Saturday, March 29, 2014

Mind Bender

My apologies for not having  posted in quite some time. Life has gotten very hectic since the end of January so I have kept my head down, my nose clean, and focused on work and training. I will discuss many of those changes in later posts when they solidify a bit more but today I want to talk about a change that has been going on since the Fall.

As some of you know my weight has skyrocketed since September. I weighed around 128 then; now I weigh in at 145 lbs! That is HUGE gain, and I have been freaking out. An almost 20 lb gain is a lot in 5 months time. Moreover it is showing in my training: my swim has improved, my FTP has jumped, but unfortunately my run has slowed. I was still able to run a 1:17 half at the beginning of February but it was a greater effort hauling all that weight. Further, my easy pace as become a shuffle. This increase in weight most likely led to my quad and hip flexor strain as well since my body is simply not used to carrying so much.

What is really weird and yet comforting is that it is almost all muscle! I did a DEXA scan last week which is the gold standard for body composition analysis. It came out at 7.8% including organs! My ultra sound measurements confirm these findings and my clothes still fit with the exception of my sleeves on my small cycling jerseys, my tri kit whose legs are too tight now around the quads, and my favorite Amrita bar t shirt, which has now become a muscle shirt.

While these findings are nice to know, I still struggle with this image. I now have more of a triathlete body instead of a runner's body. My quads are more trunk like and my upper body is broader. Gone are the days of pencil arms and a flat chest. It is hard though for me to get used to this. For so long, I have wanted a triathlete's body but now that it is here I am not sure if I like it or not.

A sonogram of my waist. The white line on top is fat

What has helped me calm my mind is looking at the other benefits of having this higher weight:
  • I am sick less often
  • I have higher power on the bike
  • I no longer have the strength of a middle school girl 
  • I look like an athlete
Overall, I have to remind myself that the ideal body is that which will help me achieve my goals and race/train to the fullest and consistently without getting sick and having to take two or three days to fully recover.

As far as my run goes, my body needs to adapt to this higher weight. It is not used to dragging and cooling so much muscle. The speed will return I just have to be patient and start shifting my mind from "anorexic=fast" runner to "let's kick ass" triathlete but that is just my two watts.

Confucius says a lot of things

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