Monday, June 8, 2015

It's My Birthday And I'll Blog If I Want To

I am the worst blogger ever. I started this blog about 3 years ago, when I was encouraged by a lot of positive response to my weight loss and running, and I wanted to talk about my experience for various reasons. One, to encourage those who were asking questions about what I was doing and how I had achieved my goals. Two, to tell funny stories about my experiences so that people wouldn't think of weight loss and exercise as such a boring, tedious pursuit. And three, to get attention. Because I like attention. Truth. At first it was easy to write, because everything I wrote about was new: how I had started, what I had done. I wrote about my first races, my early running experiences, my 100 pounds of weight loss. But as I went along, it seemed like I had no new material. Once in awhile I would get some inspiration, but the problem I then faced was that I have a big huge brain full of words. I am verbose. It seems that when I write, I use 10 words for every one word that normal people write. My posts get longer and longer as more stuff falls out of my brain. And I guess most people don't have the patience to read that many words about what my run down the concrete path on the beach was like. So I kind of bailed on my blog, simply because nobody was reading it. But I've missed writing it. I guess I feel like I still have stories to tell. I just have to figure out how to keep from over-writing and over-sharing. So here goes.

So today I turned 41. A year ago I was celebrating in style for my big 4-0. My dearest and best that live in Southern California came out and celebrated with me, a party I still cherish in my heart a year later. This year on the other hand, it's a regular day in the office. We are still paying for last year's festivities...

I have a lot to be thankful for, but I also know that this is a time of taking stock and regrouping. I am thankful that for the most part, I have maintained an overall healthy lifestyle. I have maintained a fitness routine that includes an average of running about 20 miles a week. I enjoy getting out for a hike when I can get a whole day off because it's too far to drive to the trails to make it just a few hours. I got a bike but don't ride it very often because I keep forgetting I have it. It's currently in the back yard with vines growing on it.

So I can see that four years into what I call my "fitness journey", I have a lot of good experience to draw on, but I also still have a lot of work to do. I have an endurance level that still surprises me on a daily basis. I have 11 half marathons and 4 full marathons under my belt, and know that there are still more to come. I have covered over 3000 miles total of running documented with tracking apps in the last 3 years, not counting the distance I covered in the first year before I tracked my miles. But I'm facing some challenges now. I noticed some months back that I was experiencing a lot of fatigue, and my pace while running has slowed significantly. I went from running 11 minute miles relatively easily just a year ago, to struggling to keep my pace in the low 12's over the same distance now. When I run, I feel little to no pain. But I can't go faster.

If I had reached 12 minute miles and plateaued there, I would be fine with that. When I started out, I could barely make a 20 minute mile, so 12 minute miles are a huge improvement. But because I've done 11 minutes miles and a few times even faster, I am not satisfied with my current pace. However, no matter how much I want to run faster, I physically cannot do it, and it's making me nuts.  So of course the issue is to getting to the bottom of the problem, and it is simply that the issue is my bottom. And my gut. And my thighs. And so on.

I have never been skinny. Even at my lowest weight I was still heavy. But over the last year or so, I've lost some ground in the weight loss battle, and that has manifested in slowing down my running. Now, the funny thing is, when I look in the mirror, I don't see a fat or unattractive woman. This is not about looks by any means. What this is about is that I fell in love with this stupid sport, and I set goals that I still haven't met. I want it so bad I can taste it. The problem is, I also love food so much I can taste it. And I do. More often than I should.

So now this blog is going to take a different turn. I'm at a new point in my fitness journey. I'm not a newbie with a whole bunch of new experiences to talk about. I'm a 4 year veteran in the health and fitness experience. And I am determined to keep fighting the battle to get the pounds off my body that prevent me from making my goals. What are my goals? I dunno. A half marathon with less than 11 min mile pace. I know that is possible because my PR for half marathon is 2 hours, 26 minutes, and to make my goal I just have to take a few minutes off that time. Another goal is a marathon finish time under 6 hours. Not really a big goal in the grand scheme of marathons where a Boston Marathon qualifying time for a woman in my age group is 3 hours and 45 minutes. That's not gonna happen. But I believe the sub 6 hours is possible because I ran a 6 hour 32 minute marathon where I lost 24 minutes waiting in Port A Potty lines on the course. If  I hadn't had the huge cup of coffee before the race, I would have a marathon PR of 6 hours 8 minutes. Don't laugh. That's the agony of defeat they were talking about in the 80's on ABC's Wide World Of Sports. I have a lot more goals, and I am determined to go after them and not give up, saying I've made enough progress and it's good enough when I know I still have it in me to do better if I keep fighting for it.

So now instead of writing about how exciting my new experiences are, I will write about my progress in regards to setting and meeting goals. Instead of reporting on pounds lost, I will report on pace improvements and other technical stuff. It might seem kind of boring to non-runners, but really I have to accept that I write this mostly for myself. It's cathartic to see it all written out, and when I go back and read my old posts I always remember things I had forgotten that help me get back on track.  I mentioned at the beginning that I like attention, but in reality I don't want too much attention. I don't want to be famous as a "blogger" because the internet is full of trolls and I don't want to waste too much time deflecting their stupid brainless comments. Not that I'd ever get that famous, I'm just saying.

So far 41 seems to fit me well. I'll wear it proudly and do my best to wear it out so that when 42 comes a year from now I'll know I didn't waste it. I am looking forward to but also dreading the battles I will face, but I am confident I am equipped to do everything I set out to do, and I just have to take hold of that and go for it. So that's my post for today. As usual, thanks for reading, and I look forward to sharing more in the days ahead.


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