Nearly two years ago I ran a race up a mountain that I train on a lot. My own PR – personal record was 48 minutes. I didn’t try to go fast on it many times, my tendons, ligaments, muscles, breathing, and mind, were all adjusting to be able to run hard up that steep trail and I was afraid of injury if I pushed often on it. Fast forward to today – I push nearly every time I go – a couple times per week and I feel great, everything has adjusted. Anyway, back to the point.
I weighed about 160 lbs. when I ran the race. There was nobody close to my age running it. There were many Thai kid runners in their teens and early twenties. I went all out that day and got 42 minutes to the top of the mountain, beating my PR by 6 minutes. It is amazing what competition can do to push you – right?
So, over these two years I’ve added back on weight – mostly fat. I’ve only hit 42 minutes a couple of times up the mountain since then, and I attribute that to my heavier state. There is just no substitute for proper weight, especially when doing something like moving your body up a mountain against gravity. Your weight makes all the difference in the world for uphill running, summiting mountains, fell running, whatever it is.
Yesterday I ran up the same mountain with a younger guy, 25, who is in pretty good shape. He ran behind me, but I never really knew how close he was – so it propelled me forward faster than usual. Thing was, yesterday I didn’t feel like I had a fast run at all. I felt like I wasn’t really pushing it. My legs were sore from the previous day’s 2x climb up another mountain with steps.
So, I get to the top of this mountain and check my time. I ran in 43 minutes. WOW. That was really fast considering I felt like I’d hardly put the effort into it. Then I realized… recently I’ve also lost about 8 lbs. It’s now like I’m running without a whole backpack of weight. The gains are there, my fitness is much better than it was in the past, and as soon as I lose the weight to get back down to 160, or better 150 – I’ll be flying up the hill. That gave me a lot of motivation this morning as I realized I could do a 24 hour FAST today – and not eat anything at all, maybe accelerate the weight loss I’ve been working on.
So that’s what I’m doing – fasting today for the first time in my life.
What’s pushing me forward is the remarkable run yesterday and not even feeling like I ran hard. I lose another 10 or 20 lbs, I’ll feel like I’m floating up the mountain. I can almost definitely go under 40 minutes then.
The fastest time up the mountain during that race was by a guy in his late twenties that must have been on speed or something. He ran so fast and finished in 34 minutes. I was floored by his performance. But, now I’m shooting for the same. Time to beat him in March 2014 if he shows up.
How crucial is weight when you’re going for peak performance?
Very, very crucial. Get it done. Get rid of the weight and keep it off. See just how far you can go at the optimal weight.
I’m going to do just that. I hope you join me!
[Photo credit Dru Bloomfield at flickr.com]