Monthly Archives: April 2013

My Story – Part IV

I am a little delayed at getting this installment done due to the events in Boston. Just didn’t seem so into it last week for obvious reasons.

So I started getting up at 5am in order to my C25K runs done. That is also something new to me. Getting up early to exercise…totally not me. But if I was serious about this running thing, sacrifices had to be made. It was either run in the nice cool morning or run in 100 degree heat of the Central Valley sun. Not really a choice in my mind. I had bought a nice (on clearance of course) Day-Glo green running jacket to be seen by the early morning traffic and hit the road. After the 9 week training plan, I had made something of myself. 5K Straight!  While a huge accomplishment to me at the time, it was just a start.

On the weekend after my 44th birthday in December, I entered a local 5K. No real goals in mind other than run it and get a taste of the race. Ran my heart out and came in at 29:18. Not too shabby. Good enough for 3rd in my age group but unfortunately no prize for that in this little race. I got a nice red long sleeved tee and the pride of finishing my firsts 5K. Also, weight was down to around 202 lbs. which was another great side effect.

For the next month or so I kept running 3 miles 3 days a week. It was getting a little boring at that point. One day I figured I go a little further so I ran about 4.5 miles. I found out a little more about myself and running that day. I found out that it takes me 3 miles to just warm up. That last 1.5 miles was easier than the first three. I must be on to something new! Well not new, just new to me.  I was around that time that I started reading The Big Guy Blog written by Professor and pancake aficionado Ted Spiker and his journey into running as a big guy. That sounded a lot like me and so I joined his Facebook group The Sub-30 Club. A page dedicated to those trying to run a sub 30 minute 5K. This was another great find because the cast of characters on in this group were super supportive and had all levels of runners coming together from all over the country. They confirmed my new found idea of ‘yeah, you can run further’.  I also had signed up for another 5K near Presidents day 2013. I had done a little speed interval work and hill running to prep myself. Much to my delight, I recorded a person record of 24:46.

So I started running further. And further. I was planning to do a 10K but had kind of already been running 6 miles for my weekly long runs. So I started on my next journey to train for a half marathon. The Running of the Elk Half Marathon to be precise.

Stay tuned for Part V and my marathon experience.

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Thoughts on the Boston tragedy

What an emotional roller coaster these past two days have been. I went from being excited to watch the online tracker of my friend running the marathon and being amazed at her sub 4:00 finish time to being horrified in less that 15 minutes. My friends were there with their two young children and I was nauseated at the though that something bad had happened.

Watching the reports roll in on the internet and the news, my feelings sunk to an all time low. The pictures of blood on the sidewalk are seared into my brain. It simply did not seem real.

As someone who is new to running, I can only dream about running a marathon let alone The Boston Marathon. It is the pinnacle of the sport. Lives were lost, and people who had worked hard all their life to get to this point were robbed at the chance to feel the glory at the finish line.

Since I have been geeking out with running and all its newness, I have come to know how tight a community that runners are part of. I have only run 2 5ks, and 1 half marathon yet feel right at home being called a runner. Online communities like #runchat and The Sub-30 Club on Facebook have shown me what huge hearts runners have. The virtual attaboys when one accomplishes a goal are so encouraging. There is undoubtedly a whole tribe that I was previously not aware of.

One thing I know from my experiences so far is that runners thrive in the face of adversity and only get better with challenges. Pain is temporary whether its emotional or physical. Somehow I think that from this tragedy, more runners will be born. Next years Boston Marathon will have more runners.

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My Story – Part III

Nicole and I married in November 2009 and moved to the greater Sacramento area. We have two awesome dogs, a cat and live close to her parents and my mother.

So my wife and I are in our 40s and are looking to start a family. No easy task by any means when the doctor tells us we are of advanced parenting age.  In order to have greater success at conception and being a good dad and be able to keep up, it would help to be in a hell of a lot better shape than I am.

In January of 2012, both my wife and I started Weight Watchers and started walking about a half hour a night. We did this for about 6 months initially and then upped our walking to an hour which came out to about 3 miles. We had some pretty good success and by the time September came around, I was already down to 218 lbs.  I had also switched to counting calories in July on MyfitnessPal.com which had helped quite a bit too. Nicole and I also started cooking more. We have been making healthier choices and switched to mostly organic foods.

One day while poking around the interweb, I ran across something that in hindsight was quite life changing. C25K! C25K is essentially a training plan that takes you from sitting on the couch to literally being able to run 3.1 miles (a 5K) without walking. I downloaded an app to follow on my iPhone that takes you through the 9 week program. You start out walking and running incrementally until you build up your stamina. I remember having to run for 90 seconds straight and thinking this was it, I am going to keel over. I was sweating and sucking wind badly. Seems like a long time ago but was only 7 months ago. This was the beginning of turning a walker into a runner.

