This fall I quit the gym, started running to work and/or from work, and started training for a marathon.
Quitting the gym was the easiest part.
I had been going to the same gym for years because it was close to my office. I signed up the first month I got my job because I figured I wouldn’t exercise without the weight of paying for it lingering over me. It was great for a while. I mostly went to the gym after work. The facilities were nice enough. I started getting on the elliptical with a trashy magazine and watching CSPAN or Friends reruns on my personal TV.
Later my co-workers started getting into going to the Zumba classes so I did that and I started experimenting with all the different classes the gym had available. In between the classes I would jump on the treadmill and on weekends I would bike to one of the nicer gyms and pound away on their treadmills for 45 minutes to and hour.
Once I was confident enough I started running outside around my office. We are located a few blocks from the National Mall which is a very pleasant run. I started enjoying running outdoors and dreading going to those classes I used to find fun. Eventually the gym was just an expensive locker-room and shower. Holding my clothes while I ran outside. So I quit and have am the fittest I have ever been in my life.
Running to work came as sort of a no-brainer.
I have always biked to work (no matter the weather; rain/snow is only an issue for the unprepared) and before I got a bike I would walk. I have no patience for buses and the Metro and I get severely motion sick. This fall the days were starting to get shorter (as they always do) and my time was getting filled with graduate school applications and my new boyfriend so sunlight and free time were becoming scarce.
My co-worker told me about how she would run home everyday and I got inspired. I live about 5.5 miles from work so it is a fairly decent rung (for me at least). I tested it out on the weekend: running to work and then running home. It felt great! I am lucky my office is pretty casual, I don’t wear makeup and our bathrooms are private enough to change in.
Now what I do is I will bike to work in the morning then run home. The next day I will run to work then bike home. This allows me to get 4 runs in without getting stuck downtown late and night and in the dark. On the biking days I just carry more clothes in and back and I run with a backpack for my lunch. It isn’t a perfect system but it will do for the winter.
Training for the marathon has just started.
I am 5 weeks into my training program and I am so excited. I have become one of those annoying people who only want to talk about running. My housemates are my primary inspiration for my new running habits. They are both ultra-marathon racers. They regularly run 20+miles, they also race bikes and they are pretty much the fittest people I know. Plus the eat normal food. I mean they cook everything they eat but they bake bread, eat rice, make strudel, etc. I mean, they are Croatian, which may have something to do with all of this, I’m not sure.
Feeling like a 26 trail marathon is no-big-deal compared to an ultra I signed up for my first marathon. I have also made the stupid decision to try to run it in under 4 hour (at this point I think that is impossible because I am pretty slow and the race is a trail race). You can check out the race I signed up for here.