Wednesday, April 06, 2011
My last blog was about accepting that I was on a plateau and fighting my way through it with the knowledge I have while waiting for a metabolic assessment. Last night's Biggest Loser episode showed a discussion between Bret and Courtney. Here's the link if you want to watch it. Their discussion begins at 12:25 and ends at 13:40 so it isn't even 2 minutes long.
Bret is talking with Courtney about exactly what many of us are going through. He says the science behind a plateau is that your body will lose weight on a high burn with low calorie intake for the short term. Then it says "hey whoah. I'm starving." And your body begins to hang onto every calorie it gets. I don't believe we have seen this on BL before. But Courtney is different because she came to BL after a 100# loss. She's been on this journey a lot longer than the 3 months on the ranch. Most people do not understand that is how BL works so fast. A drastic reduction in calories with huge burn = crazy losses. Bret tells Courtney that she has to increase her calories and reduce her burn to get her body to allow weight loss to happen again. This is exactly what I have just figured out for myself. And bless her heart, even though she worked her butt off, she lost just 1 pound. But she took it in stride because she knew she did everything she could. Everyone else was crying. Including me. I know how that feels. Running the numbers for March I have a total deficit that should have been a 5.5# loss. Instead I lost ONE pound. Frustrating, but I am not defeated. This too shall pass. Eventually.
Next topic of discussion... I am really disappointed that at this point in my half marathon training (3 weeks away) I have developed ITBS (iliotibial band syndrome). It's a very common issue for runners that causes pain due to tightness in the ligament. Recovery can be weeks or months. I don't know what this will mean in terms of my race on 4/30. I went to my GP this morning just to rule out any joint or ligament tears. He gave me an Rx for Motrin and said no running for a week, then come back for an MRI if I still have pain. I did get a lot of helpful suggestions and a little hope from my fellow Spark runners. Seems like every runner deals with this at some point, but since I was so busy thinking I was awesomely invincable, I didn't expect to get hit with this race killer. Others have said that it happened to them for the first time after years of running so now I know it can happen now matter how well trained you are.
On a positive note... my blood pressure was 100/68 and heart rate 52. The new young skinny nurse says "Wow that's REEEALLY healthy. I mean that's sooo awesome." And she's looking at me like she can't even believe it. I can see the question mark over her head that it just doesn't fit. I asked her what it was the last time (2007 haha, I'm seriously never sick) and she says "118/78 which is still good, but today is REEEEALLY good". Then she has me get on the scale. It's 180. She says "Don't worry, that scale lies". I resisted the urge to punch that skinny b**** and instead said "what's on my chart for last visit?" She says "238. Oh you've lost some weight". Yes I have. A little more than "SOME".
Monday, April 04, 2011
Well it took a really long time, but I have finally accepted that I am officially plateaued. Denial sucks. So much time wasted and frustration endured by not making changes. It isn't that nothing is happening. I have made a little progress since February 1, but certainly things have changed in terms of pounds lost. ONE pound from Feb 1 - April 1. Two whole months of counting every calorie and working my buns off -except they are still there, just a half inch less of them. Haha.
I have been questioning the correct amount of calories for my workouts and BMR since Feb. A nutritionist and trainer both told me that my range was fine at 1450-1600. I was averaging daily at 1550. They said "Are you hungry?" No. "Do you have enough energy to complete your workouts?" Yes. "Then you don't need more calories". But I protested that I was burning a lot more as the miles added up and my weight wasn't going down and 1550 was exactly my BMR -shouldn't I eat more? "No". It wasn't as much that the scale wasn't going down. It was that it would go down 2 pounds, then go back up the next week. Up and down the same pounds for weeks. And there was a pattern. It went up after my long runs (weekend), then slowly went down by the end of the next week only to rise again. I was keeping it cool though. I knew I wasn't actually gaining weight because I wasn't eating an extra 7000 calories to cause that gain. Something else was going on. I started reading "Sports Nutrition" by Nancy Clark. In the first chapter it says "endurance athletes, even when trying to lose weight, must consume a minimum of 1800 calories per day to prevent their bodies from going into starvation mode and shutting down their metabolism". Well I don't know what the technical requirements are to be considered an endurance athlete, but surely running two hours for half marathon training qualifies?? So there was the answer from the expert. I was under-eating. The nutritionist and trainer can suck it. I increased my calories for the last two weeks to 1650-1800. I lost one pound the previous week, but nothing last week. I probably need more calories, but I don't want to overdo it on the increasing. I need to get a handle on this!!
Lots of reasearching later... I found New Leaf Fitness. A company that makes a nifty device that measures your oxygen uptake and CO2 output to determine your resting metabolic rate and it can also be done while exercising to determine your correct heart rate zones -something I have really been wondering about because my zones definitely do not match up with the standard charts. (I can run in the anaerobic zone for an hour and supposedly 10-12 min is max). Even niftier... the data can be uploaded to my Garmin so that it calculates my calories based on my actual metabolic data. Very exciting stuff. However, since I live in the boondocks, there is only one of these doohickeys in the state and it is at a college an hour away. I'm excited there is one so close! It took some doing to track down contact info which turned out to be the cellphone of the Chair of the new Sports Med & Exercise Science dept. Dr Don was excited to talk to me about his new toy and all of the wonderful things it does and how he can help me with my weight loss and training. When the testing is finished, I get a print out of the results with a custom program for optimum results for my nutrition and training performance. He is a PhD retired from NASA with a long list of crazy exercise, VO2 Max and sports nutrition research projects and books on his resume. So I am feeling super lucky to have found him! But here's the BUT... He cannot see me until May because they are in lab projects now then finals. Bummer. I told my DH about the New Leaf device, Dr Don, the plan and weeks more of waiting. He says "yeah that sounds pretty good. How much is it?" "$250" "Wow". I don't care. It is so worth it to me to get the answers. DH suggested I check Dallas because surely there is one there. Yep, bunches of them at Lifetime Fitness locations. Oh how I miss the amenities of the city. He is going there this weekend for a NASCAR race and said I should go do it there. I am tempted. But I think working with Dr Don is worth waiting for even though I am a terribly impatient person. He has a PhD in this stuff and I assume he knows his shizznazz rather than a trainer that has been taught to push the ON button. Ok, no offense to trainers, but seriously... seems the "value-added" benefit of a highly educated and published ON button-pusher is worth having a little patience.
