31 December 2008

Countdown to 26.2: 18 weeks

I realized yesterday that I begin my marathon training regiment in less than two weeks. I am not exactly ready for this, let alone the thought of running 26.2 miles in one day. But for the sake of seeing some actual progress, here are some baseline statistics which will be used for comparison throughout my training.

  • Starting weight: 240 (yep . . . ouch)
  • Miles run in December: 24.4
  • Notable decisions made this month: I realize that food is always going to be my toughest area to control. I love to eat, and, unfortunately, my standards are low, so I'll eat all kinds of stuff I shouldn't be eating. Two days ago, however, I started (once again, see my posts from Jan. 2008) cleaning it up somewhat, not as strictly as before, but focusing on not eating so much at a time, and not eating when I'm bored.

Last year, the half marathon was more of a logical next step in my evolution as a runner. This year, however, I feel that the full marathon is more of a life-changing event, some kind of metaphor for finding oneself in life and conquering fears. Taking a marathon seriously will change your life: you eat differently, you run differently, you face physical and mental challenges you've never had before, you have to invest many, many hours in training, and you must believe in yourself or you will not get past week six or so in the sixteen-week training program.

The timing in all this intensifies the greatness of the moment: my final semester in grad school (which brings its own worries and challenges), my ten-year anniversary, turning 32 next week (and realizing just how mortal I am), and noting that my dad had his heart attack at age 35, and he weighed only about 20 pounds more than I do right now when it happened. Not only do I want to run this marathon; I need to run this marathon.

So I will check in with this countdown every four weeks, or as often as it takes to succinctly yet fully convey this experience to you. For now, however, it's time to sleep.

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