Adjusted Reality

“Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.” – Mark Twain

Month: January 2012 Page 1 of 2

Recreating the Past

So I got my body comp test yesterday, and I can’t lie – it was depressing at first.

Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt for me.  I have convinced myself that while my weight was higher than it should be, I am a fairly muscular gal.  I must just be bucking the trend and I’m fine, right?  Not so much.

34% Body Fat.  Anything over 32% is considered “obese”.

It doesn’t help that their scale weighed me 2 lbs heavier at 180, which just inched my BMI to obese.

I was in an awesome mood yesterday morning, let me tell you.

A half marathoner, triathlete, eater of as many healthy foods, and rocker of worlds should not be obese.  And I was.

I met with the nutritionist today and she told me not to stress so much about the numbers.  She was happy with a) my BMR at 1672 was pretty great for my height and b) I have 118 lbs of lean mass.  She said her goal for me was to even increase the lean mass more – up to 120 at the next reading – while working to decrease the fat.

So to contrast the negatives, I can toot my own horn that I have more purely lean mass on me (118 lbs) than the bottom low weight for my BMI (my range at 5’5″ is 115 to 150 lbs).  At the bare minimum 10% body fat for women, I’d weight about 130 lbs.  At a very athletic 20%, I’d weigh 142. At 120 lbs of lean mass I’d be 132 and 144 respectively.  I think 144 and 20% body fat is a great long term goal to work towards.

How are we going to do this?  It’s time to recreate the past, my friends.

Step 1: No goal races in the first half of this year. I always have to balance my training and eating with what will get me to my A race.  Being in the negative with the calorie intake is always scary when you’re trying to train for max effort, and tapering means a LOT less activity than normal + cutting any weight training.  So, I’m going to take that out of the equation.  The one *sorta* exception will be my 10 miler in April, but really, I just want to run that one as hard as I can (and the best way for me to run harder will be to take off weight).

Step 2: Change my training program.  I will craft my training around lowering fat, increasing muscle, and we’ll see how that goes when I toe the start line.  I’m not doing anything in the first half of this year I can’t do with my eyes closed and one hand tied behind my back.   This means no tapers, less steady state long cardio, more HIIT, more lifting heavy things/crunchtime/pilates.  I am giving myself one day per week to do a 10 mile run to keep my run endurance up.

I will be putting in some long slow bike trainer time, but I expect most of that will be the calorie burn equivalent of a walk, so they don’t really count until I really start going more than a coasting pace.  Same with fun bike rides around town.  This is the stuff you file under “being active” not really “working out”.

Step 3: Figure out all the math to get to a calorie goal and stick to it. This is another thing I did.  I hit a certain amount of calories on average per week.  When I did that, I lost.  I eat WAY WAY WAY frickin’ better than I used to (looking at some of the days of food consumption from 2008 when I was losing weight I wanted to a) gag and b) pass out from exhaustion from eating way too little volume because it was all junk food), so I’m pretty sure I’ll have less energy issues like I used to.

Nutrition lady person says 1672 (BMR) + Activity calories = Total expended.  For example, today would have been  1672 + 235 (for 50 mins pilates) = 1907 is my total expended for today.

Total expended – total intake should equal 500-700 (so the goal is a 500-700 calorie debt PER DAY).  Or, in more simple terms, 1000-1200 + activity calories = what I can eat per day.  With today’s example, I would take total expended (1907) – total intake, and get =500-700.  In this case, it would be about 1200 – 1400 (since I wasn’t super active today).  Looking at it another way, 1000-1200 + 235 is about 1235-1435.

Today, I’m at 1237 after dinner and not feeling 100% satiated, so I’ll look for some sort of snack later that keeps me under 1400.

She said to pay STRICT attention to getting lots of nutrients/good food on my true rest days when I do nothing (1200 cal).  I have a feeling this is going to be motivation to take less 100% sacked out on the couch days anymore and spread things out a little more.  I’m fairly certain actually learning how to do some active recovery will do me good.

Step 4:  Get accurate estimates of how much I actually burn during activities via Body Bug. She’s loaning me hers that she doesn’t use to try for a few weeks so I can get a more accurate estimate of what I burn during different fitness activities (NOTE: LMAO of how bad this first draft grammar is and leaving it for posterity because it made me giggle – enjoy!).  If I love it I’ll buy one, but if I don’t, at least I’ll have a pretty good baseline to estimate from (which means you know I’m going to have to try to hit just about every type of workout I might do in the next few weeks… no complaints here!).

