Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Honest Effin' Nears Her Fighting Weight

Did I say in my last post that I was happy it was supposed to be cooling down this week? Well, it hasn't. Damn, I hate it when the weather people are wrong. I ran a brutal 15 miler this morning in 80-degree heat and another 6 tonight in 95-degree heat. The 15-miler had 2 x 4 miles at 5-10 seconds faster than marathon pace. I averaged 6:05 for the first 4 miles and 6:07 for the second. I was worthless afterward. I'm tired of running in the heat, let me just say.

These workouts were scheduled for yesterday. I got a late start in the morning so had to cut my run short and actually go to work. I spent the cooler running hours (though they weren't really all that cool) revisiting the Race for the Arts course with the Race Director. I felt somewhat responsible for lathering the crowd after the race and wanted to be part of the solution. We confirmed the course was short and the Race Director plans to adjust times for the Buzz Oates series. I applaud her for taking the time to correct this.

I really enjoyed watching everyone's reactions to the short-course situation, and I don't mean this to come across as all judgy, judgy. I knew from the moment I stepped over the finish line that something was wrong and did not believe my time was accurate. I am not in 17:32 shape right now given my untapered, high-mileage-beaten condition and the miserable heat that night. Some convinced themselves that they had set a 20-25 second PR over a race they had run less than a month before under better conditions. Some added 25 seconds to their time without batting an eye and called the new time good. Others added just enough time to their finish time to still make it a PR. I was also amused to see that many decided to embrace my suggestion that the heat balanced out the shortness of the course.

I don't really care so much about the time, since I know where I am in a 5k and don't plan to list this PR* on my running bio (which gets oh so much press). The bottom line for me is that I don't want to earn points in the age-graded series that I didn't earn. There's a super close race in the women's division (if you knock out Barbara Miller), and I am vying for one of the top spots. I just couldn't live with myself if I beat someone out by 1-2 points and didn't earn them. Honest Effin' indeed. It is my curse, and I realize you are all going down with me, so just deal with it.

I realized that, before the advent of GPS technology, we probably wouldn't know there was a problem unless we were so in tune with our bodies that we knew what a given race pace should feel like. More often than not, people find courses to be long. This may not mean that it was measured long. It is more likely that you ran it long since a good course certifier will ride the shortest possible route. Remember my experience at the San Francisco Half Marathon? I ended up running almost an additional 1/4 mile in that race due to my having to employ slow-runner-avoidance maneuvers.

I thought it would be a good time to check in on my progress on some other fronts. First, I am still clean and sober. I am taking regular showers and have not drunk any alcohol since my coach suggested I lay off. Yeah me! I believe I have also confessed to being a dataholic. I subscribe to the Roger Bannister school of self experimentation, using my body as if it were an experimental treatment (n = 1) though I don't have the equipment needed to do the really cool stuff. I can however, manipulate my food intake, take a bunch of data on it and chart my weight and body fat for you.

I am happy to report that I am right on track with my weight goals. I haven't blogged about this since I played the weight, weight don't tell me game months ago. As a self-respecting woman, I probably shouldn't blog about it, but it is one factor in my training that has an impact on my running. As you may recall, I mused that I needed to lose 4 pounds from what I weighed at CIM in order to meet my goal of running 2:46 at Twin Cities. The logic behind this is that you shed 1-minute in a marathon per pound of weight lost. Do I actually believe this? Hell no. But, I did set out to lose a few pounds if I could do it by losing body fat. And I am almost there.

I have included charts (below). The top chart shows my weight for the last year which is as long as I've been keeping records. Throughout this time, I have also been keeping track (most days) of what I eat and can calculate my calorie intake as well as the breakdown of fats, proteins and carbohydrates in my diet. In a thorough analysis of my weight creep in February and March, I determined that I must have been gorging myself on days that I wasn't keeping track of my dietary habits. This was pretty funny to see and mostly took place when I was traveling. Inevitably, I would see a new weight benchmark after a 3-4 day trip and then watch my weight level off. Nutritionists say that keeping a food log is key to understanding how your eating habits affect your weight, and I couldn't agree more after seeing this for myself. It also seems to help keep you honest.

I also realized that I was likely overeating due to an inaccurate calculation of my daily caloric intake. The iPhone app. I use calculates my needs by approximating my base caloric needs and then adding on any exercise I do each day. Back in March, I was carefully recording what I was eating each day and would do a check-in late in the afternoon to see how much I needed to eat for dinner to meet my caloric needs. The program said I needed 1900 calories to continue to exist plus the calories burned in exercise (daily average of ~2900 calories total). At the end of the day, I was tallying up my net calories and would inevitably be behind the 8-ball. So, I would try to fit as much food in my body as possibly to make up the difference. You can probably see how this could lead to weight gain.

This time around, I have cut back slightly on my intake assuming that I don't need 1900 calories to exist--more like 1600 (though still averaging about 2800 calories due to increased exercise). I feel much better not gorging at the end of the day and rarely feel hungry. So, I think I'm doing everything right.

Back to the charts: I have detailed the significant events that have occurred during this last year: CIM was in early December and I was hovering around 128 lbs. I marked the entrance of the Dissin' Genius mostly because it was a memorable event. I'm not suggesting that the weight creep that comes directly after our first encounter has anything to do with The Genius' presence, however. As you can see in this cycle, my weight took a serious nose-dive when I was unable to eat after my dog Sadie went to jail, and I never gained this weight back. Finally, we are now in the phase where Jaymee is running in the heat for nearly every run with weight approaching 124 lbs.

Anytime a female runner talks about weight there is a quiet hush that fills the room. Does she have weight "issues"? It's a fair question considering how many female (and male) runners are afflicted by eating disorders. I was shocked to read about Tera Moody's battle with anorexia when she was back in college. She went from 5'8" and 128 lbs down to 96 lbs in a matter of months! I was watching a track meet a few weeks ago and noticed that Kristen Wurth-Thomas had trimmed down a bit. The commentator said that her coach had given her an ultimatum: either lose 5 lbs. or he would retire her. Retire her? What is she, a race horse? It's a cruel world out there, but there's no escaping the fact that less weight equals faster times--to a point.

My coach pointed out to me when I first blogged about this that I should not be so concerned with weight loss in general but should really key in on losing body fat. Losing muscle can hurt your running but body fat is completely useless (well, a small amount is important). I believe I have managed to maintain that balance as my body fat chart follows roughly the same pattern as my weight chart showing about a 2% loss of fat since CIM.

So, I'm getting close to my fighting weight, feeling good and ready to start my taper next week. Twin Cities, here I come!

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