Monday, May 26, 2008
Some highlights of the past year:
Then -- 279 pounds -- Now -- 229 -- a loss of 50 pounds
522 miles run
421 miles biked
Races completed: One 5k, One 5 miler, One 7 mile marathon relay, One 10k, Two half marathon's and, of course, One Full Marathon.
None of this was without pain, though. There were two ankle injuries and sciatic/piriformis issue that I had to deal with just a little more than a month ago.
Thank you all for your advice and support over the past year, especially Deb, who has pushed me out the door when I wanted to sleep in too many times to count.
It's been a great year!
Friday, May 23, 2008
How is Ichiro doing? I hope he is doing good. Hey, is your team doing good? I hope so. What place are you in. Who is your rival? I wonder if can you send me a program and some baseball cards.
Who are your rookies?
Hey, I want to tell you this – I do Tae Kwon Do.
I have 4 baseball hits. I have 3 bobble heads. I have like 1 of your hats. So can you send me one and some magnets?
Now, let me tell you about my life. I have an electric guitar. I love geography. I play baseball. I know every football and baseball team. So I have 3 metals and like 100
So let me ask you some questions: Who is the most famous person on your team? How big is your stadium? What was your biggest game? I have 3 baseball video games. Did you change anything about the park? Who are you playing this season? What is a mariner?
Even I have a rock star room.
I have only been to one of your games because I live in Maryland but I like the team
and I have only been to Seattle once and saw the Space Needle and I went on the
duck ride and the museum near by the duck ride. I have a ton of books like the Cat and the Hat.
So you must be a good team. You got a player from my home team. Erik Bedard. He was a good player but your team deserves him. So I only went to one O’s game this year against the Nationals.
I have a ton of stuffed animals. I have 3 blankets. I love sushi and Chinese. Those are my favorite things to eat in the whole entire world. I have 2 foam fingers and 100 baseball cards.
I have a cockapoo and his name is Andy. My favorite candy is Sour Patch Kids. I love sour things. They’re my favorite.
How is the weather down there? Is it warm? It was warm down here. So is it there?
My favorite book is Geronimo Stilton. My favorite sport is baseball. I go to
elementary school. I have a pencil that has all the baseball teams on them. I have a Playstation. I play kickball on the side with my friends and baseball, but we fight sometimes. But it is fun but I strike out most of the time because they throw too fast. So it looks good but it’s really not. Sorry if I spelled anything wrong.
Your Friend, Matty.
I live in Ellicott City. Don’t worry if I spelled anything wrong. It could or not. Can you send the stuff?
The actual version of the letter is a real gem. Misspellings and all. Too good not to share. Hope the Mariners agree!
Lots of bloggers racing this weekend. Good luck to:
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
We belong to the Columbia Association, which is a large homeowners association (more than 100,000 residents) that has, among other things, three full service gyms and 23 outdoor pools.
I was invited to join in the unofficial "Pedal and Paddle" event that a bunch of folks started a few years ago.
It goes like this: start at a pre-designated pool. Do at least one lap and, if there is a slide, one time down, get on your bike, pedal to the next pool. Twenty-three times, plus a jump in the first pool at the end, just for good measure.
It's about 40 miles of riding and lasts 6+ hours. Thankfully, the rules clearly state that form doesn't count.
Have no idea what a 47-event something-athalon would be called (other than "47-event-athalon"), but I do have some questions:
1. If there are no medals, is it a sport?
2. If there is no t-shirt or like swag handed out, is it an event?
3. There is no liability waiver or entrance fee, so do we need a lawyer?
4. 46 transitions? Yikes!
5. Swim in bike shorts or ride in a bathing suit?
6. Does the Garmin work under water?
7. Can I add it to my upcoming events?
8. Need one of those "six pack abs" t-shirts to wear for the swim parts. (I know, not really a question.)
Needless to say, I've already signed up. Looking forward to that PR!
Monday, May 19, 2008
I guess I'm a bit less of a couch potato, but not so much on my feet. Just one run, not even three miles. I did get in two nice weekend bike rides, though. 16 miles on my own on Saturday and 25 on Sunday with a few of the Hebrew School dads. Nice ride for the last weekend of school.
