Wednesday, November 28, 2007

What Jeff Did

Quite some time ago, I wrote about the company weight loss contest. Usually, the organizers get fed up in early fall and the contest is in full swing by this time of year, but not this year. Apparently, they waited till they had their fill of turkey to figure out that they needed to add a new larger pants size to their holiday shopping list.

The memo came out a couple of days ago and was followed by the usual self-deprecating too-fat admissions and admonitions e-mail chains. Just about everyone has opted in "for the last time."

One memo really hit home as to how far I have traveled. It went something like this: I am in big time! This is the final time for me too. I want to do what Jeff did, lose a person!

The writer certainly doesn't have the spare tire that I had (maybe spare tires that I had is more like it), but he is the very respected company Chairman. It meant a lot coming from him.

Frankly, I think I've scared the hell out of many of the usual participants. Over the years of the contest, only one or two people have managed to maintain their losses. Many have put the weight right back on, as I have always done. With all the losing and gaining going on, there have been two of us that have been in the supreme-fat category that those medium-fat folks have always been able to look at and think that at least the two of us will always be bigger than them. Well, now I'm pretty close to where they are and soon to pass, for good.

I commented to one of the guys a few weeks ago that I was catching up to him fast. He responded "no shit, I've gotta get moving." It's interesting that there seems to be a fear of my passing them by on the scale. A feat once hundreds of pounds of impossible.

I'm not threatened by their apparent fear, but maybe more energized by it. I'm actually considering joining the contest, even though I opted out (but would have won) last time around. It goes for four months and 15% loss usually takes it, if not less. That's about 36 pounds or 9 pounds a month. Certainly that's more than I've been losing, but it can be done. I've got a couple of weeks to decide. I'll keep you posted.

In the mean time, I'll just enjoy the respect!


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A Day Late

The scale showed a 0.7 loss for the week on the 15 day average, but the trend over the past few days has been going the wrong way. Total loss at 171.5, while my max loss has remained at 175.0 for several weeks.

Total mileage for last week was only 14.3 with my long run cut short on Saturday, plus the 21 mile ride on Sunday.

This morning I hopped on the treadmill for my test run. I had hoped to be able to work up to a run of 3 miles, which would give me support for Sunday's Metric race. I laced up my new Saucony Stabil Grid 6 (below) and got ready to go.

Starting out in a walk, I was familiar with the every little pain syndrome from my prior injury. You know, every tiny little pain is amplified and you wonder if that's the end. I walked about 1/4 mile to start and things felt pretty good.

From there, I pushed to my normal "tread" pace of 5.5 mph. So far so good. The new shoes felt good, but a bit stiff. Just need a bit more breaking in. I ran to about a mile, but as I got close to a mile, the mild pain became more slightly more severe and my worst fears were now being realized.

I slowed back to a walk for another 1/2 mile and then tried running again. The pain returned almost immediately.

At this point, I would say that my running is done for 2007. I'll give a call to the doc, but I suspect he'll want to give me the boot that I rejected out of hand last time through.

Not much more to say, really. Ugh!


Sunday, November 25, 2007

You Win Some. . .

Yeah, the next line is "you lose some."

Things were going just too well. The miles were adding up and then. . . blammo! it all falls to pieces.

The Columbia Metric was just eight days from yesterday and I had my last long run scheduled -- a 12 miler. I ran the 5 on Thursday and recovery was a bit slower than usual. In fact, I would have expected no recovery needed at this point in my training. There was no unusual pain on Thursday, but I felt some on Friday -- just some aches, no big deal.

I had thought about running, but instead, I exercised my credit card at the mall with all the other crazies making my pitch to keep the retailers in business for another year. The boys and I spent three hours raking and bagging leaves, so that was good for the day.

Yesterday, I was doing everything I could to delay the run, mostly annoying Deb whose plans changed with every half hour I put off getting the shoes on. Finally, I got moving around 12:30. I put on all the newly acquired cold weather gear I bought at Dick's Sporting Goods, perfect for the 40 degree air temp, and hit the road around 1.

Down the road I went to again climb Toll House Road. The wind was stiffer that last week which made it tougher to climb without a break, but I was able to make it with just a short walk. Then, around to a 5 mile up and back on Columbia Road. At a mile down or so, 3 1/2 total, I started to feel the ankle pain once again. I began to walk to see if the pain would go away, but after a quarter mile, it only felt worse so I turned back for a two plus mile walk home, the whole way thinking about next week's run and preparing myself mentally for it not to be.

