Last 20 Miler: Where I Have Been and Where I'm Headed
Today, I ran my last 20 miler before my first marathon. The temps were nice (53-64F) during the run and I ran on pace (and solidly on pace), but I still ended up as exhausted as my 86F 20 milers. This has been my peak week and I ran three 10 milers back to back so I'm sure exhaustion from the training program had something to do with it. I started feeling low on energy by Mile 12 and started getting slower by then. My hip started bothering me too (some issue with the groin I am getting when I run 50 mpw+), but other than that it was a very nice run.
Which made me think about my road from just a casual runner to soon to be marathoner.
I started running sometime in 1999 and just casually as a warmup for my real workouts. I was never able to run more than 1 mile and that was pushing it. I only ran on the TM.
Fast forward to 2001. When I started working full time AND finishing my MBA at night, that's when I had almost no time for exercise. I had some cardio/weights videos to do at home but I was not able to do them much since by the time I was done with school, dinner, etc., it was 11pm. So of course, the weight that I had lost crept back in.
Then, came law school. I was studying hard but since I was not working, I sometimes felt I needed something else to challenge me (apparently law school was not challenging enough, LOL). So, I bought a TM and started running 1 mile at a time. I never ran outside and it would not even occur to me to sign up for a race. Running helped me go through law school without stress and study for the bar without freaking out. By that time, I was able to run 4 miles on the TM but stopping at every mile. I ran every day.
When I started my second career, I wanted to continue doing kickboxing and use running as part of my weekly exercise routine. But then I was diagnosed with toe arthritis. Both my podiatrist and my husband recommended not to do any high impact exercise, including running and kickboxing. I was devastated but followed their instructions. I was still in top shape, at size 6 and 120 lbs. After 8 months I missed running so much, I started running outside 1 mile a week, then 1 mile every other day, then more, etc., until I was doing 5 miles 5 times a week without any side effects on my toe. But then, something happened. I gained 45 pounds! Only by incorporating running. WHAT? And it is only for running because every time I stop running and do kickboxing or something else, I lose weight.
But since I love running so much, I made the decision not to stop. I trained for a 5K, I did 3. I trained for a 10K. Then a half marathon. Then 3 more half marathons, 10Ks, 5Ks, etc. Now I'm 4 weeks from my first marathon. Still overweight (and the weight won't budge no matter my running 58mpw) but still going.
So today's run made me remember all I've been through and my relationship to running for the last 11 years (I seriously thought I started running way later but then I realized it's been 11 years). I would not change it for the world, extra pounds and all.