Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Breakfast of Champions Losers

I don't care too much for the word "Loser" unless the connotation is that of "losing" weight but I couldn't think of an appropriate antonym for Champion. I tried to get some breakfast out this morning and discovered what I probably already knew, that basically the deck is stacked against us if our goal is eating healthy.

Running low on groceries, I ventured out of the house this morning without breakfast. I figured that since a lot of these fast food restaurants are going more healthy, I'd surely be able to find something that wouldn't do too much damage. My first stop was McDonalds. One look at the menu and I just walked out. Although my friend at work suggested one possibility that did not occur to me when I was there. An Egg McMuffin with no cheese. Actually that's not a bad choice. Next stop was IHOP where I thought I could get a couple egg beaters and some wheat toast. I was looking forward to that but they were short-staffed due to the weather and there was a 30 minute wait just to be seated. Same story at Denny's. Next stop, Whataburger. Absolutely nothing on their menus that I would choose so I left. I ended up just going to Kroger for an apple, string cheese, and a Kashi bar. It actually turned out good since I was able to pick up some snacks for work.

Anyway, it's so easy in these fast food restaurants to choose poorly. I very easily could have gotten a couple Sausage Biscuits and a couple Hash Browns, putting me well over 1000 calories with about 70g of fat. Can you believe just one Sausage Biscuit has 27g of fat? WOW!!! Glad I got out of there. Tiggs is right. McDonald's is evil!!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Will the rain hold off?

The answer MUST be yes. Please, please. What I really mean to ask is will the thunder, lightning, hail, tornadoes hold off? Anything short of that and I'm running this afternoon.

I got through boot camp ok this morning. I was well rested and ready to go. Michael trashed my shoulders and chest this morning and I know I'm going to feel it in the morning. Heck, I feel it now. I would say I chicken'd out just slightly on lunges. I did not go quite so low as I did last week which left me feeling a little like I cheated myself. I have a thought about my lunges. My thought is...I could do lunges if I weighed less, right? I mean when I bend down into a lunge, I've gotta push some serious weight to get back up and then to get back up in good form is just tough when you weigh over 300 pounds. Still, if I can knock out 15 of those at 300+, just thing of how easy it's going to be when I'm 200. :) The good thing about going ~80% on my lunges is that I'm not too trashed to do a good run tonight. Now, I just hope the storms will give me a window to do that.

One thing we did this morning was back peddling for 30 yards then stride back forward back to the start. We did 3 repeats of this and on the third one, I really felt what I was supposed to feel. I felt the burn in my hamstrings. Michael said so much of running uses the quads that most people neglect their hamstrings which leads to back problems and muscle imbalance. So, Michael says when hes "really" training runners, he has them do this for 100 yards and then back again. Glad I'm not "really" training. :)

Now, these storms just gotta hold off. Still a nice run in the rain would be fun. That's why I have two pairs of shoes in the trunk.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Next immeidate goals

I just realized I'm sort of coasting along the past 2 weeks, looking too much at the big picture with no immediate, realistic goal on the near horizon. So, here's what I've come up with for the next 5 weeks. By May 30, the start of In Flight Marathon training I will:

1) Finally crack the 300 pound mark. So, 299.9 by May 30.
2) Be injury free, rested, and ready to start training on May 30.
3) Be at 15-16 mpw with a couple of 6 mile runs under my belt.
4) Be at a point strength-wise where I can do boot camp twice a week and still keep up my running.

Ok, I've got some work to do...starting NOW!!!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Full body soak!!!

It's definitely getting warm and humid. Not too many days of cool, comfortable days left in Houston so 5:30 or 6 am runs will soon be back in style. I haven't blogged for a while but I'm not going to try to catch up on everything that's happened the last 2 weeks. The short version is I started boot camp a week ago Thursday. I did 2 sessions and got tired of being so sore so I took this last Thursday off. I'm fully recovered and feeling good so back to in Monday morning. Work is work, the family is GREAT, ankle feels good, and summer is here.

