Archive for March 2011

My First 5K

I found that I couldn’t sleep. Was I actually nervous for my first 5K?

Apparently, yes. Even I didn’t realize it until I went to bed Friday night.

The next morning was going to be the 15th Annual Run and Walk for Children.

It was going to be my very first 5K. I signed up for the walk portion, but Tina and I planned to do as much jogging during the race as possible.

March 26, 2011 was a COLD day. We’ve had temperatures in the seventies for the past several weeks. What was the temperature range for the day of my first 5K? 42 to 47 degrees.

Crap.

Still, I’m tough, I can stand a little cold, right? So I put on my track shorts and a new navy blue t-shirt and decided I would just tough it out.

Bad call. At my next race, if it is not in the sixties, I am going to bring a hoodie or something. Tina was smart; she dressed in layers. I, too, dressed in layers. Unfortunately, my two layers consisted of underwear and then shorts and a t-shirt. I should have added at least one more layer. Oh well.

We got there around 6:50. The race didn’t start until 8:15, but the roads to the park were closing at 7:30 and we still hadn’t picked up our registration packets.

Once we got that (and I got a cup of coffee just so I would have something warm to hold. We killed some time in the car to warm up and talked about the race. I suggested that since we can both run at least 20 minutes without stopping, we should start there and just see how it goes. Around that time, I also decided I should eat the tiny breakfast we brought, so I ate a 100 calorie blueberry bagel. That blueberry bagel would come back to haunt me later, but not in the way you might be thinking.

We also took a quick photo of ourselves before the race with an automatic timer. Yes, I look so tense because I was FREEZING.

We then discovered that a gymnasium at a local church was open and providing bathroom access, so we went in there, used the bathroom, and warmed up. By that time, it was almost 8:15, the sun was fully out, so we went out to join the starting line throng.

Now, before I start telling stories about my race or posting the handful of pictures I took during, I have a quick story to share.

A few weeks back on The Biggest Loser, Jay wrote the weight he wanted to weigh at that week’s weigh-in on his arm as motivation in sharpie. I thought that was a great idea, and I decided to do the same. I was going to write the names of everyone who helped me get ready for this race on my arm. It would be a great way to motivate myself by looking down at my forearm during the race, seeing those names, and get spurred on to keep going. After all, this training has NOT been in a vacuum. I have had people either cheering me on directly or they have been indirect motivations, because reading about their first 5K or their exercise and weight loss struggles have kept me going.

So I got a 3×5 card and I wrote out the names of everyone who had, in one way or another, inspired me.

Uhm… my arm isn’t that big.

Tina (my wife and partner in everything, including 5K training)
Tara
Steve
Brandon
Joe
Jess
Carla (aka MizFit)
Jody
Mary
Craig
Erin
Lynne
Josie
Foodie McBody
Ryan
Josie
Emmie
Kerrie
Seth
Hanlie
Jody

Those were the names that immediately came to mind. I’m sure there are more if I keep digging.

So instead, I came up with a different idea. I plan to do a LOT of 5Ks. This is just the first. And every 5K I do, I’m going to write the name of someone who helped me get there in some way or another.

For this first 5K, I wrote two names.

So thank you, Tina, for helping me in everything. And thank you, Tara, for showing me that we can make our bodies do anything we want. Thank you EVERYONE whose names I couldn’t put on my arm just yet. I know this list will be growing, and hopefully, I won’t develop sharpie poisoning from drawing on myself before every race.

Okay, back to the race. We were clustered at the starting line, just waiting.

I was expecting a gun. There wasn’t one, but suddenly, we were running.

Tina and I found ourselves near the middle of the pack almost instantly. There were a LOT of walkers. We started jogging, and I felt great. I’m going to jog for twenty minutes!

Eight minutes later, I had to stop. We continued walking. This couple was in front of us for almost the entire race. I took their photo because their shirts were from the Family Enrichment Center, which is who the race was benefiting.

We ran a few more times, but I had no fuel in the tank. I definitely learned that I MUST eat more than a 100 calorie bagel before a race. Next Saturday at my 2nd 5K, I’ll eat a bigger breakfast. Running (even walking) requires fuel, and my tank was empty.

Still, we kept on keeping on. Run for a bit, walk for a bit longer. I did a LOT more walking than I did running. I was sure that I was going to be somewhere around 53 or 54 minutes. In fact, I told myself, “At least you won’t be slower than your first 5K at almost 57 minutes.”

Why was I so self-defeating during this race? That’s one of my mental health issues I’m going to have to work out. Clearly, I am afraid to succeed at some things. I’m not afraid to succeed at work. I have an incredible job that I’m good at. But when it comes to things involving weight loss and my physical health, sometimes, I doubt myself.

