Monday, December 31, 2007

The Last Day of the Year

I have been a little under the weather since Christmas and haven't run in a week. Sometimes your body needs a week off even if you don't think it does. So this was a nice break to spend time with family and just relax a bit. I was sick with fever, chills and a head cold. I am glad that the sick is over (mostly over).

2007 was a good year for running. I started running back in March and struggled to get going but I have really made a lot of progress. My times were 14 to 15 minute miles early in the year and now in late December my pace is generally down to 11:00 to 11:30 ish. So that is nice progress. I ran my first half marathon (well I ran my first races ever really) and finished, I did a few 5k's, a ten miler, a few 5 milers, an 8.4 miler and a 15k. I did a lot of racing mostly because it was fun once I got into it. I never won, big surprise but I did come in 3rd in my age group for one race. I think there were 4 men in my age group for that race. I like the medal so I am happy about my 3rd place win. Overall it was a good time on the roads.

2007 was a good year for losing weight - This year I lost 45 pounds. That is not a huge number but I started in earnest in March so it is really 9 months of work and for a few months I stagnated due to injury. I made life changing adjustments to my diet. I did this a little at at time and then added on to it slowly. Now I am eating well and I feel so much better than I did in January of 2007. I will still have junk food now and again but it is now the exception instead of the rule. So this is good progress. I hope to lose another 45 in 2008.

2007 was a bad year for injuries - I had some problems in 2007 with injuries. Mostly this was one bad plantar injury. It has nagged me for months and months. It just wouldn't heal. Mostly it was that I didn't want to back off the running. It wasn't until late November that I really felt better and I was injured back in June/ July. Besides this I have pulled some muscles in my calves in the cold weather and a couple of spills on uneven ground. But the plantar was my problem for the year. I feel much stronger now and I feel like I know how to avoid some of these injuries. Also being lighter will help me avoid injury.

2007 was a good year for martial arts training. I started training in martial arts again this year and I am glad that I did. As one of my co-workers would say, "I got my mind right." The exercise is excellent and I like the atmosphere in the training hall. The learning atmosphere is great.

2007 was a good year professionally- Not that this journal has anything to do with my work. But I made good advancement in my career this year as well. I was able to exceed a couple of milestones and I am quite happy with how my work has gone this year.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Weight Check: December

Tomorrow is my official weight check day, but as you may be able to tell by the calender that tomorrow is Christmas and I may be doing other things besides posting on my blog. That being said I will use the weight from this morning. Today I weighed in at 251, this is a 6 pound difference from last month. That is not too bad, especially given that it is goodie season. I don't know about everyone else but when someone offers me a cookie I have to have one. I mean its a cookie at Christmas time. I am weak on that sort of thing this time of year. So I have had my snack on for the past month and even with that I am down 6 pounds. I suppose that would be like 10 during a normal month. So here I am 42 pounds lighter than last January, not a bad year.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Weekend Run

With Christmas coming it has been a crazy time for trying to keep consistent with my running. I think we can all say that the holiday season can create a lot of stress on both your weight and exercise routines. So on a Saturday night I was out running at 10:00 p.m. (What kind of nut job am I???). But that being said I did crack the 20 mile barrier I have been struggling with through this winter running series.

Here is how tonight went down:

7 miles, 1:22:32 time, 11:48 pace, 1337 calories

Mile 1: 11:52
Mile 2: 11:34
Mile 3: 11:33
Mile 4: 11:39
Mile 5: 12:02
Mile 6: 11:52
Mile 7: 12:00

I have run during the evenings during the week when things are crazy with my schedule but during the weekend I try to avoid that crazy behavior. I couldn't get around it tonight. But I am really glad that I did run tonight. It was a great overall time for me. I feel like I am really recovering from this plantar injury. I am getting a good deal more speed and my endurance has never been better. I could have gone another 3 miles with no difficulty. The average time was less than 12:00 for 7 miles, this is the best I have run since the half marathon I ran in September. It is nice when things come together.

