Thursday, January 31, 2008

YMCA Board Member??

Huh... So, I'm working out at the Y like usual. I leave Sophie with the girls up front. Then, since all the treadmills are taken, I proceed to go for a short run outside (probably against the rules, but oh well). Anyhow, I got back from my run and went back upstairs and spent another 15 minutes on the elliptical. After that, I came back downstairs to collect my daughter. Right before I was about to leave, Jessie (the girl over at the Y) came up to me and asked if I would like to be on the YMCA board. Now, I have no idea what someone on the board does. But, it sounds awfully important. So, I'm definitely considering it. In fact, I'm gonna go to the next board meeting and see what it's all about.

If anyone needs me, I'll be watching my servants wash and wax my Rolls Royce from my gold-plated hot tub. (I guess that's how I imagine a "board member's" life)

Run recap- 1.76 miles (no time data, I didn't have my watch)

Feeling kinda recovered...

I have been feeling much better lately. I've been running 3 days a week for about 3 weeks now. And, that seems to be agreeing with me. My new/old shoes are working and my foot seems to be healing. It's still not 100%. So, I'm not going to go crazy with the training. But, I think that as long as I continue to be smart about it, it will get to 100% in the near future (next month or so?). Anyhow, this is encouraging.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Anniversary run..

Nate and I went on a victory run today to celebrate our one year of running. I wanted to go slow and Nate's natural compass is to go faster (so is mine normally)... So, we were dueling the whole way. It worked out pretty well in the end. But, I would've liked to go a little slower. I'm totally afraid of overdoing it now. I'm a big wussy at this point.

Run recap- 3.05 miles, 28:27, 9:19 pace

Monday, January 28, 2008

Happy Anniversary to Me..

Well... it's finally here. On January 28, 2007, I began my C25K journey. I'd like to take a moment to thank two very important people in this journey. First, I have to give a shout-out to John. He was the first of the three of us to start the C25K. It was his example that set Nate and I in motion. In fact, before the C25K, I had no idea who John was. But, as a result of a decision he made, I am a better person today.

Then, there's Nate... What can I say? His email to me said something like, "I'm doing this..". He included a link to the C25K and that singular statement was enough to kick me in the pants. We are definitely connected in this transformation because of the sweat that we left out on those snowy roads last January and February. Nate in his burglar outfit and me in my Michelin Man outfit.

I think my initial thought was that the program was way too easy. Even after a couple weeks, I was thinking I was bored. Then, it started getting harder and it was apparent that I was training the "right way". I didn't feel overly sore. I didn't hate running. I just felt like I was making progress. The first couple of months was where I lost the majority of the weight. I hadn't lost much after that until very recently.

I followed the C25K with the One Hour Runner program. It was there that I became totally addicted. I was racing more and loving every minute of it. The PRs were almost as addicting as the transformation... I was hooked.

Then, my wife and I came up with the crazy idea of running the marathon. It was a life goal for my wife. And, since I was getting in better shape... I thought, why not? I ended up running the marathon and trashing my feet... But, I wouldn't trade it for the world.

If I had to pick one thing that I am most proud of over the last year, it would be that I am still running today. But, a close second would be finishing the C25K.

It was a great first year... a first of many.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Conewago Trail Run

Despite the disappointing weigh-in... I've got some pretty positive running news to report. I had a great 4 mile run with Bill and Nate this morning. I ran the whole thing without feeling too winded and my feet feel great. Over the last three days, I have also been concentrating on stretching (at the advice of my PT). I think that is helping. The other thing that I think I figured out is that my old shoes (I know, I've been through this already) really are a part of the problem. I'm going back to the flat-foot, moon shoes again. They felt great today. This is the least uncomfortable I've felt after a run in a looooonnnnnngggg time.

In regards to the new trail and new running buddy.... I dig. The trail was great and is actually closer to me than the York Rails to Trails and I really enjoyed my run with Bill (and Nate, but he's old-hat at this point). So, if Bill wants to slum at my pace in the future, I'm in.

Run recap- 4.06 miles, 37:11, 9:09 pace

Weigh in, week 6

Well... This week was humbling in the weight loss column but optimistic in the running column (more about that next post). But, I put in quite a gain today (I went to a party the night before my weigh-in). So, I'm attributing some of it to false pounds that will just fall off. But, humbling none the less.

Weigh in- 198.8 (4 pounds gained this week... Not true weight, but I've got some work to do this week)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Elliptical and lifting

I went to the Y this morning with Melissa. I did 30 minutes on the elliptical and lifted biceps and triceps. Then, while Melissa was working out, I went downstairs and shot basketball for a half hour. It was a good morning workout. I'm going running with Nate tomorrow at the Conewago Trail. I've never been before, so it should be a good time.

