Weighed Down

23 Oct

Lately, I have become a little obsessive about my weight.

I have NEVER been someone to be crazy about the number on a scale, until I read a blog post from a fellow runner, and an article in Runner’s World about the importance of “race weight”.

After I read these blogs and articles, I sat there and started reflecting over the last year. I know that I have not been watching the food and drinks that I put into my body like I should. I also now know that I currently weigh more than I ever have (even more than I did when I was in my beer drinking, pizza eating years of college). Think those two items are related? You bet they are.

So why didn’t I watch what I was eating? “Well duh! I am training for a marathon! I can eat whatever I want!”

So that thinking right there, so WRONG. And I learned that the hard way last week when I stepped on a scale for the first time in months.

When I saw the number that appeared, I about had a meltdown (ok, I did have a meltdown). Yeah, I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty, because I have noticed that my body seems a little different than it did a few years ago, and shorts don’t fit me like they used to. But I wasn’t expecting the number that appeared.

The number on that scale was 12 pounds heavier than it was when I ran my first half marathon 4 years ago (still my PR to this day – 1:34).

See those itty bitty size zero shorts?? Yeah…I can’t get into those anymore.

Now I am in a total freak out mode that I am going to ruin my chances of PR’ing the NYC marathon and running under a 3:30 because I weigh too much. Can my body carry that extra weight 26.2 miles under an 8 minute pace? Did I run my 13.1 PR of 1:34 years ago because I was so thin?

I know it isn’t smart to diet before a race, but I have been paying attention to what food I put into my mouth for the first time in a year. I have been making much smarter choices (no pizza, no fried food, nothing with gravy), and not going back for seconds. I have also cut out all alcohol except on the weekends (I used to drink a glass of wine every night). With these habits, I hope to see the number on the scale drop a few pounds before I run NYC. Which will also relieve some of my stress about the situation.


This post is in no way asking for people to tell me, “You are so skinny, you should love yourself” blah blah blah. I know I am skinny, but I am not happy with myself relative to where I have been in the past.

The point of this post is to get feedback from other runners and athletes on their thoughts about “race weight”, how they trim down before a race, and also how they keep themselves feeling full during training (I am ALWAYS starving!).

Please share any thoughts and tips you have. I always love to hear from you all!!



I will make one positive comment – although I weigh the most than I ever have, I am also the happiest than I have ever been 🙂

19 Responses to “Weighed Down”

  1. RunnerOnTheRight October 23, 2012 at 9:19 pm #

    First off, the honesty with yourself is the best start. I won’t tell you that you are skinny and you should love yourself since you asked not to (even though both are true). What is funny is I just started thinking about that same topic last night a month out from my marathon. Fortunately no freak out, though yes, guys have them too. But what I did promise is that I would be more conscious as the weeks wind down so my body is ready for the race. It isn’t the weight, but the condition your body is in as a result of the food you eat. If you have trained mostly healthy and are feeling pretty good overall, then you are probably doing a good job anyway. As runners, we have higher standards for ourselves, but you can do it. To feel full, I just drink a ton of water, lot of fruit and vegetable snacks, some fiber too (that helps you feel full), and try to be more conscious of junk food snacking and the like. I eat a lot of pretzels too- I am a salty snacker, and I can tell myself it’s carb loading. No one thing, but just about being mindful of it all. Have faith in your training, your body and yourself and you can no doubt PR! PS- Sorry for such a crazy long response!

  2. Jenna Bromberg October 23, 2012 at 9:25 pm #

    You’re beautiful and strong and fantastic. The number on the scale is totally stupid. And that last comment on that last picture right there says it all 😉

  3. Robin October 23, 2012 at 9:26 pm #

    I can’t give an opinion on you because, yes, you are much thinner than myself. But I can tell you my own experience. I weighed myself in May after my marathon and I was 12 pounds heavier than the last time I had gotten on the scale. And while I was still hitting good paces, I could tell that my fitness was not where I wanted it to be and I blamed it on my weight. I lost those 12 pounds over the summer and have been hitting race times that I had never dreamed of. Don’t be scared of attempting the sub-3:30. From what i have seen of your running, I would say you are more than capable of that time regardless of any weight. Believe in yourself and you will get there!

