Futility is defined as doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result. It is one of the prime words I use to describe my last year of training and fitness efforts. I cranked up the mileages on everything and totally ignored nutrition. I ate junk, drank lots of beer and just told myself that the exercise would cover me. Then I wondered why I wasn’t losing weight or getting in better shape… Gee… I wonder?
Another saying I am slowly seeing the wisdom of is “Most of the hard work in getting fit is done at the dinner table”. It really doesn’t matter how hard you work out. If you can’t control yourself at the table, you are wasting your time.
None of these things are revelations. It just took me a while to admit them. I wanted to think that I could still eat what I wanted and run the weight off. That doesn’t happen. At least, for me. But, that doesn’t mean I didn’t try. I spent the majority of the last two years, actually, trying this technique out and wondering why it wasn’t working. But I kept doing it anyway.
I think it all goes back to that “food as comfort” habit that I have developed over my lifetime. I have always relied on food to make me feel better when I am hurt or stressed. Same goes for beer. I have called alcohol “liquid painkiller” for decades now. I actually started the “food as comfort” thing when I blew out my back. Both before and after surgery I would eat or have a beer to dull the ever present pain. I told myself it was better to eat another piece of pizza than it was to get addicted to painkillers. Actually I was just trading one addiction for another. My addiction was food. And when the surgery takes YEARS to heal from (almost 10 in my case), that addiction gets set pretty deep.
It’s better though. I’m slowly coming around. I ate
well better last month and had beer once and wine once. I only ran about 10 miles total. I did, however, manage to make the pool 3 times a week, spun or rode at least 10 times and lifted 3 times a week. Not surprisingly, I’m down 5 pounds. That works for me. Now let’s just see if I can do that for another 5 or 6 months. The goal for February is to maintain what I have started and add back in a little more running. And also to eliminate the beer/wine. I don’t need it anymore. It actually made me feel pretty crappy for a couple of days afterwards as well. I just need to keep reminding my body (and brain) that I can live without it. So far, so good.
Speaking of running. Following December’s 140 mile debacle I tried to take all of January off. This self imposed ban was the longest I have (almost) not run unless injured since I got to Columbia. After a little initial anxiety I have to say… I didn’t miss it a bit. My body certainly liked the break. My knees are not as crunchy and I can go up and down stairs better now. I ran three times last month. The Runner’s Choice 10K, once at Rock Bridge (3 miles) and once at Bear Creek/Rhett’s Run (3.5 miles). Just under a 13 mile… month. I have been so used to 13 mile RUNS that a 13 mile MONTH was hard to get my brain around. Even though I am working out a lot, I still felt guilty for not running. But honestly, the more I thought about it. The less guilt I actually had. I’m doing plenty and a break for my legs may just save them. The other thing that I really enjoyed was BEING DONE in less than an hour. Don’t get me wrong, I will run long again soon but to get a little exercise in and not feel like I just needed to lay down for the rest of the day was kinda new to me. To all of my long running friends, keep it up! I will see you at the coffee shop afterwards. Run long and prosper… Or is that “taper”…
I think I’m ready now to reset my running schedule. Shorter runs, more speed and hill work, 20 mile weeks maximum, 10 maximum distance per run (and that only once a month). My legs feel good again and like the shorter, more intense workout. Hopefully they continue to like it. I know that as I lose weight it will feel better. I’m hoping I can resist the long run urge. Like I said, I will run long again… later. Not now. Maybe not this year. It all just depends on how the weight loss goes.
“The truth is you ALWAYS know the right thing to do… The hard part is doing it.”