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I Know What I Want Now

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Well, I'm now 5 chapters in to "The Triathlete's Training Bible" and I still stand by my review that it is one of the most helpful books I've ever read and it could not possibly come at a better time for me. Biggest lesson so far: It's time to start using my head and training smarter.

I am now on Day 4 of no exercise at all. Surprisingly, I still hope to meet my 2,000 September Fitness Minutes goal. Truthfully, I've been doing very little moving in general the past few days, as I'm working on some hardcore recovery from my ankle issues this past weekend, as well as healing from a sustained period of about a month of what I now recognize as over-training.

Found a great quote this morning:

"During the hard training phase, never be afraid to take a day off. If your legs are feeling unduly stiff and sore, rest. If you're at all sluggish, rest.
Whenever you're in doubt, rest."
--Bruce Fordyce, nine-time Comrades Marathon champion from South Africa

Right now, my body feels wonderful! If it could talk, it would be thanking me with tears for the rest that I've given it.

I do have a workout class scheduled for tomorrow, which is my first ever spinning class. I'm pretty excited for that class...and also terrified. Haha. I'm sure it will be an interesting blog recap for you at least!

My ankle feels great! I wouldn't run on it today...or tomorrow, for that matter. But I feel confident that it will be OK for running the race on Saturday. This makes me so happy!

To avoid disappointment, though, I fully expect my tendinitis to flare up after that race (as it has with every long run for the past month) and I'm willing to give it as long as it needs after this race to heal up.

In terms of training for my half marathon, I am going to play it by ear. I was advised to try a 10-mile run at least once in the weeks leading up to the race. It just depends on my ankle and how it feels. I've resigned myself to the fact that I might not be able to get 10 miles in before my half. And that's OK. I still believe I can finish the race on October 20th and, well, my ONLY goal for that race is crossing the finish line.

I've also been eating to hunger at this point, with no worries about losing any pounds. I've tracked my food but not always stayed within my SP calorie range. I really am not worried about that right now. I'm more worried about balancing my carbs and protein and trying to find a calorie threshhold that makes my body feel energized. I have got to stop being hung up about numbers and do what feels right for my body. If my daily intake ends up being 2200 calories per day (with as many healthy and whole choices as possible, obviously...this is not a free-for-all), then so be it. I have not yet found a place where I feel satisfied or energized. This is troubling, but I know I will work it out with time.

I intend to go back to consistent workouts next week, but won't be working out every single day like I was before. I am going to consciously build in rest days. It doesn't mean I won't be working harder...I'll just be working smarter.

I've also come to a decision regarding the weight loss vs. training debate. It comes down to this one question: What makes me happiest? (aka: What do you WANT?)

You know...losing weight would be so awesome. Strike that...WILL be so awesome. But I LOVE what I'm doing with swimming, biking and running. The three disciplines fit so well together and they are so good for the body. I read in my Triathlon Training Bible that running, biking and swimming work almost every single muscle in your entire body!

Each of the disciplines does something different for me (running brings that endorphin high, swimming brings a deep calm and tranquility and biking builds my strength). I can't drop any of them and be happy. I want them all. So...I'm taking them all. But...I will systematically and precisely rotate my training to focus on specific elements of improvement in each discipline while generally maintaining fitness in the other two. This way, I won't just blow all my energy on all three and burn out.

What this means is...I've had to look really deep into myself and be OK with the idea that doing this will bring me joy and I have to be OK with the number on the scale, no matter what that is (or isn't).

But here's the beautiful part of all this...I really do believe I can have it all. Call me a dreamer if you will...but I actually think it is possible to train and see my body change...but in a much different way than I imagined.

I asked my spinning instructor about this because he has PROMISED I'd lose weight if I bought an unlimited pass and came to spinning 4 days/week. (I mean...it IS a perfect winter workout when I can't cycle outside!) He said this and I thought it was really helpful:

"I am not an expert in exercise science. I specialize in Dietetics, but what Dietetics did teach me is that if you workout heavily (anaerobically), you will gain muscle, which, in turn, will increase your basal metabolic rate. Thus, your body will need to utilize its energy stores (usually fat) for energy. With that said, your weight may stay the exact same, but your fat percentage can and will change, if a routine is adhered to.

With that said, please do throw away your scale. Instead, stick to a good routine that combines aerobic training (like spinning) with anaerobic training (resistance training). Your clothes will fit much better and, in fact, this is a better check to FAT loss than a scale, as muscle is much more dense than fat."

So, there you have it. Things I already knew...presented to me in a different way and I finally believe it.

