Friday, May 14, 2010

The Doughboy

One of my friends offered a couple of topics about running about a month ago.  One of them concerned weight.  I currently weigh in the vicinity of 180 pounds.  A mere five years ago I weighed 170 pounds.  Then came a major illness and a couple of achilles surgeries and wham, I went from having a bit of a spare tire to being overweight.  I hit my all time high of 210 pounds last year as I battled a severe case of plantar fasciatis following the repair of my right achilles.

Back in high school I went from a 5-10 120 pound sophomore to a 6 foot 135 pound senior.  After my exodus from the K.U. cross country team and a bought of strep throat I went from a 140 pound college freshman to 165 pounds by the beginning of my second semester.  I never got heavier than that until my mid-30's.  My weight would yo-yo depending on whether I was running or not.  I would swing between 145 pounds and 160 pounds over the course of 15 years.

When I got serious again about running at age 30 I generally stayed at 149 pounds but never more than 155 pounds.  But something happened when I turned 35.  I took a self imposed layoff from running at the beginning of 1991 of six months.  I went to 170 pounds.  When I started training again in earnest I couldn't lose weight.  It took me nine months to get down to 162 pounds.  I've battled weight ever since and earned the nickname "Doughboy" from either Steve Riley or Paul Boone.  Boonie has since joined the Doughboy ranks and has earned the moniker "Doughboy II." 

The aforementioned friend who shall remain nameless had stopped running near the end of his time in college and about five years after graduation had become sort of hefty.  I'm guessing he was pushing 200 pounds but I think he said he weighed 180 at the time.  Now this gentleman is 6-2 so the extra weight didn't look that bad but he was huffing and puffing when he started running again.  It took two or three years but he eventually became a lean, mean, competitive runner again.  I'm pretty sure he tipped the scales a shade under 160 pounds.  We're talking sub 2:35 marathons and 15 minute 5K's here.

The thing that he did that I refuse to do is monitor my diet.  He would forsake fatty foods and sweets and stick to a very healthy diet.  I suspect he consumed vast quantities of pasta and a lot of salads.  It all sounded like torture to me.  That's too much to sacrifice.  I've given up enough vices in my life and food is the one thing I refuse to restrict.  If I simply gave up drinking Coca-Cola I would probably shed ten pounds in a month.  If I gave up beef and shrimp altogether and stuck with chicken, pasta, and salads I would surely lose another 10 pounds.

I don't know if there's a point in all of this but while I would certainly be a hell of a lot faster at say, 165 pounds, I'm not sure I would be any happier.  I certainly would have to have all of my suits altered to account for the shrinking waistline and buy a slew of new slacks.  I guess I'm fat and sort of happy.  I'm bound and determined to prove that I can run a 3:30 marathon at 175 pounds.

EDITOR'S NOTE:  The unnamed runner wants me to share that he is only 6 feet tall (hah!) and did indeed weigh 200 pounds.  Before his fastest marathon more than three years ago he weighed a shade over 143.  He now happily resides in the mid-160's.  He also wants to know why I won't give Diet Coke a try... it might be the last resort of this scoundrel.


  1. I recommend Coke Zero...less watery. I also like to mix water flavor packets with club soda instead of water. No calories but I get the taste of fruit juice and the fizz of soda. Also, the flavors are endless.

  2. Or you could do what my wife does, mix club soda and Gatoraid... she used it mix it with O'Doul's...