I have until now not written much about weight and nutrition. This is the first of many posts to come. I as always will be brutally honest. All I ask is when you read these posts you take into consideration my feelings. I am a real person who has ups and downs. If you have something negative to say, please consider keeping it to yourself. If you want to contribute to a healthy discussion about weight and how it affects both male and female runners then by all means jump in and tell us your thoughts.
I am not blind to the fact that there are people who read my blog not because they find me wildly interesting [insert sarcasm], and not because they are inspired by me, but because they want to become a faster runner and I have done just that. I have taken my marathon PR from 4:20 to a 3:13 and I just took my 10K time from a 1:06 to a 40:23. They want to know my secrets so they can get faster too.
I’m betting some of you think it’s because I am thin. I say this loosely because most thin women don’t think of themselves as thin. I do however realize that in terms of comparing me to the average American woman, I am on the smaller size.
At one point in my life I obsessively entered in my weight and height to a BMI[body mass index] calculator, striving for it to say I was underweight for my height. I got to that point. No I did not starve myself and no I did not have a full blown eating disorder but I wasn’t eating enough calories to compensate for the amount I was burning.
|Smaller and not cuter – right?|
This summer I was 3 lbs off from my lowest weight I hit when I ran my fastest marathon ever in 2010. I won a small marathon that year with a time of 3:21 and weighed less than I did in high school. I was convinced in my head that it was the racing weight I had hit that helped me take my PR from a 3:31 to a 3:21 in one training cycle. It couldn’t have been the fact that I trained my butt off – it had to have been the weight. WRONG.
This summer I went on a emotional and physical journey and have learned to embrace my body more than ever. I fight the terrible voice in my head that doesn’t want to see my friends when I know I weigh more[for the record my friends never notice when I weigh more] I fight the voice that tells me I am only pretty when I am small. I fight the voice that tells me that I need to weigh less to run faster.
The fact that I have gotten faster this year has helped me gain confidence. Why? Because I weigh more. I can tell you in all honesty that I ran Columbus Marathon 6 pounds higher than my ‘racing weight.’ If weighing what my body wants to weigh means I can run faster than I’ll take that any day.
|6 lbs more and 8 minutes faster|
Let me define racing weight for you. Racing weight is a weight at which you can not maintain that body weight for any length of time. Typically you are only at that weight for a week or so before your body does all it can to put on the weight it needs, the weight it wants. Racing weight is important if you are an elite athlete. Their job is to win races, and even a minute advantage can help them tremendously. The women who run in the 2:20′s are thin. They work hard to stay that way but I’d also venture to say they were blessed with thin bodies, just like they were blessed with the gift of running. No amount of me wanting to be an elite will ever get me to a 2:20 – it’s physically not possible for me – but it is for them.
This summer me and my 6 extra pounds started to worry. I had trained hard for a PR marathon. I was worried my weight would hold me back. I called a girl that I look up to for so many reasons, but who also happens to be one of the tinniest people I know. I knew I could talk to her about this and she wouldn’t instantly judge me as having an eating disorder [because I don't]. I told her I would eat healthy all day but then be ridiculously hungry at night and it was making me crazy. I was sick of eating, sick of feeling hungry and didn’t want all this weight to stop me from pr’ing. The advice she gave me back was a wake up call. She weighed 5 pounds more than me.
I was confused.
How could she possibly weight more than me? How could she weight 11 pounds more than what I thought my racing weight should be.
What I realized was that my body does not want to be a 0. I might wish it did, but it doesn’t. My body was making me crazy hungry at night because though I thought I was eating enough during the day, I wasn’t.
I am pretty sure my ‘racing weight’ was much higher than the number I got down to.
I tell you this story – why?
So you will get rid of that crazy, silly, ridiculous idea that to get faster you must get skinnier.
I ran 8 minutes faster 6 lbs heavier. And guess what – since that race I’ve gained 3 lbs. Maybe I’m a little more round than I like but the point is this - being a strong, wise runner means that you have to work with your body not against it. Maybe your body wants to be bigger. Maybe this will make you bigger than your friends. That’s okay. It’s okay not to be the skinniest girl in the room.
I ran a 10K PR this weekend 9 lbs heavier than what I thought my ‘racing weight’ was. For an instant I thought to myself – Dorothy you could have gone under 40 if you had been lighter. I silenced that voice. If I had been thinner maybe my body would have been missing out on things it needed and maybe I wouldn’t have pr’ed at all, maybe it would have gotten injured, maybe I would be dealing with other physical issues.
|Healthier and Happier – 2011|
Eat healthy. Eat real foods. Eat foods that are as close to their natural form as possible. Eat an avocado, some tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese rather than smearing a low carb bagel with no fat cream cheese. Eat real peanut butter made from well PEANUTS – instead of some sort of processed low fat version. Make the right food decisions and your body will take the shape it wants to be.
I now rest in this fact…..
When God created us – he didn’t think to himself – I’m going to make some of you pretty, others of you ugly. He thinks we all are beautiful – he created us to be unique. We may not look like what society deems as pretty but I don’t really care what society thinks anymore. I’m worried about building up my treasures in heaven instead of worrying how little I weigh here on earth.