Food is like drugs to me. I think my favorite thing to do in the whole wide world is to eat...and eat in mass quantities. This first became a reality after I came home for the summer in 1999 from my freshman year of college carrying an extra 40 pounds. You've heard of the freshman 15 or whatever but how about the freshman 40! That's not a typo nor an exaggeration folks. I put on 40 pounds in a mere 9 months, outstanding.
It wasn't a mystery as to how this happened. I played varsity baseball and hockey in high school while staying on a pretty routined workout schedule. I wasn't some cut up, ripped stud or anything and didn't really watch what I ate but I was in decent enough shape and comfortable with myself. The best description of me was husky. Fast forward to my first year of college. No more sports to keep me active (unless you count co-rec volleyball and softball), no scheduled workout routine, 2 meals a day at the dining center (basically buffet style) and a dorm room full of all the snacks, goodies and crap food one could think of. Add to that my new found love of beer, $5 Little Caesar's Pizzas and wouldn't you know it, soon it looked like I had been stung by a swarm of bees and had an allergic reaction. Here's a beautiful picture of me, circa March of 1999. I cry a little inside when I see pictures like these, seriously.
Fat Todd circa 1999: "DQ cake anyone?"
Sophomore year I finally got my act together and started working out again. Since then though I've never been able to be "normal" as far as workouts and eating habits go. It's basically a roller coaster. One year I'm in really good shape and feeling great. All of a sudden I'll burn out and completely stop working out and start eating like absolute crap. I'll do this until I gain anywhere between 20 and 40 pounds and then fire up the workouts again. It's almost been an annual thing. Fat Todd for one year, in shape Todd the next. We're talking an 80 pound fluctuation from my heaviest to my lightest.
Another thing to note is that MODERATION is not in my vocabulary. It's either all or nothing, on or off with me in just about anything I do. When I'm in workout mode, I'll eat about as perfect as I can including rarely drinking. My workouts are productive and plentiful. I have great self control when I need to. After a while I'll burn out and go cold turkey. No workouts at all, eating crap food until I'm almost purging at every meal and drinking like a fish. This continues until I've put on some weight and have hit bottom. Then I'll fire up the workouts and good eating again and wonder why the hell I do this to myself while I'm about to ralph during a one mile trot.
I've never been able to just be normal. I can't really explain it I guess other than this is how I'm wired. Trust me, I've tried time and time again but to no avail. I think I've come to accept that this is how I operate and it seems to work for me. I'll bulk up nicely for the cold MN winters eating to my heart's content and drinking like I'm an 18 year old freshman. Once spring starts to come around I'll do a complete 180 and turn into a machine so that by the time summer, or now in my case racing season, rolls around, I'm in top notch condition. Bust my hump all summer long until I burn out and it's time to start putting on my winter coat.
Last year I took about a 6 week break from all things workout/triathlon related over Thanksgiving and Christmas. I tried to get some sort of race in once a month, even if it was just a 5K, to keep something on the calendar and me somewhat focused without completely going cold turkey. It almost worked but I guess I'm a giant wuss and didn't want to run in sub zero temps in January and February. For whatever reason, my break this year was this 5 week span during August/September.
Sadly, I was planning on doing a duathlon this morning! However, I haven't been on my bike since August 18th and I probably can't run 3 miles in under 30 minutes so I slept in this morning. Oh, and PS, got a bit of a hangover going right now.
I'm already signed up for the TC 10 miler which is on October 7th so needless to say I've got my work cut out for me if I plan on not walking across the finish line. Oh how far I've fallen in 5 weeks, it's so not fair. All that hard work over 6+ months, completely wiped out in 5 weeks time. So not fair. Maybe deep down inside I enjoy doing this to myself. Coming back from the dead in a way, breaking myself down to rock bottom and then building me back up to superhero status. I don't know. I just don't know anymore. It is what it is. Like I said, for those of you that know me, this is no surprise.
A huge part of me is scared out of my mind for 2009 if/when I complete IMWI. How the hell am I going to respond after that. I have a bad feeling I'll have the hardest time coming down from that high with the "what's next?" conundrum. Selling my bike and 300 pounds would not be shocking to me in the least.
A good friend of mine mentioned my situation and how it sort of related to Shawshank Redemption. She explained how I was Morgan Freeman's character Red and my triathlon season was my jail time (don't get me wrong, I love triathlon and racing). Once my season was over (Red's sentencing was up) it was time for me to come back down to reality (Red released back into the real world). I'm having a rough go of this again this year, I'm a solid 20 pounds heavier in these 5 weeks and a wreck mentally. Red didn't fair so well either and eventually hung himself. No need to panic, I'm not going to that extreme but you get my drift. If not, try to for my sake. It's hard for me to adjust to training for something and then bam, nothing, be normal. I don't know how that works or what that means.
So...I seem to have lost my train of thought here. Granted it's been a fun and wild 5 weeks hanging out with friends and family who I partially neglected over the summer while training and eating and drinking like there's no tomorrow. Inside though, I'm a complete wreck. It's like I'm lost and just going through the motions of life. So until I hit bottom (which has to be soon), I'll continue to eat 6 pieces of pizza for breakfast (yesterday) and fire down the Jameson's. I think base training for next year's half IM will be starting soon which will be a Godsend for me. If I have a laid out schedule in front of me and a goal of that magnitude, I'll snap out of this in no time.
For now, I'm off to a wedding to dance me arse off. Tomorrow I'm heading to the mall to get some new jeans with a larger waist size. Somebody pass me the Doritos!