Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bowling For Buddha

One of the hardest things about laying off running and pretty much any really strenuous exercise for a year is the weight gain. For me at least, it took forever to adjust my diet to the change in metabolism and the outrageous calorie burn you get running 40-50 miles a week, plus swimming and biking on cross-training days.

Despite the lack of exercise, I kept eating and drinking wine like Bacchus, failing to adjust my caloric intake. And I kept expanding like a balloon.

At the peak of my training two years ago, just before the Space Coast Marathon, I weighed just shy of 195 pounds. After the Tupelo marathon 10 months later, I was hovering around 205. By the time I got my doctor to get me an MRI three months ago, I weighed 229. Fully clothed. Wearing my five-hole Doc Martens.

 I was a happy Buddha, smiling and loving life.

But my doctor said lose the weight.

Running with an extra 34 pounds feels like lugging around two bowling balls strapped to your midsection. It is not fun. Your breathing is heavy. You plod along like Wimpy after indulging in a hamburger orgy. It does not feel good. You can only do about 3-4 miles a day, very slowly (10-12 minute pace in my case).

I've discussed weight loss plans with friends, nutritionists and doctors. The best one: eat less. Seriously. And cut back on the booze, never mind the miraculous restorative powers of Resveratrol contained in every bottle of red wine. As one writer once said, You have to stay hungry and stay sober.

And moderate exercise. Forty minutes a day of walking or biking or swimming, light jogging if your doctor OKs it. Basically, I've gotten back to running several times a week after my SI Joint injection and chiropractic treatment. I do regular physical therapy and yoga exercises to stretch out and strengthen my core and leg muscles. And I'm gradually losing weight. I am down to about 212-215 stark naked following a run or bike ride. I know that's cheating because there's a few pounds of water weight that will come back by day's end.

But I've noticed as I lose weight and recondition my core, I am running faster and stronger now that I'm no longer running around with two bowling balls strapped to my gut (down to one!).

Also, my back doesn't hurt -- hardly at all these days. I've stopped taking the Tramadol and the muscle relaxer, just a daily ant-inflammatory. My recovery rate is quicker, and I'm now running on average five to six miles a day, with an eight or nine mile run planned for this weekend.

And now, for your listening enjoyment, "Take The Skinheads Bowling," by Camper Van Beethoven:

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