So while January has been sort of a bust for weight loss (I’m really sick of seeing 178), I’ve really gotten my shit together.  No/very little sugar.  Very little eating out.  More like 95/5 healthy/not healthy food.  My calorie goal has gone from a challenge to me needing to eat more most days.  I’ve gotten my weekend head in check and realized that when I was losing I never used to imbibe alcohol and eat high calorie food on the same day (or if I did, I VERY VERY carefully planned for it).  I’m just one of those unlucky people that no matter how great or crappy I eat, it really and truly matters how much goes in my cakehole (pertaining to weight loss, I can tell you I FEEL much better eating good stuff).

So, let me lay it out for you…

Next Week’s Plan:
Monday – 30-45 mins bike hills, crunchtime (food goal around 1400-1600)
Tuesday – group power or my own lifting for at least 45, 30 mins HIIT (short intervals) run (food goal 1550-1750)
Wednesday – Pilates, 30 min swim (food goal around 1400-1600)
Thursday – group power or my own lifting for at least 45, 30 mins HIIT run (food goal 1550-1750)
Friday – off/mellow (food goal 1200 + any activity)
Saturday – 10 mile run (food goal 2050-2250)
Sunday – off/mellow (food goal 1200 + any activity)

The calorie goals are from my own estimations on how much I *think* I burn for each activity, and once I play with the body bug, I’ll have a better idea.

It took over 6 months to exhaust other options, but we have determined that my body must need balanced equations to make the scale come down.  I’m ready to let science be the win.

Questions of the day: What does your strength routine consist of on a weekly basis?  What is the one most important thing you did to lose the weight?

Worst Fake Pout Ever

I can’t lie, as the days go on, I’m feeling a little more let down about my marathon decision.  It’s still the right call, and I still have two half marathons in the next month so it’s not like I’m taking my toys and going home.  There was the buildup and release, but it was 6 weeks early and not full of happy “I did its”.  I’m having a little bit of negative thought rolling around in my head.  The things I need to remember are:

-I will have done 4 half marathons this season.  The first one I did this season was half marathon #4 ever.  So I more than doubled the amount of 13.1s under my belt.

-More importantly, I have maintained a double digit base long run for 6 months now, relatively injury-free (one minor injury that just needed rest).

-It didn’t take a full blown illness or injury to knock me down.  I listened to my body and mind made the right decision at this time.

-I am still awesome even though I am not marathoning in February.

However, this brings the focus to two other areas of my life:

1.  Weight loss.

This is now my biggest focus.  I’m considering this my “race” that I’m in training for as of today.  Now, this is the biggest endurance challenge I have ever taken on.  My previous training has been 5 times a week, an hour to four per day.  Now, I have at least 3 critical sessions per day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and there is never a day off.  I have to learn how to manage my “pace” of consuming calories to sustain me until the end of each “session” or day.  It’s on.  If I can do nothing else but take off 20 lbs in a safe and healthy way before tri season really starts, that will be the best way to increase my pace.

Being that the marathon is off the table, I have lost any excuses.  I can do 10-12 mile EZ training runs with little to no fuel.  The scarier prospect is parties and dinners out and not having the self discipline to really keep my calories where they should be while eating the good and healthy diet I’ve come to know and love with over the last 6 months.

My nutritionist and I are a bit at odds with how many calories I should intake, especially on long run days, so I’m going to get an advanced body comp test next week (I will definitely blog about that once I get the test and the follow up) to get a more accurate count of how much I burn per day.  I love numbers, so I’m all for it.  More importantly, I can know for sure what I need to do to make the scale move.  If I am just unlucky an efficient machine and only burn 1300 a day or whatever, I just know I need to eat less.

Right now, just putting my head down, convincing myself that weight loss is better than ice cream and french fries, and keeping at it.  The absolute worst I could do doing what I’m doing is uh be the same weight and super healthy and feeling great.  So, really, no loss there even if there is no loss, right?

2. Tri season:

The biggest focus here right now is not getting too ahead of myself.  I’m really going to have to hold myself back and not go full into training mode for a while.  I have to remember that a) I have the swim already for the half iron and b) if I just maintain double digis, I have the run no problem.  It’s just about adding a few (ok 20 or so) miles to my bike, and gaining the endurance to put it all together.

