Today was Race For The Roses day. I had previously planned to run the half marathon distance, but registered for the 10K instead. Similar to choosing the 10K over the half at last year's running of Helvetia, it was a very wise decision. I probably could have finished the half this morning, but it would have wiped me from the face of the earth in the process. (Not literally, of course, but you know what I'm getting at here!)
The weather cooperated - relatively cool, in the mid-fifties, with partly cloudy skies. There were quite a few runners and a lot of walkers, so I definitely wasn't on my own this time, which was a nice change. And it wasn't that the course was necessarily difficult, because in the scheme of things, it wasn't a tough course. But I felt sluggish for most of the time, I walked a lot more than I was happy with and quite simply, the mojo just wasn't there. I finished in 1:23:28, which isn't too far off my current best, but I had really hoped to break 1:20 today. Obviously, it just wasn't meant to be.
This led me to the revelation that's been brewing in the nether regions of my brain for a while: it's time to get serious about this stuff if I am going to stand a chance of finishing Portland in October without it killing me. To be brutally honest (especially with myself) - my training has been very poor for the last couple of weeks and I have not been pouring myself into it as I should be. My eating habits have slipped and I've gained a couple of pounds, and that is certainly not helping either. In fact, I am about 99.99% sure the most substantial reason for my crappy-feeling runs of late has an awful lot to do with the extra baggage I'm schlepping around. It really is a matter of pure physics - the more extra weight there is, the more mass there is to move and all the more harder it is to run. For those of you who are at your "fighting weight" - or even close to it - try to envision yourself running with a one-hundred-pound pack strapped to your back and you will get an idea of what it's like to be me.
I have to hand it to my cardiovascular system. And my legs. All things considered, they're giving all they can to the cause, and I know this. To my wonderful heart and my equally fantastic lungs - I love you! To my larger-than-I'd-like-them-to-be thighs and calves - I see those muscles under there, working hard, and I love you too!! So perhaps it's time to start showing them the love by overcoming this stinking weight issue once and for all.
I'm a big believer in the strong connection and inter-relatedness of the mind and the body. One without the other is just not going to work in the long haul. But in this case, I cannot blame my weight problem on anything other than my mind - with weak resolve, incorrect thinking and a certain sort of wicked amnesia about my goals that seems to strike mostly when I'm in line of sight of dietary temptations. My body is blameless in this - it deals with what I give it the only way it can.
I should be counting my blessings that after the many, many years of dietary abuse (lots of yo-yo dieting and really piss-poor eating habits when I wasn't dieting) - as well as a severe deficiency of long-term, meaningful exercise - that I have been able to come as far as I have, but now it's time to step back into the boat and get going again.
This marathon in October - I don't want to just say I finished. I want to say (and know) that I finished well. And I also don't want to say that this marathon will be the pinnacle of my running success. Once I've conquered this particular dragon, there are plenty more of them in the running world to slay - and my honest and sincere prayer is that running continue to be the gift that God allows me to experience and enjoy for the rest of my life.