I got 5 miles in this morning, about 2.5 on my own and 2.5 with the PIMsters. Everyone did great and kept a nice, consistent pace for the entire run. I love running with the PIMsters but I'm looking forward in a couple of weeks of doing my continuous long runs. For the past weeks, I've pretty much been dividing my Saturday runs up between a short run on my own and a short run with PIM, with a 5+ minute break in between. Yes, I'm getting the miles on my feet and that's what counts for long runs but I'm anxious to see what doing 5 miles straight feels like right now. I want to be up to a 6 or 7 mile long run by the end of May. That seems doable, even if I just do 4, 5, 6 the first 3 weeks of May.

I'm getting VERY excited about the start of marathon training with In Flight commencing May 30. I'm ready. A couple of co-workers are going to join up too and train as well as some PIM folks. I look forward to taking this journey with them.


Friday, April 17, 2009

Boot Camp

Yesterday was my first day of boot camp with Michael Merlino out at Stude Park in the Heights. By the way, that's a really nice little park just off I-10 and Studewood. The workout was what I expected and my performance, or lack thereof, was no surprise either. Ha! We started off with a short 5 minute jog and some dynamic stretching. Then a series of alternating calisthenics/plyometrics and resistance exercises, keeping the heart rate up for basically the whole hour. The whole thing just confirmed what I already knew, that my running may be improving and I may be losing weight but I am WEAK and very out of shape where my strength and muscles are concerned. This is really going to help me a lot.

I can really feel it today and I mean all over. I can really feel it in the abs and in my sides and chest. Ooo-aah!!! After dinner last night, I put the icing on the cake with a 2 mile jog around the neighborhood. By the end of the day Thursday, I was just about at max stress and today's total rest day is definitely warranted.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Wait for me...

All I could think about at work today was getting out of there and getting to the park for some exercise. I've GOTTA knuckle down and focus. :) I got a little extra running in before our PIM-week 6 workout. I felt the best I've felt all year and knocked down 1.2 or so in good fashion. I was a little ahead of schedule so ended up taking a little longer than planned break back at the softball field, waiting for a few PIMster's to show up. The 5 minute rule was in effect so we all headed back out at 6:35.

There were TONS of people there. We had 2 aerobics coaches, 2 Aerobics and 2 Batons participants. I had run with T and T (the two Batons) and we maintained a pretty easy effort (for me). But today, keeping up with them was a challenge. So, what was planned as an easy run turned into 2x10 minutes @ almost tempo effort, which by the way was just what the doctor ordered. I followed it up with about 5 minutes of walking. Total miles 3.2.

Well, I made a HUGE decision today and it was kind of spur of the moment. I signed up to train with In Flight Running for the Houston marathon. Plus, I'm starting boot camp with them on Thursday. I called the owner and founder of In Flight, Michael Merlino, and talked about a half hour on the phone. What a nice guy. I'm really excited. In fact I shouldn't be this excited 9 months from the marathon. What's it going to be like the night before? I'm going to be a basket case.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Rest/Recovery Day

Christ is risen!!! Praise him

This afternoon, after the deluge and an AWESOME lunch at Mom and Dad's, I headed over to the park for a short recovery jog. Oh, speaking of lunch, Mom did me right. Despite some favorites like homemade mac and cheese, bar-b-q sausage, and hot bread and butter, I was good as Mom cooked some bar-b-q chicken with no skin and a nice sweet potato JUST FOR ME!!! Thanks, Mom. I appreciate the support. Along with the chicken, I had an avocado and plum tomato salad that was just basic avocado, tomatoes, lemon, salt, and pepper. Yummmy. I had a nice ear of corn, a thick slice of purple onion and some Molly McButter on the sweet potato, NO BUTTER!!! We rounded the meal out with dessert...FRESH CANTALOUPE!!! I must say, I enjoyed this meal as much as I would one of the "other" kind. :)

I had an easy 1 mile recovery jog on the schedule for today. It was absolutely a beautiful afternoon after the rain. I didn't want to be out there for just 14 minutes so I tacked on a 1 mile walk. I did a jog out and a walk back for ~34 minutes of exercise. I continue to feel good. I know my ankle is still weak but I'm not having any pain while running or after. It's not easy to not say, "Forget this...I'm running!!!" I could have easily done 3 miles today. But I did 3.5 yesterday and 12.5 for the week (including the mile walk today), up from 9 last week and that's a good 50% increase. This week, I'm shooting for about 13 miles, with some very gradual increases the following weeks.

