Saturday, January 1, 2011

Discipline, Scooby-Doo and Sun Tzu Too

Rep, I reed to roose some reight...
This morning, I knew there was a problem when I got dropped off the pace-line five miles into a ride.  I've been riding with these guys for months, and we were not even going that fast.  Except for a minute or so every 5 minutes when I was out front, I was tucked safely into the slipstream and didn't have to put in a full effort.  I should have been fine.

Yet there I was, pulling off to the right and falling back.  We were riding south on Pacific Coast Highway, approaching Newport Blvd.  For those of you not familiar with the area, this section is actually slightly downhill.  But no matter, I was done.  My legs where burning and my chest was pounding.  I did a u-turn and limped home.  I have a rule - training has to be fun (or close to it), and the last 15 minutes had just sucked.

Except for last week when I weighed myself only to rationalize the weight increase to water retention, I've been avoiding the scale since Thanksgiving.  But it's January 1st and the rules changed at midnight.  When I got home from the ride, the first thing I did was weigh myself.  217 pounds.  That's 5 pounds over last week and 15 pounds over from where I was before Thanksgiving.

Rikes!!

As I result, I've made a tactical shift in my January training plan - to get as much training volume as I can running and cycling in zone 2.  If my speed suffers at the Surf City Half Marathon next month, then so be it.  And maybe losing a few pounds will have the same effect as a few more weeks of higher intensity training anyway.  This training shift will obviously be coupled with getting back to eating more sensibly.

I started the new plan right away.  This afternoon (after I licked the wounds received after wimping out on the ride), I went out and ran for an hour.  To be honest, I've never really looked at heart rate data as much as I did today.  It looks like a pace of 8:15-8:20 puts me squarely in zone 2.  This is good news - it's a nice enjoyable pace that doesn't feel too slow, and as a result it will be easier to stay focused.  On the food side I made a chicken stir fry with onions, red pepper, mushrooms and garlic coupled brown rice for dinner tonight.  More good news - after a few weeks of "bad eating" it was like eating comfort food again.  That's another good sign.

The best part about today though, is that when I stepped on the scale I didn't freak out.  I didn't go looking for green tea capsules, meal replacement shakes or contemplate a hunger strike.  That's what I would have done a few years ago - maybe I would see a really bad photograph of me and suddenly get a bug up my butt about losing weight.  Drastic measures where taken.  If I was lucky I'd last a week on the new (and foolish) routine and then just as quickly fall back to where I came from.

But the new me doesn't freak out as easily.  My lifestyle changes have given me discipline.  And discipline makes this problem a matter of "how?", not a matter of "if?".  Discipline also tends to make you a student of things.  And though I may not always listen in class, I've picked up enough new knowledge to give me the confidence I need to sort this weight gain out with minimal drama.  Because when something is viewed as a routine adjustment and not an all out emergency, it's easier to cope with.  One of the first lessons in Sun Tzu's "Art Of War" is to always attack from higher ground.  And if confidence doesn't give you the higher ground, whether it's in weight loss or pushing yourself to perform better, I don't know what does.

You've all got these coping skills too, so there's no need to worry if you have a similar story coming out of the holidays...

24 comments:

Pretend this is real said...

Great post and so true! Found myself needing that same slide back into routine after the holidays. Amazing how good it feels to be back in a regime. Good luck!

Caratunk Girl said...

I hear ya. Way to catch the gain and attack it in a healthy way. Happy New Year Patrick!

Jason said...

I believe failure is a major part of our success. If we don't fail we won't know how to succeed.

Congrats on gaining that discipline and knowing about who you are.

Shawn said...

You know yourself well Patrick....funny how we try to fool ourselves that we did "not' put on few....way to get back on track...rock n roll man!!!!

Kovas Palubinskas said...

For us bigger guys, nothing increases running pace as much as shedding extra pounds. Work on that and the pace will come. Make sure you don't overtrain in your excitement, Hawaii needs to remain in your mind.

Christi said...

Great post and great attitude Patrick! I have probably put on some weight because I know that I am eating a lot of crap. I trying not to freak so you are a great role model to follow. Thanks for leading the way!

DRog said...

I still get jealous every time I read you guys are riding the PCH

Great attitude and good job not freakin, youll be where you want to with your focus and the 70.3 training plan ahead

D

Jeff - DangleTheCarrot said...

You know a post is serious anytime you see a Sun Tzu quote within the body!

This is what the holidays do my friend. Stay aerobic for a month and it will all come off. I am doing pretty much the same thing. My IM plan is 90% aerobic for the first 8 weeks and because of this I switched my daily nutrition intake from 60%carbs/20%protein/20%fat to 60% Protein/20% crabs/20%fat.

Excess protein will force my body to burn fat and since my training is mostly aerobic the extra carbs are not needed. Also eat 6 small meals per day to keep your glucose level from spiking and sending your body into fat storage survival mode. Pretty simple if you make it a habit! Good luck!

Raegun said...

You've got a great game plan in place, Patrick. Stay focused and the results will come.

J. L. said...

I hear ya! I decided that I need to look at losing my extra weight as part of my training program. And I also have been reading a lot about how we need to scale back the exercise a bit during the "lose weight" phase. Triathlete mag had a great article about it in their Dec. issue. So, I raise my Water glass to you and wish you all the best in the weight loss part of your training.

Chris K said...

Training in Zone 2 rocks. Do it, do it, do it. In fact, I will email you an amazing article about training in Zone 2.

Bryan S said...

I'm completely on the same page with you here. I've easily gained 10-15 pounds after NYC marathon and I'm not really concerned. I know I'll just get back to my routine and the weight will come off. It's a new year so time to get back at it. P.S. I'm going to watch "Hood to Coast" next week and will leave extremely jealous of you. Happy 2011!

Black Knight said...

Great and true post.
Happy new year.

Kristin said...

I have done the same and know I now need to get back on track! Holidays!! Its like a bad toothache! Oh well whats done is done and all you can do is move forward! Congrats on getting yourself on track. And a Zone 2 run in 8:15 per mile?!! Wow!

Barbie said...

Good on you for taking the bull by the horns Patrick.

Katie said...

I'm not gonna lie, I freaked out a little over what I've seen on the scale the past few days.

But then I quickly reminded myself that: I know how to eat right, I know how to train right, within a week or two of doing this I will be right back where I want to be.

Good for you on not freaking out and getting back at it!

Emz said...

Here's the deal...

Have your in-laws come into town & you'll drop 3. Pounds in 8 days. Guaranteed.

[in your best infomercial voice]...
.... it worked for me!

Adrienne said...

I hear ya! I like your "non freaking" out method of losing the weight. It really is the only thing that works. We all know what we need to do so let's just do it. (I'm talking about me here too)

Jill said...

"They" say that for every 10 obs lost, you knock about 8 minutes off your marathon pace. I think we all need time off from serious training and to eat a little more freely but you had your fun and regrouping time and it's a new year with new changes! Nice job, Patrick, you'll succeed!!

Glenn Jones said...

I'm waving the magic wand today myself. My downfall is the egg nog and sweets.

valen said...

yeah... discipline and patience will do the trick.

Kate said...

I'm just relieved that the holidays are over and I can get back to normal. Why is it that I can get up before work to run, but not before my husband goes to work when I'm off. My "break" mode was almost without chinks.

Kind of the same thing...I weighed myself, winced, and remembered that I know what to do about it.

TRI714 said...

O.k. just real it in. Reset the hook and cast out.

Bruce said...

Thanks for the post Patrick! I have been kicking myself the past few days. Your attitude about turning it back around is helping me rethink what I need to do.

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