Remember how I’m in-training for my first half marathon? I think I’ve mentioned it before…
Well, here’s the thing I’m learning: training isn’t just what you do in the gym or on the road. It’s what you’re putting into your body, what you’re using as fuel to make your body do what it needs to do once you get to the gym. And that’s been hard for me.
A few years ago, I didn’t give a second thought to what I was eating. I ate because something looked or sounded good. I ate because it was time to eat or someone else was eating and I wanted to also. But since I started this journey to become healthy, to become fit and strong, I give a lot of thought to what I eat. (Not to say I don’t eat “bad” things or more than I should sometimes, I just think about it more!)
And there’s no time like when you’re running to think about what you ate the day before and how it’s affecting your run. I’ve learned that I can’t drink the night before a long run, it leaves me too dehydrated and groggy. I’ve noticed that if I don’t drink enough water in the twenty four hours before I run or do any strenuous activity, I cramp up fast and can’t go as far as I should be able to. I’ve learned that nothing tastes better than a chocolate treat after a hard workout. And I’ve learned that depriving yourself of everything you love to eat or drink isn’t healthy, helpful, or sustainable.
So I make sure to eat protein all the time (turkey bacon like it’s my job, Egg White Delight McMuffin from McDonald’s for breakfast-on-the-go, vanilla Greek yogurt because I think it tastes like ice cream), drink more water than caffeine (but I’m not willing to give it up, so don’t ask. Diet Mt. Dew and fountain Cokes FOREVER), and to always have a healthy snack on hand because your body needs more energy when you run (almonds, apples, and cheese are my favorites). I’m probably eating more food now than I have in years. And while I’m not losing weight like I thought I would running this much, I’ve learning how to feed my body well, how to forgive myself when I make a mistake, and how to eat for fuel. I’m realizing that if I want this body, this one body I get, to last as long as possible, I need to treat it with care, respect, and grace.
It’s empowering to say that finally, after thirty-two-plus years, I love my body, flaws and all.