I'm really thinking a lot about getting in the gym for some weight/core training. I'd VERY much like to work with a trainer but I haven't a clue who to use. I know the kind of person I want but I just don't know if I can afford the caliber of trainer I want. I should ask Steeeve who he suggests. I think I'll do that. Another option is Boot Camp with Matt and Bessie MWF down on the Bayou. My only concern with that (I won't know until I try it) is that it's a lot of extra running and hard running, probably a lot like we used to do with the Smartie's. I'm not sure I can handle that right now with my ankle and all. On the other hand, it might help!!! I could skip or substitute any exercises that I feel would put undue stress on the ankle. Anyway, I'm seeing Catherine in the morning. I'll see what she thinks.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Running and a talk with Pete

I had a great run this morning. I know I posted my training schedule a couple weeks ago but I've been playing around with an alternative schedule that ramps up the weekly mileage just a bit more aggressively. The file on my computer is actually called "playingaround.xls". I was just "playing around" with my workouts and thinking about how I would alter my plan if I was feeling REALLY good. Well, the last 2 weeks, I've felt REALLY good and the more I look at playingaround.xls, the more I think it's not that unrealistic. Don't get all excited, peeps. It's not TOO manly. It still gradually increases my weekly mileage. I've added VERY short recovery jogs of 1 mile (for now) on Sunday and Tuesday. Of course, I have the option to walk those or skip them altogether as I listen to my body (especially the ankle).

This morning called, of course, for a PIM's week 6, 2x10/2 run/walk with a 3 minute walk warmup and 2 minute walk cooldown with my Power in Motion group. Playingaround.xls added 1.5 miles before the PIM run so I finished the morning with 3.5 miles, split up between the 1.5 continuous and the week 6 workout. I felt GREAT during and after my run. I left the park wanting to run MORE by my response was, "Patience, O Big One!!!" The good thing about feeling so good is it does allow me to do a short jog or walk tomorrow and I ain't waiting on my ankle to catch up with me.

When I got home, I got a Tweet from Pete Thomas (from the Biggest Loser) that he was going to be doing a live stream on MadeFitTV.com. I had never been to the site and wondered what it was so I went to check it out. Jennifer DiDonato is a personal trainer in Detroit and has this great blog, MadeFitTV.com with a lot of good recipes and workout advice. Anyway, her live stream today featured Pete Thomas from the Biggest Loser. It was awesome. Pete has become somewhat of an expert on nutrition and exercise. He also talked a lot about his time on the ranch and about training with Jillian. It was very interesting. There were only a few people watching so I was able to pose a couple of questions to Pete right there. He took 4 or 5 minutes for each question and talked about exercise intensity, running, resistance training, etc. It was a lot of fun. I'm sure they'll archive it but I hope they don't edit out too much because the entire stream was very interesting and inspirational.

I just had a nice chicken breast sandwich and a cup of strawberries. I'm stuffed. A lot of dieting and losing weight is about substitution. Jennifer does some substitution on her current MadeFitTV episode with tuna salad. When I make a sandwich, I substitute avocado for mayonnaise. I'm a huge fan of mayonnaise and the avocado gives my sandwich that creamy, sort of fatty texture and taste. I don't miss the Hellmann's AT ALL. Just mustard and avocado does the trick for me.

Normally, I feel like I'm wasting time on the internet but this morning's surfing has helped me get even more motivated about eating right and exercise.

The new splurge

I had to work in Humble yesterday which is not part of my "routine". Oh, by the way, I do much better on my eating choices when I stay in a routine, when I plan my entire day. One hiccup in a day's plan can usually throw me into some kind of tailspin or I avail myself of a deserved eating splurge (how sick is that?). So, on Friday at 3 pm I found myself completely out of my routine.

First of all, it was Friday, the end of a long week, the beginning the weekend. Secondly, I was juiced that I was getting out of work early. Also, I found myself on the other side of town and out of gas. I stopped at a Texaco to fill up and got that stupid, crazy, haunting desire to treat myself, to splurge. I went into the store to explore. I made my way to the candy isle. All my favorites were there. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Reese's Nutrageous, Reese's Fast Break, Whatchamacallit, Almond Joy,... Surprisingly, I looked at all my favorites and honestly, nothing really grabbed me. So I went over to the salty snacks. Cheetos, Fritos, Pringles, all the usual suspects but my brain and my stomach were ambivalent. I was drawn then to the more healthy choices, Almonds, sunflower seeds, and a plethora of "sports" bars on the next aisle. I checked some labels and these met my criteria but then something just clicked in my head, "Vic, you're really not that hungry?" So, I got a Diet Coke and took off.

