I love noticing changes when I up my training. I feel like I'm actually doing something and feel more confident. Moving into my 3rd week of mileage in the low 40's I'm noticing that my quads feel and look more tone and my stomach feels flatter in the morning. My weight is staying the same so it means that I'm more tone. I would like to lose 3 pounds (supposedly a pound equates to a minute in a marathon and I need to drop 3 minutes) but I'm not actively trying to lose weight or limit my intake. This is a new level of fitness and I'm really enjoying it. With this level of increased fitness also comes a tiredness. I know 40 miles isn't a lot of miles compared to some people but it is for me. Many runs I start and wonder how the heck will I make it through because my legs are so darn tired. The leg tiredness also joins me while I sleep. After my 16 miler last weekend each time I turned over (and I'm like a rolling log in bed) I could feel the ache in my legs. I have considered wearing my new SKINS to bed but that may be a little too geeky and non-sexy (like wearing a long T-Shirt with little cats on it is sexy).
I've realized the my memory is so very different from reality and when I compare reality to expectations, I come up short and get critical. For example, the 16 miler was really uncomfortable the beginning miles because my legs were so tired. Self doubt crept in, actually it didn't creep in...it did a triple jump into my thoughts, and I didn't know how I could complete the run feeling that way. I'd forgotten from my last training that it is tiring to train, it challenging trying to fit in 40 miles a week into a schedule and it isn't easy. Heck, if I wanted easy I would never be a runner in the first place. I think every run should be like the feeling you get in a great race, where you're flying along, passing people, feeling great. But the reality is, sometimes running is just getting the miles or finishing a run.
So here are things for me to remind myself. Self (must be said in a different voice), every run won't be fantastic. But you can ALWAYS do your best. Your best will change from day to day. If you're sick, your best will be different than when you feel good, are well rested and fueled. Second, you have to remember it takes at least 2 miles to warm up and work out the kinks. Finally, the aches during a run are usually fleeting and I shouldn't give them any attention. (As I'm typing all this I know I still have to go for a run tonight and this may be advice I'll have to remind myself of).
Increasing my mileage has also left me hungrier. Even when my mileage isn't in the 40's I'm hungry and can eat. I'm not one of those people that claim "I just forgot to eat". How can someone forget to eat? Besides the fact I feel shaky if I don't eat, I continually think about food and what I'm eating and when I get to eat next. Vacations are great because activities are planned around when to eat next and when you're on vacation you can eat anything.
Overall, I'm really happy with how things are going right now and am thankful for the tiredness and the increased fitness. Off I go for a 6'ish miler and then I get to eat!