Friday, October 24, 2008

Get Me A Bucket

One of my favorite old Monty Python sketches is the one where the inhumanly fat guy goes into the restaurant and proceeds to eat a small buffet of food before announcing to the maitre d’, “Get me a bucket, I got to puke.” And then he pukes. Everywhere. On himself, on the table, on the maitre d’, on the other diners. He fills the bucket…and the floor...and people are slipping and sliding all over it. The entire restaurant is covered in green and brown vomit.

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…

Happy trails.

* 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?"

28 comments:

Lily on the Road said...

Ahhh, nothing better than starting the morning with a Monty Python sketch visual...now please, get me the bucket!!!

Girl on Top said...

I think there has been a study between how much more weight needs to be lost and how much you would actually benefit @ Runners World somewhere. I read it the other day.

I personally don't think that it's necessary to be on a strict diet if you're training for races. In my experience, if you add running with a decent diet, you'll be fine.

RazZDoodle said...

Wafer mint?

Viper said...

It's amazing how many assholes run. In my own laboratory, losing 15 pounds resulted in my gaining four minutes at the Akron Marathon. The weight-to-speed ratio is bunk.

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

I thought about doing my own experiment to see if there was a correlation between my weight and my speed. Until I realized that meant I would have to lose weight. And eat less. Then I changed my mind.

Pass the bucket of chicken my way...

Danielle in Iowa said...

Actually for every pound you lose, you cut the arctangent of the length of your pinky off your pace - scientific fact! I'm a scientist! I know these things!

Xenia said...

How have I not seen this Monty Python sketch?!

From where would you lose more weight? You already look rather skinny.

Have a good weekend.

Vava said...

I with you on the whole stabilizing weight thing since I finally seem to have stabilized about 10 pounds below what I thought would be my ideal body weight. Of course I am not a marathoner, and would be curious to see if I go any lower when training for one. I also recall seeing a great episode of The Nature of Things (a Canadian discovery channel type show) about body types and debunking the whole BMI obsession to a degree. This prof, 5'3" and 210lbs, was talking about how THAT was the ideal body weight for him and nobody could believe that he ran marathons. Instead, he said his ancestors originated in northern Russia and were obviously built for that atmosphere, to guard towers and such.

Anyway, interesting post. Continue gorging! And "Waiter! Another bucket for mesieur! And maybe a hose..."

nwgdc said...

I absolutely LOVE your definition of 'human runner.' So true!
Human runners have funny blogs and drink beer. Beer will never be sacrificed for time with me...

Chad in the Arizona Desert said...

Uh, what? Did you say something? Sorry, I was downing a Poptart.

Marlene said...

Is it bad that I've been in EAT-EVERYTHING-IN-SITE mode for four weeks now?!

KimsRunning said...

Have you ever had a fried oreo cookie??? You haven't lived until you try those.

This is why I am not gaunt. That and the fact I eat like I've been running even when I'm not. Like right now with this IT band injury that's bringin' me down.

Party on....

tfh said...

The real question is: what verb do you think those big-bellied runners use to refer to their passing you?

This winter, I volunteer to undergo a study of one and gain five pounds to see how it will affect my times. Come spring, I will drop the weight and we can discuss what happens. This experiment will be entitled "The Usual Cycle."

Enjoy those well-deserved Oreos.

Kristina said...

I just joined Costco and discovered it's a post-marathon dream come to life. So many calories, so many giant containers. Frankly, I was surprised not to see more marathoners in there and to observe the customers were mostly overweight. Oh, wait. I get it now.

Brooke said...

fried jellybeans, you say? Interesting...as a person who has tempura-ed everything (don't try cheddar cheese...it melts out and all you get is a hollow shell of tempura) including chocolate this might be something to try....though nothing beats the deep fried snickers.

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

I have to give the nod to the "Every Sperm is Sacred" section of MP's MoL. When the Third World (Yorkshire) Mom drops a kid while doing the dishes, and barely turns her head when she asks another kid "would ya get that, dear?" (or something like that), I pert near busted a gut larfin. In my experience, that's more an Irish Catholic experience, but I guess Yorkshire Catholics know how to get their baby-makin freak on, as well.

Ted said...

Man - I do get pissed off every time I see an overweight runner passing me in a big race. I am the skinniest and how in the world could they fly by me like that !!!

Jeff said...

I had read somewhere, maybe RW, that each pound represents 2 seconds per mile.

I tested the formula against my own losses on a 5k course and it came up pretty close to that.

Enjoy your feasting!

seejessrun said...

I'm also time goal-oriented. But, at some point we have to ask ourselves if a few seconds is really worth months and months of no Oreos.

Vanilla said...

Where might one acquire these steroid soaked “magic” vitamins that you speak of. Not for me, for a friend... for his glaucoma?

Big said...

whenever older fatter racers pass me, I deliver a very witty and slightly caustic insult in my head. it gets them every time.

SLB said...

Yep it's all about balance and once again you have proved you are unbalanced!

Marathon Maritza said...

When I got my marathon PR, the one I can't seem to beat, I was 10-15 lbs lighter. Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not....

Blyfinn said...

I think I may have put on a few pounds reading that. Dang I want an Oreo!

http://www.theloosemoose.wordpress.com said...

It's wafer thin!

MCM Mama said...

So, I get to binge post-marathon for a week? Sweet! Oh wait, I'm sure you talked about other stuff... Sorry, got too excited by the list of foods to eat after I finish the darned thing.

Amanda said...

first...eww.

second, didn't you read tophers blog that a marathon is only like 11 donuts?

And finally because I feel like I need three points to really round out my spectacular commentating... WTF with overweight people passing me!

*aron* said...

my friends and i were just having the conversation though about people who dont look like they should be running that end up passing us or finish before us in races... who knows?!?! i do love a post long run or post race binge :)