Sunday, May 11, 2014

Running Reflection: May 5th - 11th

I've mentioned a few times that running - while magical on its own - is part of a weight-loss and maintenance routine for me. Since my big year of changing my diet back in college (and losing 30 pounds), my weight has remained fairly consistent within a 4 pound range. This has been the case for over four years.

In late January of this year, something freaky happened:

Where 138-142 had become a bit of a comfort zone, suddenly I found myself up at 147 pounds without much understanding as to why that happened. Yes, I know that 5 pounds out of my range is no big deal, but for someone who has battled being overweight from the age of 9 on... well, it was making me nervous. What if I couldn't stop the trend? What if it kept going up, up, up? Why wasn't my running helping me lose weight anymore?

I started meeting with my dietitian in April, and we set up a few goals:
  • Start taking some new kind of class to switch up my workout routine.
  • Add protein/fat to my morning meals.
  • Reduce dinner calories.

Calorie counting is missing here for a reason: I counted all of my calories from 2007 until 2013. I wore a BodyMedia FIT armband for several years. Counting calories and knowing my exact caloric burn had become a habit, even a crutch for me. Back in September (a few months before the weight gain started) I finally felt mentally and emotionally ready to stop using data to tell me whether or not I was hungry and start listening to my body.

I was proud of this transition and didn't want to give that up without a fight.

I tried my dietitian's goals for two weeks. I started adding a chicken sausage to my breakfast, some nut butter to a snack. I had protein smoothies for dinner. I reduced my intake of dairy-free ice cream (sob!).

When I weighed in two weeks later, my weight was exactly the same: 147.2

My dietitian and I chatted a bit, and decided to lay out some new - tougher - goals to see if that would help promote a change in the right direction:
  • 1500 calories/day (yes, back to calorie counting)
  • Add weight-bearing exercise (hiking with extra weight, most likely - goodbye gym membership)
  • Add speed work to my running repertoire

I've been doing super well with my dietary goals and it has paid off in the last few weigh-ins:

As far as speed work, that's going to take some encouragement. Right after my meeting with Ms. Dietitian, though, I ended up running my fastest 1k and 5k via Nike+, so I've decided that'll count for now. :)

Here's my issue: running on a calorie deficit is hard. My 10 mile run this weekend was totally brutal, and I'm 90% sure it was because of depleted glycogen stores. I ended up stopping twice because I needed to give myself a mental pep talk, something that has maybe happened once since I started running.

Has this happened to any of you? Any advice for prepping (without overdoing it) for my half marathon on Sunday?

Here's how my week of training went:

  • Monday: Graduate school, rest day.
  • Tuesday: 3.67 miles / 8:10 pace.
  • Wednesday: 4.06 miles / 8:39 pace. Got a run in before an evening parents' night at my district headquarters. I was a sweaty mess (oops) but it was worth it.
  • Thursday: ... so instead of running in the rain, I got a pedicure and went out to dinner.
  • Friday: 3.17 miles / 8:33 pace. Ran a quick 5k before volunteering at Everyday Athlete's packet pick-up for the Kirkland Mother's Day 5k and Half Marathon.
  • Saturday: 10.0 miles / 8:51 pace. First run since cutting calories and it was rough. I've got to work on a better pre-run plan for next weekend's half marathon!
  • Sunday: Family Mother's Day hike: 6.7 miles of steady switchbacks to Twin Falls.

Total Distance: 20.92 miles
Average Pace: 8:39 per mile (yahoo!)

Last Week's Goals:
  1. Run three times. Ferreal. (Four. BAM.)
  2. YOGA YOGA YOGA. (Due to my enthusiasm for adding an extra run this week, I seem to have failed this goal.)
  3. Try for two runs on Saturday: the Ruff Run 5k in the morning, and add another 7 miles in the afternoon. It's taper time, in preparation for the May 18th Snohomish Women's half marathon! (Ruff Run 5k was cancelled last week due to low enrollment, so I got all 10 miles in at once.)

Goals for Upcoming Week:
  1. Taper, Amy. Taper. 2-3 runs of 3-5 miles this week before Sunday's half marathon.
  2. YOGA YOGA YOGA. Tuesday and Thursday.
  3. Keep focusing on my new calorie parameters and try to stay within reason on Saturday (ie: work on the "food is fuel" to "food makes me gain weight" ratio a bit).

Help me out: if you're running on a calorie deficit, how do you balance weight loss with performance?


  1. This fall when I started XC, I lost about 7(ish) pounds (141 at my lowest). But the bad thing is I have gained it all back and more (157). For the past week I have been trying to eat better/less and this week I'm really going to try and get back to running at least 15 miles a week. The weird thing I have noticed lately is that when I eat an unhealthy food, my stomach starts to hurt!

    Now to your question: I think the best way to balance weight loss and performance is by starting out slow. I have been gradually shifting to eating healthier meal to meal. I started with breakfast and then this week I'm going to lunch. Last week with running I tried to run at least everyday. So this week I'm upping my mileage

    Good luck with your half! I'm anxious to find out how it goes!

    1. Sounds like you've got some great goals lined up, Allison! I'll be sure to fill everyone in on the half during my Sunday post. :) Unless, of course, I pass out afterwards, in which case you'll find out on Monday!