August 18, 2006

The Seventeen Day Free Ride

It all changes after seventeen days. Nobody else is ever going to tell you this information, so make believe you don't have ADD for a second and pay attention. Better yet, with your memory, why don't you write this down somewhere. Mark it on your calendar, even. Seventeen days.

Let me explain...

One of the many great things about Ironman training is the amount of calories you burn on a regular basis. In this crazed world of never-ending fad diets, Ironman training is arguably the best solution. Why give up gorging on a loaf of delectable Hawaiian Sweet Bread when you can go for a seven hour ride and two hour run instead. Hell, you might as well make it two loaves - you're gonna need the carbs.

But wait, it gets better... There comes a point a few months into the intense training where your body's metabolism takes a drastic turn from good to gooder. All of the sudden, you're burning up food like a wildfire in a marshmallow factory. You suddenly realize that within 24 hours just about everything you put in your mouth will be quickly annihilated by your body as if it never existed in the first place. It's somewhat existential, I guess -- if the food disappears without anybody seeing it, did it really exist in the first place?

Throughout the height of Ironman training, your body's metabolism is at it's peak. It becomes a finely tuned machine, processing all it consumes as efficiently and effectively as an auto assembly line. Suddenly you realize that you've essentially built yourself a Free Food Pass, able to chow down just about anything you want without turning into the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man. Sure, you want to try to stay healthy. Hell, some days you're out there exercising for so long, you really only have time for one or two meals a day anyway. Why not reward yourself with a few slices of pizza. Extra pepperoni, if you will. And while we're at it, why don't you pick up a vat of that ice cream, it sure tasted good last night.

Then, of course, you race your Ironman and your training comes to a screeching halt. Maybe you manage to get out there a week or so after the race for a short run or a slow spin on the bike. But you finally have the freedom to put your life back together so the training regimen becomes drastically different. And guess what? Your metabolism hasn't realized that Ironman training is done. Everything you eat is still getting burned up quickly. That side of cattle you gorged on to celebrate the Ironman? Gone in a day.

A few days later you realize that you're in dieters heaven. You've managed to change the very functioning of your own body, allowing you to eat just about whatever you want without the impending fear of porkiness. This is heaven, you think to yourself. I've trained and gone to heaven.

It's amazing, you tell your friends between bites of hamburger. I can eat anything. Truly incredible, you say as you shove french fries into your cheeks.

I'm here to tell you.. enjoy. Eat, gorge, chow, ingest. You know why? Cause it doesn't last. Eventually your metabolism is going to catch on to what is happening - and it ain't gonna be happy. Those potato chips aren't leaving your body so easily anymore. Oh, and that extra side of bacon you had for breakfast ain't goin' anywhere either.

Though it took you half the year of strenuous training to get to the point where you can eat anything you want, you know how long it'll take for it to all go back to normal? Seventeen days.

So enjoy, cause eighteen days after your Ironman, you're gonna find yourself back in the exact same place you were seven months ago... staring down at a sad, wilted plate of lettuce greens as you start thinking of when you can squeeze in another year of Ironman training.

Star Spotting Of The Day: Christian Slater, soon to be featured in either some VH1 inspired "Where Are They Now?" show or a "Hollywood Drug Rehab Recap" rerun on Entertainment Tonight.

: San Vicente Blvd, Santa Monica

What He Was Doing
: I was in the middle lane on my bike, he was stopped in his black GTO in the right hand turn lane, sipping on some frappacino or macchiato or one of those foofie whipped creamed Starbucks beverages at 6:45 in the morning.