Spirit of the Marathon, Come One.. Come All

My wife and I went and watched "The Spirit of the Marathon" on Thursday night. It was our first "date" in a while.. so that was nice all by itself. But, as for the movie... It was as inspiring as it was gut-wrenching. Watching others go what I went through really struck a nerve with me.

All 6 runners were entertaining in their own way. Daniel Njenga was great through all the scenes in his homeland (Kenya). There was one really hilarious scene where he was throwing rocks at hippos and he kept repeating, "We should go, this is dangerous". It was also great to get into the mind of an elite athlete.

Then, there was a host of "average" runners. I hesitate to say average, because I know what it takes to run a marathon... and average doesn't really cut it. Leah Caille was a single, recently divorced, mom running to get her life back. Lori O'Connor is a PHD student who is running for a personal cause. Ryan Bradley was running for the ever elusive BQ (Boston Qualifying time). And finally, Jerry Meyers was the comic relief. He ran his first marathon at 65 and is training with his daughter (at 70 years old) for her first and his fifth.

Then, the most exciting part of the movie for me was Deena Kastor. Watching her train and effortlessly glide in the race was amazing. Since I was not following running back in 2005, I had no idea of what the outcome of the Chicago Marathon was. So... it was exciting to the last minute. Her training regimen was crazy and watching her battle through injury was equally inspiring. She gained yet another fan in me after watching this movie.

Overall, there were parts of the movie that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. And, it was heart breaking and uplifting all at the same time to watch people cross the finish line. I would've thought breaking into tears at the finish line was ridiculous before I ran the marathon. Now, I totally understand. Great movie!!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Taped and padded

I went for a run over lunch yesterday with my new tape job from the physical therapy appointment. I also put the metatarsal pads in... I'm not sure about the tape job (I think it's helping), but the pads drove me nuts. They stretched my arch and really sucked. I will give them one more shot, but not until after my next appointment and I consult the physical therapist. I don't want to do any other damage.

Run recap- 1.34 miles, 12:34, 9:23

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Physical Therapy, First Visit

Today was the day... I was going to be totally fixed the moment I walked out of that therapy appointment. Not so fast. A guy can dream, right? Anyhow, I think it was a good first appointment. My therapist, Shawn, really seemed to have his stuff together. He spent time listening to my self-diagnosis and humoring me... Then, he proceeded to tell me what was really going on.

To my surprise, he told me that I'm not really that flat-footed. I've always been told that I was flat-footed. And, he told me that my bio-mechanics aren't really that bad. Sweet. He thinks that my injuries have probably been a result of overuse. And, in his words, the original injury from the marathon is just having a tough time "settling down".

I was convinced that I needed orthotics. But, since my bio-mechanics aren't that bad, Shawn didn't want to jump there right away. I'm all for caution... and, after all, he is the expert here. So, he taped my left foot to mimic what orthotics might correct to see how that feels. He also gave me some metatarsal pads because of the loss of feeling I was getting in the balls of my feet. He said that it would pad my strike and take some of the stress of the pounding from my forefoot. I'm not kidding you when I say that this pad is bulky. It feels really strange, but I am going to keep with it to see if it begins to feel more normal.

Overall, a good first visit. I have a follow up visit next week to see how all this is playing out. I will be running on Thursday and Saturday (maybe Sunday instead) with the tape and the pad.
Then, I'll talk with Shawn to see what he has to say about my feedback. But, it feels like the wheels are in motion.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Smarter not harder?

I've been really thinking a lot about injury and how to avoid it lately.. It dawned upon me that there are a lot of plans that don't stress the number of runs in the week and incorporate all kinds of cross-training. If I've learned one thing since I've had the injury bug lately, it's that I can handle a little cross-training. I'd rather be running, no doubt. But, I'd also rather be running and not on the sidelines.

So, my goal is to really pay attention to how I'm feeling and not overdoing it. Any plan that I adopt will need to have at least one day of cross training. And, this time, I'm gonna do it (the Higdon plan I was on for the marathon had one, I just didn't do it). I'm still sticking to the three runs a week of no more than three miles until I'm totally healthy. But, I plan to get on a half marathon plan as soon as I feel right (yes Nate, I'm signing up for Lehigh Valley). In fact, I will probably adopt the plan that Nate is doing so that we can do some of our long runs together.

As for today, I got my first run in of the week... I went to the Y on the treadmill to save the feet.

