Friday, October 2, 2015

Here is the thing about long-distance running and marathon training: you can't ignore what your body really needs.

New Yorker skinny girl diet? Forget about it. Cereal for breakfast and lunch, plus a banana or granola bar mid-morning, is no longer enough to get through the day. You have to eat real food and extra calories and carbs. You have to sleep A LOT.

Did I mention the carbs?


It may seem silly, but this part of marathon training has been nearly impossible. New York and society and every single magazine on news stands tells me that carbs and calories are the enemy. Avoid them at all costs. Bad. And I did, for a long time.

Remember how I had no exercise abilities whatsoever from ages 0-26? It showed. I was not a small person for the majority of my life, and it was a constant battle. Still is, if I'm being totally honest. I lost 50+ pounds since high school and college. I didn't do it eating carbs, that's for sure. I almost completely stopped eating bread and pasta. I swore off desserts for a long time. I found an exercise routine I actually enjoyed and did daily (or twice daily) spinning sessions. And it worked.

But marathon running changed everything. It's just not enough anymore. I cannot function on this whole, eat as little as humanly possible behavior that's been my life for the last several years. Last weekend, I ate an entire loaf of bread in four days. I am not kidding. I eat pasta AND bread for dinner. Lunchtime involves actual real food, not just granola bars. It's a whole new world, people.

And yes, I'm 10 pounds above the smallest number I've ever seen on my bathroom scale (five years ago, pre-running, and very short-lived). Only about half of my size four J. Crew pencil skirts actually fit. I'm not happy about that, for sure. Sometimes I worry too much about those extra 10 pounds.

But I'm going to run 20 miles tomorrow.

I'm running the New York City marathon in 30 days and the Boston marathon in 198 days. Never in a million years did I (or, let's be honest, anyone who ever met me) dream this was possible.

I am stronger than I ever imagined.

So I'm thinking that it's okay.