Wednesday, August 16, 2006


This is a bit Berlin-ny, but I'll post it here because it's more general than that. I had a bit of a revelation about my recent mood swings and grumbles.

The marathon itself seeming more real every day now. Apparently registration packs are on their way and should be arriving in the UK shortly, and I did a search of the participants list on the official website and found my name. It's really happening.

As I reach the end of the real training, and move towards the taper (only two weeks worth of actual hard training to go, but split over 3 weeks because of a long weekend in Prague in the middle), I'm starting to reflect a bit on the whole thing. And most importantly the big question. Would I do it again?

I won't really be able to answer that until I'm standing beyond the finish line holding my medal, but at the moment I'm thinking probably, but not too often. I'm not going to become one of these people who run a marathon every couple of months and rack up stupid numbers of miles. The training isn't so bad, and my legs can cope with it, but it just takes so much out of you elsewhere. I don't know how often I can commit to turning my life over to marathon training.

I only have a finite amount of energy to go round. Of course, I try to eat to boost my energy, but there's still a limit to how much you can do. And the more of that energy I spend on marathon training, the less I have to do other things. Since I upped my mileage to its peak I seem to walk into town less at lunchtime, I make the long run and a rugby match pretty much the only things I do over the course of a weekend, and anything that keeps me out of bed past about 9.30 ends up being a serious interruption to my schedule. Even at the weekend. I can live like that for a couple of months every now and then, but I'm glad that it's coming to an end. I'd just love to have some energy and time back to go for a walk, read a book, do my Spanish homework.

And yes, I keep saying I'll take new progress pictures, but I can't summon up the energy to do that either, or sell my fat clothes on ebay, or lots of other things I've been putting off. Reading and leaving comments on other people's blogs too. I'm getting really bad at that, but I am trying to catch up.

I think some of my mood swings recently have come from the sheer narrow mindedness of my focus, and maybe the fact that I've been working so hard at this explains why it's so much more tempting than usual to just give up. I always thought that I'd found a routine I could live with but recently I started to wonder whether I was wrong, until I realised that this simply isn't my normal routine. I can live with the normal exercise, but this is in a whole different league, and I should realise that rather than worrying about whether it's sustainable. It isn't meant to be.

I need to stop getting frustrated about my lack of motivation to prepare fresh food. Thinking about it more logically, I'm into the territory of using that culinary energy on running. Yes, I still need to work on eating as well as I can, but I need to remember that once this is over I'll have more time to take pleasure in cooking a long complicated weekend lunch rather than relying on something that I can blast with heat as soon as I get in from a long run. And the fact that all my body sometimes has energy to do is sit on the sofa and eat, well that's probably a very sensible way for it to deal with the extra stress, so I need to stop worrying so much about it. Yes, make sure that's what available to eat is decent stuff, but don't assume it's the start of a slippery slope that will lead to re-gain once I stop training so much.

I'm starting to realise how much the training has impacted on the rest of my life. Work has gone crazy recently, and between that and training it's just been a constant battle to stay sane and functioning relatively normally when it comes to anything else. I wouldn't stop training now for anything, but I can't wait for a bit of a rest once it's done!


Blogger Shauna said...

i just peeked at the Berlin website, I can't believe how quickly it's sneaking up! i remember when i found your blog you were doing your first 10k... memoriiiiiiiiieeees :)

it has been great to read about your training, and just so eye-opening to discover just how much of a committment it is. not just the running itself but all the planning and sacrifices... as well as the emotional side of the process! great stuff :)

9:41 PM  
Blogger M@rla said...

Very interesting insights. I had never thought about how much time the training would take, and you're right, it's going to drive out everything else. When I am in the middle of an intense, long-term project or commitment, I completely lose sight of what was before and what will come after. It becomes my complete reality and I forget that the world ever could be different.

So hang on monkey! Kick ass in Berlin and then figure out what's "normal" after!

11:44 AM  
Blogger Xena said...

Great insights, and they certainly make sense. I feel some of that focus being in school and working full-time. Massage is my life right now!

Can't wait to hear how the marathon goes...

4:57 PM  
Blogger AnnekeS said...

That is one of the reasons I am reluctant to commit to running a marathon. Training for a half marathon took up a lot of my time. I guess you just have to be in that state of mind/stage of life.

Best of luck to you on the rest of your training, and on your race.

8:21 PM  
Blogger Becoming_Me said...

I find you really inspiring. I'm not much of a runner, and I haven't had the nerve to sign up for a marathon...mostly b/c I don't think I can actually commit to the training. I can't even get myself to run 2 or 3 miles 3x per week.

And as for your focus, you're right, something like this just takes so much focus, you lose other things...happend to me last summer during my Body For Life obsession.

Good Luck!

1:33 AM  
Blogger K said...

Not that I've ever trained for ANYTHING this big - but I think it's like any long, sustained endeavour (writing a thesis comes to mind). Even though you know you are good at this, and that it'll be great to have finished it, the last part is a hard slog, and you want your life back.

Obviously running is likely to be a big part of that life, but it's probably entirely healthy for it not to be the only part. And if you feel ready for another challenge after a while, it could be something slightly different - maybe a triathlon?

11:48 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

I think your wise to question jumping into another huge goal after this one. It's going to be even harder next time to train if your heart's not into it. Just see how you feel when later.

8:44 PM  

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