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Why is the last mile the hardest mile?

Monday, March 14, 2011


I ran the first 5K of the year yesterday.

Ow. I am tired.

Oh, and Elisel also ran it, so please check out her blog as well: www.sparkpeople.com/mypa

Anyway, the 5K. I did okay. This is my 16th 5K, and my time was 8th overall. Which is not bad but not awesome. I weighed 205 (I lost a pound yesterday, apparently, heh) and my time was 43:07.

Hence I decided to do a comparison, and figure out just how much my weight is affecting my times. And here's what I came up with (keep in mind that the old scale broke somewhere in the middle of last year, so some of the pound #s from them are probably understated by 20 or so, I kid you not):

Date Time Weight
6/25/2009 1:04:04 196
7/5/2009 0:43:36 192
9/7/2009 0:43:32 188.8
10/3/2009 0:42:13 184.6
11/8/2009 0:38:12 183.2
12/13/2009 0:41:48 179.4
4/18/2010 0:40:31 181.2 scale may have been broken by now
5/1/2010 0:40:44 182.6 scale may have been broken by now
7/17/2010 0:47:26 173.2 scale was likely broken
8/21/2010 0:43:36 170 scale was likely broken
9/6/2010 0:46:39 170.6 scale was likely broken
10/2/2010 0:43:04 205.6
10/30/2010 0:44:27 204.6
11/7/2010 0:41:17 202.4
12/19/2010 0:45:33 203
3/13/2011 0:43:07 205

What I'm seeing is, the numbers don't change too significantly, and I can even end up with a slower time when I'm thinner (see 12/19/2010 versus 3/13/2011, and that's the exact same course). About the only thing that gets close to consistency is the fact that I tend to do better when it's cooler out.

After that, though, it's harder to tell.

Am I more muscular these days?

In some ways, yes. My measurements are decent, still, and comparable to earlier days although I will admit that I am up a size, fitting more into 14s than 12s. I know I look fine, and my brother, who had not seen me for months, thought I was about 160 or so, and on maintenance.

Heh, nope.

And that, I think, is a big part of why the last mile is the hardest mile. Man oh man. I feel like I have been doing this forever. I am about to hit 100,000 fitness minutes here. I drink about 40% more water than I'm supposed to. I get enough sleep. I go to a gym 2x/week. I stay within a 1600 - 1800 calorie limit, and attempt to give myself variety. I don't go out to eat too much. I watch the salt intake. I attempt to balance carbs to protein to fats.

Yet --

I have been kicking around, from about 201 to 205, for months. As in, at least since September of '10 when I finally replaced the scale but, truth be told, it's probably a lot closer to back to around August or even July of that year.

Yeah, I've been kicking this around for a good 6 months or so. I think that's a fair assessment.

And, I gotta tell ya, this time, it's HARD.

It's not that I don't want to do ANYTHING. But I have plucked the low-hanging fruit. That went into the basket a long, LONG time ago. And I do reach and strive for the higher stuff. But right now, it's difficult.

I cannot say what I should do, or where I should go. And I'm not exactly putting this out there in order to ask for advice. Just, more, as a statement.

It ain't easy to get over the last humps.

I know I will get there, at some point.

But right now, it's just tough.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Thanks for sharing your continued struggle. I can so identify with this. I sailed to a 15 lb loss from July to Oct 2010 and then started stagnating in Nov/holidays. With a lot that I've faced personally recently, I'm now up 7 lbs, but I refuse to give up.

    Congrats on keeping up the 5Ks. I know that is making a difference, physically and mentally. We are worth fighting for!
    3548 days ago
    I've been hovering in the same neighborhood -- it's been several months and I probably won't change my ticker after my MD appt tomorrow. I'm having cake to celebrate a 3 y.o.'s birthday tonight.

    My reaction to the blog is to get off the scale. You've conquered many things. If there's something you've missed, it's hard to tell because you've been thorough. Focus on improving those numbers, the fitness, the things you want your strength for. The mental/emotional fatigue here is more intense than the physical fatigue.

    3551 days ago
  • no profile photo CD3248497
    You can do it! I am on my second round after gaining some weight. I had a rough year and life happens, but don't give up. I haven't!! I know part of it is, that I know now it's OK if I mess up b/c there is always tomorrow. When before, I did not leave a lot of room for error. I think things will pick up as the weather gets warmer!
    3552 days ago
    You BET it's HARD! Yet, hey, just can't even THINK about reverting to the bad-old-ways, right? That kind of "hard" is not our kind of choice! :-)

    3552 days ago
    I hear ya! Hang in there.
    I'm always here for you, and will forever be grateful for the awesome presence you've had in my life.

    3552 days ago
    Oh, I am RIGHT there with you.

    And I want to lose it. Or do I?
    Could it be that I don't quite care as much? That I'm settling for "good enough" -- I find myself pondering that often.

    I'm making another push these days... but the progress is so slow. I reached my low in September 2008 and have been farting around ever since.

    Same as you, maybe, people don't SEE the weight I've gained. But it is most definitely there...
    3552 days ago
    I know you're just venting, but here's a suggestion:

    Try eating more protein (like 150g per day) and lifting heavier.

    And feel free to pop by the High Intensity Thinkers team if you want some other suggestions to shake things up...
    I think you'll enjoy the analytical, no-nonsense approach of those folks. We read the literature and do experiments on ourselves. It keeps this process interesting, if nothing else...

    It IS a long haul. I feel ya Chica. Hang in there, whether you decide to shake things up, or not.
    3552 days ago
    I've always heard that the last 10 lbs is the hardest to lose, but I haven't gotten close enough to my goal weight to verify that yet. emoticon

    I do know that I have struggled to get back down to the low I saw in May 2009 since I've been tracking using SP. It seems hard to stay motivated for the long term, and I've let stress and other factors derail me.

    Keep the faith. You'll get there. emoticon

    - Karen
    3552 days ago
    Hang in there.I know you can do it. You will get it going again.
    I think it is great you ran another 5K.How long it took means nothing to me.I just think it is awesome you did it. emoticon emoticon
    3552 days ago
    I got nothin'.
    'Cause I completely agree and know it to be true.
    Guess I'll just sit here and keep you company, without offering any nuggets of wisdom.
    emoticon emoticon
    3553 days ago
    Oh I totally hear you on this. My weight has crept up a few pounds over the past year and it is so, so much harder to re-lose those 10 now than it seemed to be the first time. Even when I'm doing everything right. I have no advice either. I've tried changing up my workouts to make them more challenging but that seems to lead to minor injuries that set me back even further. I'll keep striving and tweaking things and working on it. Good luck to you.
    3553 days ago
    I don't know what to tell you except I understand exactly what you are talking about. As for me, I've gained weight since I started running. Some of it is muscle, some of it isn't. My clothes don't fit the way they did, but I no longer have the body I did. My shape has changed. I was looking at pictures of myself running. At first I saw all the flaws, the things I hate. And then I noticed a muscular body and had to rethink things. I'm not offering advice as I myself am in search of it. Just gotta figure out what to do next.....
    3553 days ago
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