Friday, June 23, 2017

Sacrifice or stupidity?

I haven't been in a great place lately, and I'm second guessing a lot of things.

Part of it has been brought on by a total inability to shed the pounds I put on after Pick Your Poison. In the spring I was actually making decent progress at shedding my winter insulation, with even April going well despite a week off and reduced training throughout the month due to injury. Since the end of April, though, I've gained about 4lbs that don't seem to want to budge.

Which makes #sportbrasquad running in the recent hot weather something no-one really wants to see.

While I know that some of it is due to a week of "eat whatever I damn well please" after Sulphur Springs - which was my main race for this season - I'm chubby enough right now that I'm putting myself at risk for injury as I'm ramping up mileage again. I have a certain weight that I know from experience is a break point: below it and I'm generally ok, but above it I'm more likely to get hurt from the extra strain on my bones and joints while banging out miles in training. I'm only a pound or so above that, but I'm also pushing to get some decent training in before Limberlost and ultimately for the Haliburton 50 miler in September, and one pound multiplied by 65+km per week can definitely equal injury.

I'm actually back on the Slowtwitch 7-day leaderboard as of last night's run.

Despite a couple of weeks of trying to make better decisions (no more ice cream, trying to reduce sugar intake and snacking in general), generally healthy food choices (I have a sweet potato with almond butter for breakfast during the week, a salad every day, and bring leftovers from the dinners I make from scratch as lunches), and increasing training volume the scale refuses to move the way I want it to. I'm actually a bit heavier than I was last week, which is bloody depressing. I'd love to believe it's muscle mass, but the way my clothes fit tells a different story. I'm theoretically doing the right things: I strength train four times per week, make vegetables the focus of my meals and try to only consume the few sweets I do eat (medjool dates, apples, bananas, Larabars or protein bars) immediately before or after workouts. It's just that nothing seems to work at the moment, despite success in the past. So, I plug on and hope..

Last night I went out for a run, and was lucky enough to have Tanker follow along on his mountain bike.

He's wonderfully accepting of my jiggling.

It was hot, VERY humid and rather unpleasant to run through, but would have been perfect conditions to just sit out on the driveway (we don't have a porch) and enjoy a summer evening. I told Tank as much, and he fully agreed.

Instead, I went to the pool and thrashed my way through 1,200m of what a friend of mine calls "drowning with direction". Honestly, I'll be lucky if the water doesn't sue me for sexual assault.

"Please just let me make it to the wall alive.."

Since I don't have any interest in triathlon anymore, the only reasons I still swim are for the recovery benefit, some full-body conditioning and to try to burn my chub off. I could probably have got almost as much recovery benefit (if not more) by sitting with Tanker with my feet up and watching the heat lightning roll in. I didn't want to go to the pool and didn't enjoy my fistfight with the water (though I do admit that stretching in the swirlpool afterward was fairly pleasant), plus it meant another night of getting to bed past midnight. Worse still, I woke up half a pound heavier today than I was on Thursday morning, so even the whole "at least I burnt some calories" argument falls rather flat.

I'm brought to a point where I can't really say whether I made a reasonable sacrifice for my sport or simply being stupid by missing out on a nice, relaxing evening in pursuit of foolish goals. Ultrarunning is not going to bring me fame or fortune, and my sweet husband luckily doesn't care if I have an extra inch or two 'round my middle. Much as I'm loath to miss a workout - I always feel like it'll set a precedent and lead to me skiving off more in the future - I can't help but think I could achieve some better balance. I waffle between just saying "screw it" and eating whatever I want since the fat isn't coming off anyway and hating being so pudgy.

Pretty sure the neighbours would rather I kept trying to lose the belly if I'm going to run around half naked.

It's also quite possible I'm just still feeling the effects of a lot of racing recently - between Pick Your Poison and Sulphur I ran 23.5hrs of hilly trails in a 4 week span (not including training), plus I've put in another 156km in the slightly-less-than 4 weeks since...including a full week off after the 100k. I may very well just be heading toward overtraining and need to eat some more starch. All I can say for sure is that I've been a bit miserable, and I really hope I can make some progress - both physically with fat loss and psychologically - soon.

On the bright side, it's my day off. No tough decisions about whether to train or just kick back today - this evening is just for Tanker and I. With a bit of luck, I'll get a second chance at sitting out on the driveway on a warm, summer evening and watching the clouds float by..

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