Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A log that went off track

Super low volume this week. As I look for full-time work, try to study for my part-time academic pursuits, train for a race, and generally get my shit together, I've been thinking a lot and doing a little. It's embarrassing, but I'm trying to change it.

A first full week of a new experiment. I'm attempting "bulk up" for the first time in a while. After a couple important people in my life told me I was looking thin, I initially scoffed and thought, "heard that before." I weighed myself and found that I'm down a little weight...again. My pants fit about the same, I don't feel sick, and I'm eating as much as I feel like. Living away from my parents' house has removed a great deal of candy and abundance of food, but cutting out unnecessary junk is a lifelong goal of mine anyway. I don't see a skinny person when I look in the mirror. My BMI is 21, which is in the middle of normal. I'm certainly not overtrained, and I'm not injured.

Somewhere in between vanity and practicality, I'm finding that I want to be more than just a runner. I've heard "you're built like a runner" before. Sort of like "you're crazy!" it's a compliment that isn't a compliment. I want to be a stronger, more well-rounded individual. My current lifestyle is devoid of any physical challenges that aren't self-imposed. No hay bales to toss, no wood to split. I'm back to carrying a backpack instead of a 6 foot long angle grinder. Long story short: I'm getting soft. I hate the idea of going to a gym to maintain my body. I wish there was something more productive I could do with my overwhelming amount of down-time and physical energy. Energy should be expended to make the world better, or at least keep your house warm. Maybe I'm preserving it for when I get the chance to lift that car off of a child or dig an old lady out of a snowbank or enter a planking contest to win $43,547, the exact cost of an unexpected surgery for a family member...or something like that.

Adding resistance training has given me an outlet for some extra energy, and hopefully will give me a little size and strength as time progresses. I'm also actively tracking my calories for the first time since a diet recall in my undergraduate studies. I'm using the popular MyFitnessPal app. This alone has been a really enlightening experience. Not only was I missing my estimated caloric needs for my level of exercise, but there were days where I was far under the amount of energy needed to break even on a rest day. To get up to my desired weight(roughly 160lbs), I'm needing about 3500 calories per day. After an hour run and some weight training, this is even higher. I've spent so long preparing for ultras that I've gotten used to something close to starvation(for lack of a better term). How was I even able to do this? Shouldn't make sense. Has some genetic or acquired factor(like ultrarunning) lowered my metabolism?

I've gained a few pounds and feel pretty good so far. I'll have to hit the running or skiing pretty hard in coming weeks to build fitness, so I'll have to try to get a handle on this whole "eating" thing. This has been a fun experiment that drives home the point that assuming you're doing everything right without truly, objectively monitoring yourself is arrogant. "I'm right because I'm smart, and smart people don't do shit wrong" is how we get ourselves into messes.

To summarize this incoherent rant: Losing weight. Feeling weak. Lifting weights. Putting them back down. Eating more. Helps me sleep.

Here's the exercise for the week. I know, riveting shit going on. I'm excited for the upcoming 50miler in the Spring, even if this weather is making miles a bit tough.

Monday: 7 miles(?) Took a solo trip to the arbs. I'm not sure if I'm getting used to the cold, or just sick of caring about it. Bundled up and headed to the trails. Had them all to myself since the entrances hadn't even been plowed. Any part of the trail that has wind exposure was completely drifted over, and was waist-deep. I maintained a running gait pretty much the whole time. Also stopped to do some sort of body weight exercise at each of the benches in the park. Zero degress. Pushups. Waist-depth slogging. Why I would voluntarily do this, I'm not sure. Somewhere recently, I read the line, "it doesn't have to be fun to be fun." Makes no sense, but sort of captures the (absence of)rationale for some running endeavors.

Tuesday: A long day and no sleep on the road for work, so I thought(read: bullshitted) that running while exhausted could be worse than not running.

Wednesday: 6 miles. To the rec center, 3x1 uphill(15% grade) miles on the treadmill. Running on such a grade is exhausting to me, and is quite humbling. Since I don't have a group to do workouts with at the moment, this will have to suffice. A cool down, then chest/tricep/shoulder exercises. Jog home with a six-pack of IPA(you know, for weight training).
For a little confusion, I present this, which I creatively stole from the internet.
AM: 3.67858695 miles with Evan. Drove up to Yankee Springs, only to find inexplicably hellacious conditions on the trails. The snow was packed, yet incredibly slippery. I've been running on snow during this winter of the "Polar Vortex," but this sucked a gratuitous amount of balls for some reason, according to us. Our 1.5 hour jaunt was cut short by me getting my car stuck, then again by our obvious lack of fortitude. Not like we have races coming up or anything. As usual, Evan kept a better pace, so I followed, breathing heavily and feeling like my former chubby self in 6th grade gym.

AM: 2 miles. gym workout. 15 minutes of jogging on the track. I'm ashamed to admit, but it was enjoyable. A flat, warm, easy pace that was faster than I've run in a while. With all the weather's tribulations, each step is a different movement, recruiting different muscles and requiring reflexes. This was different in that it was a more meditative practice of doing the same movement repeatedly and trying to be mindful it. Not something I'll enjoy on a daily basis, but it had a calming effect. Back, bicep, and leg exercises after that. Given how tired weight training makes me, I'd say I'm in need of it more than I realized.

Core exercises and a short run. On my feet for a shift at work, but I'll be damned if I make that "my life is a marathon" excuse.

I did a pull-up at work. yep.


  1. Ah! Jesse! Who are you on MyFitnessPal? I'm SillyC2! Send me a request!

    1. I hadn't even considered the social media aspect of such an app! I am oldjessup87.

    2. The Long Distance Runners group has a good forum going, and I got a few friends from there. Nice, supportive people.

      I'm trying to lose a bit of weight and cut back on the sugar. Would you believe I only get 1400 calories a day if I don't run? And then I only get something like 70 calories per mile cuz I'm little. AAAAAAGH.