Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A New 26...

I've spent the last few days trying to figure out mentally, physically, emotionally where I am in relation to running - triathlon.   On a map, I'm just west of Not A Great Place and just south of I Am Just A Gym Rat.  

I've been struggling with weight for, well, a while now.  For about ten years now, there has been an imaginary line in the sand that I wouldn't cross with my weight.  But, I kept crossing it - moving that line again.  It was/is a vicious cycle.

In March, two days after my first Marathon, that line got moved again.  It was an all time high.  Thirty-Three pounds over the upper end of what's considered my "healthy weight range.  I was pretty distraught over that number.  Since then, I'm currently down sixteen pounds.   It's a lot - but still feels unnoticeable.  And I'm still too far to the right of that upper end. 

But, what does this have to do with running, or triathlon, you're thinking?

First of all, not everything is about running and triathlon, right?  I'm at an unhealthy weight.  I'm cheating myself out of life expectancy.  I'm trying to get out of the mentality of "fat" or "overweight" or any of the other derogatory things we tell ourselves about our bodies.  I'm really trying to look at it as healthy vs. unhealthy.  I deserve to be at a healthy weight.

Second of all, the extra weight slows me down.   This calculator predicting the effect of weight change on race times is one of my favorites.  The change in just a few pounds takes vital seconds off my shorter distance times - and minutes off my marathon times.   So, not only am I cheating myself out of life expectancy -- I'm also cheating myself out of PRs!

The extra 20ish pounds I still carry could move me from a slow runner to at least a middle of the packer.  Just a change from where I was on March 21, 2010 to the end number on my recommended weight range takes almost one full hour off my marathon time (with no other changes.)  That's HUGE.

So, where does that leave me.  Is my "new 26" a 26 pound weight loss (which would put me exactly in the middle of my healthy weight range)?   Alas, no.  I'm training hard with CrossFit.  I'm eating a lot better.  I don't want to focus on the scale number though.  I want to focus on me - and building a better me. I know that these life changes are going to result in the weight coming off gradually.  I'm okay with that.

So, what am I doing in the mean time?

I'm starting over.  I'm going to back it all back up and learn to run a 5K in a respectable time*.  I was going to say "sub-30."  But, since this is Chasing 26 -- we're going to chase the 26 minute 5K for a bit.  I am going to do Couch-to-5K, with the 'jogs' at a fast enough clip to get my 5K time to where I want it to be.  It's going to take some really hard work (especially until the weight creeps down!)

If nothing else, I need some new t-shirts :)

* I realize 32 minutes is fine and dandy for some 5Kers, but I expect better out of myself and know that I could train to be a faster runner.  


  1. I think that sounds like a good plan. I'd love to do a 26 minute 5K myself.

  2. i am not at an unhealthy weight, but i've passed one of my imaginary lines...

    i do think that the speed can be a great motivator (and a more positive one than some that i fall into). i remember an old board dweller who was upset at her speed...she was also significantly overweight and i mentioned (in a carefully worded way) that i knew i couldn't go as fast w/ a 100 lb backpack on. my step-dad said his doc recommended picking up a weight plate and walking with it as a reminder of what extra lbs due to the body...