The run was going so well, too. Looking at my splits, the first three miles were 11:21, 11:29 and 11:50. I don't think I would have been able to hold that sub 12-minute pace for the remainder of the run, but I was feeling really good.

Having been through this before, I headed to the house, took a shower, some anti-inflammatory drugs and got a bag of ice for the ankle. I suspect that my increased street running has done me in. This was my third street run in eight days and probably the most in such a short time.

Today, my ankle feels better, but this seems to mirror my injury from last time. I'll give it another couple of days and try it on the treadmill to see if the race is out, though I'm not counting on running it at this point.


Today, as my ankle pain had subsided, I joined up with a friend for a coffee ride. This would be my chilliest bike ride, with temps in the mid-40's, and perfect for a mid-ride coffee stop. (We were to be joined by another rider, who called shortly before it was time to go to let me know it was too cold. I'm told that when someone bags a ride or run because of the weather, you're entitled to give them a hard time. In this case, since it was my dad, I guess I'll just let it go.)

Sheldon is also a new rider and is part of the regular Sunday group. He has really embraced his new wheels, as have I and we're pretty close in our speed. At about 5 miles, we stopped for coffee at Iron Bridge, which is more known for dinner, but the coffee wasn't bad and the conversation was good. Then, off we went to the back roads of our area for a very nice 21 miles. I think I'll need a bit more cold weather gear for my feet, hands and head, but otherwise, the temps were not bad. I think I'm good at least for another 10 degrees down!

So, that was my weekend. I'll be checking out the ankle over the next couple of days, but if I can't run, so be it. Guess I'll get to ride with the guys on Sunday after all.


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Trotting Turkeys

Happy Thanksgiving all!

Hope you are all having a great holiday.

We started our day with a little exercise. I spied this Turkey Trot from an e-mail I received from a local running store, Fleet Feet. The family agreed and the plan was set. What a better way to prepare for an evening of gorging than a few miles on the road. I would do the 5-mile run and Deb and the boys would do the 3-mile walk.

Since the day I signed up, the weather had appeared to be a bit iffy, but last night, it looked like we were all set -- unseasonably warm and overcast. The rain looked like it would hold off until later in the day.

After I awoke this morning, I went out to get the paper (to prepare for a household ritual of Black Friday shopping) and it was amazingly warm out. Perfect for a run in shorts and a short sleeve tee. Is it possible that it's late November? Got the kids and Deb up and out the door and we were on our way.

We arrived just after 8 for the 9 am start. I have a tendency to be a bit early for things and today was no exception. We were far from alone, however as the area was filling fast. This event is somewhat loosely organized. They publicize no times and no water on the course and they mean it. The start line, such as it was, was in a residential neighborhood. I'm certain that the weather helped out immensely as the starting temp was 66! They were also helped out by publicizing an appearance by Baltimore Oriole Legend Brooks Robinson, which certainly enticed my kids. Unfortunately Brooks turned out to be a no show. We did have plenty of time for a family photo!

At about five past nine, they sent everyone off with little fanfare. With 800-1000 participants, early running was tough, especially since they set off the walkers at the same time.

The course was VERY hilly, but since it was a loop, tough uphills were ultimately rewarded with down hill runs. After the first 1/3 mile or so, most everyone was in a pace and we were enjoying the weather, the late fall color and the relatively traffic free roads. A few locals even hung out in front of their houses to cheer on the runners.

My goal for the run was to break an hour for the 5 miles. With no official timing, I was relying on my trusty Garmin for the official time. For the first 2/3 of the course, I was able to keep a steady running pace, with one exception as I came close to the top of one of the bigger uphill parts of the course. Time was on my side as I had nearly two minutes in the bank after three miles. Walking about 1/3 of a mile through the last third of the course, I was able to break my goal with a couple of minutes to spare. Ultimately, the course mapped out to 5.17 miles, completed in 59:53, a pace of 11:34. Ending temp was a very nice 72!

Once I arrived back, I went in search of my walking family. I found Deb and boys a short way out from the finish line and I walked back with them. Once we arrived back, we were all in need of water and it seems that the temps and the crowd caught the organization off guard as there was none to be found. So, off we went for a bagel brunch at our favorite bagel spot -- Goldberg's Bagels.

I am immensely proud that we found a healthy way to start off our turkey day! Maybe the start of a new family tradition!

Of course, what's an event without the swag:

Happy Thanksgiving all! Hope you have or had a great one. Now, off to get some turkey. . .


Monday, November 19, 2007

Seems Like Monday Once a Week

It's Monday again, but I'm looking forward to the short work week and the long holiday weekend.