Here is the week so far:
22.5 miles, 12:02 average pace, 4:30:50 time running, 3271 calories burned.

This is my best week in a long time. To top it off the usual sore feet and ankles are subdued this week. So it is all good, everything is coming up Rob this week. Merry Christmas All.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Running Therapy

Tonight was a bit crazy between laundry, cooking dinner, washing dishes and cooking brownies for my daughter's holiday party tomorrow... all after putting in a 10 hour day. I was a bit tired and it would have been very easy to just blow it all off and go to bed. But I didn't. I went out and ran and I am glad I did. Each mile felt better as I went on and the stress of the day went with each mile. Sometimes I get caught up in the numbers of running that I forget the benefits of what I am doing. For an hour of so I can forget the rest of my life and just concentrate on running. There is something magical about that escape and the value can't be calculated.

Here are the results:

1:02:20, 5:15 miles, 950 calories, 12:06 pace

Mile 1: 12:21
Mile 2: 12:17
Mile 3: 12:13
Mile 4: 11:50
Mile 5: 11:51
.15 mile: 12:04 pace

I just felt better each mile and by the end of it I had left all my stress behind. The therapy of running, it cannot be overstated.

2008 Goals

The past two years I have picked one big New Year's resolution and done great with it. Two years ago, I decided that I wanted to read more than just work related stuff. After a year of dedicated reading I had put away 98 books. It was a resolution so I kept a running total. Last year I kept it up and logged somewhere near 40 or so. But I didn't keep as accurate a count so it is more of a guess. Last year I decided that I really wanted to transform my life in terms of health and exercise. I have done a lot of good work but there is still more to do so I will be continuing on the previous resolution as one year was not enough to get it done. To be truthful two years may not be enough.

Here are the results since March. I have lost 41 pounds, I have reduced my running times from a walk run walk run to steady running an 11:30 to 12:00 pace generally speaking. I had a 3 mile time of less than 11:00 for each mile. I have made good progress but there is lots of room to go. Here is the list for 2008.
  1. Duplicate the weight loss efforts of 2007, 41 pounds
  2. Run 1000 miles or more for the year
  3. Run a marathon, I plan to run the Philadelphia Marathon next November
  4. Consistently average 25+ miles per week (life happens and there will be hiccups but I want this to be the rule not the exception)
  5. Incorporate fartleks, tempo running and interval running into my running.
  6. Improve my martial arts throughout the year including more knife and boxing training.

I do not know where I will be at the end of the year for weight but if I stay where I am I will have a goal of 41 pounds for 2008 or few more depending upon how the year ends. Well there are my early New Year's goals.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Is it Tuesday Already

Usually on Tuesday, I do my 10k Tuesday run but I did that last night. So what to do today? I did a little recovery run. Yesterday was a great time on the 10k so I backed off on the pace and distance.

4.15 miles, 12:31 pace, 726 Calories, 51:52

Mile 1: 12:19
Mile 2: 12:34
Mile 3: 12:36
Mile 4: 12:33
Last .15: 12:31 pace

So this wasn't a stand up and cheer run. This was just a keep things going sort of run. It was a bit chilly out there and I had some, dare I say, nipple chaffing. (I am sure I will come on some strange web searches with that one I am sure). This stings a bit after a long run as you might imagine. Usually, I use some band-aids before a run in the cold due to this "injury", but it looks like I might have to invest in some body glide to be on the safe side. The odd injuries of the winter runner, mmmm. I wonder what else I have to look forward to as I enter my first winter running season. So far I have encountered:
  1. More frequent small muscle pulls in the lower legs
  2. the aforementioned nipple chaffing
  3. Red Belly
  4. Excessive Mucus
  5. Wind Sheer

That is all I can think of right now, but it is a good start. Tonight I had some red belly in addition to the other injury. After a warm shower I was fine.

