By: James Dodds
It is the New Year and I am thinking about starting a few resolutions. Actually, it is already January 10th and most of you have forgotten it’s a new year. I am actually still trying to figure out what happened to 2012. So if I don’t get going on something now then I will never get it done. Like everyone else, I would like to drop a few percentage points on the body fat, save a few dollars, and of course PR in my next marathon. But Herm Edwards has reminded us, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Here is my plan: In 2013, I will burn away body fat, save money, and PR in my next marathon by practicing these three principles: I will Buy More Bacon! I will Drink More Vodka! I will Skip More Runs!
Buy More Bacon
I love breakfast tacos. I love them so much. I have this routine every Friday. I meet my friends at Whole Foods and we run 7 miles. We meet at 7am and call it “Seven at Seven.” I know! Sweet name huh? Anyway, I am not there for the run. That is just the formality. I really go because after running we all go inside and order tacos. They taste so good! I love to get bacon and habanera sauce. One Friday I was sitting and thinking to myself, “What if I could do this every day? That would be the life.” Since I am a grown ass man, I started doing that!
On days I don’t meet my friends, I head out the door for the daily scheduled run and then treat myself to tacos at Central Market when I am finished. Two tacos and a coffee cost me $7.50. They know me by name and order. I don’t even have to say it anymore. Doing this Monday – Thursdays costs me $30 per week, or $120 per month, or $1,560.00 per year! Whoa tacos add up. But it aint the cash that really hurts. It’s the calories that hurt the most!
Central market makes some damn fine tacos. No one else focuses so much on taste. I swear they dip those tortillas in butter before warming them on the grill. They include at least two slices of bacon per taco and they are liberal with the cheese. If taste is the angle then hands down they win! By my calculations, I consume about 850-900 calories by ordering two of those at each sitting. And this wouldn’t bother me but I started hanging out with Jeff Knight.
You guys know Jeff! Real smart guy, coaches the elites, knows everything running, wrote a blog about Mel’s Meals. Well hanging out with that guy got me refocusing on portion control. I started thinking about how I used to be okay with one slice of bacon and two eggs for breakfast. That was before I started adding the tortillas and cheese and making it TWO! So I did the math and it turns out that each egg is 70 calories, and one strip of bacon is 70 calories. Two eggs (2 x 70) + 1 bacon strip (70 caolories) = 210 calories for breakfast. That saves 690 calories per day. That is 2,760 calories per week, 11,040 per month, 132, 480 per year!!! That is the equivalent of 38lbs per year.
So as long as I have bacon in the fridge, I am pretty good about cooking in Mondays – Thursdays. I still want my 7 @ 7 tacos on Friday. And I still like to veg-out after a long run on Sunday. Other than that, I can see myself saving some cash and shedding a few lbs by making a point to Buy More Bacon.
Drink More Vodka
This section has nothing to do with Vodka. This section has everything to do with wine. Red Wine! If you know me, then you know I love red wine. I have had runners, friends, and family all gift me the gift of red wine for birthdays, Christmas, end of season celebrations, you name it! It is the most direct way to my heart. I like a fat Cab Sav or a spicy Syrah. Hell, I don’t discriminate too much. I will drink it if it’s red. It always finishes off a good meal. And I have a nice habit going there too.
Jordan and I are pretty good about cooking meals for dinner. We often buy healthy meat, steam up some veggies, and add some brown grain to make healthy and well-rounded dinners … and then add half a bottle of wine each. We don’t really believe in splitting more than one bottle but we also don’t believe in drinking old wine. So we HAVE to finish each bottle. It is not uncommon to find us leaning over the counter to compare glasses, ensuring that the other did not receive more or less in his or her last pour. Don’t tell Jordan this but if a good movie is on and she isn’t looking, then I make my second pour pretty strong leaving that last split in my favor. That gets me about 2.8 glasses of wine to her 2.2 instead of the even 2.5 And this is a Mon – Thurs habit too. The wine totals up to about 325 calories per night and close to $10 per bottle. That’s another 19 lbs per year and another $2,000 in cash. I think you are starting to get the trend. And alcohol doesn’t just add the lbs.
