Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year Monday Update

It's New Year's Eve. Wow, has this year flown by. It's hard to believe 2008 is upon us.

Starting with the usual stuff, I noted yesterday my gym workouts. That was about it for exercise this week. 4 1/2 hours of spinning, a couple of miles on the treadmill and a few hours in the pool with the kids. A good week!

As for the scale, it continues in the right direction. I've finished the year at 241.5, down 1.7 from last week. Pretty good considering I spent the week at home, too close to the fridge and snacks.

For the year, I lost 71.9 lbs, on top of 100.6 last year, a total of 172.5 since July, 2006. Although I didn't hit my original goal of 100 pounds for 2007, or my revised goal of 75, I am very happy with my progress. I know that I'm much healthier than I was even a year ago. My fitness level is improved and my endurance continues to increase.

In 2007, my running mileage totaled 344.0. This is well off my hopes for the year to break 500, but, considering the two injuries, not a bad year at all.

Looking forward to a great 2008. Best wishes to you all for a happy fitness and healthy eating new year.


Sunday, December 30, 2007

Fit Week

It's been a good week for fitness.

I took advantage of the week off to pick up a 7 day pass at the local Lifetime Fitness club. If there is a nirvana for fitness clubs, I think this must be it. The equipment is pristine and plentiful, lots of classes, free weights, a gym for basketball, two indoor and one outdoor pool, even a rock climbing wall.

I sat through the mandatory sales pitch on Wednesday, planning to get the most out of the club through New Year's Day. On Wednesday afternoon, I took the kids for family swim. Thursday and Friday, were spin classes. Saturday was another swim day with the kids, plus some hoops and our first ever try on the rock wall. This morning, a 2-mile run and the 90-minute "recovery" spin class.

The club is fantastic. Even the locker rooms are sweet. I've not been in anything else like it. Even better, we swam yesterday with some neighbors and today, Jill was in the spin class.

Not a bad way to spend the week!

So, when will we join? As they say in real estate, location, location, location. The club is about a 20 minute ride from home and there are other options that will better serve our needs. Hope to seal that deal in the next week. But for now, looking forward to two more days of fun!


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Shoe Fetish?

It struck me as I was packing up to leave the gym yesterday that I might be have some sort of male shoe fetish.

18 months ago, I think I owned four pair of shoes:
  • sneakers that I wore around town and to work at my local office

  • dress shoes for well, the obvious, one pair, black

  • canvas boat shoes, for around the house

  • water shoes -- something for the beach

That was about it.

Today, I took four pair TO THE GYM!

  • around town sneakers for going to and from

  • mountain bike shoes with hard soles for spinning

  • running shoes for, well running (duh!)

  • shower shoes (compliments of the fine folks at Spenco and the Philly Distance Run)

I think I'm up to 10 pair total. Is it just me? Maybe need some kind of scientific review of this phenomenon -- as weight goes down, shoe ownership goes up. Just an observation.

Merry Christmas, all!


Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Holidays Monday Update

Another good week in the books on the scale as I lost 1.4 lbs (15 day average) down to 243.2, a total of 170.8 with 44.2 to goal. I seem to be back in the groove as the year is coming to a close, much like this time last year.

Looking back, I was trying to hit 100 lbs by years end 2006. On 12/28, I had 5.4 to go (daily weight, not 15 day average.) By New Year's Eve, in just 3 days, I had lost 6 pounds to make goal.

This year's goal seems to be much more daunting. With a week to go, it will be very difficult to get my 15 day average to a point where another 4.2 falls. I'd need to be down about 10 pounds from where I am this morning. Unlikely, but I'm game to try!

Good news on the exercise front as well. This morning I attended my second spin class. Another enjoyable experience. After the class, I gave my ankles a try out on the treadmill. I was able to run a mile non-stop without pain. This is excellent news. I'll continue to push the running at home. Although I won't hit my previous goal of 400 miles, with 60.6 go to, I should be able to easily run 10.6 to break 350 for 2007 and possibly 30.6 to hit 600 for the "new-life-to-date."