In my head, I really really could justify this early stop of marathon training and call it the beginning of tri training.  However, I have to remember that mental burnout was a major part of my crash and burn this winter.  My goal is to be so hungry to be on an official training schedule and race by the time April comes around that I have at least 6 months of major give-a-shit left.

My Zliten does have his own free will that he exercises at times to my disdain, and one of his 2012 resolutions was to do 2 races a month (or 24 this year).

Twist my arm.  Ow.  Not more races.  Oh no what will ever I do having to do more races.  *worstfakepoutever*

So, I have no disillusions that I can race hard that much, so I’ll pick my battles and find some interesting races that are just for the experience to fill in the gaps.  There are a lot of cycling races that are really just timed supported rides.  Oh gee, oh no.  A timed supported ride when I am looking to ramp up my biking.  How ever will this fit in with my goals? *secondworstfakepoutever*

I’m not entirely sure I want to pack in more than the 6 triathlons I’m signed up for, but I’m definitely looking into some duathlons, swimming races, aquathons, and early season indoor triathlons.

So, it’s not so much trying to find races, but more trying to decide between which fun thing I get to do every other weekend or so.  2012 is going to be awesome!

So far, here’s what I’m signed up for:

Gorilla Run, 5k Jan 22, Austin TX (signed up)

3M Half Marathon, 13.1 – Jan 29, Austin, TX (signed up)

Austin Marathon, 26.2 – Feb 19, Austin TX

Austin 10/20 10 mile run – April 15, Austin TX

Texas Tri Series: Rookie (May 6), Pflugerville (June 17) (4 more here, I just haven’t officially plunked down the cash just in case, but I HAVE registered for the series.  In light of that, I also plunked down the cash to get my USAT license for the year.  I feel like an official athlete – Chrissie Wellington, watch out!!!)

Some potentials for the first half of the year:

Feb 25/26 Indoor Tri (Sat in SA, Sun in Austin, 1o min swim, 30 min bike, 20 min run as far as you can go)
March 3 Sombrero Beach Run 15k race (birthday weekend trip to the keys hehe, I can dream, right?)
March 11 Blue Norther Duathlon 5k run/14 mile ride/5k run
March 24 Rosedale Ride 20/40/60 mile cycle
March 31 Jailbreak adventure race 5k
March 31 Spirit Reins Ride/Brick 62 or 44 mile bike, also a supported 5k/10k run if we wanted to make it a brick after
April 22 Iron Striders Duathlon l 5k run, 25 mile bike,  5k run duathlon
April 28 Red Poppy Ride 30-100 mile bike ride
April 29 Tour De Pure (free, 8 hour supported ride around town with challenges, sounds cool)
May 19 Congress Avenue Mile one mile balls to the wall – could be fun! 🙂

I’m still doing some digging and refining, but I think after Austin 10/20, I want to chill on the run races for a while.  Maybe do something early summer as a tune up so I don’t totally lose my half marathon skillz .  However, I can’t think of a way to get to be a better cyclist than riding with other people pushing me to go faster/longer.  Although, as I dig for races, I totally reserve the right to change my mind.  I also really want to do a swim only race at least once, I’d love to be all, “what did you do ths weekend” “I ran a 5k, what did you do” “I did a 5k too, but I swam it..” heh.  My best so far is 2.2 miles in 75 mins, and one of these days, I’m going to see if I can do more (need to find a time the pool is SUPER dead and just say I’m swimming until they kick me out, heh).

Anyhoo…Ever had your body composition tested?   Any races I should check out?  Is Zliten crazy for wanting to do 24 races?  11 in 2010, 18 in 2011, this year is just going to be epic-er.  Seriously, if you hate race reports just stop reading this blog until next year…

As you can see, these are the closest to pouty pictures I have over the last few years.  I really, indeed, do have the worst fake pout ever.

Magic 8 Ball Says

13.1.  And I’m ok with it.  A little bummed but ok.

This week I worked on another great week of nutrition, more calcium (I eat way more dairy than I used to, but even so, I resumed taking supplements), more potassium (a zico a day keeps the leg ickies away?), stretching, using my shockies (muscle stimulator), and getting good sleep.  I ate my normal pre race meal – steak, potato, veggies.  I slept as late as I felt like.  I read tweets and saw pictures about Houston Marathon Olympic Trials and got pumped.

