Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Runner's Diet

What a great thing it is to go running. What a great thing it is to dream of the glory of finishing marathons. I have no life other than that of the runner. Yes, very deprived. It has mainly been that way for 30 years.I do not train for a marathon and then go back to less after the race is over. I like to think on any given weekend, I could run 26 miles. I do the weekly long run because I want to, not because of some training schedule. The marathon is not something to train for; but something to be. I don't just go in marathons. I am them.

My existence as a marathoner is the most difficult thing to explain to anyone; particularly non-runners.

I used to feel guilty for being a runner because I was in such better shape than everyone else; I thought I had somehow stolen health and fitness from the social system. I used to feel ashamed of being a runner because I really am not beneficial for society. I use up resources, expend energy with no tangible benefits to society or production of good, I consume Chinese manufactured shoes and gortex suits. I take up space on the planet, use it resources, contribute nothing and so on.

But now, I no longer feel the guilt or shame. I am just a runner and I have nothing to prove. Nothing to win. Nothing to achieve. The most exciting thing is the finely chiseled abdomen appearing in my mid section as I work diligently on core exercises and weight loss.

In January, in order to support my running, I launched into a weight loss program. I wanted to lose about 3 pounds in time for marathon season. I gave up my precious peanut butter and a couple of other dainties. My weekly weight fluctuation moderated. It used to peak as high as 137 pounds. Post peanut butter, the peaks were in the 134 pound area, but my average weight stabilized at 133 pounds. The weekly fluctuations continued and were maddening.

Last Friday, I met with the trainer at work. She looked at my diet and made some suggestions about shifting away from simple carbohydrates to complex ones; as well as calculating the calories differently. Already, it looks like my weight has lowered and is not ramping up like it has before. Below is a graph. The blue line is the daily weight; with the weekly low occurring on the day after my long run (usually 20 or so miles). The red line is a 7 day rolling average. The yellow line shows the day the transition happened.

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