Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Biggest Loser Marathon

Liz and I admittedly have an addiction to The Biggest Loser. Maybe we're not as gung-ho as we are about marathoning and Kara Goucher, but nevertheless the feel-good programming makes its way into our regular TV viewing or recording. And with the latest season of the Biggest Loser on NBC is nearing its end, I was just waiting for what crazy challenge they'd give the competitors' next. I've loved past seasons where the cameras catch up with contestants and show them at a triathlon (Lael and Nick), or they have to complete a triathlon on the show at their less-bulky weights (season three with the representatives from 50 states). Or on the current season where the kicked-off competitor talks about life after the show and how he wants to do an Ironman (black team member Blaine) or he's running most of a marathon with his wife (cousin Dane). If you haven't watched Tuesday's episode yet, I'll warn you there are spoilers below.
With only four contestants left on the ranch (or maybe it's more commonly called the campus these days), they've already experienced a few endurance challenges throughout the season. First painful to watch as they tried to run with extra weight and added bulk and then motivating as you watched their fitness improve over the season and logging workouts that would make me pooped. But the kicker--and surprise--came in Tuesday's episode where the final four packed for 30 days at home to then face the scales one last time before the Couples' finale on May 12. The task? With just 26 days to train, the final four learned they'd be coming back to California to weigh in and complete a marathon.
Talk about the challenge of all challenges with only 26 days to train for 26.2 miles. Contestant Tara put it best when she said on camera that many people train for this kind of race a year out or months out, but not with less than a month to spare. I mean I'm giving myself my own challenge in running a marathon with less time to prepare than I'd ideally like but I've run more than 10 of them and like to think I've figured out some of my body's functioning. And judging from my own marathon experience, I could completely understand why she and the rest of the contestants were freaking out a bit and why trainers Jillian and Bob were shaking their heads in a combination one could only put together as a Nooooo, Don't do this, Why now and Why a marathon. If I don't put in the mileage, or give myself enough time to train, which can vary depending on the rest of my year's race schedule, then my race barely leaves the start line before failure starts to take over. And for poor Ron, how was he going to complete 26.2 miles when he barely walked four (I think) of the half marathon? Even Bob was advising against that one.

But anyway, for a cast that was called the heaviest of all the Biggest Loser seasons, they sure did soar through the challenge with flying colors. Even though they've worked out for massive amounts of time day in and day out, they weren't necessarily logging the miles and practicing the pounding for a marathon. And I hate to say it but I'm still wondering who came up with the idea to run since the trainers didn't seem pleased with the idea and marathon runners I know scoffed at how they could prepare in 26 days with non-marathon focused training at that point. But somehow they pulled it off. Tara probably could do even better at the distance if she had more time to train finishing in less than 5 hours and basically doubling the half marathon time she had run earlier--you go girl! Helen didn't even show her 48 years as she ran to the finish. Mike made the walking look easy--although I'm a little disappointed he didn't at least give the running a shot since he said he ran five miles every morning--and had some reassurance from at-home season five winner Bernie (who ran the 2008 Chicago Marathon and was still full of life when I saw him in the finisher's area). And I'm still shocked that Ron's body held out for all 26.2 miles. Talk about setting an example for his other son Max to go from fat to fab.

With all of these milestones already in the books, what is the finale going to bring? I'm the dork who's already on the edge of my seat waiting in anticipation. And ironically it's the one episode of the season I won't be able to watch live, but I'll be cheering for Tara, Helen and either Mike or Ron (did you cast your vote? Apparently voting already closed or I'd provide the link.) to win that $250,000 prize. And congratulate them on all of the weight they've shed. In the meantime, I think I'll play in the kitchen and try out those mini meatloaves Tara made. Posted by Kate


  1. I am so glad you did this post. I was proud of all of them--esp my fave girl, Tara--but totally agree: wth??? It's seriously tempting injury to give people 26 days to train for a marathon. Dude, poor Max. It made me sooo happy when Bob gave him some one-on-one time. Imagine how hard it is for that kid now that Mike and his Dad have lost so much weight. I realllllly hope it inspires him into action!

  2. thanks--awesome that we both like Tara :) I hope she wins tonight (and funny how the season finale is the only episode I have to watch after the fact). I thought i was giving myself a challenge in training for a marathon in eight weeks (or now 5/6 since I've been dragging). I'm curious if maybe Max will appear tonight shedding some weight



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