Last week was more awesome (fitness wise) than it should have been. Conferences are my nemesis but this is conference season (this year I present at three in the spring). Too much food, too many opportunities to party and not enough healthy people around to provide adequate peer pressure make it difficult to stay focused. I successfully avoided booze, ate marginally well and got a couple of workouts in. I guess that’s all that can be expected. When I got home on Saturday, feeling guilty about eating two pieces of pizza instead of 1 and having more meat in one sitting than I usually have in a week, I decided to go for a “pay the piper” run. I missed my scheduled run, spin class and 2 swims (but only managed 45min on a spin bike and a 4.5 mile hill run at the resort), so I wasn’t going to miss my long run.
Long runs are an enigma for me. They either go really, really good… or really, REALLY bad. No rhyme or reason. I almost think it’s a mindset thing. This one was no different. I started playing head games with myself even before I left. In my defense, the weather for this one was a challenge to predict. A frontal boundary was RIGHT over us and it was predicted to drop 10-15 degrees behind it, so depending on when I got done… but when I walked out the door, it was 48. The weather report called for partly cloudy skies… so, of course, it was raining. So. Long sleeve shirt, shorts with pockets, skull cap and light gloves. I was clueless.
I knew I wanted to get in at least 10 but I have been entertaining the idea of running a half marathon in mid march so I left open the possibility of 12. The course is dead flat for the most part, so it was just a matter of being on my feet for more than an hour and a half that was new (to this year, anyway).
I will spare the mile by mile descriptions. I ran as comfortably as I could in the rain, wind and dropping temperatures. I was more than likely under dressed. My lungs and legs felt fine. My times averaged about 9:15 on the way out, which seemed a little slow but I went with it. At the turn you run around a big group of settling ponds (or whatever the heck they are) that, this time of year, are LOADED with waterfowl. This made the two mile section that goes around them a bit more fun (and LOUD), because by the time I got out to it, the temp had dropped about 10 degrees and now the wind hurt. I put on my gloves, which are really just designed as a wind layer (no liner). This warmed my hands up enough not to hurt. Good enough.
The slow pace on the way out bugged me. Oh, and yes, I did go the extra 2 so I could actually get in 12… I just felt like it was too slow. So I decided to try to run negative splits on the way back. Before I knew it I was running 8:15 and even though I was breathing harder, I still felt good. So I hung on to that pace to the end.
The most impressive part of the run was that I could hold a faster pace on the back end of it… on my longest run in a year and a half.
Once I got home I discovered at least some of the reason why. Even though I thought I ate like crap and didn’t get enough exercise in, my weight had dropped to 189. The first time for that in a year and a half as well.
OK, look. I don’t really believe in myself much. Most of the time I’m focused on my own warts and can’t see much past that. But something is different this time. I’m not sure if the haze of the alcohol is lifting or what the deal is, but I really think I can do this. Lose the weight, that is. I had my doubts at first (and probably will have for some time) but these simple changes are WORKING. I’m losing 2-3 pounds a week and now I have 19 pounds to go. Six weeks. Mid April. 170. Yeah, I’m pretty sure this is going to happen. That is a different way of thinking for me. So uncomfortably positive I fear I’m being manic…
Regardless, I have 19 pounds to go. This week the weather will be marginal but doable. Everything I’m doing is in house this week so no travel. I’m going to make this a big training week. 3 swims, 2 bikes, 4 runs. Time to pound on it a little and see what happens. Next week is another conference so I will have to ease up.
I told my wife that once I jumped on the scale and saw 189, I felt like a shark. I can smell blood… and I’m hungry.