  4. Emily October 23, 2012 at 9:33 pm #

    I think our bodies really begin to change in shape and size overtime. I am not saying it is acceptable for us to Allow our bodies to become obese. However at a certain age (different for everyone) our bodies metabolism starts to slow and we have to work harder to be/feel skinnier on the scale. I think you also need to remeber that muscles weighs more than fat and ask yourself if you do more conditioning than you did when you ran your 1/2 pr. I don’t know what the right balance is but it is super easy to get overly consumed in something that is a small piece in the puzzle when you line up on race day.

    Love you and you are amazing!

  5. Beaners October 23, 2012 at 9:36 pm #

    I just got so excited when I read the caption to the pic of you and Ramsey 🙂

    Ps: I think you look smoking hot in both of those little shorts! Miss you, what a fun summer that was.

  6. Lindsey October 23, 2012 at 9:43 pm #

    I know I’m not a marathon runner or an athlete but I wanted to chime in… 🙂 Regardless of your weight (I think you look fabulous as always) you’re going to do GREAT in a couple of weeks!

    Maybe your shorts don’t fit the same because of the amazing muscle you’ve gained from all your hard work. Keep your chin up Alicat, I have every faith in you that you’ll PR and feel amazing about your outcome. 🙂

    P.S. You looked super toned!!!

  7. Heather Iacobacci-Miller October 24, 2012 at 8:05 am #

    It can be easy to let your eating get out of control when you’re training. I know I have a tendency to treat myself to extra pizza – you know, carb re-loading of course. But, the numbers on the scale really don’t tell the whole story. It’s how your clothes fit, how you feel. I don’t know if you strength train, but I highly recommend that all women (especially runners) do. It helps keep your metabolism going, it makes you stronger and leaner as well.

  8. Jen Correa @ Moms Gotta Run October 24, 2012 at 8:19 am #

    Sadly the truth is that many people (including myself) tend to gain weight during marathon training. At the beginning of this training cycle, I was very conscious of everything I ate. Then I just kept getting hungrier and “rewarding” my runs. I realized a few weeks ago that I was getting a little bit out of control. I have not been very successful at scaling back. If I got on a scale, it would prob say that I was up 5-10 lbs. since I started training. BUT the fact is that running this marathon in 10 days is my goal and I cannot do ANYTHING that could change that focus or jeopardize it. Will your weight affect your time, it could but I think if you are determined AND FOCUSED on taper and keeping everything status quo, you will PR. And then on 11/5, we both get back on track with the eating. 😉

  9. Anonymous October 24, 2012 at 9:01 am #

    I GET this. On so many levels. I’ve been obsessing (mildly for me) over this same thing lately and my marathon is at the end of January.

    I am a late-life runner–just started last year at age 40. And I was in good shape when I started–always exercised using weights, walking, elliptical, bike. I am a slow runner, but I get it done. I went from only occasionally doing intervals to 3 half marathons within 5 months time. And I haven’t looked back. I scaled my mileage back over the summer and did cross training. And I am obsessive about eating right, though I splurge on weekends a little. But I stepped on the scales two weeks ago and discovered I am 12 pounds HEAVIER than I was before I started running. That sent me this former sufferer of an eating disorder into a major panic.

    Fortunately, my friends who are seasoned distance runners and triathletes talked me down. Muscle DOES weigh more than fat, they reminded me. Just be smart about what you eat. I am not built like a distance runner–not tall and lean. I’m short and…well, stocky, isn’t the right word. But I bulk up with muscles easily, maybe because of my lack of height. It doesn’t distribute the way it might on a taller person.