Finally broke some new ground on the scale. Down 2.2 pounds from last week -- one of my biggest losses in many months. My average weight is at 230.9, with a few days spent in the 220's! Total loss now is 183.1 pounds. Seems to make no sense that my weight has gone down as my exercise has decreased. Go figure.
After my marathon run, Deb had sent a note to a writer for our local weekly, The Howard County Times. Last Thursday, the paper published this: Marathon Run Follows Massive Weight Loss. On Saturday, we were at the local soft ice cream stand where my son's baseball team was celebrating the end of the season and a woman comes up to me and says "Excuse me, but are you Jeff?" Turns out it was Cathi Higgins, the writer of the article (whom neither Deb nor I had ever met.) She thought it might be me but it was Andy that gave us away. Too funny.
I had every intention of wishing some of my racing friends good luck last weekend. Unfortunately, I missed the boat, but they obviously got my good wish vibes. Congrats go out to Java Mom, who rocked the Tempe International Triathlon, to Erin, who killed the Mountain Man Duathlon, Rob, who joined the 26.2 club at the Delaware Marathon and Jill, Stacey and the dozen or so other friends that completed the Columbia Triathlon. Congrats to all!
Monday, May 12, 2008
As for the scale -- I didn't report last week and I don't have a formal report today, but I've seen a pretty nice drop since the marathon last weekend. A new low of 230.0 for a single weigh-in. (Just watched those digits on the scale teeter between 229.8 and 230.0 -- guess I shoulda tried to pee or something!)
This week? Start to break in the new shoes. Not a new style, just new pair of the ones that got me through 26.2 -- Saucony Grid Stabil 6. I'd like to get a base of 15-20 miles per week going until training for Marine Corps starts up this summer.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Friday, May 9, 2008
"So, do you have this marathon thing out of your system because I don't think I
can take another week like we just went through with you just one big stressful
glob and ignoring your family and if you don't have it out of your system, you
need to promise me that if anything happens along the way, that you won't push
all the extremes and get all stressed again, cause we can't take it again?"
Okay, maybe I paraprased a bit, but you get the idea.
"Love of my life, you know, this was a great experience, but I think I'd
really like to do one of the major big city marathons. You know, like
NY or Marine Corps or Chicago. I've heard the experience is incredible."
That was about it. . . for Sunday.
In the midst of my feeling good, post race euphoria on Monday, I looked up Marine Corps and the web site said: "Less than 1000 spaces left!"
Uh oh, better act fast.
"Darling, can we talk about Marine Corps?"
"Do we have to talk now?"
"Well, yes, it will sell out today."
"When is it?"
"End of October."
"Of course, my sweetness. I'm behind you one hundred and ten percent. Go for it!"
"Thank you, my dearest, you ROCK!"
Well, I might be paraphrasing just a tad here too, but you get the idea.
So, I became one of the last of 30,000 to register for Marine Corps Marathon.
Have a few more fill in's for the rest of the year, but that'll be the big one!
Thanks again, my love!
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Those were the words of my friend Dave who completed Frederick in 3:29, his 10th marathon.
I finished in about 5:52 (can't get to the results page for some reason.)
It was an amazing and emotional day.
Much to say but the report will have to wait a day or so.
Thanks for all of the well wishes. They came in handy.
Heard from my almost 8 year old, Matty, talking to another boy Friday night at the ball park:
Matty -- I'm not going to be at practice tomorrow, my dad's running a marathon.Just when you're sure nothing you say sinks in, you overhear this little gem! Deb and I just smiled at each other.
Mitchell -- Oh.
Matty -- Do you know how long a marathon is?
Mitchell -- No.
Matty -- It's 26 miles.
Mitchell -- WOW!
Matty -- yeah, we have to go to a pasta party tomorrow so my dad can carb up!
Saturday was a crazy day -- school carnival and baseball game, plus the pre-race festivities. I left right after the game and headed to Frederick, about 30 miles west of home, to pick up my packet and sign the kids up for the fun run. While I was there, I ran into some friends -- Scott, Stacey and Bob -- picking up their packets for the half on Sunday. They wished me well and I was off, avoiding all of the vendors but picking up a few freebies along the way.
I headed to the Team In Training sponsored pasta party where Deb and the kids met me. I learned as the weekend went on, this is truly where TNT shines. As we entered the hotel ballroom, all of the coaches and mentors lined up and cheered us into the room. We joined Terry and Laura, whom I had done some training runs with, along with Laura's husband, at a table towards the back of the room.
