I have self-destructive habits.
I eat like an 18 year old boy whose rapid growth spurt and fast metabolism allows him to gorge on the stock-pile of snacks oozing out the pantry cabinets. But in reality I’m an average 24 year old woman made up of 20% body fat trying to conform to a sub-population of small waist lines and ultra-lean physiques.
I don’t have ripped abs or toned arms. Instead I’ve been blessed with a second butt and more extra skin on my midsection than I care to admit. I most certainly could not get a job as an Abercrombie model. And worst of all, I am painfully aware that I stand out on the starting line. I’m the girl that prompts you to ask yourself how tubby is beating you as I pass by mid-race.
As I walked into the technical meeting for the Carlsbad 5000 I was shocked by the pint-size Africans. There must have been a mistake, I wasn’t supposed to be signed up for the Junior Carlsbad! If you take off a quarter of my body weight then we might be on an even playing field! I’ve glanced at pictures of the worlds best distance runners from previous Olympic Games, World Major Marathons, and World Championships. That doesn’t do them justice. These women were miniature.
That physique is simply NOT natural for me. I’m a shapely woman, cursed with extra fat for child bearing. When I diet my body’s immediate reaction is to clasp onto any fat stores so I can support my unborn baby. Even with that knowledge I still think it’s outrageous I have to watch my caloric intake while running 95 miles a week. Just for fun, let me show you why I’m right:
Every pound is 2-3 seconds per mile.
10k is 6.2 miles
2 (sec) x 6.2 (miles) = 12.4 seconds per 10k
5 (lbs weight loss) x 12.4 (sec/10k) = 62 seconds per 10k
Looking at those numbers gives me excitement as well as sadness. I happen to have 5 lbs to lose, so the prospect of being able to run a full minute faster in the 10k puts me in reach of the Olympic standard. Very motivating! On the other hand, I don’t like keeping a food log or counting my calories. It makes me think about food too much, which can actually lead to over-eating. Obviously the pros outweigh the cons though, so my food diary and I have become close friends!
This could easily get out of hand, some people that write down their intake stop eating enough simply because they don’t want to write it down. Do not worry about me, I am the complete opposite. At Wake Forest after my college coach lectured me about being over weight and strongly suggested drinking hot tea before dinner (to shrink my stomach so I wouldn’t eat very much), I would go directly to the dining hall and gorge on pizza and cookies. If you throw me into a crowd of obscenely tiny women I’m probably going to eat extra to make up for there small intake. Luckily I’m working with a kick a$$ nutritionist whose been helping me make small, subtle changes to slowly lose weight over time.
WARNING: Most of you can’t afford to lose weight, so please do NOT start starving yourself! I promise that this formula will not work if you’re already at racing weight.
“But for me, it’s important that I don’t live in regret. Making adjustments is something that I’ve done this time around. I’m not the type of person who’s going to live my life and say, “What if?” I’m not going to sit down at the local pub and be like, “Aw, if I would have done this, I would have made the Olympic team.”