Saturday, October 10, 2009

One Lap Wonder

“I’m not as good as I once was, but I’m as good once as I ever was.” I recalled that line from a country music song last week when Coach G. had us run timed 400s. She told us to do the first one “as if” we were only doing one, so I traveled around the track as fast as my stubby legs would take me, hoping I could break 2:45. My actual time for the lap was an amazing (for me) 2:30! Then G. told us we were doing two more 400s. I intentionally slowed my pace for the second one, but still did it in under 3 minutes. I tried to go all out again for the last 400, but was seven seconds slower than the first one. G. says we will be doing more timed 400s periodically during the off-season. I’d like to think my times would improve, but I already may have been as fast as I’m going to be.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Cooking the Numbers

In this month’s edition of Runner’s World there’s an article about how some numbers are truer measures of weight loss than others. For example, we all know that muscle weighs more than fat, so what the scale says we weigh can be misleading for persons who have muscles. The article suggested several alternatives to determining fitness other than by weight only. The one that caught my attention was whether an article of clothing that fit when the scale said you weighed less still fit.

I tend to keep my clothes, even though I don’t wear them anymore, and so I found a dress in my closet that I’d bought many years ago when – despite a lack of exercise and a diet of coffee, Milky Way bars, and the occasional homemade biscuit with real butter – I weighed at least 20 pounds less than I do now. The dress is a one-piece sheath and buttons down the front. From the waist up, it still fit perfectly. From the waist down, not so well. It buttoned, but it was too snug to wear in public. Maybe I could say I just have more muscles in my thighs now, or I could admit I should lose some weight.

I’m not sure I can fit more exercise into my life, so that means paying more attention to diet, and that means I might actually have to cook real meals. I do not like to cook, but prepared food from grocery stores or restaurants is expensive and often lacking in nutrition, so, is there really a choice here? The same article said a healthy runner could expect to go two seconds faster for every pound lost. Well, I need all the help I can get to increase my speed. Twenty seconds would put me much closer to my goal of a consistent 12-minute mile. My goal for the off-season then is to cook.