Monday, September 28, 2009

Listening to my (hot) body

Today, I did the unthinkable.

I quit in the middle of a workout.

It was supposed to be an 8-mile run with six mile-repeats. I started my first mile repeat and halfway through, I just stopped. I had zero energy to keep up a quick pace. I wanted to go back to bed. I was tired. I was hungry. It was chilly and I was still sore. My body finally got its way. I started to turn around to head back to my nice warm bed where I could rest my legs and sleep more, but I had some willpower left to do at least 7 easy miles.

As I was running, I realized maybe these easy miles are more then junk miles. I won't be able to run race pace after this week, which I was using for motivation to run faster. But they will help me sleep at night and feel better about my weekly mileage. I decided to do just 3 main workouts this week, and rest with easy 6-7 mile runs and some strength training (easy...right...)
  1. A 14-mile progression run of 3 laps around the national mall, one at 8:30 pace, the next at 8:00 pace, and the third at 7:30 pace. Plus a warm up mile and a cool down mile. 
  2. A 12-mile tempo run of the 8:00/7:30 miles. But 10-miles of the switching, not just 8. 
  3. A 22-mile run. First half at 8:20 and last half at race pace. 
Then, I'm done! Sort of... but the results of all this hard work is wonderful. I feel so confident about the race, and I think I will definitely get my BQ. My easy jog used to be my race pace, I had no idea I could be this fast. The best, is what this has done to my body. I didn't realize it until lately, since it was changing so slowly, but its definitely changing. Yesterday I put on my old "fat" jeans, because I need jeans that looked good with sneakers. They were huge! I was swimming in them. 

I used to have a little back fat on my sides--love handles (loathe the term)--and even though they weren't huge I still noticed them. I complained about it the other day, reaching down to pinch them and found that they're gone! woo hoo!

And then!--yes, there's more!--I was jumping in the shower after yesterday's easy 6-mile run and light core workout, and I caught myself in my bathroom mirror. I have the line starting down my stomach. I was in awe. My arms are definitely more toned as well. All this and other people have noticed too. I got a few "you look really great--I mean you always looked great but you look really athletic."

I finally go over the fact that I'm not skinny, but athletic. Which is better, right? I had to hold back tears when I was told a couple months ago, "You're not skinny--you're fit". I wanted to shout that you never, ever let the words "you're not skinny" be spoken to a young woman. We like to freak out and not think logically about what the guy is actually saying. But he explained, and now--I get it, and I'm ok about not being a stick.

Now, I should be losing a little bit of weight, but I must keep that in check. For the last month or so, I keep forgetting to eat carbs. This is very unlike me, and I really need to remember to include some in all my meals. Lately, I'm just hungry all the time. I'm a bottomless pit. When I was in High School, I tried the Adkins diet, and it lasted one meal. Really, I love carbs and so I haven't been focused on getting them, since I'm used to eating plenty all the time. I've been focusing on protein, legumes, vegetables and fruit, and have forgotten a runner's most important food group!

The other morning, I read Runner's World article on recovery foods and once I looked at my food journal, I see that I do get a decent amount of the right vitamins, minerals and nutrients in a day from my usual, favorite foods.

For example, I am obsessed with raisins. When I lived with Leah, we would take turns buying bags of them from Trader Joe's and I would eat a handful a day. At work, I keep a bag here to snack on. Raisins have carbs, although they aren't grainy carbs, and they are full of antioxidants and vitamins. They are high in calories and fiber, but fat and cholesterol free. They are just such a wonderful snack to have, although I limit myself to one or two handfuls.

I've been good now that I've been thinking about it, especially since its squash season now. And, I'm actually running out of pasta, so apparently I've been doing well. Tonight, I'm craving couscous with fish and veggies. Yumm... I spend all day just looking forward to dinner. Its pretty sad.

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