Did you know that it's common to gain weight after a really long run or hard race? I didn't... until about two weeks ago.
I don't weigh myself very often because the numbers on the scale never reflect the improvements I feel in the fit of my clothes, in my ability to work out longer and harder, or in my general outlook on life. My strategy since I started this journey last year has been to weigh myself only when I visit the Rowleys, every few months or so.
My most recent visit to their home included running the Flower City Half Marathon. When I mentioned that I was planning to weigh myself after we ran, Rebecca said, "I always gain 3 or 4 pounds from long runs." WHAT?! She went on to say that the gain would go away within a couple days but that *after* the race might not be the best time to check on it.
I believed her but, for some reason, I decided to weigh myself about 48 hours after we ran, anyway. Generally, I can estimate my weight within a couple of pounds but I always hope that the scale will prove me wrong. If I set the expectation that I've only lost 10 pounds, wouldn't it be great to see a 15 pound loss on the scale?!
That never happens. This time was no exception.
Adjusting for post-race weight gain, the scale said I'd lost about 8 pounds since New Year's. That's 8 pounds in 4 months. I'm going in the right direction at a healthy rate but I was a tad... underwhelmed.
In that time, I've lost a full t-shirt size, a pants size, run 36 miles in the course of seven days, run two half marathons in eight days, seen obvious changes in my body, and received compliments from others who have as well.
So, less than 48 hours after my first half marathon, after getting off that stupid scale, I put on my running shoes, walked to the track, and ran 3 miles - each one faster than the one before - and ended feeling like I still had another couple in me.
For some, this behavior could be a symptom of disordered thinking about fitness and weight but, for me, it was an act of resistance, a triumphant shout of "A number does not, cannot, and will not define me!" Two days after running 13.1 miles, my body felt good. Instead of eating my emotions or wallowing in self-pity at what could be perceived as tortoise-like progress, I took myself outside and did something that I love, something that makes me feel great, something AWESOME!
That is progress.