Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I got dunked.

No not drunk, dunked 8)

Monday, I had my appointment for my body fat measurement. It was interesting...as you may recall my scale tells me I have 24% -ish body fat. Since I am 6' 1" tall and weigh 172 lbs this body fat percentage seemed a bit high and I wanted to calibrate the scale (and myself) for future reference. 

Besides I'm a nerd and science stuff is fun. There, I said it. 8)

Along the way, I had a mini guessing game with the tester..he's seen a ton of people tested and so I asked him what he thought my body fat was....I told him my scale says 24% and my personal guess (doing an add hoc visual-fat-integration over my whole body) was 20%.

Interestingly, it's looking at a person's back that tells him the best idea of what the % body fat is..not the stomach. Once glance and he seems to have a number in his head..in this case he guessed 19%

So, to do this, you lie face down in a big bathtub of very warm comfy water on an underwater metal rack which supports your water born weight. However, the catch is you have to exhale ALL your air in your lungs before you go under water and put all your weight on the rack. Luckily for me, I'm pretty good at surface diving and breath-holding so I had no problem with this...he got a few a good clean readings.

Now that I think of it I wonder how they get a good reading for somebody that's really 'floaty' (aka high body fat)?  Perhaps they give them lead weights to put on and then subtract them out? More likely they just ask you to hang onto the rack and pull yourself under and lock your feet under too..could be difficult for people scared of being underwater...esp with no air in your lungs 8/

Anyway, they weighed me in the water and in the air (172 lbs) plugged the numbers into the formula and.....

....answer: 18.6% body fat. Badda bing badda boom.  For a 30-39 yr old this is smack dab in the middle of normal.  Of course I'm 55 so it's actually listed as better than normal..as I'm expected to be a bit porkier at this age  ....8/

This means my lean body mass is about 140lbs. What a nice round number! So therefore, my current body fat is 32lbs.  

A good % number for me would be about 12%-10% body fat ...I would be in the 'athletic' category then which would be a first ....and that corresponds to 155 - 159 lbs. Getting  down to less than 160 would be awesome..this would be worth about 24s+ per mile off my pace for the same heart rate (i.e effort level). 

I'm in no hurry to do this....a ~400/day calorie deficit over the next 20 weeks along with keeping up my usual stuff should do the job. I will mentally re-calibrate my stupid furschugginer scale  and make very sure I don't lose any muscle mass while doing this.

I also had a resting metabolic rate test at the same place and I'll talk more about that another time...

Last Sunday

Bay to Breakers was apparently a hoot...but very VERY crowded. My friend Raminder  did it with his daugther and this is what he had to say about it:

"My first time and ran with my kid. She thought it was one giant rave, indeed B2B is more spectacle than a footrace but it was fun! The weather turned out beautifully - Hayes Hill was one huge megablock revelry. With all those people there were stretches where it was almost impossible to run and with some wet/slick spots from the overnight showers it seemed risky to do so (saw some skinned knees). That and with frequent pausing to take pictures and to gawk :) we finished in 1hr 43mins.

Seriously though with a crowd this large, it just doesn't scale as a run (55k registered and ~43k finished). I am hoping that this was a one off thing because of it being the centennial event and that next year they scale it back down."

Hard to imagine it so crowded you couldn't get through! Yow! 

Next Sunday

Ran 24 miles last week, the first week of my standard 2 week taper. I had some nasty allergies from all the plants going bonkers with pollen that left me pretty tired on tues/wed. This week is the real taper week..only 4.5 today, 3-4 tomorrow and then fold our tent until Sunday. 

Weather forecast for Sunday in Copenhagen changes every day...it's now saying a chance of rain but  my favorite weather site says it's only a slight chance and well into the PM. A slight rain don't bother me none...not after LA...no siree...

Assume decent weather and jet-lag not a big factor my plan is same as LA, first half in 2:07, then see if we can speed up a bit.  I would love to beat my LA time by a minute or two and get a 4:10 but we'll see how we feel. 

This course is very flat, unlike LA which yah has a nice downhill in the last 2 miles which bought me 2 minutes but otherwise had a fair amount of up and down. And lots of rivers on the streets 8)

It's been really great doing all these road races so close together as I have a very finely honed feel for how I can do on that day (he says glibly..jinxing it ;) In the end I play it by feel once I've been going for a few miles and adjust based on that.


  1. Let's go with your favorite weather site for race day condition, much more favorable.

    400/day calorie deficient is a lot; maybe you an mix that up with some higher calorie burn days :). Interesting about the BF measurement, though...I know my scale at home is off too, but it's consistently off so as long as it goes in the right direction, we are good!! :)

  2. that body fat test sounds interesting, haha

    Not sure if I could handle a 400 calorie per day deficit, that sounds like a lot especially during marathon training. Hope it all goes well.

    Good luck at the Copenhagen Marathon! My friend has been there, he says the city is awesome. Definitely rent a bike and bike around, there are bikes everywhere.

    Thanks for the comment on my blog today. I think you are correct about soccer, I think I might just have to not play anymore. If I could at least go bowling sometime, I would be happy with things. Because if I didn't play soccer on Sunday, I would just run and still get enjoyment out of it.

    I did indeed post the heartrate post, it is the post right before my last one. I am curious what you think, becuase you are just as into heartrate and numbers as much as I am I think.

  3. I think I have to lose 5 or 10 pounds before I try that body fat testing. I agree it'd be hard to keep up the running and cut 400 calories but it can be done, you'll just have to make every single food you eat a good choice. You can do it!

  4. Told ya it'd be lower ;)))...
    Have to run (unfortunately not literally!). I'll write more another time and address your question about how I got the wt number in the other post--in a nutshell, I have the same kind of "eye" as your tester for bodies and numbers. I wish I could make "time stand still" so I could get caught up!
    Have a great week, Ann

  5. Paul,

    Thanks a lot for your thoughts on heartrate training. I think you might be more into numbers than I am!

    I guess when I say run to a specific heartrate, generally I always try to start out a little bit lower than that heartrate the first mile or so, and then build up to the target heartrate. Because you are right - if you run right at that heartrate from the start you will likely tire out later in the race. For SF marathon my target heartrate was like 160-165, and I kept it right within this range, except for when I went up some of the major SF hills. My average ended up being 167, which sounds about right.

    And I definitely believe you on the +10 heartrate reading for during races just due to being excited, this sometimes happens to me too. So I guess I wouldn't say that I ALWAYS run to a specific heartrate, but I try to find an effort that can sustain me all the way to the finish line, and heartrate helps guide me in this - to make sure that I'm not running beyond my means early on in a race. (so I don't crash and burn before the finish line)

    I might have to try that heartrate test that you talk about in your post!

  6. I've done quite a few body fat tests with the calipers. I've always been curious what getting dunked in the water would tell me body fat wise. I'm not even sure who in my area performs the test, but as you can guess, I'm nerdy enough to find out someday. Good luck with your weight loss goal.

  7. I always wanted to get dunked. Someday, I will.


Feel free to leave a comment!