Thursday, November 01, 2007

Reflection, resolutions and ... mrrm yesss a muffin top

Reflections after running my recent marathon:
- it is ALL worth it. The early morning, the tiredness, the stress of working your life round your schedule, the fear of failure .. it is all worth it when you're out there and your body is doing what it's trained to do and it's doing it well and it's surprising and amazing you with what it can do.
- there is no such thing as "just" a marathon. Just because this one was closer than Chicago and New York, and because I wasn't attaching a holiday to it didn't make it "just a marathon". It was hard and exciting and fun and painful and unmissable. Every single mile of it.
- there is a certain feeling I have when running a marathon that I never felt any other time - all my doubts and worries are pushed back in a way I find difficult at other times and I feel confident and strong and able, regardless of whether I'm actually doing well or not. If I'm struggling then I am fine with that and I don't judge myself harshly. If I'm doing well I'm fine with myself too. I am just, for a while, totally fine with myself. An incredible feeling. Perhaps worth finding outside of a marathon?
- you HAVE to put your name on your shirt. It really really helps.
- family is amazing.
- bin bags are amazing. Check this out LizzieLee!
- running mates are amazing. Look at Sal! Not at all self-conscious at being bin-bagged with me..

Now for the resolutions - with this marathon behind me it is very tempting to think about my next year of racing. An autumn marathon has now become a tradition and so has the traditional time off from running just after it. It's not that I'm not running, but I'm not training. I'm just running for the pleasure and the fun of it. In my experience, it is really important to have some time off a schedule so you can give some thought to what's next. My impulsive and overly ambitious nature means my natural instinct is to jump straight into a new plan but I'm holding off, just reviewing my options while I'm out there on these lovely autumn runs. So what are my running resolutions for the rest of 2007 / 2008?
- to follow a more rounded plan. The Hal Higdon intermediate plans have served me well but offer no speedwork or interval work. I think I've now probably done as well as I ever will on them and so I need to ramp it up a bit and shake it up a bit if I want to improve any further. The bad thing about blogging is that your previous unmet resolutions are out there - I wrote about following a Pfitzinger Advanced Marathoning plan earlier this year but then chickened out. I think I will go either for a Pfitz plan (it's working for Jen, after all) or follow a Hansen's plan like Steve Runner is doing.
- to run either a full or 2 halves in the spring. I've entered the lottery for London fully expecting not to get in (only 1 in 5 get in) but I'm doing it because after 5 unsuccesful entries you get in so one day my day will come.. If I don't get in I might find another UK full to train for or alternatively try to work hard on my half-times for a bit - might be a good strategy for trying out full marathon plans?
- to use my gym membership. I.e - some upper level work with weights etc. as well as swimming.
- to run an autumn marathon OR the relay if we can get a team together - I will be hassling you all after Christmas to see who's prepared to take part. If we can't get a team together I might run Chicago again or do Berlin..

Finally - the muffin top. You know you've overdone the post-marathon reward eating when you get jeans-induced indigestion and you've got a muffin top..
I'll spare y'all the image of my ... self spilling out of the top of my jeans but you can imagine. So I'm with the lovely and amazing Maddy and joining P.O.M's Holiday Weightsloss Challenge.

So off I go - on a beautiful Autumn run.

13 comments:

Maddy said...

Your passion shows through in this post. I love the idea of running just to run. Yet I have been consumed by "just one more" to see if I can improve.

I was also thinking about Pfitz. Next time things will be different. We will be lean mean running machines ;-)

Susan said...

Petra I just love love love you! So positive! I love it!

Your plan sounds GREAT. I agree that taking some time off from TRAINING is a wonderful thing. I plan to do the same thing after my marathon!

And to avoid the growing of my existing muffin top, I plan to try to keep up the running through December... just much less.

ShirleyPerly said...

Yes, having an off-season is soooo nice and you earned it! If you end up doing two marathons next year (Spring & Fall), maybe try Hansen's for the first one and Pfitz for the second?

Good luck with your holiday challenge. I think swimming and having to wear a bathing suit regularly will help!

jen said...

Great post Petra! I love how introspective we are after a marathon, reflecting on our experience and looking toward the future.

You may want to pick up the Pfitzinger book and give it a read- it is most definitely a difficult program but gets the results. I don't think you have to have a huge mileage base to do it, Maritza (see her blog link on my page) used it for her NYC Marathon this coming weekend and she usually topped out at about 40 miles during training before. I think you could do it!

Good luck with your goals and enjoy the cross training and "just for fun" running. :)

Amy said...

Congrats on your marathon! Your post makes it sound like a wonderful time and well worth the effort!

IrishBlue said...

Running just for fun is the awesome and running for fun in the autumn is the BEST!

Can't wait to see your plans for next year.

I joined the weight loss challenge. I must have lost my mind as I put my weight on the internet. Yikes! Weight loss, like running, requires a support group.

MarathonChris said...

So much introspection after a marathon - it really brings you pause about a lot of thing.

I like the idea of just running for running - and not working toward a particular race. I intend to spend some time doing that after Disney in January.

One of these days I will just run without the Garmin - no distance, no time, just a run - I suppose a Zen run.

P.O.M. said...

Welcome to the challenge! I am looking forward to being lean and mean with you and Maddy for my next race!

lizzie lee said...

Dear Petra, I understand your "impulsive and overly ambitious nature" for planning. As I have commented to several blogger-friends I understand the 'planning need' once the "goal" has been reached. My marathon is still 3 weeks from today but I am wondering what's next. I am trying to overcome a bad result in my long run yesterday which left me with a lot of questions and concerns. I really hope I finish my marathon. That's the only goal I have, to finish it under the marathon time of 6 hours before the streets are open.

Thanks for the big bag picture, I appreciate it. I will cover my legs too as I forecast COLD, COLD, and COLD.

PLANET3RRY said...

I can tell you that marathoning doesn't get easier with the more that you do, but it does get easier with more that you do.

Enjoy the Muffin Top even if it makes a muffin top, you have to enjoy some of the sweeter things in life sometimes!

CewTwo said...

I got into running just to maintain my weight, much less lose any more...

Great motivational blog. Thanks!

Drusy said...

Great plan Petra! And I'm inspired to join you in the muffin-top challenge.

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