Friday, March 13, 2009

Food Update - Learning as we go

So, Scary Trainer told me a while back that I am different than his other clients. Most of the sit around in between sessions with him. I, on the other hand, go out and run marathons. So it's been a learning experience for both of us.

For him, it's about how to drop the body fat, lift weights, while running a lot of miles, and not over train, not under eat, and not put the metabolism to sleep.

For me, it's about doing things that I thought I could maybe do, but wasn't really sure that I could do. And I am carefully monitoring my body responses to various food and workouts, and combinations thereof. The best part is that I have someone, a captive audience, with whom I chew this over with, week after week. Basically, we had a long conversation.

Anyway, Marathon Training has been killing me. I am realizing (now that I am paying close attention to it) how messed up your body gets. The muscle micro-tears, the resulting edema, the dehyration, trying to figure out what to eat - it's all one giant lab experiment. And highly imperfect.

We have figured out that cutting back on calories and increasing activity isn't always the key to fat/weight loss, it seems. As a result of lower calorie intake, the running and the lifting, Scary Trainer thinks my metabolism is getting slower. Sort of like when Jillian on Biggest Loser screams at one of her contestant after a bad weigh in, because they haven't eating enough. Interesting. You know it, but living it is quite different.

So, for a couple of weeks now and until after the marathon, we are "rebalancing." This past week, there was no lifting. All I did was run. Next week, we start back with the weights, only different.

From a food issue, we are also increasing by 100 calories a week until marathon week when we hit 2200 calories. The goal is to NOT put on any weight as a result. The first two weeks, we are cutting out wheat, rice and corn. What's left? Root vegetables - white and sweet potatoes, turnips, etc. It's been interesting. My long run on potatoes did NOT work - I have found that RICE with a bit of protein is the best thing for me the night before and the morning of my long run. It's easily digested. Cutting out wheat has also shown me how bloated and tired I get. Wheat is unavoidable in certain instances but I try to cut out all visible and known sources of wheat. Of course it that is the only thing available, I won't starve myself, either.

Training stops two weeks before the marathon (tapering), and the week after too. Then it starts back up again.

Should be interesting.

I will say that I am running harder and better than I have before. I am pretty happy about it. I know that I will break the weight thing this year. Given that I felt like it was going to take about 3 years to get back what I lost (or lose what I gained since 2004)I feel that I am on track and doing it the right way.

This summer, I am going to focus on speed on runs, long bike rides and get back in the pool again. More balancing. Time will tell how it will all turn out.

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