Yes, I find things like this funny. I also chuckle during eye surgery shows on the Discovery Channel. Watching a cornea get owned is hilarious!
I feel a little like this fat guy this week. After a marathon, I indulge in sweet, sweet gluttonous behavior…temporarily. I’ve been consuming Oreo’s like they’re amphetamines at a Grateful Dead concert. I have a ring of Lifesavers on each pinky finger at all times (which makes it hard to type until – there! – I eat this Butter Rum one off). And you don’t want to know what I’ve been doing to donuts.
Probably some time next week, I’ll get back into the regular schedule of running, stretchy banding, crunching, and push-upping but post race I like to see just how close I can get to a cholesterol induced heart attack in one short week.
I was talking with a friend recently about running and weight. It’s true, most of the top marathoners are pretty svelte. They could double as broomsticks. Carrying less weight around for 26.2 miles certainly would seem to be easier than carrying more weight. However, does that mean we should diet to the point of starvation to get gaunt like them?
I guess, if you want to get really, really fast and are totally committed, the answer might be Maybe. Or if you really like the way Michael Jackson looks. (Be forewarned though, you cannot wear a blanket over your head during a marathon for safety reasons though you are perfectly welcome to put “Blanket” as your name on the bib.) A gorilla suit? Also okay.
For most of us though, there is a balancing act between our desire for speed and our desire to consume beer and eat deep fried jelly beans by the handful. In fact, I read all of the time that the main reason some folks run is simply so they can eat whatever they want without gaining weight. True. But you could also eat whatever you want as a bulimic without nearly the same amount of effort.* So, being “in shape”, which roughly equates to “being faster”, must mean something to you.
I take note of the folks passing me in a race. I’d like to think that everyone is in tip top shape…no extra flab anywhere…cut abs…long, strong limbs. But, you know what? Many of them pretty much look like regular people you pass on the way out of Burger King. They might have a little belly. They might be tall and skinny…short and round...horizontal and parallelogram. They definitely have a smug Look How Fast I Am sneer projecting through the back of their head because they’re assholes for being faster than me.
If they don’t need to crunch abs to exhaustion and dine on vegetables and steroid soaked “magic” vitamins to pull off a 3 hour marathon, then why should I?
I’d love to see a study of race times and human weight to see the improvement as the pounds are dropped (all other variables – including training effort – remaining the same). I’m sure it’s been done. If it hasn’t, I now own the idea and you scientist’s will need to pay me for it. If it has, then, why didn’t you tell me before I wrote this ridiculously outdated post?
The way I see it, if you want to maximize your race time potential, you do what you can, as a regular human runner**, to balance eating healthy and training as hard as you can within the time you have. If your weight decreases and, finally, stabilizes at a certain level and you’d have to take extra, extreme measures to continue losing (think cheese grater to the abdomen), you’ve probably hit that point where you need to ask yourself if it’s worth the additional sacrifice. This is your normal, human runner race weight. You may as well look to your training now to maximize your speed.
I’ve seen guys 50 pounds heavier than me and with a noticeable belly zip by me 20 miles into a race. I doubt they’re thinking “Boy, if only I lost a few, I could really fly by that little, bewitchingly handsome twerp even faster.”
Anyone who reads this blog should (a) first get their head examined and then (b) realize I enjoy racing against a PR or a time goal. Some do. Some don’t. I do. There are times I think to myself, maybe if I lost a few more pounds, I could get that much faster.*** But this is the weight I’ve stabilized at through normal human efforts to eat nutritious and still drink beer, eat candy, and swallow lamb fries by the dozens (what are those things?).
No, this will have to do. I’m not getting any gaunter through normal means. I’ll just train a little harder if I want to be faster.
For now, though, keep the bucket handy and the small, whole-chicken-resembling babies away from me. Anything I can reach that reasonably smells like food goes in my pie hole.
Don’t look now but I spy a Twizzler lying innocently on my desk. Or is it my ink pen? We’ll soon find out…
* Not endorsing, just saying.
** If you’ve won a marathon, you no longer qualify as a human runner. Same if your starting corral starts with the word "Elite".
*** This is usually followed by the thought “why mess with perfection?” or "look how strong my biceps are...does anyone notice?"