Then I got out and did my own run.  Zliten and I started together, but agreed that if I felt like I wanted to speed up or slow down I would.  We got a mile in and just after that my legs felt zoomy so I took off.  I was feeling good at about 10:30s so I went with it.  Around mile 4 I realized I had forgotten both my nutrition and my sweatband (and it was hot-ish at upper 60s) so I stopped by the house and grabbed both.  Around 6 I saw Zliten ahead of me and picked up the pace to 9s to catch him.  I did about 6.65 and we ran together for a little bit and chatted, but then I felt zoomy again so I took off.

I got to the bottom of the hill and turned around.  My plan was to do a bunch of loops so I wasn’t going straight uphill for 2 miles but I lost it around 8.5 and walked.  That was when I made peace with my fate. I also couldn’t get the second gel down – it sounded gross and I felt full.  All I wanted out of life was some pretzels or something salty.  I ran/walked up to the house (at about 10.5) and stopped real quick.

I refilled my camelback, as at that time, I wasn’t sure how long I was going to go and was almost out, and mowed the fuck out of some tortilla chips (the first salty thing I could find).  After about 5 mins I felt better and headed back out.

I did another quick loop, and though I actually felt better, I decided to call it at 12.1.  I wasn’t mentally ready to do more.  While the “I don’t have enough salt” thing was a breakthrough to try to implement in the future, I had done enough wear and tear on my body by 10.5 that I didn’t think it was prudent to try to push through.

If I would have been aiming for 12 miles, I could have done it way faster and not walked, but the net with all the walking was 2:22.  About 11:40 pace.  Again, I finished with the feeling I could have done more after a rest and gone faster, but you learn something from every run.  And I learned a lot:

-More salt.

-More mid week miles.  I can rock a half and even PR on minimal training, but I think I need more miles under my belt or a significantly larger running level of endurance to pull of a marathon.

-More mental toughness.  This is the one I struggled with the most.  I didn’t feel like it was a good excuse, but after thinking about it, I realized you only have so much “give a shit” and I have run out for the season.  I am mostly succeeding at shutting out the thought of “wuss”, and have also mostly made peace with it.  I took a chance coming right off tri season feeling good and realized that you need some downtime.  Even if you don’t think you do.

-More love and reverence for the distance.    This was just a thing to do in offseason.  A step to ironman.  I need to pick this up when I either a) accidentally have the endurance (aka, after tri season this year) or b) when I really want it and am excited about it.

-A race that is more suited for me.  I hate hills.  I am trying to get better, but still a weak point.  This was one of the clinchers of not running 26.2 Austin.   A pancake flat marathon?  Might be good for that.  A hilly ass run?  Definitely not ready.  Thinking about RnR San Antonio because of this.

– I don’t just want to crawl across the finish line of a marathon, I want to finish strong.  I want to feel like I dominated that fucker.  I’m not there yet, so I don’t feel justified in trying to race the distance.

So all in all, I’m ok.  I’m about 15% bummed and 85% relieved.  As I said on daily mile, if you shoot for the moon and miss, you end up among the stars, and this is so true here.  I will run 4 halfs within 4 months (and would have done 5 if See Jane wasn’t cancelled).  I have never put in so many run miles in a season.  I have never felt BFFs with 13.1 the way I do now. 13?  Aint no thang, chicken wing.  I run it a little slower than I used to, but you can’t race every weekend.

And while that frustrates me a little that 13 is fine but I couldn’t do 20, it’s huge endurance in the bank for my real A race in October.  I’ll be needing to ramp up to 6-7 hours of ass kicking without a rest, and having a good handle on 3-4 hours running will be huge.  I will have a chance at attacking 20 miles again soon.

I know right now I’m as trained up as I need to be for a half that I’m not trying to PR.  I’ll be cutting my long runs to what I have prescribed for Zliten through Austin (8, race, 10, 8, race) and then see where I go from there.  I have a 10 mile race I’m looking at in April, and there’s really not time to lose much run endurance between then and ramping up for tri season.  I’m still looking into training plans and coordinating my strategy through October, but I don’t see dropping much below the double digis any time soon minus a possible intentional brain/body break after Austin for about a month.

