Sunday, July 02, 2006

Perfect Weekend

You know, the more I do this, the more I realise just how enjoyable it is. I've had a lovely weekend. Very simple, but utterly blissful.

The trip to London yesterday went well. OK, the journey down there was pretty sticky, and had me wishing that my car had air conditioning. Or electric windows that work. But still, I managed to get in a 7 mile run before I set off, I had a couple of fruit/water stops, and a nice lunch on a picnic site near Northampton, I got there in one piece, watched another Wigan win (3 in a row!!), and had an incident free and fast journey back.

And I ate well. I try to let myself eat more, and more carbs on a Saturday in advance of the Sunday long run, but it still looked pretty healthy. After my fruity, yoghurty porridge before I set off, I stopped for some cherries for a mid-morning snack. I had bagels with houmous, roast peppers, cherry tomatoes and rocket for lunch (2 bagels). I had strawberries when I got to London, my cous cous salad before kick off, and nibbled on olives with feta cheese and pomegranate during the game. Add some muesli and yoghurt when I got back, and it looks pretty good.

I ate nowhere near everything I took, but that was to some extent deliberate. I wanted to give myself options, so that if I suddenly had an apple craving, or a salad craving, or a red peppers dipped in houmous craving I'd have some stuff in my coolbag to satisfy that. I figured that even if the food was wasted entirely (which I doubt because I'll probably find a use for it during the week), it would be better to err on the side of caution than finding myself resorting to an overpriced coffee and muffin by the side of the M1. Or chips at the ground.

But not to worry, the strangest thing happened. The people in front of me at the game were eating donuts. I looked at them and I genuinely couldn't see the attraction. likewise with the burgers and chips that were heading in a steady stream towards the stands. And as for the beer, I just didn't fancy one. Usually away games in London involve public transport and/or an overnight stay and copious quantities of watered down lager. But even though I knew that one wouldn't affect my drive back, and it was a hot day, I realised that I'd be more satisfied with the flavoured water in my bag. I'm eating what I want, what I want just happens to be good.

Then back home, thankfully a little cooler going northwards, and I got back just before midnight. No time to stay up and watch the video of the game though, I knew I had a 15 mile run to get done this morning, and I knew that the earlier I could get it done the better in view of the weather. I have to admit I woke up this morning dreading it. But it wasn't too bad at all. It was hot, and it was nearly 2 minutes per mile slower than my intended marathon pace, but I ran almost all of it, and it was surprisingly manageable. I'm starting to get to the point where I really believe the marathon plan isn't quite so crazy after all. I covered 15.5 miles in the end, in 2 hours 40, and I'm still capable of walking so it has to be good!

And this afternoon, the Sunday treat of utter relaxation and making up some of those 1550 burnt off calories (much as I'd like to convert them into an instant half pound loss, to be honest I'd rather fuel myself for another week of training ahead). And a bit of extra sleep from last night, too! I've been sitting in the garden making the most of the sunshine, with a little red wine and a lot of good healthy food.

Something I was pondering yesterday was about "making it special". I could have made myself a picnic with carefully weighed and measured portions, making myself stick fast to a pre-planned eating schedule. I could have just stopped by the side of the motorway instead of heading off into the countryside. But that extra bit of time and effort just made it feel so much more decadent and indulgent. Having proper crockery and cutlery, and having a mini-fridge of options to choose from meant that the picnic couldn't possibly feel like deprivation. I'm starting to appreciate how important it really is to take time to appreciate good food (and wine...) rather than just bolting it down in a snatched 15 minutes between the first and second half.

I'm going to spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing and chilling out. I'm really starting to love the balance of Sundays with that long run first thing to make you feel all virtuous, followed by enforced, but decadently pleasurable relaxation for the rest of the day. Marathon training does have some benefits after all!


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