Where’s the Fitness?

It’s been a while since I talked about my fitness. While I wouldn’t take back a single minute of my 10/10/10 experience, it’s taken me a while to really wrap my head around the aftermath of it all.

Training for the marathon resulted in me losing fitness. It took me a while to really come to terms with this realization, but it’s true. Before my marathon, I was seriously in the best shape of my life! I was running 3 times a week, lifting weights 3 times a week, and taking two glorious rest days each week. I felt strong and full of energy. I was proud of the muscles that I had developed and maintained.

When I began my marathon training, I was still treading cautiously after having been injured and spent weeks trying to figure out how to balance running with cross-training. I knew that I couldn’t and shouldn’t rely solely on running as my only form of exercise but with a full-time job and very limited time to train, something had to give. I briefly dabbled in the 100 push-ups challenge. I thought it was a good compromise at the time, knowing full well that it wouldn’t replace my regular resistance training routine at the gym. After I plateaued at 60 consecutive push-ups, I got frustrated and rather than work through it, I chose sleep because I felt that I needed the extra half hour in the mornings more than a tired attempt to crank out 100 push-ups. I felt so wimpy! Eventually, I was just running and trying to catch up on sleep. Recipe for disaster, right? I know, I know.

After Chicago, it took me almost a week to even attempt to run again. My left leg immediately began complaining and I could barely run faster than a jog. For weeks, I tried to take it easy and slowly make my way back into running. Time and time again, injury crept back up despite multiple visits to both a registered massage therapist and a physiotherapist. Finally, I had to take two weeks completely off from running. It felt like torture, but I knew it was necessary.

In the meantime, I’ve been trying my best to find balance in my life again. Rather than putting all of my eggs in one basket with running, I’ve been spinning 2-3 times a week, practicing yoga (ranging from restorative to power type yoga) up to 5 times a week, and running twice a week if at all. I’m slowly trying to build my muscle back, but I’m hoping yoga will provide enough for me because I don’t feel that I have time to dedicate to the weight room at the gym.

My hope for 2011 is to learn what works best for me and to have a successful pain-free year. I want to have fun and not worry so much about upcoming plans and races. Rather than meticulously plan everything out, I’m going to try harder to just go with the flow and relax. Last year, I’m signed up for two races for this year that happen to be days after I return from overseas trips (both booked this year). Oops? Apparently 2011 is also the year for impeccable timing.

So what’s next? I honestly don’t know – isn’t that exciting?

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6 thoughts on “Where’s the Fitness?”

  1. Sounds exhausting… I’m glad you’ve had some time to think it through — yoga is really teaching me that the battle is very much in my head rather than in my body, so I hope that it is helping you too!

    It’s interesting that you say the marathon made you a bad runner. I am sure you read the Daily Garnish too — when she wrote about how you don’t have to run marathons to be a runner it seems to fit quite well with what you are saying.

    Good luck for all your runs this year! I hope they will be as enjoyable and pain-free as you deserve (which is immensely, and totally!)

    1. Thanks, Rosie! I guess what I meant when I said that it made things worse for me was that although I was getting faster, it was at the expense of a lot of other things and eventually, after the marathon, the nagging injury caused me to scale back to the point where I could barely run. I’m actually helping yoga help me physically more than I ever thought it would. I’m more flexible, I feel stronger even if it doesn’t necessarily show on the outside. I’m excited to see how yoga will complement my running as the year progresses.

      Hope you have a strong, successful year as well! <3

  2. Hey Alison,

    I am pleased to hear that you have opted for good health and fitness rather than competing with yourself to be too much. What I mean is, our bodies will tell us when enough is enough and although we as humans are able to “push through the pain” sometimes the overall result sets us back, both physically and mentally.

    I may never run a marathon but that doesn’t make me less of a runner or feel like a fast chirpy 10K isn’t a huge accomplishment!!! I would love to do a few longer runs with you. You may find yourself out on the road riding this summer, it is a great complimentary sport to running. Look forward to seeing you soon.


    1. Thanks, Bonnie! At the end of the day, I still think running is #1, but I just don’t want to continue on the path of running for the sake of running, even if that means it’s going to be painful. There’s no enjoyment in that. I still want to get back to training – but I want to take a more well-rounded approach and make it a priority to stick with other forms of cardio exercise.

      To be fair, the importance of cross-training was always communicated to me from day one — I just ran out of hours in the day and took the easy way out. I’ll have to work on that too!

    1. Hi Heather! Thanks for stopping by and commenting! Yeah, definitely learned that training/running for a marathon does not automatically equate to overall fitness. I have that much more respect for people who have full time jobs (especially with atypical hours that go beyond the standard 9-5) and are able to run AND cross-train. Who are these people!? 🙂

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