Friday, November 28, 2008


I've always been amazed by how weight loss and speed seem to come when I least expect it.

In the past month, I've averaged 5-6 workouts a week, some even double ups. In that time, the scale has been pretty flat. I've worked to control the intake, but for the most part, there has been little movement. Yesterday morning, I hopped out of bed and did my daily check in with the scale expecting more of the same. Happily, the same was not to be. For the first time, the scale showed the reward I've been looking for -- the first two digits were black jack -- "21". Black jack was not followed by the nine point eight that would have been good enough for me but rather eight point zero.

Although I don't need numbers to define my success, I'm a numbers guy and they are a good benchmark to measure progress objectively. One of those measures is body mass index, or BMI. The BMI takes a person's height and weight and calculates a number that is defines them on a scale from underweight to morbidly obese. My new BMI of 29.6 is in the overweight column, which is a good thing. For the first time in probably 35 years or more, I am no longer obese.

After doing a little "Hey, I'm not Obese Anymore" song and dance next to the scale, I quickly gathered my cold weather gear for the Green Valley North Turkey Trot. In stark contrast to
last year's run with temps around 70, this year the forecast called for low to mid 30's: running tights, two pair of socks, three layers on top, gloves and hand warmers were the order of the day.

I arrived at the site about 15 minutes before the scheduled 9 am start with a Starbucks Venti already warming my blood. Checking in, I picked up my t -- a very nice technical t, rather than the all cotton version that they handed out last year -- and one extra since I had registered the whole family, even though they decided to stay warm instead. Since I parked a good 10 minute walk from the start line, I put one t on and another in my pocket. I was feeling a bit like Santa with my four layers and bulging pockets -- extra t in one, gloves in another.

A bit after 9, the race was a go. I had no idea how my recent speed surge would translate to the course's rolling hills, but I'd soon find out.

The first mile, more downhill than up, was in at 9:44. Holy crap that's fast. I mean WAY faster than anything I've ever recorded. Okay, just one mile and downhill at that. Let's see if I can average that out to stay at 10 for 2 miles.

Sure enough, 10:16 -- dead nuts on for a two mile average of 10 minutes.

Mile 3 was another down-more-than-up mile and another sub 10 minute mile at 9:45. At this point, I'm thinking out loud about a sub-50 minute run. (Yeah, and you should've seen the looks I was getting, too!)

Shortly into mile 4, I was feeling the three miles before. No way can I keep up this pace. I'm tired. Want to walk. Can't walk. No walking. Less than two to go. Almost there. Uphill mile 4 in at 10:09. Holy crap, 4 done in under 40. Just a mile to go!

Mile five was slow. More uphill, damn! By 4.5, I was 20 seconds off the pace. I've lost it, but I will still blow away anything I've ever done. Mile 5 in 10:11, but the run isn't over. The last piece is straight down hill! 1/20 of a mile in 22 seconds, 8:19 pace -- I was sure this body wouldn't go that fast!

Final: 5.05 miles -- 50:29 -- average of 9:59.8/mile! Better than a minute and a half faster per mile than a year ago.

Honestly, I wouldn't have thought that possible. I felt great!

Back to the car and a quick stop for some Dunkin Donuts coffee for me and the Mrs. and then home to enjoy the day.

Without a doubt, I did a bit too much celebrating over Deb's fabulous dinner last night. I couldn't move after two plates of turkey, roasted sweet potatoes, squash casserole, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, cranberry sauce, a cookie bar and a fat free/sugar free pudding with cool whip to top it off. Waaay over indulged. I certainly felt fat. Thinking back, I used to enjoy that feeling of too full. Not any more. Yuck.

Hope you all had a great and Thankful day!


Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Where the hell did fall go? It's been frickin cold here. Like unseasonably cold. Not that I'm doing a lot outside, but . . . the cold really sucks. Last week we even had some snow flurries. Brrrr.

The Metric Marathon is just 13 days away and my training plan is in full swing. Last week was two thumbs up on that account. Almost 25 miles of running last week, all on the treadmill, of course. Somewhere along the line I seemed to have found some speed (at least for me) and consistency. Each of my four runs averaged between 10:41 and 10:47 and my long run was my fastest time. Talk about a negative split!

As for consistency, these have been my steadiest times ever. My last 6 runs, 41 miles, have all been between 10:59 and 10:41 average. I feel like I can finally predict how fast I will be. Maybe this is temporary, but I finally feel like speed work might actually work. Of course, this is all well and good in a controlled environment. What about outside?

For sure, this coming weekend I'm planning to get my long run in on the neighborhood streets. Will see how it all translates. I'll be pulling out all of the cold weather gear, no doubt.

Hard to believe Thanksgiving is just two days away. Happy turkey day, everyone!


