Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Just over a week

That's how long until I'll be running my first marathon.

It's still crazy to me that I'm here. I'm sure I've said it hundreds of times, but I was never athletic growing up. Sure, I played some sports, but I was usually one of the last kids to be put in. I was terrible. And once high school hit, I was more focused on my grades than anything, so after gym class was over my athletic life was shoved so far to the side I hoped to never see it again.

So you could guess that for most of my life I was the overweight nerdy kid.

I hated it (being overweight, that is -- I'm quite proud to be a geek), but I didn't have the knowledge or motivation to fix it.

When I found myself single after a pretty long relationship, I decided it was finally time to make some changes (rather, I decided it was finally time to make changes and actually stick with them). I tried to eat better, but mostly I just made it a point to go to the gym. I was so intimidated by the gym -- I'm surprised I went for as long as I did. I ended up losing around 30 pounds over about a 6-month period, and I was feeling better about myself, but I still wasn't where I wanted to be.

That's when I met Jennifer.

At first, we were really bad influences for each other. Everything we did seemed to revolve around food, and our portions were way out of control (I still remember all the food comas).

But one day she decided she wanted to eat better and start running. I wasn't as opposed to it as I've come across in the past, but I wasn't completely behind the idea, either.

We found that running together made for really awesome quality time, where we could talk about anything and everything. That time together really brought us close, and helped build the foundation of our relationship.

There were times when I wanted to do anything but go out for a run, but I still did because the time with her was that important, and I didn't want to miss that opportunity.

Back then, I clearly remember us struggling to run for 30 seconds at a time. I remember crashing on the floor of our apartment unable to move after our first 5K. At the time, it was the hardest thing I had ever done. But it was so worthwhile, too. I had accomplished something I never thought possible. I was becoming a runner.

Slowly, we built up our endurance, and my confidence followed suit. We were tracking our food, and while I loathed doing it, it was a huge eye-opener to see how many calories were in the food we ate. We made sacrifices in what we ate and how much we ate, and we lost weight. It was hard, but over time my body adjusted to eating less. And once I started cutting out a lot of the junk food, I realized I liked quite a bit more healthy food that I thought I did.

Over the past few months I've been really bad with my eating, and I'm feeling it. Part of it is from all the running I'm doing -- my body is craving more fuel, but I'm not making the best choices when it comes to feeding it. The other part is pure laziness and lack of self-control. While Jennifer was really sick early on in her pregnancy, instead of planning and cooking healthy meals for us like she used to, I took the quick and easy frozen way out.

It's been hard to get back on track with everything we've had going on lately, but I know I'll get there.

I guess I'm thinking about all of this because I'm really pretty nervous about the race.

Well, let me clarify -- I'm nervous about hitting my goals for the race.

I know I can cover 26.2 miles. I know it probably won't even hurt me as bad as that first 5K did. To put it in perspective for those of you familiar with Louisville, that's like running the entire length of the Gene Snyder, from Prospect to the Greenbelt, plus almost another 2 miles!

Yeah, I've definitely come a long way in just 3.5 years.

But right now I'm just a little disappointed in myself for not sticking to my training plan better. After such a great spring racing season, I know the importance of training plans. And I will be disappointed if I miss my goal of a sub-4 hour marathon.

But that's just life.

Nothing I do now will really affect my race. My endurance is built up as much as it's going to be. I'm really hoping the excitement during the race will help pull me to a strong finish.

But even if I miss my goal, it's not the end of the world. (I can always use this calculator to determine my Paul Ryan adjusted time...)

I'll still have accomplished something I never thought was even remotely possible for me.

One way or another, I'm getting across that finish line.

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