Run recap- 3 miles, 30:00, 10:00 pace

*** Edit- I'm signed up for Lehigh Valley

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Weigh in, week 5

I guess this is the momentum that everybody was talking about... I ate well for most of the week and got a good amount of exercise in. And, the results rock!! I lost 2.8 pounds this week. I am officially under 195 (194.8 to be exact)!!

With that loss, I have lost a total of 5.2 pounds in 5 weeks. That's slightly behind schedule. But, with the new found momentum, it looks like I might be able to get down to 190 by the end of 8 weeks after all. I have to lose 1.6 pounds a week for the next 3 weeks. That's more aggressive than I'd like, but I think it's doable.

One last note... I am now officially under 10 pounds to go to my original goal weight (185). Not sure that is where I'll stop, but that is a great feeling!!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Today's workout

Melissa and I went to the gym this morning and I played basketball for 40 minutes while Melissa worked out upstairs. Then, I did 20 minutes on the elliptical and did some bench press. I was going to do a full back and chest routine, but I didn't have the heart for it this morning for some reason. Anyhow, despite eating like crap all day today... I anticipate a really good weigh in tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Friday, January 18, 2008

On my way?

It's strange... my foot is feeling progressively better. It's funny what a little rest will do. I do think there is something bio-mechanical causing my foot problems. But, I think that reduced miles for a little while will get me healthy. I still think I need an orthotic (and I'll find out shortly), but I also think I need to be smarter. I've been running for almost a year now and I'm just starting to get a feel for it. I've had my first bout of runner's ignorance and I'm going to try not to go back there. I'm sure it's only a matter of time, but it's worth a shot.

On the workout front, Meliss and I went to the Y tonight and I got in 30 minutes on the treadmill. I'm gonna try to do 3 runs a week of no more than 3 miles each time until my foot is totally healed. After all... it's important to be healthy for Spring racing.

Run recap- 3 miles, 30:00, 10:00 pace

Thursday, January 17, 2008


That's what all my blood work was this morning. So, I've got my first physical therapy session next Tuesday. He'll analyze my running and tell me if I need an orthotic or not. Moving along!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

County Park run

I was saying to Nate as we were running that I really don't know where I'm at right now. I don't know if this is a comeback or if it's just maintaining low mileage while I'm injured or if it's pure stupidity.

I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow that should start to answer those questions. All I know is that I don't feel right. But, I don't feel totally wrong either. I ran 3 miles at the Lancaster Central Park on trails, grass and roads with Nate. It was sloppy on the trails so we headed back out to the roads for a majority of the run. My aerobic fitness isn't totally gone yet. But, it wasn't easy to keep the 10:00 pace. In all fairness there was a substantial hill for part of the run and I didn't push down the hill to make up for it. So, it's probably not as bad as I think.

Run recap- 3.05 miles, 30:48, 10:05 pace

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Night To Myself

It doesn't happen often, but I had a night to myself tonight. Sophie and Meliss were over at a friend's house. And, I had the night to do whatever my heart desired. So, what did I do? I spent an hour and a half of no guilt workout at the Y. I lifted biceps and triceps and did 20 minutes on the elliptical machine. Usually I feel bad going to the gym because I can only get there when I would also have the opportunity to spend time with Sophia (my wife too, but she doesn't go to sleep at 8). So, it was a welcome change to workout when I wasn't infringing on family time. Nice..

I had a slow start to this week for weight loss but my mind feels pretty good and ready to close the week strong. I expect another pound at least this week even though I started slow. Only time will tell.

Shave Your 5k Challenge

Hey everyone... I've joined the Shave Your 5k Challenge over at Half-Fast's blog. If you don't read him, you should. He's hilarious. And, he's putting together a pretty cool challenge. To read more about it, click here. But, the basic gist is that you submit your fastest 5k time between December 07 and the end of March o8. Then, whoever has the best improvement at the end of 08 wins... Prizes and details at the post, but it sounds like fun. I'm totally in..

Marathon guide statistics (via Marcus)...

My buddy Marcus posted a chart of finishing times for marathons in 2006 (click here for chart at Marcus' blog). Although I ran my marathon in 2007, it's still interesting to see. According to this, I was, at least, in the top 49.6% of finishers and 57.2% of male finishers (probably higher because I finished 6 minutes ahead of 4:30). Anyhow, that's encouraging. And, provided I can get healthy, I'm sure I can do better than that. Gotta get running again though.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Track workout

I usually only go to the track for speed work. But, I went today with the intention of running on a softer surface to keep the wear and tear on my feet down. When I got there, I realized that I could actually run on the grass inside of the track. It seemed to work, but still made my foot a little numb.

