most of the sinewy, ropy runners you usually see at marathon distance and above.  I obviously relate to that.  He was also struggling with Plantar Fasciitis over and over again, in addition to other recurring injuries.  After getting back into running this week following Bronchitis From Hell month, my heel has been nagging at me a bit.  It isn't as bad as it was, but it is there, and I feel it regularly after running, and it makes me nervous.  I would give anything to run without the fear that every mile could be be the one that stops me in my tracks again. 

While I would love to try barefoot running, and look forward to incorporating short bouts of it into my training each week, I think that six weeks into a marathon training plan is the wrong time to completely change things up, especially after I have been held back by bronchitis am already behind.  What I will try to work on is my stride.  I learned a lot from the book and from watching additional videos of Scott Jurek talking about form, and I realized how much can be accomplished, simply by changing your gait and stride and form.  Tonight I run five miles, and I have a ten-mile race on Saturday, and both runs should give me good chances to work on a mid-foot strike, smaller strides and keeping my body aligned above my legs. So many new mechanics to learn, but I really want to improve. 

I gained almost a pound at weigh-in this week.  I knew that was going to happen and was really surprised that it wasn't more. Official number was 212.8.  Annoying, but that is what I earned.  I ate poorly and, between being sick and feeling a bit sorry for myself, did not move enough.  What does feel good is that, for the first time in over a year, I really feel back in control of my nutrition.  Part of that inspiration came from Born to Run, too, but part of it was just finding my old mojo. I worked SO hard to lose 40 pounds a couple years ago and was so dedicated to counting each calorie and working out five days a week. Then I plateaued and quit seeing results and decided to focus more on running and being an athlete than on the actual weight loss part of it. The problem is, and this is not the first time I have babbled on about this, that it's really hard to be good at running or cycling or swimming when you are still carrying 25 extra pounds around with you. You don't lose weight by exercising.  You lose weight by following the proper nutrition plan. I am well aware of this mantra, but I have been eating too much and splurging because I frequently felt that I owed myself certain treats after running long distances. Very suddenly, and I'm not entirely sure where this came from, I feel that old control again.  I feel like I am the boss of what I eat and not the other way around, when just last week I felt completely owned by a breakfast burrito.  I have been reaching, scratching, begging, struggling for that feeling and just found it again. Now, I am going to make sure that it sticks around.

I use to track my nutrition and exercise and maintain a 1600-calorie daily intake.  Calorie King encourages you to eat back your exercise calories, but sometimes, like say, after running ten miles and earning an extra 1000 calories or so, that just seems like too much.  I try to keep it in the mid-range and eat back about half of my exercise calories.  when I religiously record my calories, I lose weight.  Every. Damn. Time.  So why, you might ask, have I gotten away from this practice? *shrug*blink blink*blank stare* I'm back to it now, though, and looking forward to seeing results.

I think working out with a trainer once a week is a little too expensive, however, I do see the value of learning new workouts and tricks and in being accountable to someone.  I have made three appointments with my personal trainer.  One is tomorrow where I will weigh in before working out.  I then do not meet with him until the last week in March.  At that point, I will weigh in with him again. That will be the week before my annual Girls' Ski Trip, and my goal this year is to drop enough that I don't feel too embarrassed to get into the hot tub with all of my muscular, athletic girlfriends.  I have been organizing this trip for 15 of my closest friends for six years, and I have never once shed down to my bathing suit and hopped in with everyone. I always just listen to everyone out there laughing and sharing cocktails in the steam and wish that I didn't feel so bad about myself, even in front of girls!  Girls who care about me as a person and not what I look like.  This year is the last official year of the trip, and so help me, I want in the tub!

My third scheduled appointment with the trainer is for the last week in July.  At that point, I want to be at my goal-weight or size.  We are headed to our year-late honeymoon in Thailand in early August, and then, after a week in bathing suits and sundresses, meeting a friend to travel to Cambodia and Nepal.  I want to be lithe and slim, as much to look good in the summer clothes as to be able to stay on the move, backpack on back, for two straight weeks. 

Anyway, I really babbled today! Hopefully you just scanned this for anything important and didn't read it all word for word, wasting several hours of your life that you will never get back.  I feel better, though, and that is what is what I'm after.  So:
Me- 1
Poor Reader of my Blog- 0

Carry on.


  1. I have not read "Born to Run" so you were not the last one.

    A girls ski trip sounds awesome! I have been trying to get my girls together for a trip but our timing has been off!

    Have a great week!

  2. I read every word! And I think it came out to a win-win.

    I've been struggling to keep up with nutrition and workout goals for the past couple of weeks, but you're inspiring me to do better! Thank you!

  3. Chrisi that makes 2 of us. :) I've not read it either.

    Glad you are finding your mojo...I lost mine but it is going to be very temporary!

    I was hoping to try and meet up with you this weekend for the race but turns out my son has a hockey game at the same time...figures. I'll be rooting for you!

    And the girls weekend sounds like fun! don't miss the hot tub no matter what! Just do it!

  4. Hey, this is your Park Hill neighbor that finally bought the 5 toed vibriam shoes. I would run with you in my beach shoes until I made the commitment to the "barefoot" shoe. Running in them is so great for me. I had to take about a year to work on form to get back to my old mileage and times so you are smart not to add them in the middle of your marathon schedule. My joints are still thanking me for the change so it is something to consider in the future.

  5. I read every word and, as usual, thought it was awesome. I hope you get in that hot tub this year, whether you're at the weight you want to be or not. You've worked HARD and pulled through setbacks. Your body is strong and you've earned it!

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