Merry Christmas to all that celebrate. If not, have some chow mein on me!


Saturday, December 22, 2007

My Father Kicked My Ass. . . And I Liked It!

I had been wanting to take a spin class for months. My gym, unfortunately, doesn't offer it. About a month ago, I asked my dad if he would bring me as a guest. I have been more excited about this than just about any exercise I've done in this past year and a half.

Finally, today was the day.

I met dad at the gym just before the 9 o'clock class.

We went in and picked bikes , then warmed up.

The instructor came in and introduced himself around the room and got set up.

Just after nine, the music was on, the lights were down and we were off.

For the first 10 minutes, we were warming up. I was in full sweat though, and the heart rate was definitely elevated. I looked over at dad and he was doing just fine. By 15 minutes, we were all more than warm and I started to clock watch. How the hell was I gonna get through the next 45 minutes. I did okay for the first 20-25 minutes, but after that, I struggled on the "out of the saddle" rides.

Somewhere shortly after that, a reggae style cover version of the Eagles' Hotel California came on. This is my favorite song and I was trying desperately to sing along but couldn't quite keep up with the ups and downs of the spin instructor and the music. Fairly early on, my pace caught the instructor's eye and he shouted over to me to tighten the resistance on the bike. I did, and he yelled "MORE!" That 7 minutes or so was totally intense, with six or seven in and out of the saddle portions. It was fantastic.

By this time, I was pretty much running on fumes. Dad was holding steady.

I could barely get off the bike when the hour was over, but I loved it! Totally impressed with my mid-60's dad too! He kicked my ass!

Can't wait to go back for more.


Friday, December 21, 2007

Chinese Food on Christmas

I've alluded to the fact that it's Chinese food and the movies on Christmas. Only four days and counting!

Found this video about just that. This guy is a local and the scenes are all from around Baltimore.



Monday, December 17, 2007

Life is Good.

I was thinking on the way in to work today how great things are. It's been a tremendous year and I feel better today, on my 43rd birthday, than I probably have on just about any other birthday.

Beyond the obvious improvements of lower weight, better fitness and a healthier body, I have a fantastic wife and great kids. They are loving and supportive. My extended family is equally loving and supportive. I have terrific friends that I know I can count on. In the past year, I know that all of my relationships have become more rock solid than they already were.

I'm grateful for my new found blogosphere friends and the folks on the Runners World boards, too. You've helped keep me focused and in line. I'm proud to count you among my friends too and hope that I'll get to meet more of you in the flesh.

Since I am a numbers guy, I'll share some numbers from the past 365 days:

1,824,306 -- smiles :)
284,200 -- calories burned in excess of calories consumed
6,982 -- kisses received from Deb and the boys -- equal to the number dispensed (yes, I counted!)
402.8 -- miles "jalked" between December 2006 and November 2007
337.7 -- road miles biked
-10.7 -- change in BMI
-81.2 -- change in weight

For Hanukkah, Deb gave me a t-shirt with a little guy on a bicycle. On the back it said "Life is Good!"

Yes, it is.


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Confused and Dazed

After re-reading yesterday's blog post, I realize that I wasn't quite clear on my activity from yesterday. I meant yesterday to be a dream sequence. Kinda like that season on Dallas when Bobby wakes up. (OK, I didn't watch Dallas, but I remember the endless press details of the bizarre episode.) Anyway, my activity yesterday was very much like the 2 1/2 weeks before, zippo. Sorry if I confused.

That was yesterday.

Now, the following is a TRUE account of today's activities. This is not a dream, it is real. Any confusion with something that might have happened, but really didn't happen is merely coincidental.

First of all, I finally caught up on all of my regular blog reads last night. One read made me feel particularly guilty. I've been following the pursuits of Emil, who had been having tremendous success dieting and running. About four weeks ago, Emil was told that he had a stress fracture and couldn't run. In the interim, he continued to lose weight, despite curtailing most of his exercise regime. Turns out, Emil didn't have a stress fracture, and he was immediately back at it. I'm very happy for him and know he is en route to tremendous success battling the bulge through diet and exercise.