    Your times are like lightning to me (seriously). Don’t stress about it. Just leave the junk food or rich stuff for special occasions. If I can do it, anyone can.:)

  10. Corey October 24, 2012 at 9:57 am #

    Ali, I can 100% relate to everything you wrote here. And I commend you for being so honest and putting it out there. That is definitely something I haven’t been able to do, despite how much thought I have put into it over the last year or so. I have wondered if my training partner (who weighs about 20 pds less than me and is only about 4 inches shorter), is working much less hard to achieve the same pace. And I wondered if part of the reason I haven’t finished a marathon strong is because of the extra weight that I am carrying. And then, I lost about 3-5 pounds over the last several months and all of a sudden I am a little faster. So I wonder if I lose that other 5 that I probably need to, if I would be even faster? I don’t think you are doing anything wrong by watching what you eat leading up to NYC. In fact, being careful about what you eat in the weeks leading up to a race (as Shalane has said she does!) is probably ideal, assuming you are fueling yourself properly still. So if you lose a few pounds in the process, it is probably a win-win. I am not sure if this was anything but a ramble…but its my 2 cents on race weight 🙂

  11. joe h October 24, 2012 at 10:20 am #

    dumb question but have you looked at your % body fat? you may have gained muscle which is heavier than fat and in that case you don’t want to lose weight by losing muscle. good luck at NYCM

  12. Nicole October 24, 2012 at 10:38 am #

    Things to remember. You are not the same as you were when you ran a 1:34 PR. In many ways you have improved yourself. When you ran that race you were unemployeed and had the ability to devote all of your time to training. Now you have so many more things going on in your life. All of these new things are poritive and helping make you so much happier. I remember that girl who PR’d – she was great, but this person training for the NYC marathon has been an inspiration to so many including myself. I can tell that right now you are in an overanalysing state of mind and stressing about this race more than you should be. Believe in yourself, you have put the work in. Your coach and your fans know you can do it. You need to think positively about your training and believe in it! Just think without those few extra pounds would you be apple bottom Ali? Your shorts fit differently with that cute booty! Your weight will flucuate when training, watch what your eating until race day but don’t over analyze everything you are eating it will just stress you out more. Have faith in yourself. You are going to rock 26.2!! Love you, miss you, can wait to cheer you on from a far in 11 days!

  13. nycrunningmama October 24, 2012 at 11:23 am #

    Girl, I totally can relate. Part of it may be that b/c of all the mileage you are putting in, you have developed more muscle in your legs than you used to have…That was something I learned…My legs/thighs actually got bigger when I started increasing the miles…And muscle weighs more than fat…so the #s on the scale went up.
    In regards to not paying attention to what you are eating – I think it’s safe to say that we have all been there. I have often allowed myself to eat whatever I want post-run (esp post long run)…I just ran 20 miles so why can’t I eat this…I am certainly not going to tell you that this is so wrong – b/c it’s not. But I will tell you what I have learned. Eating junk food post run doesn’t work for me. Yes, it tastes great and I’m happy – but it actually doesn’t fill me up b/c it’s not what my body needs or is craving. So i would eat all these empty calories and then be hungry again an hour or two later and repeat the cycle. The trick (for me) is learning what foods best satisfy me and fill me up post long-run. Most often this is now chocolate milk (immediately after) followed by some sort of protein and carbs after that. And I eat small meals for the first 3-4 hours after. Most often, I do allow myself to eat whatever I want later that night – after my body has been properly refueled.
    Don’t worry about what the scale says on the 4th – if you feel strong, you will run strong – an extra 10 pounds is not going to cause you to not qualify!!! xoxo

  14. Daphne @ Candy Coated Runner October 24, 2012 at 12:26 pm #

    I struggle with this alot, bc you want to be lean and light, but still want to be muscular and strong. And judging by your training and past races, you are certainly strong! I don’t think it’s a bad idea to watch what you eat, but i think it’s also SUPER important to allow yourself to cheat sometimes and have the things you want but don’t need. It’s important not to get obsessive about food and your weight. I think cutting out alcohol during the week is such a smart move too! And know that you are already strong enough to take on NYC, regardless of what the scale says!

