Friday, April 15, 2011

Ready or Not.... Here I Come!

Yesterday was my last run for the week, which means it was my last run before the 5k on Saturday. I'm feeling pretty good about it. I wish I was a few pounds lighter and in a little better shape, but I feel like my training has been going pretty well and I'm excited about the opportunity to push myself a little. I always push myself harder during a race than I do just running on my own.

There's such an excitement in the air at running events. It's fun to be in the company of people who share a passion about something with you. It motivates you to work harder, partly because you're inspired by the elite runners, but mostly because you don't want to be the schmuck who comes in last! I'm not a fast runner so my goal is never to make a good time on the clock, but to just finish. I'm always happy finishing a race regardless of how long it takes me, as long as I don't come in last! I also push myself to run harder so that I don't get passed by anyone. You can't help but have your ego take a big hit when a power walker is faster than you are running!  I try to be the one to pass runners who are even slower than me-- makes me feel SO good!

In preparation for the race on Saturday, I looked up advice on a running website about how to prepare the week of a race. There is a whole science and method to training for races. You actually need to start preparing your body days before the actual event. I've been eating my carbs, drinking water, ran twice and walked once, took my rest days, and did a little speed work.

What is 'speed work', you may ask? That is Runner's Talk for running 'wind sprints' or basically running full out as fast as you can for as long as you can. I incorporated a 'wind sprint' into each of my runs this week. It helps you with your pace and endurance, both. I'm working, slowly, on improving in both of these areas. But, one step at a time. First the 5k on Saturday and then we'll work up from there.

I'm excited about my future in running and racing. The sky's the limit, as they say, and it can only go up from here. I feel like I've finally settled on a fitness path that is the right fit for me. I've tried all kinds of weight loss and fitness programs over the years. For one reason or another, I've never been able to stick to anything for very long. Even with running in the past, I wasn't able to sustain it because I wasn't doing it right. I understand better now, after doing a lot of research, that running is a whole system unto itself, if you really want to get serious about it.

There are a lot of people who are casual runners and use running as a means to an end to help them lose weight. I was one of those. Only problem is, if you truly want to have the energy, endurance, and stamina to complete long distances, you can't "diet". You should eat healthy but you have to eat MORE the farther you run. I found this great book I've been reading that helps you know what and exactly how much to eat in order to train for long-distance races, yet still lose weight. There's an actual formula to it and I finally feel like I have the missing puzzle piece. The book is "Nancy Clark's Food Guide for Marathoners". I am learning SO much from this book! It's really helping me see that I am truly meant to be a runner, not just "do some running".

I love running and I love eating so it's the perfect sport and fitness program for me! No longer do I have to worry about depriving myself or dieting. I find I'm eating healthier, the more I run, because I like how much more energy I have when I do. It's not a struggle anymore, because I'm not really focusing on the weight loss as much as I'm focusing on the fitness and endurance. The weight loss will just be a natural bi-product of that. It may take a little longer to see results than when you diet, but it's so much healthier and longer-lasting. It's definitely worth being patient and persistent.

This 5k feels like the start of a new adventure. I feel as if it's a springboard to bigger and better things. In the past, I was so emotional when I would cross the finish line at a 5k. I was so proud that I had run that far, when I had been so out of shape in the past. Each race was always the end of a long journey for me. This time, the finish line will only be the beginning of a whole new life. Let's just hope it isn't raining!


Lora said...

Have fun running, I think it is supposed to be nice weather! Wahoo!!

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