Also, most importantly – I successfully set out a plan and coached and supported Zliten to expand his runs from 5k to 13.1. He actually ran the distance last weekend strong.   I am a proud wife!  I thought it was a little ambitious but now he’s running longer distances like a champ!  I have no doubt if we set out together to train for something, we’ll get there. (It also makes me think I might consider getting my first level coaching license but that’s another tangent…)

My brain is already going 1500000 miles about the training plan for tri season in a completely different way than I was for this marathon, so I know we’ll get it.  We registered for the Texas Tri Series, which is May super sprint, June sprint, July sprint, August sprint, Sept olympic, end of Sept half iron.  We need to pick what we race and what we run, and set our sights on hitting that half IM.  It will be a challenge (considering my swim and run are there right now like a champ, but I need to add TWENTY MILES to my bikeness), but I think we can dominate.

So, whether it’s the safe choice or the wussy choice or whatnot, it’s been made. 26.2, we’re a missed connection right now, but I’ll catch ya later.

To Run, or Not to Run (Opposite Day)

2012 has really started off opposite of most of last year. Let’s look at 2 of my major goals:

1.  Lose weight.  More specifically, 1600 calories on all days but long run day.  No sugar.  Mostly organic.  Keeping the ratios pretty even.  Basically, good, clean eating. For most of December, I struggled HARD with 1600 calories.  This week, I rocked it out of the park.  To the point where some days, I was eating more at night to get to 1600 on purpose.

While I don’t necessarily think that I should be shoving food down my mouth if I’m not really hungry, I want to get good data if I’m losing at this calorie range and not just my normal TRY TO EAT AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE without going insane and then get frustrated. So yeah – no sugar.  Very little nutritionally void food.  Mostly organic/good quality.  Only out to eat 4 times last week.  Around 1600 each day, 2400 on long run day.  I feel so much more fabulous than I did this time last week.

Weight is 178, while it’s up from my last official weigh in, is actually down from the damage I did on vacation.

2.  Marathon Training Most of 2011 (at least the last half), it was all about “my training is going awesome but I can’t get my eating habits together”.  Sadly, I’m just about opposite this week.  I missed one workout (my swim – not critical, but still, not good).  I had to take my 10 miler at planned marathon pace down to 6 miles due to time constraints, and worst of all – I couldn’t get my long run done – I only did 14.5 instead of the 15 minimum I had required, and the last mile + of that was walking.

Now I’m in a bit of a pickle.  My goal was the Austin Marathon in 6 weeks.  I have thus far done one terrible 18 miler with much walking, one 16 miler, one 15 miler, two 14 milers, about 5 half marathon distance runs, and probably another 10 double digit runs.  My during-the-week training has been spotty as well. Most importantly, I’m not having success with my longer-than-half runs, my calves, hammies, and glutes seize up like whoa and running is painpainpain no matter how slow I take it or how many walk breaks I give myself.  If I simply was undertrained and was feeling good during runs I’d probably go for it, but this feels like there may be a problem.

I’m trying to remember how getting from 10k to 12 miles felt, but I really break down somewhere after I hit double digits. The super frustrating part is that I remember some of my long runs for halfs I really trained for wasted me for the whole rest of the day, maybe 2.  While I’m in major pain during the latter halves of these runs, after I walk, stretch, and get some food in me, I’m feeling great and could probably finish the mileage.  Either I’ve somehow lessened my ability to tolerate pain and uncomfortableness, or this is worse.

This week I’m loading up on potassium and calcium, and will attempt to take in more calories before and during the run, and see if that gets me through the 20 miles.  If not, then I have some hard choices.  Enter the proverbial pro/con list.

PRO running 26.2:

-I set the goal, I want to follow it through.

-I have a month set aside to rest and recover.  This is the right timing in the year with my other goals I want to accomplish.

-It’s one step closer to ironman.  If I can’t run a marathon, I will never do an IM.

-I want the silly little decal on my car.

-It’s proof that I can indeed do anything I set my mind to.

-It’s going to be HARD.  I haven’t done a race that’s really hard besides the arbitrary standards of time I set on myself for a long while.  Since my Olympic tri in 2010 for sure.  Everything else has just been either chasing a PR or for fun.

-5 hours of running is a good experience if I want to consider 6-7 hours on my feet for the half iron and/or century

-Not doing it after I said it so publicly feels like giving up.  I’m convinced y’all will think just a tiny bit less of me if I wuss out on this.

-I’ve been training for it since October.  If I wasn’t going to bother, I should have spent the time resting.  What a waste!