And then I remembered the post I made on Wednesday night, after I ran for 1.55 miles for the first time ever. I am an athlete. So many of you said such wonderful, supportive things to me after that.

I look at Tara’s name on my forearm. I knew that she was off somewhere right then running a race, too. So even though I was running on fumes at that point, I walked faster. I jogged when I could. Tina supported me through the entire race, right by my side, even though she could have easily jogged off and left me and gotten a much better time.

There were cheering teams everywhere all along the track. There is truly no feeling like crossing the finish line with people cheering you on. NOW I know why people run races. That feeling was INCREDIBLE!

What was my time?

48:06.

Best time yet. (And yes, this was my first race, but I time myself on the treadmill, too.)

Next Saturday will be even better.

I’ve learned a few things about myself through this 5K process. I still have some issues to work on, both physical and mental. The physical = learn to change my stride. I am still doing too much heel pounding when I run, and I am feeling it today. I’m going to concentrate on shifting my impact toward the front of my foot.

The mental = tons of things. I’m way better, but I’m not there yet. I may never be as mentally healthy as I want to be, but I’ll never stop trying.

All I do know is this.

I ran my first 5K this weekend, and I am an athlete.

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Quick Update

Just a few things really quickly before bed. I’ve been having some mental health things rolling around in my head since my 1.55 mile run on the treadmill Wednesday night. Nothing bad is happening, but that is occupying some of my mental efforts at the moment. I guess you could say I’ve momentarily retreated from the online world for a moment. (I currently have 59 unread blog posts to read in Google Reader. Maybe I’ll catch up tomorrow.)

Don’t worry; it’s nothing bad. I’m just being very deliberate about my actions and thoughts at the moment, and I’ll share more on it in the next few days. For me (perhaps with everybody), mental breakthroughs bring a bit of an uncomfortable state that requires letting go of previously held assumptions and a mental reshifting. I’ve got a lot of issues still to work through, and while I’ve come a long way, I know I’ve still got a long way to go. With my loving wife, family, and friends (and I am including a lot of you out there who have reached out and helped me, whether it is with a comment, supportive email, or a message on twitter or facebook), I know I’ll get there. I’ll post more on this in the next week or so.

I did have my first 5K today. Best time yet. 48:02. That shook some things up in my head, too. Again, nothing bad, just some mental furniture that needs some rearranging to make everyone fit.

Have a blessed day. I’ll be back very shortly with full details of everything.

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Things That Happen on a Treadmill

I did something tonight.

Something big.

Something I’ve never done before.

I pulled a Tara in the gym. (Love you, Tara!)

So what do I mean by that? I went crazy hardcore and impressed everybody?

No.

I teared up. Emotionally, I had a freaking major breakthrough on the treadmill.

So, why did I almost turn into a blubbery, crying mess on the treadmill?

And what on Earth does Hoku have to do with it?

I put the song “Perfect Day” on repeat on my iPod. (Don’t judge me for my music tastes. It’s just too easy to do, and there’s no real sport in it.)

I turned on the treadmill, prepared to run one minute longer than I had yesterday.

I didn’t do that.

I ran for 1.55 miles.

Without stopping.

Did I mention that the farthest I’ve ever ran before without stopping was half a mile?

I don’t know what all contributed, but it was several things. I know a lot of you are supporting me in my efforts to become healthier and, dare I say it, become a runner. Thinking of you all helped. A lot. So thank you for being in my corner.

And it was this particular set of lyrics in the song.

I’m in the race but I already won,
And getting there can be half the fun,
So don’t stop me ’til I’m good and done,
Don’t you try to rain on my perfect day.

I realized I was making my body do something it had never done before, and it wasn’t even that hard. Challenging, yes, but certainly doable.

I realized I’m an athlete. I may weigh over 350 pounds, but I am an athlete.

And it hit me – I’m going to do this.

I’m going to make it to goal weight, and I’m not going to live the life I always wanted to have someday.

I’m living it now.

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#100daychipquest

If you follow me on twitter, you’ll probably notice that I kinda suck at it. I’ve been sticking with it longer this time than I ever have before, though. Some people have thousands and thousands of tweets. I’ve tweeted around 530 or so. Part of it is because I can’t consistently tweet at my job (because they expect me to do work – how presumptuous!) and when I get home, I frequently like to unplug, at least a little bit. But I have gone from the camp of, “Twitter is for losers!” to “Yeah, I can see how someone can get into this.”

One of the biggest reasons I am enjoying twitter at the moment is the #7daychip challenge, started by Brad Gransberg. I’ve gotten several tweets from some in my twitter feed would fear I may have become an alcoholic. Not quite. For those who don’t know, it’s a self-selected program (and I use that term loosely) where we support each other with the #7daychip hashtag as we go about our day, trying to live up to our own expectations of what we want to accomplish. It’s not a case of “do this and you make day one.” It’s a case of “I decide what a healthy day looks like” and when I’ve strung seven together in a row, I get a seven day chip. Like this one, made by Brad.