  15. David H. October 24, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

    I gain/lose like 5-8 pounds all the time, yet my speed has gradually gotten better at the longer distances. Sure, extra weight may slow us down at time, but generally speaking it’s not something you should worry about at this point in your training. Just run.

  16. Ryan Knapp October 24, 2012 at 2:01 pm #

    What you said in the post is telling. Most people who train for a marathon or race overeat because they think they have done all this work, so they can eat what they want.

    What matters is how you feel. Stressing over a few pounds is just that, stress. If you do want to get technical about it, there is a difference between weight based on what part of the year you are in.

    If I’m resting (like now,for the next 60 days) I’m about 185. If I’m in full training mode, I’m about 175-177 and if I’m racing I’m at 170. It fluctuates because of the stress on my body, the type of food I’m taking in and the calories in/out simple theory.

    You’ll do great at NYC and you’ve put in the training, so now is the time to come out of it.

  17. C_LosRun October 25, 2012 at 1:04 pm #

    I think a few other people have said this, but I also recently started paying a little more attention to my weight, especially after the 20-mile race this past weekend that I completely bombed. I refused to let myself think the heat and humidity could possibly be the reasons.

    A few months ago I joined some running buddies on myfitnesspal, Some time back I had been doing the calorie counting thing on Livestrong.com and I found the same thing, I could never consume enough calories in a day after taking into account the running calories burned.

    I’ve come to realize that I have a certain body type that isn’t going to lose weight unless I plain stop eating. And we both know that doesn’t help while training for a marathon. So I decided to counter that with higher intensity weight training. The number on the scale didn’t change but I did feel my clothes fitting better and it certainly helped with my confidence (even allowing me to run without a shirt, this is huge for me).

    I think most runners battle with this. We love to eat. And I believe we should. Personally, I eat smartly during the week and allow myself to indulge on the weekends. It’s all about doing something that you don’t end up resenting and ultimately quitting. You’re training paces are strong and I have no doubt you’re gonna obliterate that 3:30. You’ll make it your bitch and you won’t look back. I’m excited for you!

  18. Stacy Scalfaro October 28, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

    Here’s coming from a girl who just ran a marathon and gave myself permission to eat guilt free for one week post race. I have taken this quite serious. So take it for what it’s worth. Race weight does have it’s benefits, but I read a great article from a marathon woman talking about her race weight being her healthy weight. It wasn’t her lightest weight, but it was when she was in the best shape. I have trained by your side and seen you doing TRX and running some fast, long miles. The scale may not reflect the number you want, but I think the data with your 10K PR and your miles splits tells a much better story of how you will do on race day. You have worked hard to get here Ali. Don’t let a number on a scale worry you one bit. You are stronger and faster than ever. You put together a schedule and followed it. You may have cheated a little on your food and drink options, but you haven’t cheated on your training. That would be a concern, but a few extra lbs isn’t going to slow you down one bit. You have the package deal going on right now and are going to PR big. And, if any runner out there has enough self control to train for a marathon and not indulge please find me and tell me your secret. I know there is a balance, but I just can’t run a 20 miler without a treat. Watch out New York because Ali is about to PR. Love you Ali!!!

  19. Andrea October 28, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

    First, you look beautiful in both of your pictures, I cannot tell the different weights. In saying that, you have every right to feel whatever way about what you look like because it is how you feel. No matter your size, you want to feel good about yourself. I also know that as we get older, yuck :), it is harder to control our weight. Also, we can eat more as we run. (though i have only ran a half, I did the same with eating) I know from reading your posts that you are running so well right now. Maybe a few extra pounds may help but since we do not know, please don’t sweat it. I am sure you have so many things on your mind right now that you do not need to add a worry on weight on to it. Take it day to day. Don’t over do the watching what you eat. Enjoy what you still like as you go just watch it a bit more if you want. I am so excited for you in your running progress. I love reading your blog and telling others of how well you are doing. Good luck and keep up the great work!!!!

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