Like many people who take up running, Dirk Benedict expected to drop a few pounds thanks to his newfound pursuit.
"That was a big reason I chose running in the first place," said Benedict, a 34-year-old graphic designer who pledged to be more active this year and to get rid of the "spare tire" he'd acquired thanks to long hours at work, lots of junk food, and virtually no exercise.
That has not happened. In fact, Benedict said, he has actually gained a few pounds.
"I don't get it," he said during a recent interview at The Pasta Barn, a restaurant in his hometown of Doylestown, Pennsylvania. "I've been running for almost six weeks now, training for this race. I even do some of that High Intensity Interval Training, which is supposed to incinerate calories. And I'm heavier than ever."
The race in question is the Doylestown Dash, a local 5K.
"I'm on this training plan," he said. "I've been following it religiously, doing, like, 20 miles a week. I've been stretching, resting, hydrating. It's a total lifestyle change, you know?"
"And," he added, gesturing to the plate of fettuccine in front of him, "I'm carb-loading, obviously. You've gotta fuel up for race day."
The 5K will be Benedict's first race of any distance and, he says, he's determined not to hit the dreaded "wall." In addition to loading up on carbs, he has developed a fueling plan for the race.
"I did some research and discovered the race only has two aid stations," he said. "So I'll have my FuelBelt and some gels."
Benedict paused, grumbling as he loosened his belt.
"Man," he said, "I'll be glad when the weight loss kicks in."
He then asked a server for more breadsticks.