Everyone have fun out there, weather permitting.

Monday, December 17, 2007

10k Monday?

Last Friday I had my office Christmas party. Now I don't drink very often, about two to three times a year. But when I do decide to drink I have more than a couple. I don't fall over or anything but I usually have more than 2 or 3 or 5. Add that to the open bar at the Ritz Carlton in Philadelphia and I was having a good time for about 6 hours. Did I mention that I love my job, I do. Well that being said I was a bit tired after getting home at 2:30 am on Friday night/ Saturday morning. Sunday was also a bust for running due to the Nor'easter. So where did that leave me, well today.

I usually do 10k on Tuesday due to the catchy rhyming, but I did 10k today or 6.21 mile Monday. Its all I have, shoot me.

6.21 miles, 1:14:05, 11:56 pace, 1165 calories

Mile 1: 11:39

Mile 2: 11:53

Mile 3: 12:21

Mile 4: 12:08

Mile 5: 11:54

Mile 6: 11:48

Last .21: 11:27 pace

This is my fastest 10k to date, fastest to date. I like saying that. It is nice as I was a bit tired before I hit the roads and on my new 10k route there is a big ass hill right at mile 2.3 to mile 3.5. It just keeps going up and up. I need to work on hills so this is why I have been doing this route. But until tonight I have not been doing it without much success. I did not want to take 3 days off but it seems to have helped me out in terms of my running success.

In other news I am in a bit of geek happiness right now. I ordered and received my Miskatonic University Antarctic Expedition hoodie. I am a H.P. Lovecraft fan and this hoodie celebrates his famous At the Mountains of Madness. Anyone else interested can find such Lovecraft goodies at Cthulu Lives . But really I hope that Cthulu doesn't really live.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Thursday Night Run

After a successful Monday and Tuesday, tonight seemed to be a good night to sneak in a quick run. It rained all day and the roads were still wet but the storm was gone and the temps were fine. So at 10:30 I went out for a quick run.

4.2 miles, 802 calories, 11:51 average pace
Mile 1: 11:54
Mile 2: 11:44
Mile 3: 11:59
Mile 4: 11:44
.2: 11:51 pace

This is was a fast run for me as of late. I have been running steadily in the 12:00 range but this was under the whole way, this is getting back on track for me.

This is my best week in a long time, I am at 14.71 miles with the weekend still to come. This is a low mile week in terms of long run so I think I am planning 6 miles on one day and maybe another 4 on the other. This will put me at a minimum of 20.71 miles for the week. That is a great week for me. With all the injuries I have been fighting I am very happy with this result.

Happy Running.

Eating Challenges

My job can be very challenging in terms of eating. I sit in an office all day and work behind a computer. This can lead to boredom and as a result boredom eating. I have experienced the result of this around my waist first hand. Knowing what I do I am now more careful about what I eat. Here is a painful admission:

Eating before I went on my new health outlook in March of this year:
Breakfast: Pastry, toast with butter, egg sandwich (usually with butter and bacon)
Snack: candy bar, soda or both
Lunch: Fast Food (MacDonald's, Chik Fil-a, Burger King, Pizza, etc.)
Afternoon: soda and chips
Dinner: Heavy and fatty - Hot dogs, burgers, foot long hoagies and so on. You get the point if it was bad for me then I ate it.

I didn't drink much water but did drink a lot of soft drinks.

The truth of this is that I just did not think about what I was eating. I just ate what I wanted. I didn't think about my exercise level or my caloric intake. The results were telling.

Eating Now:
(3 to 4 half liter bottles of water per day)

Breakfast: Yogurt and a banana
Snack: Carrots
Lunch: Sandwich (homemade) or Soup (homemade).. or something else about 400 calories (pork slices baked in cream of mushroom soup with rice, chicken and pasta or some other such meal made at home and reheated at work)
Afternoon Snack: Apple or Orange or other fruit
Dinner: Something reasonable -usually in the 600 to 700 calorie range

I may add an extra apple, celery with peanut butter, a cookie here or there and other small binges from time to time. But this is the usual.