I ran a total of 8.5 laps (which was about 2 miles since I was running on the inside of the track). Overall, running on the track is kinda boring. But, I've run so seldom lately, it didn't bother me at all.

Run recap- 2 miles, 17:00, 8:30 pace

Weigh in, week 4

I had a really good week this week... In fact, I was well on my way to losing over 4 pounds this week. Then, my buddy Trevor came home from Key West for the weekend and I went out to the bar with him. I drank myself silly and took in a bunch of liquid calories. Then, the day after, I ate more than I normally would have trying to get my body back together from the night before. Double wammy.

Despite the Friday night/Saturday screw ups, I still managed to have a good week. Here's the weigh in info...

Week 4 weight- 197.6

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Testing things out

I went to the gym on Friday without any real plan. That is a recipe for disaster with my injured foot. With no real plan, I just fall into running. I ran for 20 minutes on the treadmill and didn't feel too bad. It didn't feel any tighter then it did before I ran afterwards, so it seems to be fine.

Here's where I'm at... I got blood work done last Monday and have to wait until this Thursday to see the results. Then, if all is fine with the blood work (which is expected), then I will have to wait for another amount of time until I can get scheduled for physical therapy to see if I need an orthotic. To be honest, I haven't nearly got that kind of patience. Ugh.. So, because of the unknown timing of this whole thing, I am having a hard time stopping myself from running.

Run recap- 2 miles, 20:00, 10:00 pace

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Instant Karma...

I worked later than I should have tonight and Melissa was really in need of a break from Sophia (I could hear it in her voice when I called on my way home). Anyhow, I decided I was going to let Meliss go to the gym and I would watch Sophie. So, I was going to sacrifice a chance to work out so that my wife could blow some steam.

So, we made our way over to the Adamstown Y and I planned to play with Sophie in the "play room" downstairs. As soon as I walked in with Sophie, the girl who runs the Y (Jessie) asked if I wanted to go work out. She said that she would watch Sophie. She has watched her on many occasions in the past as part of the Y's babysitting program. So, I felt totally comfortable with the idea. One good turn deserves another I guess. I was going to watch Sophie and sacrifice a work out. Instead, Jessie watched Sophie while we went upstairs to get a work out in. Boy, I could have hugged her.

As a result... I got the opportunity to go for 20 minutes on the bike and lift a bit (one bicep exercise and one tricep exercise). Then, so as not to ruin the good karma, I hustled downstairs to retrieve my daughter. I know that there is about a .0000000001% chance that Jessie would ever run into this post. But, I'm gonna thank you here anyway. Thanks Jessie. Awesome!!!

Yes, I AM "that guy"

I struggle with this weight loss thing. That much is evident. I think one of the things that makes it difficult for me is that I am, by nature, a social person. To make matters worse, I LOVE food. All kinds.... I grew up eating exotic foods from the time I was four years old (my dad really wanted us to "try" everything). That netted a person who just plain loves food.

Anyhow, moving ahead to today... The fact that I am a social person makes it very difficult for me to turn down going out to lunch/dinner with friends. And, when I get there, makes it difficult for me to be "that guy" (By "that guy" I mean being on a diet). I do it... but I feel terrible about it. For those who understand what I'm going through, we try and decide on a place that is likely to have a number of healthy selections. For those that think that I'm "ok the way I am", we just go where ever they/we choose.

Then, there is the added problem of dates with my wife (the date isn't the problem, I'll explain). She stays at home with our 15 month old daughter and doesn't get as much interaction as either of us would like her to. So, we make it a point to try and get out together (whether with Sophie or without) once a week. With a child, one of the few things that we can do is go out to eat. My wife is very understanding of my want to lose a little more weight. Even though, she contends that I look great the way I am. But, she gets tired of always having to cook the healthy dinner or go to the restaurant with the healthy food. This is absolutely not a rant. Don't take this the wrong way. It's just the reality of the situation. It's tough.

Overall, my nature is not to be so restrictive. In fact, my first love in life was/is food. So... it makes this very difficult. Why do I do it? I know that I have a little ways to go to be in a healthy range. I also like what it does for me from a personal image standpoint... And finally, I wanna be fast. Here's to fighting the good fight.

Monday, January 7, 2008

It's January, right?

I went out for a bike ride yesterday and couldn't believe how nice it was (the weather and the ride). Turns out I don't hate bike riding as much as I thought. I just hate bike riding in the cold. I don't have as much tolerance for biking as running, but that is to be expected. But, I think the weather has a lot to do with my disdain for biking (and the endless wedgy). There definitely was a point in the ride where I considered going for a full hour. But, I did get tired of riding before then. So, I only went for 45 minutes. But, that's not too shabby.

