Monday, September 20, 2010

Unexpected Lessons

I know it would seem obvious, but the importance nutrition plays in running has been a huge lesson for me. Understand that I have always had a topsy turvey relationship ship with food. I have been to the land of Eating Disorders. Great progress and healing has been made over the years but I think it's quite obvious by the slightly round and mushy state of my body that I have yet to overcome the battle completely. I guess my relationship with exercise has always been an on and off again one too. But I am learning. And my desire to be healthy and fit is genuine. Fit and healthy.

Just prior to the half marathon training I had taken over the cooking in my household. Somewhat based on the Tosca Reno Eat Clean philosophy. I am strongly anti-"diet". Yes, you can lose weight but I don't believe most of the fads are long term or truly healthy. When I first discovered the Eat Clean cookbooks I looked through them with the usual skeptical eye, but what I took away from the philosophy is the idea of getting proper nutrients through whole, unprocessed foods, eating small portions more often and exercising. It sounds simple. I know. But when I ventured into the local health food stores I felt like an imposter with my shopping list. Then it hit me; this is how I ate as a kid! I grew up on brown rice, honey, fruit, fresh vegetables and all these other healthy ingredients on my list! Where in my life had I gone astray? I don't know but I am glad to be finding my way back.

Once the half marathon came into the picture, in my panic, I began to do research about how to train. Which I thought would really only be about running. It turns out nutrition is a huge factor. And this makes sense to me now. It's fuel. Last year when I was running I would experience such fatigue and my legs felt like wet sand bags that I had to lug around. I read all kinds of self-criticism into this fatigue. Out of shape. Weak. Lazy. Fat. Will never be the athlete I had once hoped to be. Etc. So this time around, now that I am eating and hydrating consciously I am amazed at how much energy my body does have, and how far I am able to go. Yes, I push my body and it gets exhausted but that is a whole different feeling from the fuzzy fatigue that plagued me last year.

I'll be honest, I want to lose weight. At this time I am approximately 25lbs overweight. But my mindset has changed. I know that without a doubt I am getting fitter. As I get in better shape my metabolism will improve. I will learn to feed my body thoughtfully, consciously with the fuel it needs. In order to be successful in my goals of the half marathon, of being fit, and healthy, I have to treat my body right... It's all part of a greater purpose (that sounds hokey but to me, it's true).

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