Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dense, Wet Snow!

You know I love running in snow. Well it was coming down hard and fast, with a bit of wind added for extra credit.
Over the clouds rolled thunder. It was an erie sound, and I eventually figured it was wind, but then the news confirmed that the storm produced lots of thunder.

When I got back to my car, I started clearing it off. There had to have been at least 200lbs of snow on my car, in just the time I'd been parked there to go running 5.2 miles. How's that for "heavy"? By the time I got into my car, it needed clearing off again!

I figured I'd better get photos, or no one would believe me.
John Crowther was the only other person brave enough to join me.

See the pile of snow on my hat bill? I didn't know it was there. When I sat in my car and took off my cap, the pile landed in my lap.
At the restaurant afterward, I'd mentioned to the waitress that I only eat at restaurants after running. She said, "You went running?" "Yeah." "You mean like outside running?" We were standing by the window and the blizzard was billowing under the street lights. I just thought, what other kind of running is there?
It was definitely a fun run.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Weighty Problem

I saw a documentary that claimed that some people can't gain weight. It was really ridiculous, because the study didn't last long enough.
They did the study in an English(?) prison. If you reached the target weight, they let you out of prison. So there was lots of incentive to gain weight. Everyone in the study gained weight, but very few were able to pass the target weight of 25kg extra (55lbs).
They decided that some people CAN'T get fat.

The human body has all sorts of defensive tendencies, whether it's some sort of natural biological brain, or coincidence.
Fat requires virtually no maintenance to store. Protein, however, requires a constant flow of nutrients.
I don't like hearing that athletes have "a higher metabolism". That sounds too much like athlete's bodies are inefficient, when actually the opposite is true.
If you ever went to see Body World, then you saw how some people had virtually no muscle tissues anywhere on their body. It's horrifying.
The athletes - even the skinny ones - were almost entirely muscle.
Granted, when you exercise, there is a span of days where the body is cranking to recover. But let's say the athlete has a week of inactivity. The athlete will be using more calories sitting still than the obese person. This isn't because their engine is cranked in an inefficient way. This is because fat requires virtually no calories to maintain.
If you ever saw the TV show "The World's Biggest Loser" where teams of contestants try to lose more than other teams, then you know they do it by gaining muscle. Activities themselves really don't burn many calories. It's AMAZING what you can do, with so few calories. It can be frustrating, if you're on an ergonomic machine that counts calories, to see so few calories clicking off. You'd be inclined to think they're under-counting. But they probably aren't. Your body burns most of its calories through maintenance, not activity.
To win "The World's Biggest Loser", you do it by targeting muscle gain, not fat expenditure and starvation. Granted, you have to consume reasonable quantities and healthy foods, but they aren't working-out just to burn-off calories. Muscle weighs twice as much as fat, so as you gain muscle, you have to lose more than twice the fat by-volume in order to lose weight overall. But if you succeed in gaining muscle, your fat-burning engine will coast along, even when you don't work-out.

How long does it take to gain or lose enough muscle? It obviously depends on intensities, diet, but it takes many months just to start gaining weight. Gaining 25kg? Crap, they gotta be kidding! For people who have not been fat, changing their bodies to become fat requires the loss of a LOT of muscle! Even people who aren't athletes tend to have more muscle tissue than obese people. The more solid your muscle, the longer it will take. Saying some people "can't" get fat is preposterous. Anyone who stays sedentary long enough will lose muscle. When you lose muscle, you lose caloric expenditure when sitting and sleeping. If you consume more calories than your body burns, your body will try to burn it off through inefficiencies. This might cause plateaus. But eventually, if you keep up the sedentary lifestyle and over-eating, the math will go against you and your body will store more and more of the calories. This process takes YEARS!

Another thing that makes this prison study preposterous is that if you Google "weigh, gain, prison", you'll get tons of hits on how prison food will make you fat. If you live in a prison, and don't work-out, then you'll definitely get fat.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Trading Feet

My PF has been on the left foot. It's now been 11 months since I was derailed. Getting back into shape is going to take a long time. I've spent so much time nursing my left foot that the rest of me is still behind.
There was a nagging little pain in my left kneecap, but that's finally subsiding. That one is from not being used to running.
And so is the significant pain in my right foot. I ran Tuesday a week and a half ago and felt no pain. I ran around the rest of the evening with no pain. I woke up Wednesday morning and my right foot was very sore right in the middle of the forefoot. Prodding it caused no pain - I had to walk or run on it to hurt. And boy did it hurt. I limped all day and the next, and Friday, there was still a trace of limp.

Sunday, I went snowshoeing on and around Turquoise Lake, near Leadville. I was with friends. Half of them were in rather poor shape, so needless to say, I wasn't taxed at all. It was fantastic weather that ended in a storm with great big fluffy snowflakes.
It wasn't hard on my foot, at that point.

I ran again this last Tuesday. My foot still felt just a tiny bit sore. Probably ill-advised to run on it yet, but it held up. Wednesday morning it still felt fine.

I ran Thursday with DTR and had to stop half-way through walking the rest of it.

Friday, I walked to-and-from the lightrail stations for work, instead of driving my car. (My employer bought me an EcoPass.) The foot didn't appreciate what little walking I did. So this little set-back is going to postpone things.

So here I sit at the end of my week with my right foot in a pan of ice-water.

My PF is nearly all gone, but I'm not tempted to stack a bunch of miles on it. Sure, my head thinks stupid thoughts, and sometimes my body acts like a dog begging with its leash in its mouth, but so far I haven't had any significant delirium that would lead me to suddenly do a marathon or 50M. That's partly because I stay so busy and social that I'm adequately distracted.