My journey as a long distance runner who started the sport later in life.
I have been a slacker. I ran my last race in September 2015 and basically shelved my Asics Gel-Kayanos thereafter. I told myself I would take a break from running, that I deserved a break after continuously training for some running race or another since March 2013. The thing about a break is, it has greater potential to become a habit than running does; it is just so easy not to suit up for a run. There have been many times during my training programs that I have forced my shoes on and told myself, “Just go, even if you only walk.” After September 2015 I stopped doing that for a variety of reasons.
I achieved my “goal weight” midway through my prolonged stint of training and racing, but the pounds had steadily crept back on in spite of the running. My weight eventually returned to where it had been when I started training in earnest in March 2013. I began to wonder about what I had recently read: weight loss and/or maintenance are 80% diet and 20% exercise (read an overview here). In stopping and not pushing myself to run any longer my line of thinking was, “If running isn’t helping me to keep trim, why do it?” Obviously there are many reasons, but logic was clearly failing me at this time.
Work got busy and more demanding, with more meetings more often, and plenty of reasons to need a mind-clearing run and the positivity boost that goes along with it. However, just when I need exercise the most is when I least feel like going, especially if is no longer an established habit. I didn’t turn to food, as I so often have in the past, but I didn’t necessarily mind what I ate. Rich and creamy side dishes like scalloped potatoes? Sure! A couple of brownies because I deserve it? Yes, please! I was also sick of what I affectionally call “lettuce salad,” having taken it for lunch every day for over a year. My vegetable servings began leaning towards carbohydrates and away from cellulose, minerals and water.
Monterrey’s air quality (AQ) has been noteworthy this past year and continues to make news headlines now. The particulate matter of size 2.5 to 10 microns in diameter has been at levels great enough to warrant contingency plans in recent months. Running outside would be risky on bad air days, especially with my sore throat and allergies. “Enough is enough,” I finally thought one day this month, and out I went for some interval training 1:1s despite the AQ readings. After this run I got sick enough to take a week off, and truth be told, the allergies I thought I had were probably really a head cold. My run in the powdered air may have made it worse or not, I will never know, but my running plans were once again shelved.
This week I have felt better, not great, but better, and so I have resolved to try again. I ran 2.22 miles on Monday and I will head out tomorrow for another stint of 1:1s. My training plan is set to culminate in a modest 5K race that I have never before run. It’s date is May 29, 2016. I also noticed that Earthathon Relay is underway for 2016 so I signed up for a team called #runshine. One way or another I will get back into running, even if I have to drag myself kicking and screaming!