Rude Awakening

This morning a new running friend, a middle-aged marathoner like myself, told me what she ate while she was training for a race. Ugh. It was the second time this week that I’ve been hit in the face with the inescapable fact that I EAT TOO MUCH.

Now, I’m a normal size. Some people would call me small, especially for my age. However, that’s normal size for a non-runner — I’m a bit “robust” for someone who wants to get her marathon time under four hours. In fact, according to Matt Fitzgerald’s website Racing Weight (http://racingweight.com/), I am about 10-15 pounds over my optimal racing weight, depending on the week and how active you want to say that I am. (You can read his entire book “Racing Weight: How to get Lean for Peak Performance (The Racing Weight Series)” if you want more information.)

So I’ve known this for a while but have just thrown my hands up in the air with “Well, geez, I eat pretty healthy, I don’t know what else to do.” Now healthy for me means that I don’t eat fast food, and I don’t have “real” dessert every day. I mean, an ice cream bar at night isn’t a real dessert, is it? That’s practically a fruit. And of course, on my long runs, I’m eating whatever I want because I just ran 16 miles, OK!?! OK?!? Get off my back!!

So this is what I tell myself, and I wonder why I keep that extra 10-15 lbs. Well, you know that feeling when you first see what a real serving size of almond butter looks like? Yeah, that’s what happened to me this week. Twice.

My new running buddy S, who is svelte and runs about 35-40 miles per week plus cross-training, told me her average daily carb intake: a half cup of rice at lunch and a quarter of a potato at dinner. WTF?!? I got anxious just listening to this. (Of course she eats more than that after her long run.)

Prior to this, I had just read ultrarunner Pam Smith’s food intake on her blog. I saw Pam at AC100 last August, and I’m going to conservatively guess that she runs between 60-70 miles per week. You’d think she’d be someone who’s packing away the carbs, right? Nah. Here’s what Pam ate on a typical day:

“This is what my food intake looked like today:
Post workout: recovery drink
Breakfast: two eggs plus red peppers and onions sauteed in coconut oil and half and avocado
Lunch: Braised cabbage with carrot puree, a small halibut fillet, and a small handful of cashews
Dinner: Quinoa salad with half a chicken breast. No dessert tonight since tomorrow is an easy workout (and I don’t need as many carbs to get through it)”
http://theturtlepath.blogspot.com/2014/01/nutrition-part-1-your-perfect-nutrition.html

She has pictures of what her plates look like, and let me tell you, those look like tapas servings to me.

So on the one hand this is a real bummer. If I really want to take off the extra 10-15, I will have to be diligent about my carb and sugar intake. I can’t give myself a gold medal just because I didn’t eat the chocolate cake at the office on any given day. Or because I inhaled two pieces of pizza instead of four.

On the other hand, this is good news. I mean, if I was really eating super clean and just.couldn’t.take.the.weight.off, well, that’d be frustrating. But now I know: If I want to get to that optimal racing weight, which will hopefully help me reach my goal of a sub-4:00 marathon, it’s doable with some sacrifice. To be honest, I’m just not sure I’m there yet, but at least I can’t lie to myself about it any more.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s