Alcohol also inhibits the body’s ability to burn fat. It is a double whammy. So I tried giving it up once. I went for the system overhaul approach. It was about this time last year. I made it at least 11 days. My friends started liking me less. They said I had this alter ego and my friend Crista named him “Jaime.” Jaime comes out when I lack sleep or when I try too hard at life or in this case, stop drinking. Bad news is Jaime can be quite the diva. Good news is he isn’t that smart. Though he prefers red wine, he can easily be tricked with a lower calorie cheaper drink. Vodka and soda …. Sorority sisters for life mmmkaayyy! If I must have a drink, then a shot of vodka only cost me 60 – 70 calories and the soda costs me nothing. Cash wise, I haven’t spent a dime yet. Katie left a bottle of Titos at Rogue after the Christmas party and guess where it ended up? Yup!
For the record, I will never give up my love of wine but there are nights when drinking just isn’t necessary. Those nights I will stick with water and the healthy meal. Weekends will still include glasses of red and great conversations. The weeknights when a drink must be had, Jaime can be kept at bay with a club soda and Vodka. I am done with system overhauls. They have their place but this year a tweaking of the vices should do just fine. So instead of giving up drinking all together I simply plan to Drink More Vodka.
Skip More Runs
This is not one of those “Run Less Run Faster” Runners World Boo Shoo pieces of (non)advice. To be a successful distance runner, you must run long and you must run often. My coaching philosophy is not changing. However, there is a new dynamic I am facing for the first time. Go back with me.
There was a time when running was a chore and running was difficult. I was overweight and simply wanted to shed a few pounds. Running to me was like the cough and gag of a first time smoker. We all know what that eventually leads to. I ran my first marathon and the sense of accomplishment was overwhelming. I joined Rogue and started out for a PR. All my friends (and the cool kids) were doing it. Training evolved to coaching, a new occupation, the works! I’ve become that pack a day kinda runner, ya know? I can’t feel normal if I don’t get my run. And there in lies the problem.
The seasoned runner can relate to this sentiment. There are days we know running isn’t what’s best for us. We get so caught up in what the excel spread sheet reads in weekly mileage that we would rather skip 30 minutes of core to use that time for an extra 3-4 miles in the log. Other days an hour on the bike might make for a perfect flush with zero impact but instead we chose to pound the pavement causing extra soft tissue damage because “this could be the week I hit ___ miles” Listening to the body has become a forgotten art form. The balanced and better runners know how to do it but we who are slightly psychotic and in need of measurable forms of accomplishment … we always opt for mileage. That makes us feel ______ (choose your positive adjective). We do it with speed too. Schrup wrote on the board last year, “Easy means easy, Not, Well I felt good so I …” We feel the need to push the envelope at times and I think there are a variety of reasons for it. That will be another blog for another day. In the mean time we should think of ways to OPTIMIZE our training load instead of MAXIMIZE it. I’m starting to preach.
Forgive me. That is not my intent. This is about me. Do as you wish! In 2013 I plan to skip a few runs. 5 days per week are reserved for the run. Those other two days will include the bike and core/strength. A little extra muscle will only burn more fat. The more fat I burn the more efficient I will be. The more efficient I am, the better chance I have at a PR in my next marathon. So in 2013 don’t be surprised to see me Skip More Runs.
As I mentioned earlier, overhauls have their place. However, if you are in a good place in life but simply want to keep moving forward, then a radical resolution won’t do you any good. You will end up quitting in a few short months, weeks, at worse, days. So why not identify your blind spots? Look to the areas where you see the most room for improvement. Attack those places with intention and a sensible solution. You will see life can still be fun while moving in the right direction. Hell, you may find that you can save money, cut body fat, and race faster by buying more bacon, drinking more vodka, and skipping more runs.
Coach James Dodds coaches marathoners in Cedar Park and the Advanced 10K Training downtown. Come run with him.