Monday, February 6, 2012

11 Miles Beyond Miami -- Last Reflections and Moving Forward

Following The Miami Half Marathon, Hiroko and I took a trip down to Key West, which was just what we needed after a busy fall.  I didn't run or workout the entire time we were there.  I thought about running, but I just wanted to sleep in and save my legs for walking around doing touristy stuff.  Once we returned to Raleigh late Wednesday, I made up a new training schedule that will take me to the Tobacco Road Half Marathon on March 18th.  I'm excited.  As I said in my race report, Miami didn't go well from a running stand point, but I know that in the long run, it will make me a stronger and smarter runner.  Also, it has made me think more about the make up of the runner.

As far as running goes . . . I did two runs this weekend a quick 3 miler of Saturday, which was followed by some cross-training at the gym.  I also did an 8 miler on the Tobacco Trail on Sunday.  The eight miler was tough.  I struggled around miles four and five, but the sting of Miami was fresh in my mind, and I pushed trough the run.  So, I have gotten myself 11 miles from Miami, and honestly, it isn't far enough.  I need to put down some more miles.  At first I didn't want to have an regrets about that race, but as I spent more time thinking about one thing nags at me.  I don't know if you would call it a regret, more just a realization, I wasn't willing to suffer through a bad run.  Once I became aware that there was no way I was going to pull it together, my will to endure failed me.  And, I that bothers me.  I don't mind losing, but I can't stand quitting and quitters.  Granted, I finished the race, but let's face we all know that quitting in running isn't always about moving forward.  We have all seen that hallow and vacant look on someone face and know that deep down they were done.  I had that look in Miami.  I want and need to get some distance from it.  I want to lay down miles on top of mile on the streets and trails of Raleigh until Miami is just a memory that I call on when I need it.  As opposed to something present in my mind.  Sunday was a nice start, the air was cool and filled with drizzle, which is my favorite running weather.  I pushed myself through some pain, just to make sure I still had the will to suffer.  People always seem to talk about the difference between the runner and the jogger and focus on speed.  But, I my mind speed has nothing to do with it.  The will to suffer is what separates the runner from the jogger in my book.  If you have the will to push yourself past the point of suffering, you're a runner if not you're a jogger.  Unfortunately in Miami, I was more jogger than runner.

Modified Plans:  since there is a pretty quick turnaround between Miami and The Tobacco Road, there won't be much time to implement any major changes to my training.  I've therefore decided to just modify my plan from Miami, which was to keep my mileage between 18 to 24 miles a week and focus more upon bring my weight down through cross-training, extra cardio, and most importantly -- an improved diet.  I did fairly well with these goals in the between The Neuse River Bridge Run on October 15th and Miami on January 29th.  I am most proud of the changes in my diet, which were pretty significant and saw me lose 5-7 pounds and a pants size through the holidays rather than gain.  I know that a lot of people, like my buddy Hank, have gotten great results from weighing out their food and writing down what they eat, but my process has been different (and "different" means -- different, not better or worse).  My process has been to make slow incremental changes to my eating habits and lifestyle that I feel confident that I can maintain for the rest of my life, rather than making commitments to ideas that I know will get results, which I might give up on or backslid away from in the future.  This incremental approach is very slow and sometimes extremely frustrating, but my weight continues to go down and my diet keeps getting healthier.  One day, I may get to the point where I am ready to weigh out my portions and keep a food journal, but I am just not there yet.

I am however going to make three changes to my training plan:
1) I am going bring in a few more exercises with weight in attempt to firm up and give my body some better support.  I loath lifting weights, but I know that over the long term that firming up a bit will help me ward off some injuries and bring down my weight.
2.) I plan to focus on strengthening my core and my glutes.  These are my two major problem areas, and I need to give them some real attention.

    3) Stretching . . . more more more.  I don't do enough, and I must make stretching a priority.

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