In March of this year, I made some life changing decisions. First I started to run but I didn't mess with the diet until later. It was a little at a time. First, I cut out the fast food gradually. Initially, down to once a day and then over time once a week and now not at all. There is something addictive about the fat in fast food. I really believe that. Now if I don't have any I am fine. But if I have it once I want more and more of it. I don't like it any longer and that is for the best.

Now my problem is soft drinks. I do crave them. However, the same has been true with the soft drinks as was true with the fast food. If I have one I want more and more. Over the last month or so, I have been able to limit my consumption gradually. First, down to 2 to 3 per week and now down to one every 2 to 3 weeks. I find that I don't really need the caffeine. I will admit that I had caffeine withdrawals at first. I had headaches the first 3 weeks I was off that junk.

So now, I can look the other way with most things. Not always, but mostly. It is ok to cheat on a diet every now and then. But I used to make cheating my diet. Burgers, hoagies, cookies, soft drinks, pizza this was all normal fare for me. I can say that this is no longer the case. It is nice to know that once you start eating right that bad food no longer tastes good. This is a general statement, soft drinks still lure me. But I can still say no most times. I now think before I grab for something; this is probably the main reason I have dropped weight as the injuries this year have prevented running from being as big an impact as it would have otherwise been. I am sure my commitment to exercise will pay more dividends next year but this year I think my diet reformation was more important. Perhaps 2/3 to 1/3 is the correct ratio of impact.

Well that is my eating confession.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

You Know What Day It Is...

Today is that special time of week in my training routine .... it is 10k Tuesday. My run could not have come soon enough. I have been eating far less snacks and sweets as of late; however, today I caved in and then that led to a nutritional disaster. The extra junk calories were legion it seemed to me: the damage 1 mountain dew (12 oz), 1 small bag of chips, 1 payday candy bar and 1 cup cake. I don't know exactly how many extra calories it was but it felt like a lot. So tonight I was looking forward to the 10k just to feel normal after the massive sugar crash I experienced this afternoon. Wow, what an experience that was. I feel much better munching on carrots these days, because the sugar crash I get off of what I used to eat is enough to keep me off the junk. Plus, once I start it seems that I am in for more than I bargained for.

Well on to the results of tonight's jaunt:

6.36 miles, 1:20:32, 12:40 pace, 1057 calories

(10k portion was at 1:18 total time)

Mile1: 12:28
Mile 2: 12:47
Mile 3: 12:48
Mile 4: 12:35
Mile 5: 12:41
Mile 6: 12:30
Last .36 : 13:11 pace

Conditions: It was windy tonight and that really seemed to throw my pace off. I took a new path tonight and that took me up a pretty good incline early on. I felt I did better with the hills tonight that I normally do. So that is improvement. The pace wasn't exactly what I wanted but it will do for now. The miles are what count for me right now.

As an aside, as I write this the new Dawn of the Dead is on cable. Although, this is not as good as the 28 Days movies, funny the English do make a superior Zombie movie (Shaun of the Dead, 28 DaysLater, 28 Weeks Later). But this version is still prettygood. The Romero cameo is a nice touch. The tension in the survior group is really good. I am a fan of the genre.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Quick Out and Back

I gave myself a serious muscle pull on Saturday during my 9 mile jaunt. As a result, the rest of Saturday it hurt to walk and up down stairs. When Sunday came around I felt a bit better, today a bit better again. So when work ended tonight I decided that 4 miles was in my future. Well it turned into 4.15 miles.

