Tuesday, October 4, 2011

September Recap and Body Fat Verdict!

September was a blur.

Since much of it was taken up with either tapering to or recovering from a marathon, I didn't keep track of my mileage. The month's accomplishment was:

*My 15-minute PR and first sub-4-hour time in the Top of Utah Marathon!*

True, it wasn't much of a sub-4 (3:59:11). In fact, this was a disappointing race from a lot of perspectives. I didn't qualify for Boston (far from it). I went out too fast and bonked (hard). I didn't stick to my race plan. I walked (where I hadn't planned to).

So why was and am I not disappointed?

In many ways, I was "like a virgin" with this one. It had been six years and one twin pregnancy since I had run a marathon. I had forgotten what it was like. The prior three times I had done it, I was able to sleep as much as I wanted, go to as much yoga as I wanted and (within the predictable confines of my job) do the runs whenever they fit in.

This time, my window for working out was limited not just by work but by the needs of my husband and kids. It took me two years to get my "base" conditioning back (I didn't run at all after the first three months of pregnancy and for about three months after, and beyond that I ran mostly slowly and not very far). I dealt with two winters of frequent illness (mine and my kids'). And I find myself living in a reshaped body that almost entirely lacks the core strength it once had. I also learned my lesson about pacing and running my own race, about making strength training and stretching non-negotiable, about getting back my core, about what it really will take to meet my Boston goal.

So I'll take a PR and a sub-four.

Now, on to my body fat/weight results from this morning.....(drumroll).......

Home scale: 128.4 pounds and 21.9% BF (both my lowest on that scale since I got pregnant, when I was right around 125 (not sure was BF was then))

Gym scale: weight 128.6 pounds (only 2/10 of a pound higher than the home scale, and this reading was *after* I ate breakfast, so I'm really happy about it; means my home scale is semi-accurate)

Bonus reading: I went to the City of Boulder employee health fair this morning after weights. They had one of those hand-held body fat readers. The reading on that? 17.2%!!! Wow!

Here's the caveat, according to the nice ladies at the fitness table (and just goes to show you learn something new every day): My home body fat scale apparently measures my lower-body fat percentage, while the hand-held measures my upper-body fat percentage. This doesn't surprise me: I am, have been and always will be pear-shaped (alas), and those readings reflect my, um, ample hips and thighs as well as my relatively scrawny arms and trunk.

I was told to get a decently accurate overall number, I should average those two together and round up. Which gives me a number of: 20%. Woo hoo!

Now of course I'm not going to call it good and stop worrying about it. By January, when the Houston Marathon rolls around, I'd love to be at my calculated "racing weight" of 120 (or as close to it as possible). And I'd love my home monitor to register a number that's closer to 19 or 20% (if lower half genetics allow).

So while I'm psyched that weight training, plus the Mario Lopez eating plan, appear to be working, I've still got a ways to go. Lucky thing all the good news has me re-energized for some healthy cooking and some heavy lifting (both of which normally bore me to tears!).


  1. Nice job with the race and the body weight/fat! Excellent! I never know if my scale thing is accurate with the body fat part. Maybe I'll get a real one done like you did.

  2. You know, a 20% number seems much more reasonable than 22% based on how you look in pictures -- not that I'm an expert or anything. Nice that it is all coming together for you and you are motivated to continue. That is awesome.

  3. No wonder my scale always read my bf so high! I am a pear too. Great numbers btw :)

  4. I have ample hips and lunch lady arms. I wonder what my reading would be? Do you think they would even out? I think a sub 4 hour marathon is pretty awesome and hopefully by the time you get to Houston you will be even faster!

  5. Head's up for possibly 2012: My friend/client who just did StG, who had the small tidbits of advice I sent you for TOU, said that StG is a MUCH faster course, much more fun, much more scenic, and she did a lot better in StG than at TOU. Just in case you wanted to do another fall marathon. StG was also my first BQ race.

    Anyway...sorry, I just had to get that out before I forgot to tell you.

    I'm going to be truthful and tell you I hate body fat scales, they have the highest percentage of error. If you can get to the gym, have a trainer, who'd just wandering around doing not much, measure your BF with calipers. It is much more accurate as it take 3 measurements from your quad, stomach and tricep. You can also get some calipers pretty reasonable on ebay :) and do it yourself. Just a suggestion. I have a scale at home which reads about 18% higher than what my BF truly is, but now that I know that, I can be a lot more accurate.

    I need to get down to racing weight and bf by January too...I just am struggling this week! So tired! Bring on Mario!! :)

  6. Great job on the numbers! I can barely stand to get on my scale with just the weight numbers - not sure how I would act knowing there could be body fat numbers as well!

    I love your perspective on your marathon. Good thoughts.

  7. Way to keep good perspective and, even though you had things happen you didn't expect, you celebrate your race!

  8. Congrats on the PR and the sub-4!

    I would love to get an actual reading on my body fat with calipers. I had this done once at the gym with a personal trainer and it seemed like it was the most accurate way. My scale at my house always comes up with a 31% BMI, which I KNOW is not correct (I only weigh 117, so not sure how it is calculating this).

  9. Sounds like you're making excellent progress! Go Mario! I agree with Jill. My Tanita scale gives me BS fat numbers while the ones my trainer does are much better (lower). But still great job!