28 September 2008

Been Awhile

I realized I haven't posted anything here since the marathon. Not that I expect anyone to hang on any words here, but thought I should post an update. I've had a great summer, the highlight spending 9 consecutive days in a tent on vacation with my extended family in the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Parks this summer.

On the running front I definitely backed off my mileage after the marathon. After posting 100+ mile months in April and May I logged 64 miles in June and only 29 in July. Though my running miles backed down, my cycling jumped way up. I cycled 75-100 miles a week during those months and have become quite interested in cycling. In August I started ramping up for a half marathon on 1 Nov and a trail race I ran a couple weeks ago so I'm back at around 70 miles per month now. I'm hoping to average 20/wk from here to the end of the year which will put me at 1000 miles for 2008 and give me a good base for a spring 2009 marathon, maybe the Colorado Marathon the first week of May.

I mentioned I ran a trail race a couple weeks ago, the Sombrero Trail Race in Estes Park. It was only 4.5 miles, but had lots of uphill in it. I beat my goal time by 4.5 minutes. I had a blast at the race (and finished in the top 20% of the field!) and more importantly thoroughly enjoyed trail running this summer. Next year I'd like to do a half or full marathon on the trail. It is truly a different experience than running on the road and something I'd like to do a lot of in the future. Maybe someday I'll be one of those ultrarunner nutjobs you read about!

On the weight front I've basically maintained my weight from marathon time. I've been down as much as 5-7 lbs from the marathon, but have been up a few at times too. I'd like to drop another 10-15 and hope to do so before my spring marathon.

On the Weight Watcher's front I have some exciting news. WW runs a contest each year called the "Inspiring Stories of the Year" contest. You submit an essay (or video recording) and it is judged mostly on the merit of how inspiring it is. I submitted the essay. Of 1500 entries I was one of 17 entries chosen to be a finalist! I won a Macy's gift card and am in the running for a grand prize which is a trip to NY for a photo shoot, a night out on the town, a feature on the WW website, etc. I'm not sure when we'll find out these results. I've included my essay below.

There is no finish line”

I turned the final corner and had 1.5 miles to go. Thoughts and emotions were racing through my mind. I remembered being 18 and fairly athletic. I remembered being 36 and unable to keep up with the guys on my softball team anymore. A concert where walking from the parking lot to the amphitheater took me so long I missed several songs from my favorite band. I remembered swollen legs and difficulty getting up off the couch.

I remembered being scared while walking into the local Weight Watchers center to learn how to lose weight for the first time in my life. I remembered being amazed at how low a healthy weight was. I remembered deciding I wanted to just be a “normal fat guy” instead of a “big fat guy”. I definitely remembered the first compliment I received after beginning to live healthier. I remembered thinking this was actually not too difficult. I remembered walking, then hiking, and then climbing mountains. I remembered realizing I was then a “normal fat guy” and also realizing that was no longer enough.

I remembered that I used to be outgoing, an extrovert. I remembered not realizing how much I had changed. I remembered the self confidence coming back, the extrovert in me peeking back out. I remembered my meeting leader and the friends I have at our WW meeting. I remember the friends I have on the Guys on a Diet message board and how they all wished me luck in this race. I remembered the man who told me I didn't look like I belonged at Weight Watchers on the day I first weighed below my goal weight. I remembered the wonderful celebration at my meeting the day I reached lifetime status. I remembered the easy stretches, and the hard stretches.

I remembered the first step I ran. The first 5K race. The first half marathon. I remembered the day I decided I would run a marathon. I remembered the long slow runs in the cold, wind, and snow. I remembered the short fast runs in the heat. I remembered never wavering in my resolve to run this race.

I then passed the 26 mile mark and snapped back to the present as I saw my wife and children up ahead. 285 yards and I'll have a medal around my neck. But I won't be finished. This is for life, there is no finish line.