It got me thinking, though, how I had done diddly (other than whine) in the past few weeks (exercise wise) and had let a few opportunities slip by when time was on my side. I needed to get back on the horse, since I'm still a few good weeks away from running again.

My eldest plays basketball every Saturday about a mile from home. My first activity was to walk to and from the game. With #2 riding his bike along side, I walked to the game and met Deb there. As our team (Penn State) was beating Notre Dame to go 3-0, I mentioned to Deb that I was thinking about a ride this afternoon since I knew my Sunday ride would be rained out. Go for it, she said.

With temps hovering around 35 and winds of 10-15 mph, this would be my first cold weather test.

I double layered every where that I could, hoping that I'd be warm enough to get home from where ever I'd go to. Then, there were the new digs from Nashbar: skull cap, baklava, no, no, sorry, I didn't mean the Greek pastry, I meant a balaclava and of course wool socks. On top of that were cold weather tech mock shirt and running pants. One more thing: toe warmers.

Finally, at 3:15, I was out the door. I had no idea how long I'd last. I hate the cold, so if I made 10 miles, I'd be happy with that. 20 would be fantastic, but I realized that 20 would be tough with daylight ending sometime shortly after 4:30.

Turned out to be a really nice ride. I was doing very well, on a 15 mph pace for the first 10 miles or so, but some big hills into the wind after that really hurt me. In the end, I rode 16 1/3 miles in about 1:15, including one brief stop when my chain came off (again!), but that was about it. The cool air felt really good sucking into my lungs. Not sure I like the balaclava -- when I kept my mouth covered, my glasses got fogged up -- not really advisable for riding!

When I got home, my toes were absolutely frigid. Poor little guys needed some relief. I hopped in the hot shower and holy moley did they hurt! I've gotta believe it was some kind of rush of blood back into the toes. Had to get out and dry those puppies off.

Anyway, today was a great day for riding and walking. It felt good to be back! Thanks, Emil, for the bit of guilt I felt (not to mention the jealousy for not being able to run!)


Friday, December 14, 2007

Riding with the Wind

Got out on my bike and put in 25 miles yesterday. It was chilly, but it was an awesome ride. My first "really cold" ride with temps in the mid 30's. All of that cold weather gear from Nashbar was perfect, from my feet to my hair! I felt really strong as I averaged 14.4 mph, a personal best. It was awesome.

Felt so invigorated when I got back, put my running gear on and did 5 chilly miles. Nice run!

Alas, I came out of my stupor. Wish I was there! Another crappy weather weekend on tap makes me wonder if I'll remember what it's like to ride.

Work's been crazy. Life has been crazy. Barely time to breathe. Sorry for not writing, and I'm way behind on my regular reads, too! Thanks, too, for all the Hanukkah wishes. We survived the holiday. Looking forward to movies and Chinese food on Christmas Day. (That's what Jews do on Christmas, in case you've wondered.)

All for now. . .


Monday, December 10, 2007

Slug. . . Continued

Another week without activity. I was so looking forward to getting out on my bike yesterday, but again, the weather man would not cooperated. Overcast early morning skies turned to rain by 9, which lasted 'till early afternoon.

By that time, we were in full preparation for my family Hanukkah meal with my parents, brother and his extended family in attendance for Deb's amazing and spectacular potato latkes. That preparation included three separate trips to the grocery store, peeling 12 pounds of potatoes and getting the house and table in order. Ma brought her famous glazed corned beef and the order to eat was given.

Everyone left the house in good spirits with a full belly.

That, of course, led to this morning's weigh in. Not surprisingly, the scale is up 1.4 pounds over last week and 2.6 over two weeks, at a 15-day average of 245.1.

