After Cuba I was much less lazy than I was after Florida. I knew I needed to get right back into it, or lose my new found fitness forever. Running was becoming more serious for me, and I was actually doing research! I read (And continue to read) articles all the time, I got involved on the Runners World forums and I got a proper training plan.
Jamie wanted to run another Half Marathon, and we chose Cardiff as the missus and I both studied there. We had recently graduated from the two universities (She from the more prestigious of the two, admittedly – but mine was a Masters. And Masters trumps Bachelors!). I took the food aspect more seriously than ever and was tracking my calories religiously. We trained together most of the time, though I’m sure she’d be the first to admit that I was more committed than her. I think i missed only 5 sessions from that 12 week training plan.
The actual day itself was fantastic. Cardiff is an amazing city with some great sights. The weather was warm but not too hot. The atmosphere was electric. I was down to 16st, so not QUITE where I had hoped, but an improvement nonetheless. My target was sub-2, and I only went and got it.
I was already looking for the next challenge. I had entered the ballot for the London Marathon, but didn’t get in. But was a marathon really possible for me?
There was only really one way to find out.
I looked around to find the right one. it needed to be a big one -I needed crowd support. It needed to be flat – I couldn’t face 26.2 miles INCLUDING hills! Then I came across Paris.
Paris was perfect! Flat, great sights, great city, and I could justify the expense by taking the missus on a romantic weekend! It was the perfect choice. I booked it, the flights and the hotel as soon as I could. I was committed. It was ideal, as I knew the marathon would be easier the more weight I lost. I read somewhere that a 1lb weight loss roughly equates to 2s per mile speed increase.
I found a training plan, 16 weeks long. I tracked it back from the race date and it meant I’d have to start training mid-december. I needed something to keep me focussed in the meantime and signed up for the Weston Christmas Cracker. I spent October to December training for it. Unfortunately my weight loss plans didn’t really work, and my ambitious sub-50min target was missed by just over a minute. But it was still a PB by 7 minutes, so I couldn’t complain!
If you are still reading, you may have noticed that it’s become less about the weight loss and more about the running. An observation which was not lost on me. I was using weight loss as a tactic to run faster.
Historically I was obsessed with weights and body image. Since I’ve been running, the obsession has changed to race times and PBs.
For me, now, weight loss is a way to get faster. Yes I still obsess over my weight a bit, but its less about meeting those targets. And I’m much less concerned about my body image, though it is something that will never go away completely.
Running has transformed my life.
Fad diets don’t work. Exercise alone doesn’t work. It’s only through a balance of healthy eating and exercise that my weight has been able to be controlled. Since december, and the end of these series of posts, my weight has descended gradually and in a controlled manner. When I’ve had bad weeks, it hasn’t ballooned out of control because the next week or two brings it back.
You can’t do it in extremes. You have to do it carefully and slowly. Coming back and writing about it has re-clarified this for me and hopefully it will help some others too. Don’t make my mistakes.