A Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal
I’ve made a decision to do something I’ve never done before: I’m going to run a marathon. That’s 42.2km. That’s a lot of kms! It’s pretty daunting to me. I want to share with you how I arrived at this decision.
In 2015 I ran consistently 4-5 times a week all year, which led me to my first half marathon. At the start of that year I would not have believed that I would run a half marathon the same year. It showed me that anything is possible with dedication.
In 2016 I learned about the MAF method and I did 2 more half marathons. My time in the first 2016 race was slower than the 2015 race (although the course had many more hills) and in the second 2016 race my time was the same as the 2015 time. The difference in 2016: I was not injured and my training was more enjoyable.
After that last half marathon I thought: the MAF method is working for me – albeit slowly – but my next goal is to be able to run at my MAF heart rate (HR). Well, I’m still walking at my MAF HR. So why have I changed my goal?
There are many reasons that all seemed to come together at the same time.
At the start of this year I signed up for some consulting sessions over the phone with Tawnee Prazak-Gibson, of Endurance Planet. I’d been listening to the Endurance Planet podcast for most of 2016. I really valued the information as well as connected with Coach Tawnee’s holistic philosophy and down to earth style. We looked at all aspects of my life – exercise, nutrition, sleep, hormones, lifestyle and more. I was pretty excited to start training again and since I was on summer break I had the time.
Then break was over and work started again – it got crazy. There were some changes at work and I started doing even more hours, including the usual calls during the night. I felt like something needed to give, so at the beginning of March I decided to take a break from training and focus on getting enough sleep. I talked it through with Coach Tawnee and we agreed it was the right approach for me at that time for my overall good health.
At the end of March I saw Dr Maffetone speak at the ICAK conference in Adelaide. The big message was: get nutrition right first. It was exactly what I had thought when I reflected on my progress with MAF last year, but had not put my own advice into practice. He suggested doing the two week test with a group of like-minded people, so I set up a closed Facebook group – Fat Burning Machines – where we could do the two week test together and share our progress. About 12 of us joined to begin with and we started the two week test on the same day. We posted what we were eating, what we felt and our results. It was great – I had the support of the group and the accountability of sharing my progress.
As I slowly reintroduced carbs after the two week test I was learning to listen to my body. A moderate amount of carbs did not feel good to me. The blood tests I did on Coach Tawnee’s advice showed fasting glucose and insulin were on the high end of normal. The way I felt and the blood test results showed me that I have some degree of insulin resistance and I do better on the lower end of the scale for carbohydrate intake.
At the end of April, work was still intense. My husband insisted one Friday night to come to a restorative yoga class, as I mentioned to him that Coach Tawnee had recommended some movement other than running, such as yoga. He has been regularly practicing yoga for about 20 years, but I’ve always felt intimidated by it, I didn’t think I was cool enough to do yoga! Also a dear, long time friend of mine, Keith, had recently taken ownership of Bija Yoga studio which was in its opening week (previously established as Lila Yoga and owned for 10 years by another dear friend, Carmen). So I relented and said I would come to the class, even though I was still thinking of excuses not to go 10 minutes before class started. Well, that class changed me. It cleared my mind and it felt good to move again – I had not been training for about two months now. I felt like I floated out of the class, similar to after an easy, long run. Stress seemed to dissipate like magic.
The following week I joined the Monday night Jivamukti class, which is more strengthening than the restorative class. I enjoyed that, too, because I felt challenged to learn something new with a group of people with such a lovely energy.
That week I also mapped out everything I was doing at work and showed my two managers. Even though nothing had changed at that point, just writing it down helped me feel in control and not so stressed. I blocked my calendar for core hours at night to make sure I got some uninterrupted sleep. I remembered, too, that managing stress is an important part of the MAF method. I felt like I was on the right track.
Around that time I also started listening to Sparta Chicks Radio by my first coach and now good friend, Jen Brown. Jen interviews brave women that share their stories of fulfilling their dreams in spite of their fears. Truly inspirational. Every episode has spoken to me – either as something I relate to or a way I aspire to be. There were a few things I came to realise: life is short and I want to experience as much as I can; the imposter phenomenon rang true for me – I was letting perfection get in the way of me experiencing my dreams (i.e., I felt like I had to be able to run at MAF HR before entering my next race); and I have a strong and healthy body and I want to see what it can do.
All of these things – a couple of months of rest, nutrition, managing stress, yoga, Sparta Chicks Radio and a holistic look at my health with Coach Tawnee – came together around the same time and I felt mentally and physically ready to take on a new challenge. And why not have a Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal: running a marathon.
So in the spirit of Episode 9 of Sparta Chicks Radio, I’m putting my goal out there for everyone to know.
I’m planning to enter the Melbourne Marathon I have just signed up for the Melbourne Marathon on 15-Oct-2017 (I did it as I was writing this blog post!)!
What am I doing?! I am scared and excited at the same time. I will continue to have most of my training at MAF heart rate as well as a long run on the weekend and yoga twice a week. I’ll also be continuing the focus on nutrition and managing stress. Yes, my goal is big, hairy and audacious; and I can take care of myself on the way. I started training 2 weeks ago, so far so good!
Do you have a big goal you want to share? I’d love to hear it!