With 3 weeks left in the month, I have much work to do to get down to the 239 goal for year end. Hanukkah is now over and medium the canister of Williamsburg Peanuts is now gone (in a record three days, I might add!) I'm ready to lose!


Wednesday, December 5, 2007


Yeah, I know I'm a few days late. Sorry for those that have been awaiting my next post. (Sorry ma!) Been feeling like a slug lately. Eating like I've got a tapeworm inside of me and exercising like I'm the guy before the Formerly Fat Running Guy that I am now. In other words, not at all.

So the scale was up this week a little over a pound, but still rising. No surprise to me. I'm seeing some of the same eating patterns that I've feared would return for some time. I ate just about every bar in the house -- granola, Special K, some Target bars. I was on a mission to purge via my belly. Monday was a really bad nut day. These days were really scary, but it's subsided a bit since earlier this week.

As for exercise, there has been none in more than a week. The first full dry week since I started, I think. Now the weather and the ankle are working against me. Gotta get to the gym.

Went to see a podiatrist yesterday. Good news is that he thinks some custom orthopedic insoles will solve my ankle problems and I should be running again just about right away. (Even better news is that my insurance covers 90%!) I hope he's right. It'll be a month for delivery.

I told the doc about my goal to run a marathon. He suggested biking. He told me about another patient with foot problems that started to do triathlons. "They have all different distances, you know." No kidding! Thanks, doc. Between my blogging friends, this doc, and my Sunday biking group tri guys, I think my goal for 08 is to join a gym with a pool. An 08 triathlete? Maybe so!

On some other notes -- JoBrotha hooked me up with a ticket to Monday's Raven's game against the Patriots. First game I've been to in about three years. For anyone that missed the game, temps were in the low 30's, light flurries and the crowd was in a frenzy. Ravens led from about 5 minutes in until less than a minute left in the game. Major downer. Great game though.

Tonight was the second night of Hanukkah. Great holiday for the kids. Happy Hanukkah to my Jewish friends and family.


Sunday, December 2, 2007

Emotions, but not Mixed

So today was the big Columbia Metric Marathon. I wish I was writing to talk about how awesome the run was. How I beat the 3:30 cutoff by ten minutes or so. That I was sore, but it was all worth it and I was ready to go for my first full marathon.

Unfortunately, there'll be none of that. Please indulge me as I whine just a bit.

As I left my house to take the kids to Hebrew School, I turned right a block and a half from the home and there there it was. . . the water stop at mile 5 and lots of runners doing what runners do. I was supposed to be right there with them (well, just a few miles back at that point,) but alas, I was driving my car, not paying attention to my kids arguing about whether Army-Navy or Michigan-Ohio State were the biggest rivalries in college football, me just bumming, wishing I was pounding the pavement. (The correct answer is Army-Navy, by the way.)

The backup plan was the Sunday ride, but the weather was crappy. Calling for rain and just barely not ice. The car thermometer read 33 and I woulda been there if not for the precip forecast and the few droplets I felt before we left.

At school, there was one lone rider who proclaimed the rain would hold off until 1. Another plan foiled? I hope not.

With my free time, I headed off to the nearest Starbucks and then to the finish line of race to watch for my buddy Dave. I arrived with 1:38 on the clock. The first few finishers had crossed the line and there were but a few spectators. Dave should cross just after 2:00. In the mean time, I did my duty and clapped for all the finishers. I think I was the only brave sole not wearing gloves so the runners could actually hear me (and a dozen other muffled, gloved claps.) Dave crossed at 2:04:16. We chatted as I still wished I was on the course at about mile 11.

Then it was time to pick up kid #2. I hadn't realized that part of the course was right near Hebrew School at about mile 14. Again, wishing I was there (and at that point, I probably would have been right there.) Or, on my bike as the rain did, in fact, hold off. But there would be none of that.

So, tomorrow is the day. I must call the doctor and I must get my ankles in shape. After all, just five months till Frederick and these legs need to carry me 26 miles.

End of whine. Thanks for indulging me.