Michael, the Director for TNT-Maryland, got up and began by inviting anyone that wanted to come to the microphone and tell their story -- why they were there or who with leukemia or lymphoma had impacted their lives. Dinner was served.
Michael introduced the TNT coaches and mentors. Some we had met before, some we had not, as all of the training groups from the different groups in MD converged for the first time together. At that point, he talked about the diseases and introduced a 9 year old girl whom had gone through two years of treatment. It was quite inspirational to hear her story. (Turns out, Deb went to school with the girl's father.)
Then, he started talking about the fundraising. The group of 80 TNT runners raised more than $150,000! Michael then asked everyone who raised over $2,000 to stand. There were about 15 of us. Then $3,000. Four or five remained. At $4,000, and then $5,000, I stood alone. With the help of just about everyone I know, I was the top fundraiser for this event. Once again, thank you all -- I am truly humbled by your generosity!
At the next break for desert, I took the opportunity to share my story with the group. I told of my weight loss success and my running for Phyllis.
Soon after, the supporters were pulled into another room where they were given lots of goodies to help cheer on their friends and relatives while the runners remained to get info from the coaches.
There were only a few of us running or walking the full marathon. The Howard County coach, Mohan, talked about the hill at mile 16. I had pretty much been avoiding thinking about that hills on the back side of the course. Deb had suggested a few weeks ago that I go out and drive the course. I really didn't want too much information. No need for even more stress. Since Mohan was my local coach, I asked that he get me up that hill. "No problem -- I'll be there for you, Jeff!" I knew he would be.
We headed home and I just felt stressed. No other way to put it. That hill was now front and center. After a week of wishing the race was "tomorrow", finally it would be.
Stay tuned. . .
The alarm was set for 4 am but, like every other day this week, there was no need as my body woke me at 3:30. Might as well get moving!
Everything had been laid out the night before. All of the body ointments, sun block, etc. all lined up in the bathroom like good little soldiers. Clothing all set in dining room. Morning nourishment ready to be consumed. I thought through very carefully areas where I had previously had issues -- chafing around the waistband of my shorts, rubbing of my arms and thighs. Got those areas all glided up. Took some ibuprofen. Even had time to brew a pot of coffee and drink a cup. Then it was 15 minutes of stretching at home.
Dave was picking me up between 4:50 and 5:00. Dave is NEVER late. The day we met at the gym at 5 am for a long run -- I arrived at 5 till, Dave had was there 10 minutes before waiting for me. At 4:50, my cell phone rang. It was Dave. "SHIT! My two alarms didn't go off -- I'm leaving in 5 minutes -- sorry!" Okay, this wasn't part of the plan.
I think I just walked around the house aimlessly. Too much nervous energy. I waited outside and Dave pulled up at about 5:15. We were off -- Dave driving like a bat out of hell. Once we hit I-70, it seemed like every car we passed had a "26.2" sticker on the back bumper. At least we knew we wouldn't be the last to arrive.
There was an option for me to stay at the hotel in Frederick, but I decided against that. Riding with Dave was perfect. He'd been my personal "coach" really since the beginning of this journey. Not the training part, but the real beginning, in July, 2006. This was perfect. Dave said he knew this day would be here a year before, when we went to Delaware. Certainly not this specific day, but the day I would run a marathon and that we would do it together. When I commented to him in the lounge the night before his DE marathon and my 10 miler that next year we'd run one together, it was just one of those things you say that sounds good. To me it would be a dream, but I couldn't imagine all the effort that would be required to make it the full distance. Here we were, 50 weeks later, going to run a marathon. Together.
Dave pulled off the exit into traffic headed to the fairgrounds. Traffic was moving, but slowly. We pulled into the parking lot at about 6. Just 30 minutes to the start. Dave got a quick picture with his camera phone and I headed of to the TNT tent. "Good luck, man, you'll do great!"
In a way, the delay served as a distraction to the miles ahead. Once I arrived, there was really no time to do anything other than the business at hand. Drop my bag at the TNT tent, find a restroom (nothing like the camaraderie of 6 guys sharing a dumpster) and get to the start. I was looking for Terry and Laura -- since I had run with them at some of our weekly TNT long runs, I thought it would be great if we ran together, at least through their half marathon. I found them along with lots of other TNT'ers and we waited for the start.
