This blog has over 700 entries. There were a few more on the blog I started with but I lost them all when it crashed (thanks Microsoft). The one thing I have never done is gone back in time and re-read the blog from the beginning. I took some time and did that this morning. It left me more frustrated than I thought it would. Because even though it helped me remember some things like when I started with the Tue/Thur running group (June 14, 2007) or when I met people, or when I did a certain race. What I saw on a broader scale was a pattern. A very disturbing pattern. And a pattern that I am in the middle of again.
See, when I started this mess in the first place it was because in 2006, when we got to Columbia, I finally looked in the mirror. I mean, REALLY looked in the mirror. And I hated what I saw. At 240 pounds, I was a mess. So I started running. This is where the pattern starts. The weight slowly came off, my times and distances improved, I did a few races, set some goals, made some mistakes, did an “A” race (KC Marathon), etc. That was the up side. Then I got hurt, tried to keep going, fell off the wagon, tried to keep going still, got diagnosed with a bad injury (broken pelvis) and then faded to black. In all I lost 60 pounds, then gained 30 of it back. That was through 2009.
Then I took up triathlon, slowly lost some of the weight again and stayed pretty steady for roughly 2 years. Then, in 2012 I went on the up side again, set an “A” race (Redman Half Iron) and spent the summer undertraining for it. The result was predictable. The stress and strain on my body ultimately lead to another injury and the down side was 2013.
The reason I see myself in the middle of that pattern again is because of the last 2 months. I restricted my intake (note: I didn’t say “DIET”), cut out alcohol and sugar, pushed through the pain of starting all over again and the results have been good. My weight is down 24 pounds, my times per mile are back at or below 8 minutes. My swim times are improving. I feel better. I set an “A” race again…
But I need to break the cycle. I need to flatten out the curve. I know it will always cycle a bit, but there has got to be a way to make it flatter.
Is cutting out and cutting back enough? A goal I have stated for a long time is “I won’t race (insert race name here) unless I am at or below 170”. But it is one I have never achieved. Both of the big races I have set as goals were done at a much heavier weight than I wanted. I still believe that for me, competing heavy is dangerous. My body has rebelled against it both times so far.
I think I have been taking it for granted that as long as I put in the miles, I could pretty much eat/drink whatever I wanted. This is a mistake. And oddly enough, I could go back in time to those big gaps between posts where I just gave up and tell you exactly what I was doing. I was binge eating, swilling beer and sitting on my butt watching my pants get tighter. Of all the places I never want to be again, it’s there. But my history shows that this is what I turn into when the going gets tough. It’s happened 3 times in the past 6 years. Those are the bottoms of the curves.
So I know what the bottom looks like, I just need to figure out how to avoid going there. Or at least making it a bit more shallow…?
I really think managing my intake and making that the most important thing is key. I have never really done this. I always used the runner’s excuse “Eh, I’ll just run a few more miles” when I overeat or fall off the wagon. I know it doesn’t work that way. What I need is a year of setting a base caloric intake of about 2000 calories per day. More if I’m really training hard, less if I take a day off. And staying diligent with the “no alcohol or sugar” thing. If I can do this for a year, maybe it will become the new “normal”. If that’s what my body expects, maybe it will be easier to deal with the food side of things. Of course I will keep exercising as usual and focusing on “training” more as the season progresses, but with the results I’m seeing from a renewed emphasis on intake, I think it should be my number one goal for the year.
Actually, I think my new lifetime goal should be trying to level out this cycle a bit. I’m OK with the peaks, but I need to fill in the valleys. And not with pizza boxes and beer cans.