Marathon Body Expectation Vs. Marathon Body Reality

When I signed up for my 1st marathon (which is about to go down in 5 days) I envisioned crossing the finish line in my best body yet. I mean, how can you train for a marathon and not lose the excess body fat right?

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I did go into it knowing it was harder for some to drop pounds while training. But I had 30 I wanted to lose (15 of which was still pregnancy weight) and figured at least some of it would fall off. I’d be exchanging fat for muscle at any rate. And while this is true is some sense, it didn’t happen like I anticipated.

First off this isn’t a long list of excuses. Of course I could have done better in some areas. But for having a new baby, a toddler under three, running a house with a husband who works long hours, along with my foot injury, I did the best with what I could. This is my opinion on why things didn’t work how I thought they would.

It’s true, I may have been living in dream land a bit when I first envisioned my marathon ready body. I wanted a complete transformation. I told myself I would be disciplined, dedicated. When the baby napped I would work out, regardless of if I was tired or not. I would push through, because I had passion and drive. I read every motivational quote to myself over and over again . . . and then I passed out drooling on the couch next to my sleeping baby.

Hello reality!

Heck yes I worked out, but not at that super intense level I’d been envisioning.

First lesson learned: Make obtainable goals

I was never going to have the body fat ratio of an elite athlete within one year of having my daughter. It just wasn’t going to happen.

Nursing my daughter was also something I didn’t want to compromise. However for reasons that would take up an entire blog post in itself, I struggled with nursing because of some medical related information that turned out to be wrong. All the stress of dealing with that, along with my doctor thinking the issues was related to nursing and hormones (which sadly turned out not to be the case) caused my supply to go down and I ended up supplementing with a specific organic formula I researched big time. I was intense with Tyrion and didn’t want him on formula at all, so the fact that I was giving my daughter it, even in supplementation to breastfeeding, made me feel like a failure. I struggled with emotional eating for a couple months as I worked through these issues.

*I’m not in any way saying moms who use formula are in the wrong. Please don’t get mad. I’m saying I had envisioned nursing my daughter like I did my son until he was just over one, and it was very emotional when I realized that wasn’t going to be a reality anymore.

Lesson two: Things come up that you aren’t expecting, and you have to go with the flow.

Another thing that I didn’t anticipate: getting injured.

When my foot started throbbing after my runs I was slightly concerned, but figured it would go away on it’s own. It ended up getting progressively worse, and I was unable to run for a month, until I finally got an injection in my foot that allowed me to begin running again. This was a total month of no working out at all. Even my home DVD’s were to painful to complete with my injured foot.

Lesson three: Injuries happen. Be prepared.

After my injury I was finally getting into a good routine, when for some reason I hit a running funk and had a hard couple of weeks getting motivated. After researching I realized this was very common in marathon training. Most runners experienced a difficult time and have to learn how to push through. I wrote a post on that recently if you want to take a read. After a couple weeks I was back to normal and training hard again.

In all my ups and downs, running and PiYo workouts, my weight wasn’t changing. I’d maybe lost 2-5 pounds, but it fluctuated a lot and never went down any further. I was listening to a podcast the other day by Chalene Johnson and what she said seemed so relevant to my current situation.

When you first do something new your body typically responds great to it! It’s not anything it’s known so far (hello muscle confusion) so it’s very efficient at calorie burning. Which is what happened with my son. PiYo and running were completely new to me things after I had him and they worked amazingly at getting the weight off and toning up. I mean, I lost 50 pounds by 10 months postpartum. That’s some pretty good numbers to me. So why then at 11 months postpartum with Evelyn do I still have 12 pound to lose? Could it be that my body already new the routine and was good at it, therefore it didn’t have to work as hard when I myself felt I was killing it? I think that’s a big part of why I’ve plateaued the last several months. Another reason is probably the amount of running I’ve been doing. Short runs and interval training are excellent ways to drop pounds, but intense long runs put your body through lots of stress, which can cause maintenance, or even weight gain. Yes I’ve heard of those who can lose weigh while training for a marathon, but I’ve heard far more often of plateaus and gaining. Yikes!

Lesson four: Mix it up. Doing the same things will not always give you the same results.

So far on my Journey from 1 month postpartum to now, 11 months postpartum, these are my current results.

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I have made some progress for sure, but not to the level that I wanted. Though to be completely honest I gave up on doing much cross training/PiYo these past two months. It’s so time consuming running lately, and it takes about everything out of me, that I just can’t force myself to do another workout, however beneficial, along with running. Bad I know, but I’m just being honest here. So, any kind of toning I was getting upper body wise has probably softened by now.

But hey, I am running a MARATHON, and that was my goal. Things came up, I had to adjust, and I’m still in the game! Soooooo excited about that!!!!! I have new goals after the marathon, and you know what? I’ll kill those too. Because if I can run a marathon I can do any other health related goal I set my mind too. So excited for the next chapter in my fitness. It’s going to be great!

I’m positive anyone marathon training has their share of stories on how it almost didn’t come to pass. Like Travis told when we were talking about my training the other day, “If it was easy everyone would do it.” As it stands, only 0.5% of Americans have ran 26.2 miles! That’s a crazy low number, which makes it even more cool that if everything goes to plan, this Saturday I’ll be able to add my name to that small percent.

Overall I’m grateful I made it to this point, and can’t wait to run over that finish line this weekend. It’s been a long road. I’m also excited for the next phase of my journey, which I’ll talk about in a future blog post!

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