I gained 10 pounds last week.
Since nobody seems to believe that this is physically possible, I’m going to repeat that with some more specificity: the morning of Thursday, 5/16, I weighed exactly 10 pounds more than I did the morning of Thursday, 5/9.
Now that we’ve established that this is a real thing, and not just me whining about being fat without hard data to back it up, I’m going to explain some other things.
- No, this isn’t just temporary weight gain, since it hasn’t come back down since last Thursday.
- There wasn’t any kind of “ZOMG I went to New Orleans and drank until my liver exploded and ate all the beignets for a weekend and haven’t worked out for a month.” Quite the opposite. More like “No sugar in any form, an incredibly strict diet, and I came home from an almost 4-hour brick workout and ate plain chicken and broccoli. YUM.”
- Before you say “it’s probably all muscle!” please remember that women can gain MAYBE ¾ pound of muscle in A MONTH, and that requires focused training and diet modifications to do so. Oh, and P.S., distance running is catabolic, meaning that it breaks down muscle tissue, rather than building it up.
- I do acknowledge some of it is probably water. Still, given how tight my diet has been, I have no clue as to WHY I would be retaining so much water.
- Regardless of the source of it, gaining 10 pounds in a short amount of time is extremely uncomfortable. If you gain 10 pounds gradually, your skin slowly stretches, your muscles and joints adapt to the extra weight as it accumulates, and you don’t experience too much of a drastic shock. But if you put it on in a week? Your body flat out can’t handle it, your skin feels like it might bust open at any minute, and attempting any kind of physical activity is painful because you’re suddenly carrying more weight without any extra strength.
And why does this matter? Well, I have this little race coming up in 89 days, and it involves a bike course with this elevation profile.
Last weekend, I’d already noticed that I couldn’t manage my power effectively on hills because of my weight, so with the extra 10 pounds I was carrying for a super-hilly 53 mile ride THIS weekend made it even more obvious. There wasn’t any ignoring this – I watched my normal power numbers roll by while my speed plummeted and everybody and their brother passed me, all because I was suddenly carrying all this extra weight.
And as I watched my perfectly-reasonable power numbers suddenly become inadequate, a group of happily spinning women on bikes sped past me, gleefully chatting about the awesome climbing they were going to do, which made me want to stand up and yell “TRY DOING THAT WHEN YOU’RE A FATASS LIKE ME.”
It probably didn’t help that everybody else on the ride was happy and full of cookies from the rest stops while I ate about 75 calories worth of sweet potato puree over 3.5 hours of biking and drank some water to ignore everything I was missing out on because I can’t eat any grains, sugar, fruit, or, really, much of anything besides super-lean protein, vegetables, and a small amount of extra fat from coconut and seeds.
At this point, I have to wonder if I’m putting myself at a ridiculous risk of injury by trying to bike steep hills, or run at all, given how heavy I got in a matter of days. There’s no way I could bike 112 very hilly miles and then run a marathon at this weight, yet I have absolutely no idea of what to cut out of my diet at this point. I suppose I could go for, say, 3 egg whites instead of 5 for breakfast, but I don’t even know if THAT would stop the runaway weight gain.
Yes, I’ve seen a doctor about this. Several doctors. They don’t have any definitive answers, or solutions to offer besides taking some thyroid hormone to “see if it helps.” In the meantime, I have a limited and sparse diet, and my weight keeps climbing. Not exactly a good combination 12 weeks out from a hilly ironman race, which leaves me very seriously contemplating pulling out of Ironman Mont Tremblant. It’s just not enough time to either improve my muscular strength or get my weight back down, especially not after this bonus 10 pounds that appeared out of nowhere.
Anyway, like I said, this massive, sudden weight gain came while I was still training. Right?
Monday: Rest day.
Tuesday: 75 minutes on the bike trainer, including a 45 minute section at endurance power (158W), in the morning, followed by 4300 yards of swimming with DCRP masters in the evening.
Wednesday: 5 miles of treadmill speedwork– 600 (2:52), 1000 (4:53), 2200 (10:39) – and 45 minutes of strength training in the morning.
Thursday: 2500 yards of easy swimming in the morning to test out my new goggles, then 6.5 miles of painful lunchtime running where I felt every extra ounce I’d put on in the past week with every single footstrike. Oh, and it was windy. Perfect.
Friday: 7000 meters of swimming in the morning, which is almost exactly 4.4 miles – the distance of next month’s Chesapeake Bay swim. Done as 2500m (41:13), 2000m (33:11), 1500m (25:20), 1000m (17:03). Totaled to less than 2 hours, though the bay swim will take quite a bit longer because of currents and the like. That’s OK. In the evening, 45 minutes of strength training with tons of core/plank work.
Saturday: 53 miles of sad biking through the hills of West Virginia at 15.1 mph.
Sunday: 10 mile long run at a 9:28 average, which was a little slow because 1. I’m heavy and 2. I was up in Columbia, land of hills, to watch somebody finish his first triathlon ever.
(I didn’t mention to him until AFTER he registered that this is one of the hardest Olympic-distance races out there. I’m good like that.)