Eating to Run

I’ve put off writing this post for a few weeks. Like a disappointing race recap, I don’t want to talk about it. At the same time I want to be real here – as sad as it may be at times. It’s been easy for me to find other things to write about, as I pushed this post off for another week – races, running in the heat, strength training – but now I’m confessing my disappointment.

I wrote about a few major changes I wanted to work on this summer in order to prepare for my winter marathons. Losing the marathon weight gain from the first part of the year (along with the Christmas, two birthdays, Valentine’s Day, and Easter weight gain) was a priority. I set a goal after OKC to lose a pound a week which would take me where I want to be when my training plan officially starts in August. I even had a few extra weeks in there for a plateau. Let me preface the rest of my post with this statement: For the last two years (post OKC marathon) I have lost all the weight I gained while marathon training – and then some.

Eight weeks ago, I started my plan to get ready for fall training. I read this book which helped me set an initial goal for weight & body fat percentage. It’s a doable goal.

Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald

Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald

I started my strength training at the same time. My result so far with six more weeks to go? I haven’t lost a single pound. Not one. In fact, I’ve gained two.

What the heck???

Every week, several times a week, I have weighed in the hopes of seeing the numbers drop. I even considered cutting my hair short in hopes of losing a pound. 😉 And yes, I know strength training changes things. So before you say “muscle weighs more than fat” know that I’ve been tracking body fat every four weeks. The percentage hasn’t dropped.

To say I’m frustrated is an understatement. I’ve gone from someone who once rewarded 5 mile runs with an apple fritter to I don’t remember the last time I ate a donut. What has changed so that I’m not dropping weight? Other than working an extra 2 1/2 hours a day and snacking less, I’ve continued doing what I need to do to lose weight by following a higher quality diet. I eat whole grains, healthy fats (almonds, avocados), fruits and veggies. I keep my calories within the daily limits, and I’m training consistently. I even started a running streak on Memorial Day to see if that would help. My husband can sneeze and lose a pound, but my metabolism has always been slow. Thanks to genetics, yo-yo dieting in my 20s, and don’t mention what having four babies does to a body. For those who say losing weight gets harder at 40 – it looks like I got a jump start.

As my husband smartly pointed out, “What’s more important? The number on the scale or running fast?” Well, of course it’s getting faster. I just can’t help thinking I’ll be faster if I’m lighter.

I know I drive him crazy.

The positive notes about the past eight weeks:  I feel stronger and more flexible. I can feel my core strength propel me forward when I’m sprinting or doing hill repeats. A pair of jeans that stayed in my closet for six months is back in rotation again.

I’ve also been blessed with several opportunities this fall/winter that I never imagined – Houston Marathon ambassador, part of Team Chocolate Milk, and now my first pacing job.

TheShowdown_2014_d4

I know it’s not the stupid number that determines whether I’ll meet my big goal or not. I’m eating to run, not the other way around. I’m working hard to lay a foundation on strength and speed, and I don’t feel any slower (other than the heat and humidity factor). Overall, what matters most is not what the scale shows, but that I hang on to my joy of running.

In the meantime, I’ll just keep doing what I’ve been doing. But maybe I’ll throw in some extra time on the bike.

 

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