I just read an article about man-Spanx. They look like a tri-suit to me. Really, men need girdles? Here I was, thinking it was just us triathletes that were weight-obsessed.
I’m writing about weight because right now, I have triathlete skinny envy. I took a couple of years off from structured endurance training. However, I failed to also take a couple of years off from my pound-a-day peanut m&m habit. To make matters worse, I developed a taste for mojitos during the time off. I’ve also started swimming regularly again, and for me, a swim workout is the weight gain equivalent of eating half a Costco sheet cake. I put on upper body muscle like Arnold circa 1975.
I’m not going to lie: I may have seen that man-Spanx article because I was looking up Spanx. I’m genetically lucky (read: I have a ninety-pound mother) so I didn’t do too much damage in the time off. Seven pounds, really. And after three months of trying to drop those seven pounds, I have gained one pound. I don’t mind the way my seven (eight) pounds look on me at all. They’re happy pounds. My pants mostly fit. But I want my run back. I’m fit again. But I’m holding steady at about 20s/mile slower than pre-break. I want my fast back. I want to run a 38-minute 10k off the bike again.
I think every triathlete has heard some variation of this running advice: For every pound you lose, you’ll drop 2 seconds off your pace/mile. Then there are all kinds of power watts/kilos ratios I’m not even going to attempt to quote for you, because whenever anyone mentions power, or ratios, really, I start hearing the teacher from Peanuts. But supposedly, you’re a faster cyclist if you can get lighter without compromising strength, too. I want those free seconds!
It’s that time of year, and we are all training hard and we all want to get faster. But for some (me), the weight won’t budge. After the first month of training, I realized I had to change my diet to make up for all the extra-long off-season fun. I started eating breakfast. (gag). Six weeks – no change. I started eating vegetables and lean protein for dinner (gag). Four weeks – no change. I gave up food for lent. That lasted four hours. I’m tracking every bite, which makes me really, really annoying. Two weeks of tracking – no change. Right now I’m doing all of those (except the Lent one) and also I’m front-loading my days. Guess what? No change.
Why am I telling you all of this, risking that your mental image of me now involves a hospital bed in the living room and a small crane? Because if you’re looking to slim down for the season, you might want to try all those things I just listed. I hear they work for a lot of people. Just not for me. I might have to give up the peanut m&ms and mojitos. Or just have them for breakfast.