-This would be false start #2 for marathon training for me,  I’d like to see it through.

-I’m not trained up for a half marathon PR right now, so what’s the point of even running it?

CON (running 13.1):

-Supporting Joel to the finish line on his 2nd half marathon

-Running a distance I know literally is just another weekend jaunt and I can move onto other things sooner than a long marathon recovery.

-Another lesson to myself that every race is not just about Quix PR’ing it.

-Less chance of hurting myself means I can start tri training earlier

-I hate training in the cold, less time I have to be out during crappy cold weather! (Yes, I would much rather heat train – I’m silly like that…)

-Getting as comfortable as I am with double digit runs and running 4 halfs this season is still a huge accomplishment.  I’ve always run 13.1 miles and threw a fit and stopped running for a month and taken 6 months to even want to attempt a long run again.  A double digit run is now just another Saturday now.

-I will have another chance at a marathon in the fall.  After I run the half iron in October, I can bank on all that stamina and training from the summer and probably do the same thing I did with the olympic and the half marathon 6 weeks later in 2010.  Also, RnR San Antonio is perfect weather, a nice fast and flat course (which Austin isn’t), and I really liked it in 2010. (However, I was considering banking my endurance and doing a century in October.  Can I do both?  Will I be so OVER training by October that I don’t want to do any of this? Will taking the pressure off myself earlier in the year help lengthen my post season motivation?)

-I don’t feel ready for the marathon.  I’ve never entered a new distance feeling as if I had so far to go from training to race.  I don’t feel as if I have earned the right to do it.

-Unless the nutrition really is the key and I have a stellar 20 miler this Saturday, do I really want my first marathon to be mostly memories of being in pain?   Maybe it’s worth a few false starts to grow more comfortable with longer distances.

-Will I really feel accomplished and worthy of calling myself a marathoner if I just drag myself across the finish line in what feels like not a respectable time?  I don’t want to just finish a marathon, I want to run a marathon.  I’m not sure if I can do that yet.

-I don’t really have love and passion for the distance.  It’s really just a stepping stone to do something more (Ironman).

-If it was between a marathon and a tri, I’d have dropped the race like a hot potato.  This really is because I feel like doing this is the most efficient use of my time to improve for tri season.

-If I just make this call, all the stress about training schedules goes out the door.  I can start ramping up my biking and swimming NOAWWWW which is all I wanna do.  I am the sick puppy that wants to go out and buy my trainer NOAWWWW (yes, again for emphasis) and cycle through movie and tv marathons.

-I may just have to accept the cold hard fact that 178 lbs is heavier than my body wants to be to do the miles in a manner which does me proud.  Not that I’m an advocate of waiting until you’re perfect to accomplish your goals, but doing this after taking off 10-20 lbs later in the year (please, let that be reality!!!) might be a game changer in terms of how the miles feel to me.

So in summary, I have a lot of thinking to do.  Most people I’ve talked to say to not do the marathon, but I just can’t shake the feeling that I’m being weak willed about it and trying to cover it up by making it sound like I’m making the smart choice, and really, I just need to push my boundaries and buck up and do something REALLY HARD.  I may be longing for tri season and not feeling a lot of run love right now, but isn’t that always the case for me knee-deep in a running training cycle?  Right about now all I want to do is anything BUT run (but then the light at the end of the tunnel appears near race day and wheeee!!! the love returns in spades).

So yeah, my thinker is going overtime.  I’m also trying to think of what is best for weight loss, but it seems like my eating is pretty well in check and once I accepted that training more != the ability to eat crap and/or not be stringent on how many calories I’m taking in (make sure it’s an appropriate level), I don’t think it matters either way. So, if you were in my position, what would you do?  Will I regret the race I ran without full and complete feelings of preparation, or will I regret not taking the chance?

Wakeup Call

Five years ago (geez, was it really FIVE YEARS!!!  Holy crap!!!)… erm, wait, not the point, let me start again.

In Jan 2007, I awoke from my bed in San Diego morbidly obese at 265 lbs (estimated with rate of loss – I didn’t get a scale until 250s but anyhoo… I’m easily distractable today so expect lots of parens…).  My main priorities in life were work, work, work, and figuring out the easiest way to get through life without moving my body much.