Bike recap- 9.25 miles, 44:57, 4:52 pace

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Circuit workout

So, I took cymrusteve's advice and did a variation of his circuit workout. It was pretty tough and fun. I did 8 exercises total (3 bicep, 3 tricep, situps and pushups). I did them with increasing reps and, when needed, decreasing weights. Like Steve suggested, I did 10, 11, then 12 reps. It was fun to do something different at the gym. Although, after all the different exercises, I wasn't able to complete 10 pushups after the first circuit. After I completed the circuit, I did 20 minutes on the bike. All in all, not a bad work out.

Weigh in, week 3

Well, this isn't exactly going as planned. I weighed in this morning and actually gained a bit of weight. It's really hard to go from an avid runner that controls his eating a little bit. To... not running and having to REALLY control my eating. So, here's the weigh in results. I've really got to start doing a better job.

Week 3 weight- 200.2

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Biking at the gym

I went to the gym yesterday and put in 20 minutes on the bike. I had every intention of doing 30 minutes, but my wife was waiting for me downstairs with my daughter and biking is boring (I'm sure I've mentioned that before). So, I got a pretty hard workout in.... but not terribly long. If biking has to be my only cardio workout, I'll make it work. But, I'm not there yet....

That brings me to my next update. I went to the doc this morning to talk to him about my foot/heel problems I've been having. I was much more impressed with him today then I was the previous visit. I think the main difference was that he had time for me. I guess being a doctor is just like any other job. If you are too busy, it's tough to do a good job. The only difference (in my mind) is that people's life/health are on the line if you don't take the time as a doctor.

Anyhow, good news and bad news. First, the doc told me to run. Interesting... And, he ordered blood work to rule out anything biological (rheumatoid arthritis... and some other things that I don't remember). So, I have to go get blood work done and then go back to the doctor in 2 weeks. In the meantime, it's alright if I run as long as I'm not hurting myself.
Then, if the blood work is negative, I will go to a physical therapist to look at my foot strike and see if I need an orthotic.

I'm encouraged and confused all at the same time. If I go running and get sidelined for a long period of time, I'm gonna be upset. But, it sounds like I have a green light from the doc. Ugh... I can't wait until I get this blood work so that I can go to the physical therapist.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

It's gotta be the shoes...

Wow... I continue to amaze myself with my own stupidity. As always, I had my running shoes sitting out where they weren't supposed to be. And, I was staring down at them from above. What did I see? A white line down the left side of my left shoe (not coincidentally, my injured foot). The sole is solid blue and there was a line where the back left side of my left foot was spilling over. What does this mean? In my head, it means that my new(ish) New Balance are too narrow. My mainstays for the marathon training never had this problem. Hmmm...

So, I am planning on keeping my appointment on Thursday to ask the doc if I need orthotics. But, in the meantime, I am going to go back to my Asics.

I also got my first run of the new year in (so much for not running). Here's a recap.

Run recap- 3.1 miles, 27:25, 9:00 pace

What a year...

This is where I talk about all the crazy things that have happened to me over the last year. It's hard for me to imagine that this would have been such a life changing year, but it has been.

In January, Nate decided he was going to do something called the C25k (his buddy John was doing it at the time and I am forever in debt to both of them). At the time, I thought it was too "easy" for me. But, I felt terribly out of shape and figured that something was better than nothing. So, we trekked our way through it. It was harder than I expected. And, the results were fabulous. It really made running easy enough that you didn't hate it. And, it made running routine.

That was the catalyst... now I wanted something harder. The next program I did was the "Becoming a One Hour Runner". This really started to test me and I still remember the day that I ran for 60 minutes. It was awesome. Somewhere in the middle of this plan, I became a runner. I have no idea how it happened, I just know it did.

Then.... My wife has been talking about running a marathon for a number of years. She was always a runner (x-country in high school and college). Now that I was getting more fit, it seemed doable that we could run one together. So, we eagerly awaited the opening of the Marine Corps Marathon and signed up. It was scary and exciting all at the same time.

From there, we had to train all the way through the summer months. Some of those runs were really taxing and it was really nice to have my wife supporting me through all those runs. And, I was doing the same for her. I'm not sure if either of us would have made it without the other. But, we did it.

Despite the fact that I ran my first marathon this year... I think my biggest accomplishment was just running. Not how far or how fast... but the act itself. I now know I'm a runner. I also have finally broken the up and down swing of weight loss/weight gain that I have been on over the last 10 years. So, that is by far my biggest accomplishment.

Goals for 2008? I'll save that for another post. But, you can bet running consistently is going to be one of them.

Happy New Year!! Here's to a lighter, fitter 2008.