Last January when I received my corral placement for the half marathon at Walt Disney World I set a few goals and this past weekend I achieved the first of those goals. That goal was to be able to provide a proof of time performance at a 10k or longer event during the year to allow me to move up in the corral placements during Disney 2012 marathon weekend.
The past three Disney half’s that I completed were each over 3 hours and I have been on a quest to not only break that 3 hour window, but to get back under a 2:30 finish. My best half marathon run was in Des Moines 2008 where I finished the IMT half marathon with a 2:22 finish. Following that run I developed planter fasciitis which greatly affected my training for WDW 2009 in which I finished with a 2:49.
Since 2009 I have struggled with continuing to exercise and keeping my weight in check. Between 2009 and this past weekend I have completed a few races, but to be completely honest all I wanted to do during those runs was to finish and all I did for training was just enough to get me by.
Since I turned 40 I have wrestled with my weight, knowing that my family has a history of heart disease on both sides. My maternal grandfather passed away at 49 following a heart attack and my paternal grandfather passed away at 67 following complications after open heart surgery. At 40 I found myself thinking pretty heavily about my prospective life expectancy. I won’t rehash the past five years here. It’s sufficient enough to say that I had gotten into good shape and that somewhere during the past couple years I lost my drive. Part of it was fear of future injury but for the most part was simply that regardless of family history I stopped caring.
Friends who follow this blog know that in the early days of its history I was very active and posted nearly every day. Then for a while I stopped posting and more recently I post only to provide a semi regular update to say hey I’m here and this is where I’m at.
So where have I been and where am I at today?
Last year I was 235lbs going into WDW 2011. That’s 35 pounds heavier than I was in 2009. This past summer I tipped the scale at my heaviest to date 252. My best weight since turning 40 was when I got down to 185 in March of 2009. In May of this year I began exercising again but my weight never seemed to change. (all due to diet) I just kept cycling between 252 and 244. In late August I finally started to look at calories and since that point things have been turning around.
In May I was able to walk/jog six miles and average around a 13:35 pace. A couple months into it I was finally reaching into the 12s. Once the calorie counting began paying off I dropped into an 11:20s pace range. Mentally the past couple months have been good for me and I am back to getting anxious if I miss a planned jog or gym visit. I used to blame my rotating work schedule for getting in the way of working out but I have found ways to get around that. I’m finally getting consistent with training and its been paying off.
This past Saturday at 229lbs I participated in the 10th annual running of the IMT Des Moines Marathon weekend. My race of choice was once again the half marathon. (The full marathon just seems like such a mammoth under taking) The half continues to be a distance that works well for me. It provides a challenge and requires me to be at a reasonable level of conditioning.
Race day found me quite anxious when I lined up behind the 2:30 pace group. My Garmin virtual runner was set to a 12:00 pace and my plan was to just keep ahead of that pace.
Miles 1-3. Stayed with the 2:30 pace group and felt that they were pushing a bit hard. Somewhere between miles 2-3 my Garmin lost 3/10 of a mile. (Must have been the buildings)
Mile 4. As we approached mile 4 the pace leader checked her watch and realized she was indeed ahead of pace and slowed down to a walk. I was not about to walk so I kept up my pace and although my Garmin’s distance was messed up the clock was fine and as I crossed mile 4 it read 45 minutes which was in line with my goal.
Mile 5-7. Sometime around mile 5 I did have some mild stomach concerns. I blame that on all the fluid I was taking in during this run. Past training runs had not included much fluids and my stomach was complaining a bit. At some point during this section of running I was able to mentally check out and let my mind wander a bit. I found myself thinking about being in Florida and seeing my friends in just a couple of months and as I ran I pictured that these are the miles where you approach and run through the Magic Kingdom.
Mile 8-10. I found myself thinking about my more recent long runs and focusing on the fact that I’ve done this distance and that getting through it should not be too difficult. Although I was growing a bit tired, I did not hit the wall at 9.5 as I had the previous weekend. Instead I focused on nearby runners and picked out a few that I wanted to pass and others whom I wanted to pace with.
Mile 11. Coming into mile 11 I was feeling good and someone ahead of me turned around and mentioned that a pace runner was coming up. That pace runner was the 2:30 pacer who I left behind earlier. She past me on the hill coming out of mile 11. I was a little surprised by this but kept my focus on that pacer and refused to let her out of my sight.
Mile 12-Finish. Slightly downhill and flat during this stretch. I walked briefly twice in order to catch my breath. I was pushing a little too hard trying to get ahead of the pace runner. I realized that I might not catch her, accepted it, and kept moving forward. One block out from the finish I had the slightest twinge of a cramp in my right calve. This was my one brief moment of panic on the course. (In 2008 I cramped up really bad here and fought to keep my legs moving) I kept moving and it did not worsen I just knew that after I crossed the finish I needed to get some potassium and salt. I crossed the finish with an official time of 2:29:28. 33 minutes ahead of my WDW half last January. I actually got a little worked up over it knowing that my efforts over the past several weeks had paid off. I also thought about how Chris had such a great full marathon the day before crushing his goal of a sub four hour finish by fifteen minutes. What a great weekend.
I’ve been feeling great. Nothing outside of expected sore muscles. Saturday and Sunday I just shelved the whole calorie counting thing. Monday and today my calorie intake has been more in line with maintaining weight but tomorrow I go back to keeping my daily intake down and getting back on the weight loss train. I’m not sure what Friday’s weigh in will bring but up or down I’m not going to sweat it. I’m just going to keep working at it with a goal in mind to drop another 19+ pounds before January.
Tomorrow I will also resume walking and some light jogging.