Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Eating Update

I realized this morning after stepping on the scale that I hadn't posted a progress report on the nutrition aspect of my marathon training for a while.

Here are the high--and low--lights:

1) My weight has remained steady to a teensy bit lower. This morning it was 129.4 pounds, putting my BMI at a "normal" 20.3 (see chart here; I am 5' 7"). I'm glad I haven't gained any weight as I've been training (I know this can happen), but I'm also not much closer to my "racing weight" projected at 120 pounds than I was two months ago. Oh well. I'll focus more on that (and on whether or not it's realistic or healthy for me to try to get that low) for my Houston training cycle. I haven't weighed that little since high school.

2) I have a body fat feature on my scale. This morning it put me at 22.0%. According to one chart, this lands me in the "fitness" category. That sounds good, until you look one set up and see that there's also an "athlete" category for women with a range of 14-20%. "Athlete" sounds much more like "Boston Marathon qualifier" than "fitness" does (fitness makes me think of aerobics VHS tapes from the 80s). But losing 2 percentage points of fat may be as tough for me as getting down to 120 pounds.

I think there are two reasons I'm still sort of marshmallow-like despite my increasing miles: a) I stopped my weight training class three weeks ago (and before that missed a bunch due to my kidney infection and some kid-related issues) and b) I've fallen off the no-sugar bandwagon--not in a huge way--I've definitely been worse--but wine, pastries and chocolate have crept back into my diet.

Taking care of business on those two fronts, starting now for the sugar and starting after the Top of Utah Marathon for the strength training, may help with that body fat percentage.

3) I got the lab tests back for the blood draw my doctor ordered up in an effort to help me get to the root of my poop issues on some runs. These tests were all normal: no celiac disease, thyroid issues or anything else out of the ordinary. So now I'm waiting to hear back on some stool tests (sorry to be graphic!). I really don't expect those to be out of the ordinary either. I think I just have to be careful with dairy and nuts, and just generally eat really bland food, for about two days ahead of long runs.

Any other diet thoughts out there? Anyone else find the nutrition side of running so much less interesting (and therefore so much more difficult to get a handle on) than things like tempo runs, intervals and pace charts?


  1. I agree - figuring out the whole diet/fueling thing is tricky. Can you believe TOU is so close?!?!?!?

  2. The whole weight/bf thing really is so frustrating. It makes a big difference in performance, I think, but geez - it is NOT easy and I find the older I am (ahem) the tougher this is. I can't get my weight as low as yours but I can get my bodyfat down pretty low, TONS of protein and wt. trainng. Bleh!

  3. This is timely I've been thinking about the same stuff :). I think we have like the same BMI although I'm shorter and I feel quite marshmellowish even though I know I'm relatively thin!

    It's times like hood to coast when I look at all the other runners and think...wow they have muscle.

    I doubt being 120 for you would make a huge performance difference, but what do I know. You're probably right where you should be if you feel good and are eating healthily?

    If it makes any difference, I've raced pretty equivalently from around 112 to 130, so these weight rules may just apply to super elites.

  4. Weight loss, especially during training almost seems impossible to me. If I really focus on it I can do it, but then I don't feel like I have enough energy to get through my workouts. My major problem I have learned is that I'm a major compensator. If I burn an extra 500 calories, I will eat an extra 500 calories. I need to lose weight because I know it will improve my racing, but I just can't seem to get there. I'm hoping after I finish my last tri of the season I can start focusing on it again. Good luck with your journey!

  5. Oh my goodness, I am so happy to have found your blog through RLAM today :o) I am excited to follow your journey to a BQ before 40. I'm 35 and have 3 kids (youngest is 7 months old) and have the same dream...you are going to be such an inspiration!
    And I can completely relate to your diet/digestive issues. I just had the same tests and results myself! I'm finding that if I eat very plain and simple and a good 12 hours prior to my hard runs, I avoid stomach issues. I also have to give myself a good hour of awake time before heading out the door. The other day I rolled out of bed and went out the door to run 15 minutes later and it was a disaster just 1.5 miles into my run I barely made it home to get to the bathroom! Then the next day I was much smarter ate plain dinner 12 hours before my run and woke an hour before and ran 20 miles with ZERO stomach issues. I don't know if it's fool-proof but I'm trying to take notice of what works and what doesn't so I can get a routine down that works!
    Good luck with your training I am SO excited to follow you and read all about it!!

  6. PS - I meant to tell you also that I really love what you wrote about why you run for RLAM today. It resonated so much with me and I just loved every word. It was beautifully written!

  7. I don't know how you'd loose 9lbs during training -- that sounds dangerous. And impossible!! I'm starved all the time and I'm just training for a half marathon.

    I think about nutrition and eating probably way more than I should -- but it is complex and I feel like I've so much to learn at this point.