What is most surprising about this experience however is what/how/where the impact has been. The three largest impacts that I have seen from all of this (freaking) running are: my health, my feet, and my time.
My health-not surprisingly-has improved. I've already commented on my blog about the weight loss (yea!), but what I'm even more surprised about is the complete change in how I *think* about food. I still like food, don't get me wrong, but when I'm eating now, I'm constantly thinking about whether or not this bite of food is going to make me 'better, faster, stronger.' Meal planning-especially on Fridays (before my Saturday big runs) starts occupying my mind by Wednesday, and I'm always obsessed with how much protein I can consume on Saturday breakfast before the run. I'm not trying to preach-heck, I ate 5 mini-cupcakes this weekend, and I still drink a few pints during the week-but, the mental shift in how I think about food has been a real surprise. I wonder if it will continue once I'm done with the marathon-part of me hopes not. Part of me hopes so-it's a bit exhausting to always be thinking about your food in that way. :)
My feet. My poor, poor, poor feet. I'd take a picture and post it on the blog, but my blog would probably be pulled down for the graphic images! Literally, my blisters have blisters. It goes without saying, but Saturday runs are the worst. The damage I'm doing to my feet can't be good-fortunately, as I loose weight, I'm putting less stress on them as I run, but it would be great if I could drop 20 pounds before this Saturday's run! And, of course, in an effort to stave off new blisters or attend to the ones I have, I'm spending about £10 a week on blister pads, padded band aids, foot inserts, athletic tape...yeesh. I finally sucked it up and bought a new pairs of shoes on Monday. My 'cheap' fixes aren't working, and as much as it pained me to plonk down £98 for a pair of running shoes, I figure that if they work, I'll make the money back simply by not having to spend the £10 a week! Though the Saturday runs are generally difficult, I have found that it's really my feet that make them the most difficult: I'm fine from the ankles up. The ankles down are a completely different story..
My time. Door to door, my Saturday runs going forward will likely take 4-5 hours. And, I'm at the gym by 9am. With a 25-ish minute travel time to get there and a need to digest breakfast before I leave, I'm up earlier on Saturdays than I am during the week! Add to this another 90 minutes of effort on Tuesdays/Thursdays (fortunately, I'm now using the company gym-which is a 2 minute walk from my desk), plus 'foot maintenance' time before every run, and we're talking about a good amount of time taken up during the week. Once I add Sunday runs to the mix, and starting next week, I need to increase the distance (and time spent...) on my Tuesday/Thursday runs, I'm easily looking at 10 hours a week of going to run/preparing t run/running. Whew. I don't think I fully appreciated the time I'd give up when I committed to this!
I know it must sound like one long whine, and that's not my intent at all. I am genuinely enjoying the training/effort-and certainly some of the results. But, these have been the prevalent themes for several weeks now, and I just wanted to get it all down before I'm done!