Linda and I at the start of the 2010 Hamptons Half Marathon
Recovering from the hip pointer took time but I could run again so I was back on track to losing weight. Registering for a race helped motivate me before even though the injury kept me from toeing the starting line so I looked for a fall half marathon on a fairly flat course within driving distance. I found the Hamptons Half Marathon in East Hampton, NY It was way out on the end of Long Island but Linda and I decided to make it a fun weekend trip. We would take the ferry from Connecticut and stay overnight so I could be fresh for the race. She would provide encouragement, of course. When we told our boys, Josh, who lived in Greenwich, CN at the time said he would be delighted to make the drive out to cheer me on. Nathan and Rachel were also encouraging but much too far away in San Diego to participate.
My weight loss goals were fairly unfocused at that point. I didn’t even have a number in mind. I simply knew that I still had a bulge around my middle that had to go. My plan was also pretty rudimentary – no dieting, just, Run baby, run! As my hip healed I was able to consistently log weekly mileage in the twenties – not tremendouly high but not bad considering that I was still in my first year of running at the age of 60 and had never run before. My high mileage week that summer topped out at 29.1. As the mileage went up the weight continued to slowly go down.
I couldn’t weigh myself on race day in East Hampton since we were in a motel but my log shows that my post-run weigh-ins that week averaged 163.3 lbs. That figure is certainly low by at least 1.7 lbs but even so I was lighter by about 35 lbs than I had been 2 years previously. (If you are interested you can read my account of the 2010 Hamptons Half Marathon in my previous post entitled, “Hamptons Half Marathon Report”.)
In the months following the race I slacked off on mileage during the holidays. My typical weekly total was in the teens even dipping into single digits. By the time the new year rolled around my weight had crept back up to 168 lbs.
Me on the right at 163.5 – still a little belly.
All of 2011 my weight oscillated in a fairly narrow 7 lb range (167.4 - 160.4). There was only one week where I drove it below 160. (These figures are again all post-run figures before eating and rehydrating so actual weight was certainly 2-3 lbs greater). I averaged an honest 18.1 miles a week for the year but was not disciplined in my eating habits in the slightest. I should probably clarify that. I have never been a fast-food junkie. I don’t eat large amounts of red fatty meats. I like fruit, salads, and vegetables… of course I also have a pretty demanding sweet tooth. So while my diet was relatively healthy in content it was undisciplined in amount. It was somewhere in the fall of 2011 after my second Hamptons Half Marathon that I began to seriously toy with the idea of running a full marathon – something I had gone on record as saying that I would NOT do.It was during the training for the ensuing Mohawk-Hudson Marathon that it dawned on me that I needed to modify my eating habits. It was obvious to me that weight affected speed and stamina – Doh. The weight loss that I had achieved, I realized, was equivalent to shedding the burden of carrying two bowling balls around. My thoughts turned to how much easier it would be to run carrying even less excess weight and how that would affect my speed.
From the beginning speed was important to me – turns out I am a little competitive I understand the young bucks are going to out-pace me but I have developed a liking for winning or placing in my age group. A little online investigation showed that, on average, a one pound loss equals a two second gain in pace per mile (all things being equal). This information reinvigorated my weight loss efforts.
The proverbial “fly in the ointment” raised its head however - I began to find that while the first 35 lbs had come off relatively easily there was this God-created self preservation mode that the body employs to defend against losing its store of fat. This makes it increasingly difficult to lose weight as you approach your goal. So while exercise initially sufficed I realized it was going to take disciplining my calorie intake to lose more poundage.
Armed with this new-found knowledge and a fresh determination I entered 2012 committed to reach a new target weight. I wasn’t sure what it was going to be but it would definitely be in the 150′s – more on that in the next post.