One of the dangers of doing the same race for the second year in a row is the constant comparing to the previous year. The comparisons don’t stop at workouts, I also find myself comparing the current me to the former me. I was thinking last night that I don’t know if I feel as fit as I did last year, even though I’m swimming faster, putting out more watts on the bike and running pretty close to what I was a year ago. Why don’t I feel as fit?
I think it’s because we are accustomed to thinking that fit and skinny are the same thing. Last year, I had trouble keeping my weight up during training. I was eating low carb then and I just couldn’t get enough calories to maintain. This year, I’ve been eating more junk food. I know it’s not good, but I have to be honest— eating low carb is hard, and training for an Ironman is hard, and doing an Ironman two years in a row with a lot of other racing in between is hard. I can only take so much. If I want to eat a cookie, then right now that is what I need to do. Maybe tomorrow I’ll stop eating cookies, but today that is what I am choosing. So it’s no surprise that my weight for this race is higher than it was last year.
But what is surprising is that almost all of the additional weight is muscle. And it’s not just according to the scale. My massage therapist, who I saw through last year’s training and this year’s, comments all the time that I’m carrying a lot more muscle this year and that the muscle tissue is a lot healthier.
I think that when you are close to a healthy body weight, when you lose more weight you are going to lose some muscle along with it. That is what I’m hearing from my doctor and that is what I’m seeing in my life. My doctor told me last year that the body will take what it needs for fuel, and it will burn muscles for fuel if necessary. I think that is what happened to me. Over the off season I worked hard to put on more muscle and by maintaining a higher weight I’ve been able to keep it.
Now I just need to maintain through the taper and see what happens on race day. 

One of the dangers of doing the same race for the second year in a row is the constant comparing to the previous year. The comparisons don’t stop at workouts, I also find myself comparing the current me to the former me. I was thinking last night that I don’t know if I feel as fit as I did last year, even though I’m swimming faster, putting out more watts on the bike and running pretty close to what I was a year ago. Why don’t I feel as fit?

I think it’s because we are accustomed to thinking that fit and skinny are the same thing. Last year, I had trouble keeping my weight up during training. I was eating low carb then and I just couldn’t get enough calories to maintain. This year, I’ve been eating more junk food. I know it’s not good, but I have to be honest— eating low carb is hard, and training for an Ironman is hard, and doing an Ironman two years in a row with a lot of other racing in between is hard. I can only take so much. If I want to eat a cookie, then right now that is what I need to do. Maybe tomorrow I’ll stop eating cookies, but today that is what I am choosing. So it’s no surprise that my weight for this race is higher than it was last year.

But what is surprising is that almost all of the additional weight is muscle. And it’s not just according to the scale. My massage therapist, who I saw through last year’s training and this year’s, comments all the time that I’m carrying a lot more muscle this year and that the muscle tissue is a lot healthier.

I think that when you are close to a healthy body weight, when you lose more weight you are going to lose some muscle along with it. That is what I’m hearing from my doctor and that is what I’m seeing in my life. My doctor told me last year that the body will take what it needs for fuel, and it will burn muscles for fuel if necessary. I think that is what happened to me. Over the off season I worked hard to put on more muscle and by maintaining a higher weight I’ve been able to keep it.

Now I just need to maintain through the taper and see what happens on race day.