Tomorrow I’m going to arrive for my second monthly biometric weigh-in, and the results are not going to be pretty.
I realize that statement opens the door to all kinds of follow-up questions. What’s a biometric weigh-in? It’s a chance for me to stand on a body-fat scale and learn if I’ve built any muscle over the past four weeks. Why do it? Because after reading Matt Fitzgerald’s book Racing Weight, I realized I wasn’t going to get any faster until I upped my muscle content. Who performs it? The free nutrition coach at my office, which, let’s be honest, is a cool perk. Who’s my favorite ninja turtle? I’m embarrassed you had to ask.
For years, I didn’t give a darn about fancy things like BMI and muscle mass and Donatello, assuming that because I ran upwards of 40 miles a week in training for an annual marathon that I surely boasted a healthy body composition. But after I read Racing Weight, I decided to make sure. I made an appointment with my local nutritionist, stood on her shiny scale, and learned the disheartening truth: I have the muscle composition of a 47 year old woman.
Also, the celebrity crushes of a 47 year old woman. Thank you, Joe Biden.
I know what you’re thinking: doesn’t bulky muscle weigh a runner down? It could if you look like the former California Governor, but for most runners, a little lean muscle goes a long way toward injury prevention and higher metabolism and proper alignment and street cred with a West Side Story snap gang.
With that knowledge, I approached the circuit of strength exercises my nutritionist gave me with the ultimate vigor. I did squats. I did lunges. I did alternating superman, or as I preferred to call it, the Christopher Reeve/Dean Cain. And I felt sore and tired and awesome, and vowed to keep it up three days a week between now and the marathon.
I then I went on vacation. And oh man, when I go on vacation, I do it right.
I went to North Carolina and drank all the wine on the Eastern Seaboard.
And chased it with seafood doused in butter by the pound.
Then I went to a wedding where the main course was pig.
And there ate several slices of a real, authentic “cheese cake.” They were just blocks of cheese in a pile. I fell in love.
With that kind of month in my recent history, I can’t imagine there’s anyway I could step on that scale leaner and stronger tomorrow than I was a month ago. There’s no way around it: the numbers are not going to be pretty.
Fortunately, my last four weeks were pretty pretty themselves.
Do you work strength training into your running routine? How about cheese cakes?