The songs that come on and just the right time

When I started running, I used playlists on my iPhone. As runs got longer or I got tired of creating playlists I opted to switch to Pandora. I really like the ability to create a custom station based around a band I like. The great thing about Pandora is that the stations don’t just play the song of the artist I built it around. It also adds in songs from similar artists. Every once in a while when I am out running and kind of get to the point where I am distracted or am tired nearing the end of the run, a song will come on that will kind of rejuvenate me. Here are the top 5 songs that have come on at just the right moment and kicked me up a gear….

  1. Cake:  The Distance
  2. Johnny Cash: Ive Been Everywhere
  3. Aesop Rock: None Shall Pass
  4. Ram Jam: Black Betty
  5. The Ramones: Blitzkrieg Bop

Where to find budget: Nutrition

One of the new things to come out in recent years is the subscription box. Basically it is a small box of sample items that arrive on your doorstep once a month for a nominal fee. There are boxes for health foods, boxes for make-up, boxes for pets and yes, even boxes for us runners. examples of these services include Stridebox.com ($15/mo.) and Runnerbox.com ($10/mo.). These subscriptions include items like energy gel, sports drinks, coupons, gear, nutrition bars etc..

I did join Stridebox last month and received my first box early in April. I can’t really compare it to the contents of a Runnerbox, but for the sake of argument, I would think it is similar. Items in my Stridebox included the following.

  • Clif Bar Energy Bar – Mini Chocolate Brownie
  • Clif Shot Blocks – Mountain Berry
  • Hammer Nutrition Vegan Recovery Bar
  • Hammer Lips – WinterMint lip balm
  • Nuun Hydration Tabs – Cherry Limeade and Lemonade
  • ENERGYbits
  • Barnana Chewy Banana Bites
  • Action Wipes – Full Body Wet Wipes
  • A cuff that lights up that you can put around your ankle or wrist.

I would estimate that it was around $30.00 in items and quite honestly, I will use every one of them. It’s a great way to stock up your cabinets for running at a very low cost. Plus you can try things that you might not normally. Hopefully the May box will be even better.

This is wear I get my shoes

This is where I get my shoes at – Running Warehouse: 15% off all clearance items Use code: FB15D http://ow.ly/k12Si

My Story – Part II

At 277 lbs., I made a well-intentioned attempt at doing better. I joined a gym and started eating less. Not well mind you, but less of the food. I did pretty well in the first 3-4 months and I got my weight down to 235. Yay me! But then I got lazy again. The weight slowly came back and I got back up to about 260. I was kind of a hermit and taken a leave at work to kind of get my head straight.  I came back to my job 6 months later less stressed as I had stepped out of a management roll. Going back to individual contributor was a weight of my shoulders…unfortunately that was the only weight I lost.

In 2008 I was getting in contact with old friends via Facebook and ended up running into an old friend of mine Nicole. I had known her in my late teens/early twenties as she was dating my best friend and I was dating her best friend at the time.  We kept planning to meet up as we were both still in the SF Bay Area. She was finishing up her master’s degree at the time and I was quite frankly a little embarrassed at the behemoth I had become so I was a little hesitant. Finally I decided to go for it and we went out. Thank goodness the stars aligned for me that day and I had unknowingly just gone out on a first date with my now wife.

My Story – Part I

I’ve was big most of my life. I was a skinny kid but was up and down in weight through adolescence. As a young adult I was pretty thin too but that was mainly due to being dirt poor. Minimum wage meant not eating sometimes. But that can certainly helped with calorie control. Top Ramen was a feast at my apartment.
As I progressed into my twenties I got better jobs and started working in the San Francisco Financial District. Having money plus living in a foodie utopia like SF was heaven. I had an apartment in North Beach and would walk or take the 42 downtown loop to downtown every day. Now in between these two locations was a virtual minefield of deliciousness. Chinatown, Little Italy and Fisherman’s Wharf were mine for the taking. I ended moving back to the East Bay but still had the bad eating habits of the SF days. I bought my first home at this time so you think I would eat better given I had a full kitchen. Did I mention I was a bachelor during this time too? Talk about being left unchecked.
Fast forward to my 30’s. Pretty much got into a rut at this point. I had clawed my way to middle management and doing well. But that really led to a lot of work so my life consisted of sleeping, working, commuting, eating then rinse and repeat. Really starting to get a little depressed and really turned on the bad eating to make me feel better.
I knew my weight had gotten out of control and strange things were happening. My dad, being a type 2 diabetic, diagnosed me with the condition initially. Symptoms were a little gross so Ill gloss over that for now. I went to the doctor’s office and was diagnosed as an official type 2 diabetic. My fat body not being content with that also decided high cholesterol and high blood pressure would complete the trifecta. What the hell! I was only 35. I had old man diseases. The doctor weighed me in at 277 lbs. Yeah; the number is seared into memory.

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