February 13, 2014

Lessons learned while sitting on the bathroom floor

Above is the fantastic marriage of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward

When training for a half marathon being able to run 10 miles is the sign that you know you can finish your race.  All kinds of things can happen on race day- crazy weather, blisters, chafing, but you know that if you can run 10 miles you can run 13.1.

On Sunday I ran 10 miles.  It took over 2 hours and I was at the very bottom of my time goal but I did it.  I quit somewhere around mile 6, turned around, and started to wait for my ride, but I dug a little deeper and started again.  My husband, who is training for his own first marathon, stayed with me for the last 3 miles.  He followed me in the car, shouting encouragement, and brought me water.  He stayed with me while I managed to run/walk the last 2 miles.  And as it got darker and colder in the last 20 minutes I was so relieved that I was not alone.

He is absolutely essential to my success.

I ran the last three miles listening to an audio book, instead of music.  I also ran thinking about a bag of cinnamon-sugar pretzels that were waiting for me when I finished.  I knew that 6 miles really wasn't enough to justify eating off plan but 10 miles got me chocolate, beer, and the sweet treat I had been saving for the end of a long run.  My dear, sweet, lumberjack of a husband brought me chocolate and drinks in the bathtub while I soaked away the soreness.  He then stayed with me while we watched 30 Rock on my iPad.  I mean the man sat on the floor of our bathroom (I cannot, for the life of me, remember when was the last time either of us cleaned that floor?) and watched Tina Fey 'Mamma Mia' Alec Baldwin while I ate Paleo-ish chocolate covered cherries and tried to remember how to move my toes.

Really, Brandon is absolutely a key component of my successful training and what I hope to be an awesome race.

Now that day he was doing for me what I had done for him.  On the days of his long runs, especially those that went poorly, I brought him drinks and sat on the floor next to the tub.  I made special trips for his Gatorade and Snickers bars.

So I started this post thinking about cinnamon pretzels and what 10 miles taught me but instead I started to think about the small lessons learned while sitting on the bathroom floor.  Sitting next to my partner I was reminded about small everyday acts of courage, bravery, and hope (mine on that day) made possible by the small, but incredibly necessary, acts of service, submission, grace, and gentleness (his in this example).  I also was reminded that in recent weeks we've each filled those roles for the other and I'm grateful for these moments.  I'm grateful that I wasn't alone this Sunday afternoon.  I'm grateful that I shared my triumph and accomplishment with Brandon and I am glad that I've served as a witness to his similar moments.

Oh, what a lovely, glorious, sweet life it is.

February 2, 2014

8 Miles? Hell yes, 8 Miles!!!

Today I ran 8 miles.  That's the longest I've ran in a year or more.  I felt strong throughout and took one walking break at mile six.  I told myself I could take one at mile 5.5 but I tricked myself into going just a bit farther.  Brandon was great and stopped by after an hour to bring me some water which was needed because at a windy 70 degrees, I was really warm and thirsty by mile four.

Now I'm sitting here feeling like I conquered something significant.  I decided a few weeks ago that if I could get to this point I could run the half marathon on March 1.  With less than a month and only three weekends between then and now I believed that if I couldn't handle eight miles then I probably wasn't ready to train up to ten or eleven miles.  Well, now I've handled it and I even thrived while doing so.  My paces are consistent and while I won't win any awards for speed I should be able to finish in a respectable sub-three hour time.  I've been telling myself that I want to stay at 13 minute miles or less and for the past month all of my runs have been between 12:15 and 12:30 averages.  I want to give myself some cushion for things like bathroom and water stops.  Thirteen minute miles would have me coming into the finish at just over 170 minutes, 10 minutes shy of three hours.  12:30 splits have me coming in at 164 minutes (2:44).  So, the best time I could hope for is around 2 hours and 45 minutes and I have a 5 minute window to come in less than a 13 minute mile.  I think if I am really consistent with my shorter runs this month that I should be able to reach those goals.

Now, a confession.

Yesterday I went to my parents' house and while in their bathroom I was met with a scale.  At my home I've removed all scales from my line of sight.  Brandon has one in the library bathroom but I never use that bathroom.

I weighed myself.

And it wasn't what I hoped it would be.  It was less than before but not something I considered really worth all of this effort or a year long goal.  And I knew I needed to make myself accountable here in my little corner of the world but also I wanted to think about what it taught me.  So, I reaffirmed what I already knew: that the scale could set my soul soaring or could weight me like a brick in a lake.  I considered all of the work I'd done all month.  I thought about the running, the swimming, and the CrossFit.  At first it all felt for naught but then it caused me to re-evaluate some things.

I consider myself a pretty clean eater.  I eat a mostly Paleo diet.  I'm flexible and Brandon and I make regular indulgences.  But seeing the scale made me wonder if I really eat as clean as I think I do.  Between three or four nights this month of parties and also the 'occasional' ice cream in the evenings I need to rethink how many treats and celebrations I use as an opportunity to sabotage myself from my real goals.  I mean, I want to have sweets and indulgences, but this month, which was largely less indulgent than the month of December, still seemed to have a lot of reasons to eat ice cream and cake and chips and pizza.

So the lesson I am going to take from this is to stop deceiving myself with the myth of clean eating 'most of the time' and really take time to decide what events are worth eating cake or milkshakes or whatever and which are not and better to stick to healthy meals.  So, yes, I tripped up on my goal of going Scale Free 2014 but it taught me a lot about last month that I can apply to the rest of the year.