Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Faux Fatty

I swear I’m not body conscious. At least, not of my own body. Mrs. Nitmos knows that I’m an ass man. She’s taking kick boxing right now, in addition to twice weekly runs, for which I applaud enthusiastically. I’d be most happy though if television was filled with Reebok EasyTone shoe ads. I don’t even need the ridiculous laugh-track laden “shows” in between. Just give me gratuitous Reebok ads all day long. There, I said it. I don’t care what you think of me. Go ahead and call me an Ass, man.

Though I’m not overly body conscious, I’m always tuned to my weight especially when it comes closer to race day. There’s no doubt that carrying a few extra pounds is a heavy burden to bear (rim shot, please?) for 26.2 miles. I have a race day weight I like to hit….or, at least, be very near. How did I select this weight? Did I study BMI scales or aerobic capacity vs. weight charts? No, I just picked it out of thin air. Or, rather, it picked me.

As I progress through a training plan, my sour ball and rum consumption becomes inversely proportional to my long run distances. As I arrive at marathon taper time, I’ve usually shed about 5-6 pounds of weight since the beginning of the plan. How do I know this is the best weight for me? In short, I don’t. In long, I’m a believer in the free form running cliché about “listening to your body.” Ugh, I can’t believe I typed that. I’ve been running long enough – and read enough blogs – that I’ve learned to HATE that phrase. But there it is. I eat better. I run more. I feel “fit”. The pounds come off and stabilize right around the same number for every race. So, that’s my race weight. I didn’t pre-determine it. It just happened. I didn’t drive myself to a number on the scale.

I don’t believe in dieting. Let me clarify: I believe in a proper nutritional diet but not “dieting”. No Atkins. No South Beach. No Weight Watchers. No Binge-Purge. Those are a bunch of short-term schemes designed for the lazy and/or a strong gag reflexers. Whenever someone tells me they are on Diet X, I may be smiling and nodding on the outside but, internally, I’m thinking that’s nice but why don’t you just get off the couch and start being active and eat healthy?

To be fair, I think a lot of the diet plans do recommend physical exercise along with the diet. But you know as well as I that in this quick fix, pop-a-pill American culture, the diet might be followed but not the exercise. For example, if folks ask me what training plan I follow, I usually say that I follow a version of the FIRST program. That is, I run three days a week…with almost no cross training. Is that FIRST? No. Is that a “version” of the FIRST? I doubt the FIRSTy people would think so.

There are handy dandy charts and graphs out there to demonstrate how the loss of a few pounds impacts race performance, all other things being equal. Since it’s a “study” and on a “chart”, it must be fact so I won’t quibble. I just know that, as a race approaches and my belt has to be taken in a notch, I feel fitter and faster.

In fact, I usually start coming down with a case of the Faux Fatty syndrome. Every meal plumps out the belly. I can see it, cradle it, tickle it, and dig lint from it. There’s a cute little round belly. It’s there. If you poke it, I would giggle then call the cops because you shouldn’t be touching me there. You’re not a high school guidance counselor. I must have put on a few with that post long run binge of chips and cake. Then, I step on the scale and whaddya know same weight. I didn’t get fatter. Just full. Nothing a good book and thirty minutes on the toilet won’t cure. It’s amazing that, when you drop a few pounds, anything in your belly makes you feel like a bloated pig.

I like to think that my marathon race weight comes the natural way. Mileage goes up; weight goes down. I stand before the mirror and see a gaunt, emaciated refugee and think yep, must be time to race!

Do you have a goal race weight? How do you approach racing and body weight? Or are you just annoyed that, after the opening paragraph, I didn’t talk more about asses?

Sicko.

Happy trails.

16 comments:

Morgan said...

I'm right there with you, I didn't research a goal race weight it just happened and now I have it in my head that, that is where I need to be.

P.S. "I stand before the mirror and see a gaunt, emaciated refuge and think yep, must be time to race!" Yup that sounds about right! LOL! I look at my race pics and think DAMN I need to eat a cheeseburger!

P.P.S. One month til Bayshore I see... which means Taper is on the horizon... good luck on your final training long runs!

Jesse said...

I'm not sure what my ideal race weight is, since I've never been there. I know that it's lower than I am right now though! I do have a number that I've picked at random of what I *think* might be an ideal. Haven't been there since I was 12 years old though.

Viper said...

Yep, I said, "I like this number for a weight," and now that's what I shoot for when I get closer to race day.

Adam said...

You're right. Not nearly enough ass in this post.

I normally try to figure out what Mario Lopez' weight is and then shoot for about 50 lbs under that. Worked so far!

EZEthan said...

I got a number but I still haven't come anywhere close to meeting it... funny how the more mileage I run the more food I crave! (which is why sunday long run days are also "buffet" day)

Ace said...

"listening to your body" seriously???

If I did that it would be screaming things like, "STOOOOOOOOOOOOOPPPP, IT BUUUURRRRNNNS! Why do you hate me? What did I ever do to you? (Besides that time in Reno..)"

Its more productive to crank up the mp3 player me thinks.

Al's CL Reviews said...

I picked a number but last time I saw it was over 15 years ago.

Julie said...

Hi Nitmos,
Haha, my hubby is an ass man too! He better be...ever since I started running the girls have started shrinking:) Yes, it is a sad thing.

I don't believe in dieting either and totally agree with you. I am not sure what my racing weight really is...but it is true...the more miles you run the more weight seems to fall off.

Happy trails to you too:)

aron said...

I am always intrigued by this topic and definitely think it makes a difference. I am sure there is a fine line between ideal racing weight and not weighing enough. I know I like to get to a certain point before a big race, I just feel better there. I also think its really hard during marathon training since I am always dealing with neverending hunger!!!

FinnyKnits said...

I'm into this concept of having a goal weight on race day. In fact, I've even entertained fantasies of reaching it. However, it seems to elude me.

One day I hope to see what it feels like to run a race, any race, even 5 lbs lighter.

I imagine it would be like flying. And then I would immediately eat a wheelbarrow of fries as soon as I crossed the finish line.

Which sort of explains why I have yet to experience this concept.

One day...

Tall Girl Running said...

Last month, I was certain I was pregnant and had resigned myself to gestating another miniature human being. Turns out it was just the Chuck-a-Rama buffet.

Barefoot Johnny O said...

Goal race weight? Not a clue.
Like you, I appreciate ass. But no more than any other part of the human anatomy (mostly female). If you start your race up front, and run as slow as me, you'll see a lot of it. I love compression shorts.

Vava said...

A big yes to your last question, from one ass man to another. And although I've never run a marathon, I believe that I've found my ideal running weight after two years of stop-start type training, and not through some formulas (which I didn't even know existed because I've been to focused on asses). Anyway, my approach is to run just enough to allow me to consume as much apple pie as I want. Currently it's averaging out to one a week, but I'm working on it...

Vava said...

Too. I meant to type "too". Then and ass walked by...

Damn it!

Irene said...

Ditto, but I'm still looking for the perfect race day weight. Diet? Me either. It's every day nutrition, forever.

I live with an ass man and it's gotten to the where I point out ones he would like. Is that wrong?

Jess said...

I'm not a big diet person either. I can't make it work b/c I like food to much. I run to maintain!