I’m wondering how many people are feeling like me right now; I had a long break from anything health-related over the festive period and, while I very much enjoyed myself, I am trying very hard not to feel a certain level of sadness over my lost fitness levels or beat myself up too much about the extra pounds floating around my middle…
For the year up to November 2016 I was a slave to my training – or at least that what it sometimes felt like. I ran five long races in a year (three marathons and two 50k ultra marathons) and trained like a beast! After completing a tough marathon in Las Vegas in November, I fell off the wagon and didn’t do anything until New Year was upon us. Now here we are in January and I have a packed race schedule working up to my main challenge for 2017 – Race to The Stones 100k ultra marathon in July. And man am I unfit! Even short, slow runs are a struggle.
On the one hand, I am happy that I had a break to enjoy my holiday in the US and Christmas with my husband and so, from that angle, there are no regrets. I just know how hard I had to work for that level of fitness last time and now I’ll have to go through that tough slog all over again to reclaim lost ground. I think when you are first on that weight loss and fitness journey (I did lose 80 pounds although I am now 22 pounds over my lightest ever weight – hey, that’s still 58 pounds lighter than I used to be!) every little loss is great, every run is a step in the right direction, every small ‘slip’ in what you should be eating is no big deal really as the general trend of the curve is downwards. However, now that I have put 22 pounds back on, it feels like the task ahead of me is harder than last time. It isn’t new and exciting this time, it is all unnecessary work I could’ve avoided if I was better at managing myself.
The lesson here I think is that, when I finally regain the levels of fitness and weight I want to be, maintaining it will be so important. I know I am an all or nothing kind of person, so when I allow myself to eat what I want and give myself permission not to exercise (as I did over the festive season – read ‘all of December!’) things go really off track! I was listening to my trusty No Meat Athlete podcast the other day and they were talking about just this – sometimes you need to give yourself a break from the pressure you put yourself under regarding training and racing in order to rekindle the love of it. They didn’t mean to do absolutely nothing though, which is my problem.
It would be good to be able to find a balance, where I can maintain a weight and physique I am happy with and yet allow myself some treats and a bit more flexibility now and then. If only I was wired that way…
So for now I will keep putting one foot in front of the other and try to enjoy the journey, not just strive for the destination. Even if the second time down this path is much less exciting and I’ve seen all this scenery before.