I Love My Half Marathon…I Hate the After Effects
Planning your days right; getting the right amount of movement to toning ratios. Building your miles gradually over a dedicated period of time. Finding new plans to follow and see if they are cohesive, not only to where you are in time but also in the intensity you are putting out. Hurting feet, new shoes, new sports bras (very important!), specialty socks, gels and aids. All new things for a chick who didn’t know she really had it in her to do it, stick with it…and ROCK IT!
I loved training for my half marathon. It was the most amazing, exhilarating and the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I have traveled the world, quit jobs with nothing on the horizon, moved across the country with little more than a couple suitcases and knowing no one; however, putting money down on a half marathon was one of the more crazier things I have done. Especially crazy, since completing any type of running event had never been a goal or bucket-list item of mine. I didn’t really doubt myself at any point, just put one foot in front of the other and followed the training plan from Shape magazine-5 Weeks to a 5K- and added miles on after I completed the 5 weeks. It was difficult, but exactly what my wandering mind and bored body needed as a focus. Thank goodness I convinced my sister-in-law to do it with me and had her continued support!
I love reading magazines on the treadmill, or any workout machine, and had seen an ad for the Zooma Boutique Half Marathon in Shape magazine and thought that was the thing I needed to stop my workout ruts and give me the push to get out of my comfort zone (let alone the boutique part of the half). So I thought about it for a couple days then made the decision. Not only emailing my sil, but tearing out the ad and taping it onto my wall at work and telling everyone about it. I also kept the 5w25k guide at my desk and on the treadmill with me. Every day before I left work I would review it and then do the workout with the plan on the treadmill staring at me, and every morning I would highlight the workout I completed the day before. Nothing was going to hold me back. The hardest part for me was not having a strength training area on the plan. I love strength training, but pretty much gave it up during my half training, though I did try to get a weekly Pilates class in.
The half marathon I chose was in Austin, and I chose it because I wanted my sil to do it with me, and thought the easiest way to get her to do it was to do one near her. I knew Texas was called hill country but until we got to the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines and drove down and up and around their 3 mile driveway, I hadn’t realized what everyone was talking about! It was so surreal and terrifying just on the drive that we couldn’t stop talking about it the rest of the night! But come that next morning, nerves flying and stomach cramping, well I let it go and took off in the midst of all the other thinner, leaner and faster runners and just didn’t care about my flaws. All I kept telling people at work was that I am a Finisher Not A Winner. I didn’t care what my time was; I just wanted to cross that finish line. And I did! I did it! I am officially a half marathoner, and so proud of it!
I hate the after effects of my half marathon training and completion. I see pictures of runners and they are all lean, lithe and gorgeous. All little running skirts and half tops, miles of confidence; going for it with seemingly no cares or pains. Ha! I will say that I am none of those things, but I am a finisher so for that I am proud. In the beginning of my training I had read the book Run Your Butt Off, by Sarah Lorge Butler with Leslie Bonci and Budd Coates (editors of Runner’s World), and after reading it new something was a little wrong. I wasn’t losing weight like I thought I would, and that I am living proof that a very overweight person can run, and run long and hard. The book is great for an overweight person who knows they need to lose weight and needs to take that first step, but for an active runner/workouter didn’t do a whole lot for me. Good little tidbits of advice, and I did pass the book along so my sil could read it and get something out of it, but no weight loss at all for me… My butt was still their!
I hate that after the run the pains and other things started happening. About four days after finishing, the outside of my right thigh started to have serious pains; so bad that I could barely walk. I lived with a heating pad for a whole week and could not do any type of workout. It hurt to sit down and stand back up, hurt to the point of tears. Family told me it was my sciatic nerve, and like a dummy didn’t hit the doctor. Thankfully after a week it went away, and I warily got back on the treadmill and started walking. Also, after finishing I became a hypo-glycemic. Being a vegetarian, I had a very hard time figuring how to work in protein to every meal without adding loads of calories. Well, according to my doctor (yes, I did go see her, symptoms of hypoglycemia are nothing to mess around with) my body depleted my protein reserves and couldn’t repair what I put it through. Simply put, my body’s blood sugars were out of whack and the protein wasn’t processing and my blood sugar would drop severely. Having to recognize and monitor my body’s activity and symptoms has been really difficult, trying to figure out what I am feeling and really tracking what I am eating. Luckily with this, I have severely cut down on added sugars, and now things with sugar taste too sweet. Very nice side effect of lowering sugar intakes!
The worst, absolutely most horrible part of the completing the half is competing with my inner thoughts. My body has since repaired itself, and has no qualms with putting itself through abusive workouts. 90 minutes on the stair climber? No biggie. 40 minute treadmill walks then hour long strength class? Whatever. Try to make a run of it? WHAT?? Hah, says my head, better think again. Yup, my head and inner thoughts are what is now holding me back. Those evil little words, saying you’re too tired, you don’t have to, you completed a half marathon already, too tired or busy. All those words running through my head instead of my feet on the ground doing the running. It took over two months before I could get a mile run in at my normal 10 minute mile pace on the treadmill, about 2 ½ months to get two miles out. I am still stuck at the two mile part, and hadn’t realized that my head would be what is holding me back not my body.