Finally, 6:30 arrived and we were off. 26.2 miles to go. . .
. . . 26.2 miles to go.
My folks were waiting along the canal. It was great to see them there and I got to run past them twice -- out and back. They had TNT signs in their hands cheering for me. I told them I was feeling fine and I'd see them in about 3 hours.
Two days later and I'm still on cloud nine. Sappy stuff coming next:
Hard to believe with all of the pain and suffering that I went through, from the ankle pains last summer and fall to the pains in the butt and lower back just three weeks ago that I ran essentially pain free. Great advice from my friend Terry and a few others to see a chiropractor. Dr. Lipman got me back on the road. Along with some new stretches that I did religiously, this was my biggest concern. Thank you, Howard.
Yesterday, the day after, I rode my bike to take the kids to school. How about that!
The Team in Training crew -- what an amazing and dedicated group of folks. Thank you for your leadership.
Bloggers -- my virtual friends -- you rock! (Not all virtual, of course, there's Katie and Dan whom I've run half marathon's with.) You encouraged and you cheered, you advised and you empathized. I hope to run with many of you some day.
My family, friends and co-workers encouraged me and kept me going and drove me crazy some times -- but in a good way. Couldn't let them down. Special thanks to mom and dad, Neil, UR and AD, Zach and Matty.
"Coach" Dave, my friend, I would not have taken this road without your friendship and encouragement in the first place. You are a mensch.
Deb -- my goodness -- you are my rock! You kicked me in the ass when I didn't want to run. You got me to stretch. You took care of the family when I went out for long runs. You cursed me when the alarm went off way too early and you couldn't fall back to sleep. You helped raise money for TNT. You did it all. I love you so!
In the end, with your help, I did what I thought I could not. I persevered and found success. But really, the success is in the training -- 417 miles over 18 weeks. The reward is in finish.
If it were not for support of the people in my life, this would have never happened. This former fat guy would probably still be on the couch eating french fries. For this, I am eternally grateful.
My family truly supported me -- through training and on the big day. From the left: Sherri (sister-in-law), Rachel (niece), Ryan (nephew), Mom, Matty, Deb, me, Zach and Dad. (Not Pictured: Brother Neil (jo brotha) -- en route to Vegas for a business trip. He was there in spirit.) I could not have asked for better supporters.
And, yes, I was a total geek wearing that medal around my neck. It could wait a day before it starts to gather dust.
Friday, May 2, 2008
A long time ago, I talked about signing up with Team In Training. TNT is a great organization and has a great purpose, but for me, there is more.
Around about 1988, I met Phyllis. At the time, she was President of the Maryland Jaycees, an organization that my dad had belonged to and I was a fairly new member. I saw Phyllis as a very strong and powerful woman. In my early 20's, I was in awe and was very impressed with both the office and the leader.
Over the years, we developed a very close friendship. I joined her in some US Jaycees political endeavors and she taught me much. We drank a lot, talked a lot, and played a lot of poker.
It was at a Christmas Party at Phyllis' house in 1994 that I inquired about Deb's "status." She told Deb "of course he likes you, why do you think he invited you to his 30th birthday party!" 16 months later, Deb and I were married.
We talked religion and politics. We were almost never on the same side of either, but we always enjoyed the banter.
Over the years, we got together regularly with friends and our quarterly poker group. Times were good.
A few years ago, word came that Phyllis was not well. She had lymphoma and was at Johns Hopkins hospital. I still don't know all that she went through back then, but she was not expected to live. A last minute bone marrow transplant saved her life, but the complications changed the way she will live.
I visited Phyllis last week in a nursing home when I shared with her my plan for Frederick. We talked about life and she reminded me that doctors predicted that she would be a memory. Through the miracles of medicine and the will of God, she lives today. It is a life that she is living, but not what she had in mind. Her family and friends are lucky to have her.
I can't help but wonder if the efforts of previous TNT participants helped to save her life. I hope that my efforts, and the generous support of my friends, family and co-workers will help save many more Phyllis'.
On Sunday, I will run in "TNT Purple" for me, but also for her.
If you have given, thank you very much.
If you have not, please consider doing so. The life you help save may be closer than you think.
Click HERE to visit my TNT web page.
Signing off until Sunday.