Yes, I’m making light, but seriously, my idea of a perfect weekend was not leaving the house in my pajamas, moving only from the bed to our office and to the couch.  We were in a 600 sq foot apartment, so it wasn’t very far.  I wore stretchy skirts and shirts so I could avoid the plus size stores.  XXL at mervyns and target were my friends.  If you didn’t shop in the plus size stores or sections, you weren’t fat, right?  Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt folks…

However, that river ends.  Late 2006, we ended up taking a trip north to San Francisco for a friend’s wedding which necessitated jeans.  I didn’t own any.  I went and tried on 16s, then 18s, then was shocked to find that 24s fit me (and were even TIGHT).  Well, I certainly couldn’t be that plus size, so I resolved when I got back to really do it this time, buck the odds working in the video game industry (long hours sitting on my ass and unhealthy crunch food, oh my!), and lose weight!  Not the most epic reason for the epiphany, but whatever works, right?

I also resolved to work a 40 hour week instead of the 80-100 I was imposing on myself.  I was doing so much fast forward it wasn’t funny, and it never got to the good part when everything was sunshine and rainbows.

Early 2007, I got a good start taking down 25 lbs and then went on vacation and job hunted – once I wasn’t so caught up in my own work involvement and drama, I realized that I needed to move on (amicably), both professionally and location-wise.  This stalled weight loss.  Always in my life, anything that wasn’t optimal conditions stalled weight loss.

I relocated, I rejobbed, and BAM! My first week, I got a stomach bug that took me down 10 lbs in 5 days.  At that point, I had made peace with my 240 lb-ish self until “things settled down”, but some old jeans at my 230-ish self fit.  Of course, when the weight came back on and they didn’t fit anymore, I was sorta sadface, and thought, “Hmmm, there must be a way to do this without eating only Gatorade and saltines…”

After research, I found (I’m not paid, just a fan).  This was the “hacker diet” I had read and liked the idea of, without having to mess with my own spreadsheets.  I decided I would give spark a month and do whatever it said.  Looking back at what I was eating back then, it was utter junk, but it was LESS utter junk – in general around 1200-1500 most days, more on weekends.  Seriously though – how did I eat a PIECE OF FRUIT or a 100 CAL YOPLAIT for breakfast?  I would FAINT DEAD AWAY on that nowadays…

Also, sparkpeople said to do 20 mins of cardio 3 times per week, and 15 mins of weights 3 times per week.  I remember thinking “geez, this is a lot, how will I make this a habit?  This isn’t doable forever…”  I elipticaled Tu/W/Th to give myself maximum vacation from the “suck” that was cardio and did weights M/W/F.  On Wednesdays, I had to do a 35 minute workout.  This was SO MUCH TIME to dedicate.  I didn’t enjoy one bit of it, but spark said to do it so I did.

After one month, I had lost just about the same amount I did being sick, and I felt great!  Progress is the best motivator, so I kept at it.  I knew I had a long while to go, so I just dug in and kept going.

I wish I could share with you what a struggle it was to go from 240 to 170.  I would love to give you a dramatic play by play of what I gave up and my journey from junk food junkie to organic goddess, but that’s just not how it played out.  I spent August 2007 to August 2008 eating pretty much the same things, just less of them, and making myself do cardio and weights 3-4 times per week.  The scale went down pretty much every week, sometimes 0.2 lbs, sometimes 2.0, but I rarely had a gain or maintain week.  Once I got the inertia going, it was almost effortless.  I lost 70 lbs just by counting calories, most of the time keeping them under 1500 with some splurge-y days, and doing said workout schedule above.  I still smoked, albeit less and less, and I still got drunk, but less often, I still ate cake, but smaller pieces, and still ate tacos plates, but had the rest of my day healthy.

Racing was but a glimmer in my eye, and my only real goal was to make the scale go down, but somewhere in there I found a little joy and feeling of accomplishment in the workouts themselves.  And down it went until I got stuck.

Around 170 I had a bit of a plateau, but I attributed it it over a year of steady weight loss and just being TIRED of it.  I took a few months to maintain and give myself a break, and then refocused in Dec 2008 and continued the loss to April 2009 when I hit my low of 150.2.