What was worth noting about this episode is that I didn't go through this complicated thought process. There was really no "battle" to fight. It wasn't a big struggle. Yes, I had some thoughts about the week and how consistent I have been with my eating. I thought about the sub-310 mark that I am so close to. But more than any thought processed or strategies or anything else, it was just that nothing in that store appealed to me. So, I splurged on a Diet Coke. If people only knew the magnitude of past splurges at the gas, they'd know that this definitely marks a big change in behavior for me. So, diet sodas...THE NEW SPLURGE!!! It could be worse.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

A very nice, warm run tonight

The park was definitely calling my name this afternoon so I slipped out a little early (just 10 minutes or so) and made a dash for it. I was so anxious to get to the park and get running, I did a Superman in the far stairwell in the parking garage at work. No one ever uses this stairwell so I just jumped in there and changed in to my running attire. It was fast.

Traffic was bad so it took a while to get there. Amber replied to a tweet and said she was going to the park with a friend. I asked if she was going clock- or counter-clockwise so I could go the other way and meet up with them for introductions and a quick chat. I was thinking later that as slow as I go, you could run either way and you're likely to pass me, either from behind or head on. Anyway, it was a plan ans sure enough, I saw Amber and got to meet her friend. That was fun. I walked with them for a few minutes and then took off. Lots of familiar faces out there which made for a nice time.

I had 2 plans tonight. My heart had plans for 3 miles (1 loop) but my head prescribed an easy 2. I ended up with 2.1, including the walk with Amber and her friend. I really felt great. It was nice and warm out and the sun was playing peek-a-boo. My pace was ~14:00.

I had to put a new pair of shoes into the rotation as my slightly used (40 miles) pair was left at home last night. Fortunately, I had a new pair in the trunk that I bought a few weeks ago at Luke's. It was a perfectly easy run to break them in. I don't know what it was but my feet was falling asleep a couple times. I had to stop and adjust the laces a couple times. All normal stuff.

Rest day tomorrow. The fam is traveling to Louisiana to spend Easter weekend with J's parents. I absolutely could not get off work tomorrow and they really wanted to leave tomorrow morning so I'll be bach'n it this weekend. I'd love to go but in a way I'm glad I'm not this time. I'm really in a good place right now with my eating and my exercise. A trip to the country would really set me back. I just know I'd go and eat a bunch of crap and not run Saturday and I would loose momentum. I sooooo want to see the sub-310 next week because the next big push after that is sub-300. I can really see the light and I'm HIGHLY motivated right now. So, I might do some cooking this weekend. I'm definitely doing some running on Saturday. Yard work the rest of the weekend.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

What a beautiful day

Today was just an absolutely beautiful day and an exceptionally fine evening to take in a training run with my PIM friends. The group was blessed to have Catherine Kruppa, aka the Catinator, speak on nutrition and healthy eating. Catherine knew exactly who her audience was, mostly new runners, and hit it out of the park with a ton of relevant information for the everyday person who is trying to live a healthier lifestyle. Our running community is lucky to have someone like Catherine take time out to come talk to us. Thanks, Cat!!!

While doing our training run (at a CONVERSATIONAL effort), I was talking to one of my PIMsters (we'll call her A) about her goals. She had missed the last couple of weeks but was so glad that she got out and came back tonight and didn't just quit the program altogether. I know how she feels when you slack off for a bit and you just beat yourself up and you end up just giving up. But you can always come back. It's never too late. Anyway, I was so glad that A came back and so was she. We started talking about her goals. I asked her what she wanted to get out of PIM and what she wants to do after. She said with this huge, enthusiastic smile, "Vic, I want to be a runner!!! I want to be one of those people that RUNS!!!" It was so exciting and motivating to me to see a new runner that psyched about running. If running ever becomes mundane for me? If I ever lose the joy of running? If it ever just becomes WORK for me, I'm going to remember what A said and how excited she was about what she was doing, about the change she was making.

