Being in between several events--athletic or just life--this seemed like a good time to assess how some items have been going.
First off, last weekend's half marathon in Austin. I started well and kept a generally consistent pace through (approximately) the first 10 miles. Somewhere in that area I started experiencing some sort of muscle spasms or cramps on any uphill portions, which had to be walked, although level ground and downhills could still be run. This resulted in 2 extra minutes per mile over that stretch. I did not make any special preparations for this race, such as hill training, which might have helped me out on the back end. One unusual thing for me happened, usually I am limited by my heart rate, but my heart rate was not a problem this race--it was my legs that were the limiting factor for me. In the end, although I had hoped for a slightly better time, I felt like I got the best result I was going to get on this race and was happy with my effort.
Second, I had made it through last year with some ups and downs on my weight. I gained 10 lbs by mid-May, then lost 40 lbs by Thanksgiving. At that point I went off diet not trying to be too stringent during my favorite time of the year. Unfortunately, I let this period extend well into January and gained over 10 lbs back. Presently, I am within 7 lbs of last November's low point and back on track (getting back under 230 lbs today). We'll see if I can keep up with the progress here, fortunately progress in this area is self-motivating for me (at least in that seeing some weight loss motivates me to continue trying to lose more).
It is perhaps fitting that I ate 3 Girl Scout cookies after typing that last paragraph.
Third, how is my training going? I had toned down my mileage a bit after Houston in favor of cross-training for other events. I had wondered if this would hurt me in Austin, but I do not feel that it did, if anything it may have helped me beyond just run training. I made my longest bike ride of the year this morning (25 miles) and my swim time has improved by more than 2 1/2 minutes per 1000 yard swim since the beginning of the year. My actual time for these other sports would be nothing special to many I know, but they do represent a good step forward for me. In the coming weeks I'll continue to increase the bike and swim distances to advance myself. In running I am thinking of concentrating my efforts at increasing my speed at shorter distances into the summer, at least before I start building back towards the fall/winter marathon season.
Finally, I need to keep in mind that I want to try to enjoy these activities. I had a blast in Austin last weekend and really enjoyed my run at Houston in January. Tomorrow I am meeting a friend for a morning run with the local running club (meeting at the local bagel shop)--sometimes my biggest fault at running might be having too much fun at the social part of the activity, but is it a problem if I enjoy running too much? (I think not!) Plus, I'll be able to get bagels when I am done! A couple of weeks ago I ran through an area of trails for the first time just to explore them. While biking, I have been exploring some of the farther reaches of my local area. For my racing events, I have been considering how much I would enjoy the event before I sign up...look at some of my coming events for this: San Antonio Rock n Roll Marathon with a long weekend in San Antonio, Disneyworld Marathon [or maybe even the Goofy Challenge) is pretty self-explanatory, CB&I Triathlon came well-recommended to me, and the Spring Fever 5K always is a great neighborhood party. I think I have been keeping a positive mindset for my athletic endeavors.
All in all, I am pretty happy with where I am going right now and am enjoying the journey to get there. Now, if I can just put some distance between me and those cookies!