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December 01. 2012 7:00PM

Teresa Robinson's NH Runner: The next big challenge


 
As my running buddy and I wrapped up one of our final training runs for the half marathon, we found ourselves talking about, no surprise, the next big challenge.

We suggested a winter race schedule, weekly long runs, a half marathon early in 2013, and even toyed with the idea of a marathon. But in the end, what we came up with had nothing to do with running at all.

We stumbled upon the idea almost by accident when I made an off-hand comment that I was afraid to sign up for another marathon because I dreaded the post-marathon 10 pounds. You know, those 10 pounds that seemed to creep up me after the marathon, when my body was still in marathon-eating mode but my weekly mileage plunged.

I've done two marathons. At about 10 pounds each. With some quick math, it's easy to see that I need to get myself back in check.

I was surprised (and somewhat relieved) to find that my running-buddy has had the same problem. While it was tempting for us both to make commitments to up our mileage to take on a long-distance goal, I decided to go down a different path. For me, it's a much more challenging one.

I've decided to take on the challenge of 26.2. No, not miles. Pounds. As in, losing them.

Just the thought of that makes me want to run in the other direction, to come up with something "easier" to do. The thought of telling anyone about it makes me question my sanity because, well, now I kind of have to do it. I wonder if I can do it, if I should do it and, honestly, just exactly how to do it.

Yes, it's pretty much the same feeling I got when I signed up for any marathon.

Like the marathon, this 26.2 challenge leaves me knowing I need to come up with a plan. I know I can't just fake my way to the end of this one. And I also know that I need a good support system.

I will spend the next few weeks coming up with a plan and equipping myself with the right resources. Instead of new shoes, I may team up with a personal trainer, an organized weight loss program, a calorie-counting app, or some combination of all of those.

I will seek out people who have done this before, just like I sought out the advice of marathoners while I trained for my races.

Yes, this 26.2 is certainly going to take a lot of work and focus. It will mean tracking and recording - this time foods and weight, instead of miles and paces. It's going to mean doing things I don't want to do - this time skipping desserts or that second glass of wine, instead of wintry long runs.

Like the marathon, I don't expect to do it overnight.

I need to remember that, like the marathon, I didn't set out to run the entire distance when I first started training. I had to mentally break it up into small, more manageable parts.

The same applies here. I need to focus on the 5K - losing 3.1 pounds doesn't sound too difficult. Then a 10K - 6.2 pounds, still do-able. Then the half-marathon - 13.1 pounds is a little scarier and daunting. Then the big finish line.

Yes, this 26.2 scares me, perhaps more than the thought of signing up for an actual marathon. But I know it will pay off will be big in the end. Just like crossing the finishing line.

Teresa Robinson's NH Runner column appears every other week in the New Hampshire Sunday News. She can be reached at NHRunner123@gmail.com. Twitter: @teresakrobinson

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