All of my exercise this week was on foot as I did 20.2 miles, my highest mileage week in quite some time, highlighted by the 10 miles on Saturday and wrapped up with the Dazzle Dash Walk for our local hospital foundation.

The Dash is in a park-like area known as Symphony Woods where there are holiday themed light displays throughout the 1.4 mile course. My eldest led the pack of 800-1000 participants by chasing after Santa in the lead car and finishing first. Deb and I strolled through and enjoyed the lights as we wondered if our #1 would be waiting at the end for us. He was most excited to tell us of his "run" in the "walk". I would have kept pace with him had I not picked this night to eat half of my first hot dog in well over a year. (Is it possible that I used to like those things? Blech!)

The scale was again positive as my 15-day average dropped 1.3 pounds to 243.2, a total loss of 170.8. Included in the average was my first sub-240 reading on Sunday. Looking forward to moving into that neighborhood permanently over the next couple of weeks.

With lots of miles planned for the week ahead, I'm looking forward to another positive week as Turkey Day will be a minor blip in the road.


Sunday, November 18, 2007


Truth be told, I do not look forward to the long runs. Up to about 6 or 7 miles, I'm good to go, but pushing up towards double digits, not so much.

For one reason or another, I've struggled to get in the miles that I've needed for the long runs over the weekends. Last weeks planned 10 turned out to be 6.6. Yesterday, I really needed to put in 10, as the Columbia Metric Marathon is just two weeks out now, but I got started too late and darkness hit before I could finish. As I approached the house, I thought I could come in and finish on the treadmill. I cleared 7.6 outside, then wrapped up my own little duatha-run on the treadmill to make the 10.

Part of the Metric course goes just a block and a half from my house, then down a big hill and up a monster hill -- Tollhouse Road. Those that have run the race consider that the hardest part of the run. I had wanted to run Tollhouse, but most of my training was indoors up to now. Yesterday, I did it. Tollhouse is about a mile long and runs 2/3 up hill, about 1/6 flat and 1/6 slightly downhill. The uphill portions run between 7.5% and 11% gradient. The picture below is from the full run. Push pins show Tollhouse Road.

The run was good, but slow. Average time for the full 10 miles of about 12:30. Problem is the Metric has a 3:30 time limit for 16.2 -- I project yesterday out at 3:24, and I've not been prone to negative splits. I decided that I really want to do the run, regardless of the time. Looks like they publish 3:30, but don't enforce it. The last two years they've had times in excess of that. Regardless, I'm all in. Check goes in the mail tomorrow!

Felt a bit of muscle pain, so I bagged the Sunday bike ride. Caught some serious hell when I ran into the guys after the ride. Note to self: next time, suck it up!

Picked up another race this week. We had nothing planned for Turkey Day (we're leaving the cooking to JoBrotha and Mrs. JoBrotha) so I found this 5 mi Turkey Trot not too far from home. Deb and the boys will do the 3 mi walk.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Since When Does 100 Equal Zero?

Whomever was the marketing genius that thought up the 100 calorie pack should get the next Nobel Prize for marketing. I thought it was a great idea to package snacks into 100 calorie bundles. When it started out, it was things like baked crackers and pretzels. I could live with that (as if I had a choice.) 100 calories is not going to kill any diet, so long as you don't eat a dozen packs in a sitting.

I started to notice the creep of some less healthy 100 calorie packs in the past few months. I've seen packs of Doritos and Baked Cheetos.

It gets to a point that you have to look beyond the calories into thought behind all of this. You can now buy Oreo crisps, Chips Ahoy crisps and Nutter Butter granola bars. All for the small price of 100 calories. The fine folks at Nabisco, who sell these not-so-bad-for-you-if-you-can-eat-just-one cookie packs will even tell you how to burn those 100 calories off. Just click here to find out that 28 minutes of dish washing will burn those 100 calories. (My dishwasher runs a 2 hour cycle -- does that mean that I burn 400 calories by pushing that start button?)

I had to laugh last week when I was in the 7-11 and I saw Milky Way bars packaged into 100 calorie packs. No, not bars, but packs. Two bars, a little bigger than Halloween sized, in a box. Each BAR is 100 calories, each pack has two servings. Is it possible for anyone to eat just one?

My point here is that the people that sell this stuff are playing on our desire for lower calories and it's to the point where 100 calories is nothing. What's 100 calories, after all. It's almost zero!

They're playing on our desire for healthier kids. Do we buy some of these for our kids, well, yes, at least for the snack stuff, not the candy, but I'd rather them eat 300 calories of carrots than 100 calories of Milky Way bar.

