Monday, May 23, 2011

On your mark, get set...

As I sit down to write this entry, there's officially 138:21:56:09 left until I take to the streets and drag my sorry ass 26.2 miles around Chicago. The goal? To make my ass not quite as sorry...

Welcome to the first official day of training!!

I've chosen a 20-week program, and if you do the math, that means today is the first day I'm "officially" training for the race. That being said, I've spent a good amount of time in the last few months making sure I run a few times a week - sometimes twenty or more miles in a week's time - so that I could be ready to train and improve. To date, my longest run has been somewhere between 8 and 9 miles, and in general, I keep a pretty steady pace between 10:45-11:30 min/mile. I consider this my baseline and hope to improve a bit from there.

The program I chose has two short runs weekly (Mon, Wed), a long run (Sat), and cross training/rest days. As far as the schedule goes, I won't be beating my personal best until week 6 when I run 9 miles. I feel like I've done a nice job preparing to train... which seems ironic, but necessary, I think!

Today is a big "beginning" for me, and it's making me a little nostalgic. Last week, I started to think about where I've come from. Sure, the past few years have been wrought with some exercise and weight loss ups and downs, but overall the big picture has been one of success.
I remember the day - four years ago - when I was at the gym, trying to get in shape and lose some weight, and I was able to run an entire mile on the treadmill without stopping. It was momentous for me. At >200lbs, running a mile without stopping is a big deal. I distinctly remember the feeling when I finished. I was so proud of myself, but I knew that this meant something big for me: I could never again let myself wimp out and run any less. Now look at where I am. Thinner, healthier, happier, more physically fit, and training for a marathon.

Positive attitude, hard work, small steps, confidence ---> success.



Monday, May 16, 2011

Breaking the Silence

I'm very sad to say that my blog has lain dormant for almost two months. But what I find even more disheartening is that this silence is a direct reflection of myself over that same time period. Starting sometime in mid-March, I seemed to start falling apart at the seams. I somehow found myself smoldering personal crisis that quickly advanced to a fire I could not figure out how to control. Upon reflection, I've seen times like this previously; I often find myself constantly charging ahead and then one day, and inevitable snap occurs. I might be down on my luck or even borderline depressive for a few days or a week, but I've always been able to pull myself up and get back to business. But somehow, this time, I was lacking that personal strength. What began it all? No matter how hard I try, I can't seem to pinpoint where the downfall started. One too many failed dates? Homesickness? The stress of work? Or better yet, letting my job take hold of my life? No doubt the terribly cool and dank spring has contributed to my gloominess.

Work owned me for a while. Not just in the sense that I work a lot... boohoo. Lots of people do. It was more what I was doing and the things I was seeing. I feel like I just found myself caught in a rut of horribly depressing situations, and despite all my best efforts, I couldn't change things for people. And while I see this similar set up almost everyday, it's often the exception, not the rule. For the most part, I can make some positive change in people's lives. But when you go to work day in and day out for six weeks and feel like you're pouring everything you have into your job and it all somehow ends up for naught... it catches up with you. And once my psyche started circling the drain, it was a fast and furious spiral down.

It also quickly became apparent that old habits die (very) hard. As the stress and sadness mounted in me, I quickly returned to stress eating, and almost pathologically. And as I saw myself slowly undoing the success I had worked so hard to achieve, I was mortified at myself... and so the vicious cycle spun.

I think we all see times in our lives where we find ourselves down and can't seem to pinpoint how we got there. I really believe this to be the natural course of things. I find it so frustrating that no matter how much mental power I put into the search I can't seem to hone in on what started things for me... nor why this time, it was so prolonged. I'm beginning to feel that a clear cut answer likely doesn't exist. While I'd love this knowledge to use for prevention's sake, I'm not sure it's worth wasting my energy looking back, when instead, I can look forward.

So... time for change. I have my friends and family to thank for helping to steer me back onto the path where I belong. After a very, very difficult six weeks, I took a break from things. Forgot about work for a while. Reset myself. And upon my return, I found the energy and drive that usually fuel my life. I had a shitty six weeks. What of it? So I gained some weight... I lost it before, I'll lose it again. And I learned something about myself - how easy it is to slip in my eating habits and how detrimental that can be. Now I need to figure out how to handle truly hard times without turning to my previous comfort.

I need to view this all as empowering. It's funny... when I began this blog, I wanted to catalog my training for the marathon, but instead, I am chronicling my journey. I'm not perfect. No one is. But it's recognizing our weaknesses and capitalizing on our strengths that will lead to success. I am a smart cookie. I'm determined, I'm an honest person, and I have a good heart. I face the day and give it the best I can... because that's how I roll and I won't forget it. The silence is over.

Watch out world... Amy is back.