Friday, January 17, 2014

Pounds with History - Weight Loss with a Heavy Heart

I wanted to put together a very honest post about my weight struggles of the last few months and my view on body image. So, deep breath, here it goes...

About 3 months ago, I lost a good friend when he committed suicide. It was sudden, and I was part of a small group of his close friends who helped organize a small get together of running friends to remember and celebrate Brian's life. And then I helped his widow make the arrangements for spreading his ashes. It was a long 10ish day period from the suddenness of his death until the day we spread his ashes. And saying a final goodbye gave me a lot of peace.

But in that 10 days and a little bit after that, I drank quite a lot of beer, which is funny since I'm not a huge beer drinker. I was having trouble sleeping soundly, that first night was the absolute worst where I kept jerking awake upset, and the beer would quell the awfulness to get to bed at night and stay asleep. It was numbing. It was not excessive drinking to full inebriation, but it was a few beers a night. And of course I was comfort eating on top of it. I didn't show my general friends or any of my social media circle what was going on. So a couple weeks after Brian's death I was up about 10 pounds.

And that weight has hung around for all these months. But right before directing New Years Double this year, I realized I needed to fix this. The albatross around my neck wasn't just the 10 pounds; it was how it had gotten there. To move past, I really had to shed this and with getting to race season, I don't need to run 50+ miles carrying unnecessary weight.

I dropped the first 5 rather quickly over 2 weeks then bloated up after a big ultra last weekend (which is common), and I'm on my way down again. My goal is to lose another 5 in the next couple weeks. Then I'll be at the weight I most enjoy racing at, where I'm a mix of muscle, fat to burn on the long endurance races, with less completely useless extra subcutaneous fat hanging around.

(Note, none of this is to detract from people who have struggled to lose a lot of weight. In relative terms, 10 pounds is not a lot. But we each have our own journey, and I hope we all respect each other's.)

My view on weight and body image:

I'm not shy about talking about my weight. I had gotten up to 166 pounds. I'd like to be down around 150 at the most ideal, but 155 is totally adequate, for racing season. I don't hang out at that weight year round because I have a hard time prioritizing in my daily life to keep that perfectly on top of my food, I do enjoy indulging from time to time, and it's hard in peak mileage times for me to manage the physiological stress of so many miles (and the runger!) with keeping my weight low. 158 is kinda my usual hang-out weight.

Yes, I'm 30 pounds over what some women at the gym are sporting in their little yoga pants and racerback long bra top at my height (5'8"). But I look at them and all I see is frail. What I've taught myself to see when I look in the mirror are these words....


And as an endurance athlete, these are important things to be. Way more important than the word "skinny". Skinny means you'll snap like a twig on the trail. I can carry a 5-7 lb hydration pack for hours without a thought. I can pull up on a rope to clear the cliff on the other side of a river crossing (like at Volcanic 50). So much more important than being the minimum safe "healthy" weight for my body size.

So when my weight is up like right now, I view it solely as "these are pounds that serve no purpose and I get to carry for miles and miles for no reason" and when I see those, I gotta get rid of it.

Hoping this next 5 pounds melts off soon!


  1. You go girl - I have been trying to lose the same 10lbs for 5 years - I hope this is the year.

  2. Up about 8 - 10 since october. Marathon training, + vacation + holidays were bad for me.

    Good luck on your shed. And keep up the awesome work.

  3. Cheers to a fat melting January and a sturdy strong and durable 2014! I'm in that same boat. I'm about 2 lbs up from the holidays (which isn't horrible, but it's still there), and I want to get down another 10 lbs before tri season really starts. It is really hard for me to lose, I have to fight REALLY HARD to take off weight, but its worth it not to lug around useless lbs on the bike and the run.

  4. Thank you for sharing your journey. I'm so there with you! I lost my mother-in-law, who I truly loved, in November and have been taking care of a sick spouse who spent a couple of weeks in the hospital in December and has not yet fully recovered. With all the added responsibility, my training got derailed - I cried when i didn't get to run in the NYD, and I also developed some bad habits. My height and weight are very similar to yours and I am struggling to loose that extra weight too... but the last few weeks have been good and I am sure that persistence pays off, we will get there.