The life of a marathon runner is a tricky beast. We wake at a disgusting time of the morning (4:45, right here!), spend countless hours timing our steps and counting miles, and then we talk about it to anyone who will listen? Why do we do this? Because, marathoners.
Right now I'm in training for the 2015 Boston Marathon! I'm about 4 weeks out from the race, which means I've gained ten pounds.
I know, you're shocked. I mean, I just ran EIGHTEEN MILES this morning. On purpose. There were no clowns chasing me. How is it humanly possible to gain weight when one is running over sixty miles a week? Easy.
It's called "runger." Running that many miles makes one very hungry. It's a pretty common phenomenon when training for one's first marathon of the season. Suddenly going from running twenty-five miles a week to fifty, sixty or more, the human body goes into a shock/spoil/starve mode. Ghrelin (the hunger hormone) is produced in massive quantities, and suddenly, those pop tarts that were saved for a special treat, mysteriously disappear.
It's a difficult thing to get under control. When the body is demanding food, it takes a ton of will power to say, "hey, body, we just need a handful of nuts, not the entire jar of Jif!"
The weight gain though...the weight gain is problematic. Not only does it make my clothes tighter, and less flattering, it also slows me down. Typically, I try to run a 7:30/mi marathon. When I'm at the weight I am currently, it can slow me down as much as thirty seconds per mile. The difference between a 7:30 mile and an 8:00 mile may not seem like a lot, but let's do the math. (I promise, English majors, it's easy math, and I'll use a calculator for accuracy.)
A marathon is 26.2 miles long. At seven minutes and thirty seconds that's about a 3.19 marathon. A very respectable race for a seasoned amateur. Now, if I run an 8:00 minute/mi marathon, that's a 3.49 and change marathon. Still not terrible, but by no means is it fast.
So what do I do? First: I bitch to my husband about it incessantly, and try to blame him for my shortcomings as an athlete. "WHY DO YOU HAVE TO LOVE SHAKE SHACK AS MUCH AS I DO?" Not to worry, after ten years of marriage, he's extremely adept at ignoring me. After blaming my husband, I go through the entire house and just throw stuff away. Gleefully. Chips, cookies, anything remotely unhealthy is chucked. I immediately regret this decision and order more on Amazon Fresh. Then I get serious. I do the same thing countless runners the world over do...I google search lipo. Ok, that's not true. I calculate my macronutrients. Again, I'm an English major, so I use a tool on the interwebs that does this for me.
It takes account of my gender, age, height, and weight, and spits out a bunch of data. Namely, it calculates how many calories I need to consume, and what percentage of those calories should be carbohydrate, protein, and fat. Unfortunately, the computer of doom is telling me that I need 134g of protein each day. That's a TON compared to my average of say--way less than that. That number scares me. It's shooting arrows at my brain. It's essentially commanding me to "eaaaaat the meeeat."
I hate meat. Unless it's bacon or burgers, I just don't see the point. I like fish fine. Sushi is awesome. But I don't want to end up full of so much mercury that if you sucked on my head I could tell you your temperature. Alas, here I am, staring at the numbers I couldn't possibly dispute because I can't possibly calculate them myself. Theoretically, I could just start nomming box after box of tofu, but since I like it pan-seared, the coconut oil may negate any weight-loss benefits of the little white bricks. I could eat meat, and try to ignore the voice of my Navajo grandmother telling me that all creatures have a spirit, and even though the container of those spirits may be delicious, I should still respect it.
We won't tell my ama sanii I posted this .gif. She'd have me scrubbing her hogan in 10 seconds flat.
Or I could buy the biggest bucket of protein powder available, and start going to town on chocolate milkshakes like it's my ever-loving job.
I think we know which one I chose.
Until I start to see a difference? Maybe I'll take up dancing on top of the running for cardio?