And, if you think about it, how long can a body possibly cling to its fat when said body is burning 5,000 calories per week consistently and being fed healthy and whole foods as fuel over a period of years? At some point, that fat will be gone. Will it be as quickly as I might like? Probably not. But, from where I stand right now...I don't even care.

The other day when my friend asked me what I want, I told her I wanted to weigh less. She didn't believe me. She thought there was more. She countered with this question: "If you could do Ironman at this weight, would you be happy with that?" Well...OF COURSE! Who WOULDN'T be happy with just FINISHING Ironman????

Well, there's my answer. And it was right there in front of my face all along. Sheesh.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    One of the things I have found the most difficult is the fluctuations on the scale when you start working out. I think you have achieved a terrific balance because it looks so natural. Way to go!
    2025 days ago
    What a great blog. I am facing the same decision of weightloss or training for a tri. I completely agree with what you said about balancing carbs with proteins and staying active with aerobic exercises and strength training. Lately I have been feeling super hungry too and all I can do is just make the best food choice available to me. There are some times when all I want to do is eat bread. It's gross but I am in the process of training myself to look at other forms of nutrients and drinking a crap ton of water too :P I am going to have to go get that book.
    2028 days ago
  • DR8561
    I learn so much from you! emoticon emoticon
    2031 days ago
    WAY. TO. GO!
    SO happy you've found your decision, Leah.
    That's all that matters... and you will find success in your choices - I have NO doubt about that!
    2031 days ago
  • ROB704
    great blog!

    And the whole fat/muscle v weigh thing is a struggle - when you think about most of the messaging around this is about weight, not fitness. I'm going through it now - my weight is changing very slowly but I'm losing inches and wearing clothes I haven't in years. And I feel stronger than ever.

    It screws with the brain!

    Well done, well written, and just cuz I haven't mentioned it in a while - You ROCK!

    Keep it up!
    2031 days ago
    I LOVE this blog!! : ) I could read it again and again. It's very inspiring. Besides the fact that I spy the spinning class every time I'm at the gym with curiosity and hesitation and wanted to know what you think of it... I'm so inspired by your attitude about getting fit and healthy and not worrying about 'that number' on the scale! Way to go! And thanks for sharing it! emoticon
    2031 days ago
    AWESOME blog! You are super inspiring. You always make me want to retry something that I did in the past. I am seriously considering heading back to the swimming pool!
    2032 days ago
    I am amazed with a family you have the time for all you invest in your diet and exercising, I am envious! Oh, and you have a job too, you are definitely superwoman. emoticon ALL!
    2032 days ago

    Comment edited on: 9/27/2012 9:51:38 PM
    Spinning has always helped my cycling and running and it is fun!! Get ready to work... just like running and swimming it requires small steps first! Enjoy your sweat today... it does a body good!! emoticon emoticon
    2032 days ago
    You go!

    I was not able to lose weight and train for triathlons or my half marathon. I needed the fuel to train. And there has to have been muscle gained as I have out on some weight but am the same size.

    And I never finished a 10 mile run while training for my first half marathon. And I fininshed it officially in 2:39, but I had to stand around 12 minutes for a bridge to open and close (Murphy's law, ya know!). So I figure I met the goal of under 2.5 hours if I subtract that 12 - even if the offical race time won't.

    I have another half to do in less than 3 weeks - no bridge in this one.:) But I don't think its happening since my foot is healing very slowly and more than 2.5 - 3 miles running makes it hurt and then I start limping. I think I will wait to try when I am really healthy.

    I wish you all the best!
    2032 days ago
    love! love! love! So glad you came to this realization. I think you are gonna LOVE spinning.
    2032 days ago
    You are amazing! I can almost hear your body singing from here!
    2032 days ago
    proof, again, that most of this battle is in our minds!!! how we think about things is paramount to winning! emoticon
    2032 days ago
  • OPTIMIST1948
    There's being smart and then there's working smart. My 1st Tri training program was
    1) Do something every day. Take 2 Nonconsecutive days off per week.
    2) Do something DIFFERENT than you did yesterday.
    3) Make sure you can comfortably complete the mileage.
    4) Do a brick workout 1x per week. Choice of sports, but biking and running is traditional.

    Freil is excellent.

    2032 days ago
    I'm glad that you've found something special in each of the 3 disciplines. Being at peace with yourself and feeling you are doing the most you can for your mental and physical health is so much more important than a number on a scale. And those rest days are definitely so important too!
    2032 days ago
    emoticon You're doing great! I really like your attitude. You will go far with it.
    2032 days ago
    You are definitly looking at your body as the amazing machine that it is. We have to give it what it needs for it to give back!
    2033 days ago
    What a great revelation! Now you have purpose, goals and a plan! Yay!
    2033 days ago
    Wonderful and you sound so happy. That is how it feels to me.
    2033 days ago
  • DONNA5281

    You now know what you want to do. Good for you!