Monday, November 17, 2008


I am a slacker. That's what one of my biking buddies called me on Sunday, so I'm sure he's right.
Saturday, I hit the gym for the Saturday Double -- Body Pump followed by a spin class. Great start to the day. At 9, Deb dropped the boys off for kids Zoomba. Sounded like fun if I could get them into it. It was tough going, but they did get out there and dance. I joined them in the back row with a few other parents (moms) and the kid's were more comfortable. They did plenty of whining, but by the time they told Deb about it, they were ready to go back next week. Guess the double will become a triple. Throw in the post Zoomba swim and that makes a quadruple. Yee Haa!

Sunday was long run day. My buddy Dave was heading to Lifetime Fitness early to hit the treadmill for a 14 miler. I invited myself to use one of his guest passes and met him there at 5:45 with a goal of 8-10 miles. This would pretty much determine if I would register for the Columbia Metric Marathon. Need to be relatively comfortable that I could meet the Metric time cutoff of 3.5 hours -- a pace just under 13 minutes per mile.

We were off and running by 6 and I felt really good. For the first 2-3 miles, Dave and I were conversing comfortably. My first walk break was at 3.5 and I was a keeping a pace better than 10:30. By 5, I knew I would go for 10. As the miles ticked by, I was keeping to just under 11 minute mile average with walking occasionally. At 9.2, I was 30 second off the pace for sub 11, but I had enough in the tank to push myself to pick up those lost seconds. At 10 miles, the ticker showed 1:49:58 -- a pace of 10:59, by far my fastest run of any distance beyond 4 miles. I was feeling pretty jazzed. This run pretty much sealed the deal for the Metric. I signed up Monday night.

When I saw one of my biking buddies at 9 and he saw me sans cycle, the first word out of his mouth was "slacker!" Well deserved, no doubt.

With just three week's to the run, I'm pioneering Jeff's 3 Week Slug to 26.2k Training Plan.
  • Week 1 -- Tue - 3, Wed - 6, Thu - 3, Sun - 12
  • Week 2 -- Tue - 3, Wed - 4, Thu - 3, Sun - 8
  • Week 3 -- Tue - 3, Thu - 2, Fri - 2, Sun 26.2k/16.2 mi

And there you have it. If it work's out, I'll publish! In the mean time, I'll just be a slacker.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Finally, Just a Run

It's been a while since I just ran. All this other stuff has been getting in my way, which I have enjoyed, but other than the 2 miles I credit myself with at boot camp, I haven't had a single longer run since the Baltimore Half almost 6 weeks ago.

Like every time I think about running, I have a backup plan. I sign up for spin or Body Pump as a backup, but the backup always seems to become the plan.

Yesterday, I signed up for spin for this morning as my "backup." Unlike the last 6 or 8 times, today I went the direction of the treadmill instead of the spin studio.

And I ran.

And it felt good.

And I realized that I missed it.

It was a good run. A bit over 4 miles in 45 minutes -- a sub 11 minute average. That's a great time considering my lack of running.

What next?

I've been waffling on whether to run the Columbia Metric Marathon on 12/7 -- 16.2 miles with a 3 1/2 hour time limit. Registered last year, but didn't run due to injury. Today's little 4 miler has me thinking seriously about training for it. (There must be a 16 miles in 4 weeks or less training plan out there somewhere, right?)

So I think the bug is back. Stay tuned for the plan on this one.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

20 Years!

When I tell people about my conversion from fat to fit, they usually say something like "Wow, think about how many years you've added to your life! Of course, that's pretty tough to know, right?

Well, I found this cool life expectancy calculator and now I know the truth (because I sincerely believe EVERYTHING I read or get from the internet.)

After answering 40 questions about my life, health, family history, etc, I know with absolute certainty that I will live to 91. Then, I went back and plugged in the fat me information -- 71 years.

Just think -- that's an extra 20 years to drive my kids crazy. Something to look forward to!

L'Chaim! -- and a very long one at that!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Where Have You Been, Joe DiMaggio?

Well, not Joe, but me. Yes, it's been two weeks. Sorry about that. Life in the way, once again.

So let's see, when I last left you, I was enjoying the buffet at the gym. During the past two weeks, I've continued to enjoy.
  • 4 Body Pumps

  • 2 Boot Camps

  • 4 Spin Classes

  • 2 21 mile bike rides

Food wise, I feel like I'm eating pretty well. Not a lot of changes from the South Beach plan. A few strays, but nothing noteworth.

With all of that activity and the eating going well, the pounds are just falling off. They must be, right? Not so fast, bucko. Stagnation is more like it. Much to my surprise, I've been in a groove between 222 and 224 pretty much every day for the past two weeks. Not a bad place to be, but not exactly where I thought I'd be, considering. No doubt I can tighten the plan down a bit. My goals are still in sight and achievable for year end, but the clock is ticking.

So that's all I've got. More to come when the mood hits me!