Saturday, January 19, 2008

Course correction

It came to me in a moment of clarity yesterday that there was no freakin' way I'd be ready to run a full marathon this spring. I was supposed to run nine miles today, on the treadmill. I nearly cried at the prospect.

This is supposed to be fun. In order to make it fun again, I've made an executive decision to stick with the half. Today's long run is six manageable miles.

I may be ready for a full next spring, depending on the amount of weight I lose this year. [How's that for positive thinking?] And I'm setting a definite goal of running a full on or near my 60th birthday, which isn't until 2011. That gives me plenty of time to not only condition myself, but maybe, perhaps, hopefully, even look like a runner.

One of the things I'm acutely aware of when I – heh – "race" is that I don't look like most of the women out there. I'm soft and pudgy and short. I'm always checking to see if there's anyone bigger than I am on the course. I know that's horrible, but there it is – my dirty little running secret.

They, on the other hand, those real runners are strong, lean and tall, with defined muscles and nice tans. And cool clothes.

There I go again, comparing myself to people I don't even know, most of whom I will never see again.

My training last winter was fun, and all I wanted each week was to do better than I'd done the previous week. My body amazed me. I remember the first time I ran seven miles. SEVEN!!! I also remember collapsing for the remainder of that day, but still. I ran seven miles; I'd never done that before.

This time I've done that and more. I could get that thrill by running 14 or 18 or 20 miles, I know I could. But I wouldn't be able to walk the next day. The extra weight I'm dragging around is hard on my joints and especially hard on the soles of my feet.

And it's hard on my spirit, too. I've done really well this week with those little things. It hasn't been as hard as I thought it would be to stop eating before 6:30 p.m., to drink two liters of water each day or to log every morsel. The scale has given me a tiny gift; I'm hoping I still have it on Tuesday, which will be the three-week point in this year's effort. Only then will I feel like I can report any progress.

Mr. Shrinking Knitter made it home just fine, about 8 o'clock last night. He isn't anxious to go back, which is unusual because he considers Vegas the ultimate vacation destination, and he's always ready to go to Vegas. Maybe this is a course correction for him, as well.


ws said...

there is no greater satisfaction than crossing the finish line at a race and seeing thinner women finishing behind me. ok, maybe there are a few things more satisfying than that, but not when I'm a sweaty mess with a timing chip...

Jan B said...

I think that you need to take things at your own pace. Maybe a suitable goal would be to be consistently running on a daily basis and to be increasing the mileage on a monthly basis.

That way you are not pushing yourself into the danger zone when it comes to accidents or injuries and you are not setting yourself up for disappointment if an unachievable goal is not met. Slow and steady wins the race, even if it is a running race.

You can't just arbitrarily decide to make your body do something that it's not ready for, but you can continue to strive to reach that goal by sensible, measured steps.

ws said...

well, I think, and I do a damn lot of that thinking thing, that you should do whatever you want to do. And, if you want to run yourself into the ground and write everyday on your blog to complain about sore muscles then you should do that. And if you'd rather run a half than a full you should do that too.

If one nevers pushes themselves they never know what can be. That's the beauty of life - one does what one wants when they want and no one else can make that decision for anyone.

Oh, and by the way, there is no such thing as an unachievable goal. There are no limits - maybe there is an appropriate time and place for something to happen - but the world is infinite and there is no reason why anything should ever be considered impossible.


Grumpy Chair said...

My dirty little secret: I hoped I wasn't the softest, pudgiest shortest person at aerobics, alas I was, but I still kept up with the amazons.

Strap on your grr (I wear mine everyday)!

P.S. to me, and I'm not a runner, but I would define you as a "real runner".

Mary Gee said...

In the big city where I live, there are always older, rounder, and shorter women than me. But if I were to go to small races like you do, I would be the oldest, fattest, slowest person on the course... and I don't know if I could deal with that.

I am training for a whole marathon - and I won't know if I can do it until a month or so down the road. But I will never know unless I try.