September 21, 2011

I have worked my ass off

Indeed, I have worked my ass off in more ways than one. First, the scale tells me I am a little shy of 60 kilograms (or about 132 pounds). That's about as light as my 176-centimetre (5'8") frame gets. Losing weight wasn't a goal in preparing for the Bellingham Bay Marathon though I was pretty sure I wouldn't be gaining pounds while running more weekly kilometres than ever at an average 104km for nine straight weeks, before starting a three-week taper (dropping to 90km, then 70km, and then 40km—of course not including the 42.2km race that final week).

My weight tends to stay around 63kg. I love food, good food which in my book usually means healthy stuff. I love fruit (fresh and dried) and vegetables. Among the staple dinners is a pasta bolognaise, recently with buffalo mince. Others are curries with anything from steak (beef or buffalo), to chicken, tofu or chickpeas (the latter another recent addition to the menu), with rice and plenty of veg.

Rarely will I decline a glass of red before or with dinner, though more than two glasses will have me drunk so I don't go there, not often anyway. In the past six months, a beera Sleeman or any brew from our local Howe Sound Brewery, which produces stunning and award-winning stuff; my favourite might have to be the King Heffy—accompanied dinner, too.

With a chocaholic partner, it's hard to resist a few pieces of dark chocolate. I also blame Tim for introducing me to the new President's Choice ice creams, though I must admit to loving Haagen-Dazs before him.

For breakfast, I'll typically have Alpen (no added sugar) or, more recently, the delicious Bircher muesli recipe from the second book I edited, Reconnect With Food: Eat Your Way to Triathlon Success by Teresa Rider. During the day, there are plenty of carbs involved; ham-cheese sandwiches, or a thick layer of peanut butter on a slice of bread (German or sour dough).

With my goal marathon this Sunday, I feel good at 60kg. My key consideration in the next few days will be to eat and drink well, fuelling for the marathon and making sure to stick with tried and tested nutrition that won't cause stomach upsets on race day.

What I will also do in the next few days is to remind myself that I have worked my ass off in the figurative sense. While some people seem to think I was born running 3:07 marathons, that is certainly not the case. It takes hard work to get into the shape I am today.

Some people may break 4 hours in their first marathon; I didn't even break 4:15. In my second, I just managed to stay under 5 (4:46). I love running, and being a runner, but it takes dedication to get faster. Last Saturday afternoon, for example, I was still tired after my second week of taper (work and other things naturally play a role) in which I still ran about 70km. I had a 13km run to do that day and didn't feel like it.

I convinced myself that what I really needed was a hot bath with Epsom salts and a day of rest from running. Soaking in the bath, however, I couldn't relax or enjoy; I had followed this training program and now I was just coming up with excuses a week before race day?

Instead of getting dinner ready, I changed into my running gear and went for my training run a little after 6pm. My legs were fine, tired but fine, and I was stoked for sticking to the training program. I know from experience, as I wrote in an earlier post, that I have a tendency to skip sessions in the taper, and my level of fatigue simply didn't justify doing so.

So, I am having a ton of fun training for marathons, and I am super-excited to race this weekend. Having said that, it's good to consider the hard work you have put in as you get your mind ready to dig deep. Sunday's will be my 10th marathon in five years, the slowest of which I ran in 3:15.

My PB of 3:07:10 is from three years ago but I am convinced I can go faster. My third-fastest is 3:08 from the 2007 Canberra Marathon, so you can imagine how pleased I was in May this year to run 3:07:41. For this race, I have worked my ass off—in the past 12 weeks and in the past 12 years since that first marathon in 1999—and I am ready to give it all I've got.


mindy Olson said...

Have a great race. Go kick some butt!!

Margreet Dietz said...

Thanks Mindy!

See you in a couple of weeks, enjoy your taper!

Anonymous said...

Go M!!!!!! Down Under is barracking for you! Gines and Tones xx