Can't wait to see the 100 calorie Thanksgiving Dinner! I'm just saying. . .


Monday, November 12, 2007


Another pretty good week now gone by.

On Saturday, one of the local fitness clubs in the area had an open house. I took advantage of the day at Lifetime Fitness. Went with the kids. They have kid care where you can drop the kids off for up to 2 hours and go do your thing. I hit the treadmill for 6 1/2 miles and the kids played basketball, played in the ball pit, etc. After lunch, we did the pool for 90 minutes or so. (You shoulda seen the look on their faces when we got to the pool and not 5 minutes later, they blew the whistle for adult swim. I felt bad for them, but they're over it!) 16.4 running miles total for the week.

Couldn't get a bike ride in on Sunday as we were preparing for our quarterly poker group and we were hosting. By the time the day was out, I realized that I missed my ride AND my money, although Deb was the big winner of the day! (Just wonder how come it works out that what's mine is hers and what's hers is hers?) (Just kidding, love!)

The scale has been cooperative as well. For the week, I'm down 2.9 to 244.5 on the 15 day average.


Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Big 4-0

I'd been meaning to write about this for a couple of weeks, but never got around to it.

When I started down this journey almost 16 months ago, I was busting out of size 58 pants. I was determined never to hit 60, so my 58's were decidedly snug. It's also worth noting that I said the same thing about the 5x shirts, but I did ultimately gave in to the 6's cause you can really notice a too tight shirt. You know, all the fabric pulling away from the buttons with a clear view of whatever is underneath. (Not that you don't notice too tight pants, but I couldn't see them busting out. I just felt it when I put them on.)

It didn't take long to need new duds and at first, I was really enjoying moving down through different sizes, particularly when I could stop shopping at the "Fat Man Store." I pretty much always had one or two pair of pants and shirts in the next smaller size to give me a goal to shoot for.

About a month ago, my 42's were falling off and found 40's in the back of the closet. It was exciting to pull them up and be able to button them comfortably. They go well with my XL and 2X shirts.

Last week, I picked up a pair of 38's, thinking that my 40's days had a few months to run, but wanting to have that next pair to shoot for. Deb encouraged me to try them on. First I picked them up and held them, looking at how small they seemed. "No way I'm anywhere near squeezing into these," I thought. So, I pulled on one leg, and then the other. Then, with the slightest struggle, those babies buttoned. Whaddya know!

So, for anyone keeping track, that's 20" -- I said TWENTY INCHES.

Time to go buy some 36's!


Monday, November 5, 2007

Some Monday's are Better than Others

The start of the work week is not usually the happiest day of the week, especially when I've got travel on the schedule, but the past few weeks have brought good news from the health and wellness department.

Finally got back on the treadmill on Tuesday night at Deb's urging as I wrote about last week. I added 4 on Friday. My original plan was to run 8-10 on Saturday in the neighborhood or at the local park, but the morning waned and so did my desire to go out. I was able to complete 8 on the treadmill, though for a total of 16 miles for the week. Yesterday, I wrapped up the week with the regular Sunday ride of 21 miles. Given the temps in the low 50's, I was surprised that we had a fairly large group 8 to ride. I definitely felt a bit sluggish half way into the ride, probably coming off the long run on Saturday. My target for this week is 20 miles of running as the Columbia Metric is less than 4 weeks away.

The scale continues to move strongly in the right direction. 15-day average is down 4.4 pounds to 247.4, a total loss of 166.6. I also hit my low on Saturday of 241.6. It seems that as soon as I reset my goal for this year to 75 lbs, the scale started moving quickly and I'm now just a couple of pounds away.


Saturday, November 3, 2007

Global Cooling

I hate being cold. Always have. Always will. It wasn't really a problem for the old blubbery me. I was never cold. I mean NEVER! I could go outside at 38 degrees without a jacket and be fine. We slept with the ceiling fan on in our bedroom -- year round.

One of the things I've learned over the past year is that old blubber was insulation. Sure, it makes sense, mentally, but it's leaving me COLD! As the temps drop, this winter looks to me like global cooling, not global warming. I got through last winter, but I'm a good 50 pounds lighter now. Sorta miss that permanent warm fat, in a sick sorta way.

The thermostat in my office is set to 72, but I'm cold as hell. I had to clean an inch of dust off of that old space heater in my office to warm up my frigid buns. It's damn cold! Yesterday, I was thinking about converting my desk to kindling so I could torch the damn thing.

Anyway, just thought you should know it's cold here outside Baltimore. Brrrrr!