4.15 miles, 769 calories, 12:14 average pace

Mile 1: 12:29
Mile 2: 12:12
Mile 3: 12:12
Mile 4: 11:57
Last .15 12:48 pace

Weather: nice temp. with some light rain. It really did feel good. I also did something I liked I put two miles back to back at the exact same pace. That was great. Huzzah. I have also learned that on these training runs that I can't really run three miles any longer the least I can do these days is 4 miles. I am sure I will do shorter distances when I get back to more dedicated speed training in the spring when the roads are less... treacherous. But for now I am going to just focus on base miles for the winter.

Good news: Down 5 pounds since Thanksgiving. Very nice! I was getting a bit frustrated with the weight loss thing. Tough to be the run to lose guy when you aren't really doing any losing. But I have gotten over the hump. So as you can see I am all smiles.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

8 on the 8th

Today was Nancy's virtual race of 8 on the 8th. The idea was for all of us blogger types to do our bit and report the results. My run was a bit tough on me. I have been fighting a cold but have still run as this seems to break up the congestion a bit. Then this morning I hyper extended my right calf about 500 meters (I slipped on some leaves) into the thing but I finished it and here are the results:

Mile 1: 12:02
Mile 2: 12:37
Mile 3: 12:39
Mile 4: 12:56
Mile 5: 12:53
Mile 6: 12:20
Mile 7: 12:59
Mile 8: 13:15

Total Time: 1:41:41 or a 12:42 pace.

It was not a good run for me. But we all have those. I ran an extra mile at the end at a 13:21 pace. Then I walked the last mile home, I could hardly walk but I made it home where I am now icing my calf. Owwww.
The end result was a 1532 calorie effort, not including the last mile walking. I hope I can stretch my calf out and get back on my feet. Congrats to Nancy on putting this together.

I hope everyone had fun out there.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Night of No Excuses

I had intended to come home and go for a run while my daughter was at her swim class. I thought that would be a great use of time. But alas when I came home my daughter did not feel up to class so I did not get to run at that time. Needless to say I was a bit disappointed. But things like this can happen.

Bear in mind that reasons for not doing something is merely an excuse in another wrapper. It is the same. We make time for the things that are important, period. This may sound harsh but a man of my ... expansive girth ... does not get that way in one day. That being said, I know what an excuse is because I have used plenty in my life.

Fast forward to 10 pm. I head out for the run (wearing my trail shoes for the heavier shoe, plus they are like 4 wheel drive so I figured they are better for the snow - who said I always had great logic anyway). I wanted to do this run yesterday but felt too sick and fatigued to do so. To make matters worse, it snowed today. Not much but enough to make the roads and sidewalks a bit crunchy. (frozen snow) This is not too bad in terms of footing but I had to be a little careful so I had to slow down.

Here is how it all played out:

10k, 1006 calories, 12:48 pace

Mile 1: 11:34

Mile 2: 12:27

Mile 3: 12:38

Mile 4: 13:07

Mile 5: 13:15

Mile 6: 13:33

.2 - 13:20 pace

The last few miles were a bit more icy than the first three. I felt I had to slow down to make sure that I had good footing. This was a tough run. The frozen snow really put an extra strain on my ankles and feet. When I got home I had a case of red belly and as I said already some sore ankles and feet. But it was worth it.

Rob's first rule of running: you will always feel better after a run than before. For me this is always true.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

10k Tuesday ... well not so much

I am sorry to say that I was not able to run last night as I usually do on Tuesday. I will have to make it up today. Last night other things took over my life.

1. I felt a little sick and had a small fever

2. It was really cold with the gusting wind

3. My daughter has some nightmares and was awake at the time that I usually run. So I had some parental duties to attend to. When she gets upset about scary things, she is usually easier to calm down when I talk to her.

4. #3 didn't end until 1am. So I went to bed instead.

Oh well there is today. I will cut out of work early to run while my daughter is at her swim class. It should all work out ... swimmingly. Sorry I could not help myself.

So lets hear it for 10k Wednesday. It doesn't seem to have the same ring. Oh well, its all I have.