Along with A, I'm starting to get a lot of questions like, "What do I do next? What do we do after the Cinco de Mayo 5K?" Several PIMsters want to tackle the half marathon distance. Of course, the first thing I'm going to do is direct these folks to the ONLY running club, The Houston Striders (Go Strider Nation), but beyond that, as far as a pay-for running program, I'm pointing folks to the Houston Fit Fall HM training program which stars the week of the Cinco de Mayo and trains through the hot summer. There are a number of goal races in the Fall but a bunch of folks are leaning towards doing the San Antonio Rock 'n Roll Marathon/Half Marathon on November 15. I like HFit for these folks for a number of reasons. First of all, there should be a good sized group of Reds. And it's a structured program with group runs to keep you training through the summer heat. I don't know of any other beginner training programs that start in May and go through the Fall. If anyone has any ideas, post 'em in the comments.

Ok, to bed.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Love this community

I'm REALLY enjoying hanging with all my running buds, meeting new running buds, and just genearlly being around the scene. I sooooo need this motivation to keep going on this journey and PEOPLE is what makes it fun for me. We had a great group of folks out this morning for our unofficial PIM run. We had a change of venue due to the 4 Four the Park 4 mile race held in Memorial Park, benefiting the Memorial Park Conservancy. It's the first time EVER I believe that the park was actually "closed". I would have like to participate in this race but I'm just not there yet. However, it did give us PIMsters an opportunity to take in a new venue and I do believe that the group really enjoyed the change of scenery.

We parked at St. Thomas HS and basically did the loop along the Bayou from Shepherd to Waugh, plus another half loop. My Garmin, which is still acting up, said 2.4 miles. I can't say how PUMPED I am to be running with these new runners who frankly get up and out the door every day, not KNOWING if they can do this. Not KNOWING that they can run this long or this far. Then they get there and anticipate and actually DO IT. Their excitement is contagious. I love the look on their face of disbelief and pride...The sense of accomplishment is awesome and like I've said in the past, it motivates ME so much more than I as the coach can motivate them. I sooooo needed this right now. Thanks guys for letting me share in this experience and congratulations for CHANGING YOUR LIFE.

Now off to the Striders chili cookoff and kickball challenge. Eastside rules!!! Oh, and good luck to Cassie who is doing a half ironman tomorrow. Kick butt, Cass.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Finding a good groove

The participants and coaches we have at PIM are just a tremendously FUN bunch of folks. It is as true as it ever has been...The Houston running community is just made up of some seriously classy, fun, warm, friendly people. We had such a great run last night. I ran with one of the guys I'm coaching who is about my size. Actually, he's about what used to be my size, about 35 pounds ago. Anyway, this guy has been doing his workouts, attending on Wednesday nights, and has just come a long way. I won't mention his name since this is public and I don't have his permission but I'm telling you, this man is determined. Cool story...we started our 3x8run/2walk with an 8 minute run. Mind you, these are new runners, never run before, the farthest they've ever run before without stopping was last week and that was 5 minutes. This week, 8 minutes sounded daunting to most in my group. Anyway, we started running, me and J, and I made sure we kept a conversational effort and talked and just ran easy. Anyway, my Garmin went off and I looked at J and said, "Did you know you just ran 8 minutes without stopping?" J got this HUGE smile on his face and asked me if I was kidding. I said, "No, I'm not kidding." He couldn't believe it.

I'm really trying to stress with the new runners that running isn't all about pain and side stitches and gasping for air. It can be fun and easy. I told J that there will be a time for pain. It's called the Cinco de Mayo 5K. :) But that the bulk of your training right now should be easy runs at a conversational effort. I think this is physiologically beneficial but it's also psychologically necessary for new runners to realize that they CAN do this. They CAN run and see improvement. This has been so rewarding for me to have even the smallest part in these peoples', these friends' lives and to see them get off the couch and make a change in their life. I get WAY more out of them than they get out of me as a coach.

My ankle is really starting to stop feeling bad. I've been running moderately and consistenly and doing my exercises for my peroneals and I think the plan is starting to take shape. I started wearing some more comfortable shoes to work and I think that has helped too.

I had 4 Four the Park on my radar but I just don't think I'm up for racing yet. Easy does it until this summers' Heights 5K. Until then, I'm doing the best therapy I could possibly do for my ankle. That's to keep losing weight.