Each December, I like to sit down and write out my goals for the coming year. Last year I set several goals, outlined here. I hit many of them, including my goal to run four marathons in 2016 (I did six), go camping (check!), hike and run trails (I did that a bunch), read Move Your DNA (done), and run a marathon under 3:45 (woohoo!). A few others, not so much.
I believe that “diet” is a bad word. I believe that there’s a lot of evil happening at the hands of the diet industry and their co-conspirators (looking at you, women’s mags). I believe that our society has done a shamefully good job of teaching girls and women that they should always be “trying to lose weight” and should never be happy with their bodies. I believe that men need to speak about women differently. I believe that women need to speak about themselves and each other differently. I believe that girls need to be raised differently — including but not limited to changes to shape of their toys and the appearance of their Disney characters. I hope my kids never go on diets, and I don’t plan to use that word in front of them.
I set this all up to say — I’m going on a diet. A real one. With rules. And Excel charts. It’s not touchy-feely. It’s not “eating by intuition.” It’s actually the opposite of how I’ve been peacefully but unsuccessfully “trying to lose weight” for the past several years. Which is exactly why I chose it.
As you know, I ran the Asheville Marathon this past Sunday: recap here. After the race, it was time to recovery but also to really dig in to my 30-day Composition ID body fat challenge, which started last Thursday (and it’s actually 28 days, not 30). Oh, and what about that whole “2016 miles in 2016” thing? This post provides an update on ALL of that, plus a surprise I got in the mail this week…
I’ve previously documented my struggle (mental and physical) to qualify for the Boston Marathon. The closest I got was 3:45:47, about 10 minutes slower than the Boston application cutoff (but more like 15 minutes from what I’d actually need to get in). I’m several years older and wiser… although unfortunately still in the same age bracket for BQ qualifying times. And in the intervening years, I backed off the pressure, refocused my goals (hello, 50 states!), gained some weight, lost some weight, explored new workouts,changed jobs, gotten married, bought a home, and ultimately ended up with my marathon times back in the same range as they were in 2011.
So naturally, my mind wanders back to the BQ. Am I finally ready to tackle this challenge? At 30 years old, healthy, and childless, is this potentially my last, best chance? Or would I just be setting myself up for frustration and disappointment, and worst of all, would I be taking the joy out of running? So I have a plan.
I first started running regularly in 2005, when I was in college. I slowly built up my mileage and confidence, and I ran my first marathon in 2007. Running made me happy and greatly improved my fitness.
But in early 2011, I had what can only be described as a running awakening. My times starting improving way more than I had expected, and I felt like a real athlete and a real runner for the first time in my life. I was setting PRs and decided I was ready to think about getting that much- coveted BQ.
Unfortunately, by the end of 2012, that BQ looked out of reach, and my times were slipping slower and slower. My running had awakened, and then it apparently went back to sleep. Here’s my story of how I got faster, how I got slower, and what I learned.
I don’t love how New Year’s resolutions are marketed these days (nor how congested they make gym classes…), but I do see value in setting new intentions for the year ahead. I’ll be gentler on myself, I’ll be more complimentary to my spouse, I’ll focus on being more appreciative — that sort of thing. And, although you won’t hear me resolve to lose 10 lbs. in 2016, I also see value in setting goals. (Obvi… This is a blog entirely dedicated to my goal of running 50 marathons in 50 states…) I’ve decided on three running-related goals for 2016.
So… I am signed up for my first ever turkey trot. I am not sure how I’ve avoided doing a turkey trot in the past, but I guess it boils down to the fact that if I want to run three miles, I usually just go do it. Anyway, my husband and I are going to run one near his hometown along with his family this Thanksgiving, and I think it should be fun. And of course I am not trying to break any world records… but I thought it might be a nice *change of pace* to focus for the next few weeks on increasing my speed at a shorter distance. But it begs the question: what would my pace be for 3.1 miles? And how do I improve it?