April 2009 was also the month I started to train for my first half marathon.  I had run a 5k and got hooked.  I saw a “train for a hlaf marathon” plan in a magazine and figured “why not”.  I did another 5k and then a 10k before the race.  By the time I ran the race, I was 155 – one cannot train for a half marathon on 1200-1500 calories, and I didn’t count calories.  After two years of restriction, I’m pretty sure I just went crazy.  Can’t say that I looked anything but awesome though…

Besides about 2-3 weeks of pre-wedding crash diet where I got back down to 152 (and then spent a few days partying in Vegas pre-wedding, I’m lucky my wedding dress fit, heh), I’d never see the low 150s again.  By the time I ran my second half in Feb 2010, I was just about 160.  By the time I ran my third half and got through my first tri season in Nov 2010, I was 165.  I didn’t like the trend, but I still liked the way I looked in the mirror and loved what my body could do!  I PR’d a half marathon!  I was a triathlete!  I was unstoppable!

Last year, I’m not sure WTF happened.  I gained some weight when I hurt my back and couldn’t do much (170), and actually gained another 5 lbs trying to figure out my nutrition over the summer that never really came back off.  It’s a bizarre feeling having your insides feel awesome and healthy and athlete-y and having your outsides just keep.getting.bigger.  I can also credit just not being ready to put in the “do whatever it takes”.  I wanted cake more than I wanted to lose weight.  We raced A LOT this year and did a lot of long weekend training.  With that, however, came a lot of “OMG I just spent 2 hours on the bike and ran a 5k I’m going to eat and drink all the things for the rest of the weekend”.  I am living proof that you can absolutely outeat your training.  A lot.  However, I PR’d my sprint tri (did 3 total), I ran 2 half marathons, helped support Zliten becoming a full on triathlon and race addict like I am, and did other various and sundry 5ks, mud runs, and duathlons (PR’d that too!).  2011 was an awesome year – just not on the weight loss front.

Here we are at 2012.  I feel like something has awoken.  That patient determination, that something is wrong enough that I’ll do what it takes even if it’s hard (why I couldn’t do this at 5-10 lbs gained, I don’t know).  That I know I can’t just lose this weight in a month.  That I need to make some hard choices sometimes and focus on priorities.  That I probably need to continue tracking my food and calories for a while, and it may be doubly important during training season to make sure I’m not over/under eating.  That I’ll always feel like I can outtrain my food and it’s JUST NOT THE CASE.  That it’s unfair that a lot of people can eat more junk food than me and look like uber athletes.  This is my reality and I can accept it.

It’s not that I eat one slice of pizza and gain 10 lbs.  I can indulge for a birthday or a vacation or even because it’s Saturday and I’ve been good all week.  I’m not destined to a life of militant abstination from anything but veggies and chicken.  However, it has to be the exception and not the rule.

I’m starting the game over, the wakeup call I had in Jan 2007, but this time, the game has changed.

-MORE DIFFICULT: There are some foods off limits.  Instead of just a calorie goal, I also have my ratios (3-4 protein, 1-2 nuts, 4 oils, 1 grain, 1 carrot/corn/potato, 1 dairy), PLUS I’m trying to eat as much organic, non-GMO, no hormones/antibiotic, and 8-ingredients-or-less foods.  In 2007, my requirement was just less foods.

-LESS DIFFICULT: I’ve proven to myself that I could lose weight, fairly recently.  I haven’t only lost weight due to starvation or an accident.  I know it’s possible.  I just have to be willing to do whatever it takes.

-MORE DIFFICULT: Before, if I was feeling hungry, I could just go smoke, or get caffeinated, or just deal with it.  However, hunger made me kind of brain dead and weak.  You can’t get 100% out of training hungry and having given up smoking and caffeine (both for the most part), I have to really manage my hunger so it’s not crippling.  I have yet to have a day where 1600 calories is REALLY REALLY not enough, but I know that day will come, and I will need to figure out a better coping mechanism.

-LESS DIFFICULT: I only have to lose 25 or so, rather than OVER 100.  While needing to lose 100 lbs really impressed upon myself the seriousness of my condition, it also was a daunting, multi-year task.  If I really buckle down and stay on the straight and narrow, I could be onto the maintain part of this process by summer.

The point of this is to both to…

a) remind myself that I’ve come a long way, and if I can lose 100 lbs, anyone can.  It just takes the full and true WANT to do it.

b) focus on the task at hand.  After being in denial for a year or 2, and a long winter’s nap, I’m awake.  I’m ready.  Let’s get er done.

So yes, time to wake up and smell the coffee before I’m 250 lbs again and wondering what happened.  Starting next week, expect accountability and progress!

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