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2033 days ago
    emoticon Excellent decision!!!
    2033 days ago
    Now that you know what you want, go get 'em, tiger!! emoticon
    2033 days ago
    I love how introspective you are--it always leads me to think more about my thoughts and actions, too. :) I also love that you have surrounded yourself with people and resources that provide you with feedback--and that you accept the feedback even if it's not what you want to hear.
    2033 days ago
  • JUNEAU2010
    Sheesh indeed!
    2033 days ago
    Yay for rest days! I was having an issue with my foot all spring and summer, but not resting it a lot. Along came the beginning of the school year (I'm a preschool teacher) with all its stress and long hours and I cut back on my workouts some, just because life was getting in the way,. With all the extra rest, my foot is healing up fast. It seems so simple looking back on it, but without that hiccup in my workout schedule, I'd probably still be suffering with a sore foot.
    2033 days ago
    2033 days ago
    Great insights! emoticon
    2033 days ago
    It is SO important to discern what it is that we really and truly want. Go for it!
    2033 days ago
  • 35ANGELS
    emoticon Good luck this weekend.
    2033 days ago
    Wish you the best on your journey! Figuring out 'what you want' is the first step toward happiness!!!
    2033 days ago
    couldnt agree with your decision more!!!!! I knew you would figure it out and good for u
    2033 days ago
    Good for you!!
    2033 days ago
    2033 days ago
  • NEWSGIRL2177
    Awesome. It's amazing how much we already 'know' -- it just takes one thing to make it click!
    2033 days ago
    Having just trained for and finished my first triathlon, kudos to you for trying some new things!

    One thing though, in regards to what your spinning instructor said and the "fat stores." If you're eating the wrong food, you will never burn fat. I was burning 6000 calories per week and not budging on the scale. My clothes weren't changing on me much either. I went to a naturopathic nutritionist and she put me on a paleo based diet, because we found out that my body was taking all carbs and sugar that I was eating it and spiking my blood sugar to burn only sugar for hours on end. Once I cut them out, the training got easier, I was more energized, satisfied on less food, and the weight just fell off.

    I'm not saying you have the same issue, but I'm a firm believer that yes, you can have it all, but use the tools that are available to you. I think if you aren't seeing results, it would be worth at least talking to a nutritionist to find out if there is something in your body that's working against you, as there was in my case.

    Just a suggestion. It sounds like you have a really good grasp on what you're doing, but I thought I did, too.
    2033 days ago
  • HFAYE81
    Awesome!!! Thanks for the keeping us posted, I love reading your blog!!! I can't wait to hear about spinning class! emoticon
    2033 days ago
    Sounds like a great plan. It also makes me feel better about laying off a couple
    days when I just felt tired and a little sore. I felt lazy about it, but just didn't have the energy. I think my body just wanted some rest. So thanks for reinforcing that. I'm glad you're resting your leg. Here's hoping everything goes smoothly from now on. Like anything ever goes SMoothly, oh well.
    Good luck, we're rooting for you.

    2033 days ago
    I agree! The scale frustrates me to no end. I know I've been working my behind off but the scale has barely budged. HOWEVER I can tell I've lost fat all over, esp. in my abdomen. My clothes feel looser, I can tell I've lost when I look in the mirror, other people have noticed. I love seeing the results, it gives me motivation to continue to be healthy. And p.s you CAN have it all!! never give up emoticon
    2033 days ago
    2033 days ago
    You have a way with words. I've 'known' a lot of this stuff in the past too, but never really believed or fully understood it. The way you've put it makes it so much clearer. Thanks for sharing.
    Good for you for listening to your body and allowing it to recuperate. And good luck on your marathons!
    2033 days ago
  • KIPPER15
    Being healthy at any weight is the most important thing you can do for yourself. If you are not happy, you will not be healthy. Pretty simple. Glad you are doing what makes you happy. It will all work out. (God's plan works always, ours work sometimes). Patience is a key factor too. I have a magnet on my fridge (one of many), that says God grant me patience, but hurry up. You will do this. emoticon emoticon
    2033 days ago
  • LYNSEY723
    Awesome blog! I'm so happy you have set your mind to what you want and are working to get it. emoticon emoticon
    2033 days ago
    emoticon conclusion! emoticon
    2033 days ago
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