So I am excited and at the same time bummed that I have to wait for the magic answers. In the meantime I will up my calories a little more and keep on truckin'. Half marathon is now less than 4 weeks away with lots of miles to do between now and then. I really wanted to be at 170 by race day so this plateau needs to get over itself and move on. Lighter is better!
Sunday, March 20, 2011
So yesterday I had a plan to run 10 miles in my training schedule for the half marathon I am doing 4/30. I have adapted a schedule by Hal Higdon to fit the mileage I was already on, which stretched out the increases by smaller increments instead of the 1 mile per week in his plan. I have repeatedly read that you should not increase mileage by more than 10% per week and I don't want to risk an injury. Also, his 12-week plan takes a runner to 10 miles (week 11) with the race the next week. I wanted to be able to run 12 before the race -again 10 to 13 is a big jump. If I was 10 years younger and 20 pounds lighter I probably would have the confidence to follow that plan, LOL. It seemed a little aggressive for me and also started at a lower mileage than what I was already doing.
I started thinking about a half marathon after Christmas in Dallas (with the in-laws). I wanted to run the Dallas Rock & Roll Half 3/27. Then I was sidelined with an injury at the first of the year and it shook my running confidence. I went from invincible Rock Star to injured (and pouting) Bench Sitter. I didn't register for the race because I didn't think I would be ready. I realize now that I could have slipped in walk intervals if needed and I wish I was still doing it because it looks like a lot of fun. But on to Plan B! In Feb, I registered for the 4/30 Renaissance Half in Madison, MS -an hour's drive away. I've been training consistently and cautiously as I build my miles while continuing to crosstrain on non-run days.
Friday night I carefully mapped out 10 miles on mapmyrun.com. I always run at the Vicksburg National Military Park. It's near my house, beautiful, safe, peacefully empty and the road is flat pavement. Except it is very hilly! There are 3 main loops with a few cross roads that create different routes and mileage.
Saturday morning off I went with my fuel belt filled with 1 bottle of G2, 1 of water and a GU in the pocket. It was thankfully overcast and just under 70 degrees. I wore my compression shorts for the first time (normally capri tights) along with a sleeveless top and my visor to keep the sweat out of my eyes. It was all good except very humid and sweat was rolling down my arms, haha. So I'm running along for miles ... and now I'm running around a circle at the end of the road. Crap! I was supposed to turn somewhere?? There was no sign! I was supposed to be on a road that led to the Cairo Exhibit. Last week I ran the other direction to the Cairo then turned around. Now what? Backtrack half a mile to see a sign now facing me "USS Cairo Exhibit-->". The entire park is a one-way drive. I did note as I was running that it had changed to a two-way and thought that was weird. Ha, now I get it. Visitors drive the road down to Grant's Circle (which was really nice) then loops back to the spot that turns them toward the Cairo. Anyway, I was a little miffed that there was no sign telling me to turn and now I added another mile to my route. I debated just going back the way I came to stick to the 10 miles, but I trudged on. Glad I did because it was a lovely view. I even saw a pair of turkeys and the Wisteria was blooming all over the place.
This was a view from the top of a hill. You can see the Mississippi River in the background. Those white things sticking up are the tops of the pavilion covering the Cairo. And yes that is a real cannon next to the blue marker sign.
This is the USS Cairo. It was a Civil War Ironclad Gunboat that sank in the river and was found in 1956. It was salvaged in 1964 then restored and rebuilt at the park in 1977. There's a museum building to the right of it that has the only restrooms and water fountains on all those miles. Potty break!
This is the US Cemetery across from the Cairo.
By the time I passed this stream I really wanted to jump in. But I had many hills left to climb and wet shoes would have been a drag.
Remember last week I did 9 miles? Funny thing was no sooner did my Garmin beep to let me know I had finished mile 9... my body said ERRRRKKKK!! (The sound of screeching brakes). And my brain said "hey, what's up with that?" Body said "Ok, this is the end. We just did this last week and this is where we stop." Ah, but the brain prevailed with logic. "Look, body. We have 2 more miles to go thanks to that missed turn. Walk it or run it -we still have to go the distance to get home. Running will get you to the food quicker so suck it up and move those feet!" And the body said "Food? Hells to the yeah, I'm in." 11 miles, 1,054 feet in elevation climbs and 1,226 calories burned.
A huge egg sandwich, coffee and shower... and I'm off to work to party with a bunch of 7 yr old girls. I don't look like those 11 miles killed me, right? Note to self: remind assistant to tell me she's taking a pic so I don't look so goofy.
Today is my rest day. I'm taking that very seriously.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
LOL, I should have thought about taking this pic before I ran this morning. I didn't think about it until a walker passing the other direction said "I think I could be a runner if they served margaritas along the way!" Then I remembered your race and decided you need one of these, too. Sorry about the sweat!
Good company with nice products!
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