Apr 172013

I did my 14 mile run yesterday thinking and praying for Boston and the people affected by the horrific terror attack there at the marathon. I encountered a few people out walking/running with Boston Red Sox shirts on (I wished I had one). I waved and commented to each as we passed, “Praying for Boston.” They all responded verbally or nodded – seemed like a way many of us processed and honored those who were hurt in the senseless violence.

Well, I am 2 and 1/2 weeks out from the New Jersey Marathon. My goal is still to qualify to be at the starting line in Hopkington on Patriots’ Day next year.

Back to the weight loss subject… Cartoon-Fit-Senior-Man-RunningAs 2013 appeared on the horizon my post-run weight had crept back up over 160 lbs but I was armed with new determination to get my weight into the 150’s on an ongoing basis. I knew that diet was a big part of the weight loss picture but have to admit that I didn’t know very much about the whole nutrition thing. I realized that I needed to learn more about “food” words that I did not understand. I am convinced that a great number of people don’t know a calorie from a carbohydrate! Thus began an effort to assimilate knowledge about the different kinds of food and how the body processes nutrients. I am not a nutritionist or dietician so far be it from me to attempt to explain all that stuff. Suffice it to say that in the last couple of months of 2012 I spent a fair amount of time online learning about diet and meal plans. What I settled on as a strategy was modifying my eating habits to further control portions, limit carbohydrates and extra snacks while emphasizing vegetable and fruit consumption and maintaining a good balance of protein and fat. I enjoy cooking and do most of the meal preparation at our house and at least half of the grocery shopping so this seemed all very doable. To assist my efforts and provide some examples I printed out three examples of meal plans to give me some fresh ideas. Of course, as previously noted, I planned to ramp up into a little more aggressive training program mileage wise and add in some core work. This would all help in the weight loss effort by burning more calories.

I was also ready to face up to the truth that weighing myself AFTER a run was all well and good but thinking that those figures represented my actual weight was fooling myself so I began stepping on the scale before a run as well as after two to four times a week. I started logging those figures as well as my body fat percentage. This led to establishing a goal weight. Prior to this I didn’t have any way of determining what might be a good target weight to aim at. An understanding of body fat percentage is very useful in figuring out a healthy race day weight. There is some difficulty in measuring body fat percentage and a variety of ways to go about it. Variability amongst individuals as well as how this all relates to people as they age complicates the matter not to mention the inaccuracy of the bio-impedance measuring device included in my scale. Nevertheless my regular weigh-ins provide a reference for me regardless of absolute accuracy.

I started logging my pre-run weight and body fat percentage figures the first week in February of 2013. By that time my pre-run weight had fallen to  158 lbs – the new meal plan was working! My body fat percentage that week was 20.6%. The body fat percentage charts that I found reflect a “fitness” level body fat range for 60 year old and up males of 17% to as high as 20%. I decided to take the 17% figure as a goal. Projecting the weight I would have attain to achieve a 17% figure requires a little math… first you have to determine your lean body mass (a number you don’t want to see decrease as it represents muscle, bone, and organ weight) from there you can calculate your weight at a certain body fat percentage (please see any of the body fat percentage sites for the process). At 17% body fat I would weigh somewhere between 151 and 152 pounds. 152 lbs became my goal weight for race day on May 5.

Sad to say I won’t achieve that for this race. My weight and body fat percentage continue to decline but at a slow rate (too much snacking). Currently they are 156.5 lbs and 20.0 respectively. I reset my goal last week for race day weight to 154 lbs which I think I can reach if I’m careful. This would still be a 5 lb reduction from my race day weight at the Mohawk-Hudson Marathon last fall. At 2 seconds per pound per mile it represents more than 4 minutes and 20 seconds over the course of 26.2 miles.

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