Phases and Lifetsyles

One of the fun parts of these training regimens for a marathon is trying to tweak and experiment with what I have done in the past. I used the Hanson training method last summer, and it helped me stretch beyond some of my limits. I ran more miles and more often than I had ever done before. I also exponentially increased the amount of speed work that I had been doing, which in turn made me faster…at least for non-marathon distances.

After the marathon, I went through the phase of just trying to get back to running without specific goals or results in mind. I drank a little bit more than I had before November 6th (but that was mostly because of the results of the election) and I was not as regimented about my diet. I should qualify this. As a thirty-six-year-old middle-aged man (that is tough to say), I have physical limits that didn’t exist before. I can’t eat pizza and burger every day and feel okay. I eventually need to sleep, or otherwise, my body starts to break down. So when I say I relaxed some of my regimens, I don’t want to make it sound like I went on a bender.

Towards the end of the year last year, the one thought kept swimming around in my head. I want to make a bigger change for 2017. And like most things in my life, a smart woman gave me the impetus for making myself better. We went to dinner, and she mentioned she was a pescatarian. She also happened to be running the New York City Marathon. I was intrigued, so I picked her brain about it. And so I kept thinking to myself about what I eat on a day-to-day basis and what I would be sacrificing. It came down to a simple thing- chicken. Of course, I would have to make some adjustments during Greek Easter when we roast lamb and the semi-annual steak dinners when I go out with my best friends, but ultimately those were a handful of situations in a 365 day period. Was this that big of sacrifice?

I am now twenty-six days into this experiment, and I have to admit, it isn’t that big of a deal. So far, the only major issue has been the uneasiness I get from people around me that wonder why I am doing it. I think it’s a product of running and aging. I never want to stay static. I like challenging myself if I believe that the challenge will bring something positive, especially when I can quantify the level of difficulty and then understand that the obstacles aren’t that large. Likewise, in this case, the hardest part has been dealing with people’s reactions to me cutting out meat, which I try to avoid bringing up now. A lot of people have rolled their eyes at me, while others have shown concern that I am going through some mid-life crisis.

My greatest epiphany from this experiment is that I have noticed is that it isn’t that hard to do and I have felt great during his training. I have tweaked some other things, so this isn’t exactly the scientific method, but through the first 12 days of training I have felt amazing. I found some vegan protein mix from Hammer that helped supplement my protein intake and helps for recovery. And a diet that has been stripped down to focus on vegetables, peppered with fish is fun and straightforward. Now it is just a matter of figuring out how long I will stick with this. Is this a temporary phase or is this a new lifestyle choice?

Five years ago I started running, and within about a month I felt different. The people in my life thought it was a phase and I wasn’t sure what it was when I started doing it. But I think I knew after that first month that running was not going to be a switch I would turn off, the light would always stay on and it has.

P.S.- I also bought myself a record player for the New Year and some jazz albums, which I can already recommend to anyone who needs a break from the nightmarish news during the last couple of weeks.

Day 8- Day off / Day 9- 8.21 Miles- Regular Run

Day 10- 6.21 Miles- Regular Run/ Day 11- 7.02 Miles- Regular Run

Day 12- 8.12 Miles- Easy Run.