He offered us a small chip with just our own picture, but I’m happy to include the others who made it with me on this. (And tons made it before us.) Amy Westphal was my day-to-day #7daychip buddy, and she was a huge help. Thanks Amy!

It’s been a big help, and it’s gaining momentum on twitter. If you aren’t currently doing it, you should think about it. I’ve met some cool people doing it, and people that I have never met in my life face-to-face frequently send me tweets, encouraging me to keep it up and helping me back up when I fall down.

So what, then, is the #100daychipquest? After the 7 day chip, you have the 30 day chip. But this trumps all of it. It is a group of us who are pledging to follow some kind of guideline (all at our own choosing) for one hundred days.

I jumped on board, too. What goals do I need to follow for the next 100 days for me to earn my 100daychip?

1. Do 3 5Ks a week (either official, as in races, or unofficial, as in treadmill).
2. Drink at least 96 ounces of water a day.
3. Do some type of workout every day (whether it’s a 5K, weights at the gym, or Zumba on the Wii).
4. Eat at least two vegetable servings (starchy veggies are okay) with every dinner.
5. At least 98 of my next 100 days must be good calorie days.

So does that mean I’m allowing myself two binge days?

No. But I’m also human, and if it happens, I’m not going to scrap the #100daychipquest and say screw it. I’ll keep on keeping on.

I am purposefully vague in what a good calorie day is. Let me explain why.

On June 25th, Tina and my parents are piling into my mom’s car and we’re going to Sikeston, Missouri, because my parents have wanted to take us to Lambert’s for just shy of forever. I’m making this little short overnight trip a two-fer, by the way, because Tina and I will also be running the Huskers 5K on Friday night in East Prairie, Missouri, before we go to Lambert’s on Saturday.

I’ve never eaten at Lambert’s. I’ve heard the food is amazing and the serving sizes are generous. I won’t binge when I go there, but it’s also not an everyday occurrence, either. I’ll probably eat what I want within reason. I’m not going to consider that day a binge or a failure. It’s planned eating, and probably a bit on the higher calorie side, but I’m going to be with loved ones. That’s a FAR cry from my binge days where I would eat six Wendy’s Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers because I’m trying to fill a void that I sometimes didn’t even know was there.

So some of my good calorie days will be higher than others. It’s all perspective.

It’ll be a tough climb, but the view will be worth it.

It’s not too late. Join us?

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31 Weeks and Counting: A Run For Your Lives Update

I can’t even begin to describe how utterly surprised and astonished I am that I have found (if not love) a strong like for running. I’m actually having to restrict myself in how often I run. I do weigh over 350 pounds, and I’ve found that if I do a 5K every day, my feet are a little achy. I still workout every single day, but I’m doing the 5Ks every other day. And I’m doing my very best to improve, at least a little bit, with each one.

When I first started this journey, I did a 5K in 56:47. On Saturday, I did one in 48:32.

I’ve got even better news about it. I ran for seven minutes straight. You have NO idea how freaking gigantic-huge that is. And, even better better yet, I then followed that up with alternating five minutes of running with three minutes of jogging. 48:32.

I know for some runners, that would be a terribly slow time for 3.1 miles. But for me, that is gargantuan mega huge. It is literally the most I have EVER run in my entire life.

On the days I don’t run, I lift weights, or do Zumba (we just got Zumba for Wii – review coming soon!), or the elliptical, or take the dog for a walk, or whatever keeps my body moving. I’m not becoming a runner, per se. I want to be fit, and I’m choosing to make running a big part of that.

Quick caveat – I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m currently going for endurance and not speed. In fact, my “running” pace would probably be a swift walk for someone else. I set the treadmill at 4.1 miles per hour for my jogging and 3.2 for my walking. At 4.1 miles per hour, it will take me over forty-five minutes to run a 5K. I am totally fine with that. I don’t expect to place in a 5K any time soon. I am completely at ease with being the last person to cross the finish line.

Because here is how I look at it – I might be the last person to cross the finish line, but there are millions of people who are choosing not to even get up and walk. Dead last at the race or not, I’m still winning. Duh. Tiger blood. (Sorry; got possessed by Charlie Sheen for a moment there.)

But as far as my speed… October is the first race I’m going to do where I think speed may be something of a factor. In Run For Your Lives, I’ll be chased by zombies. Hopefully, I’ll have sped up by then. Maybe by October 22nd, I’ll be able to run a sub-33 minute 5K. We’ll see. But I’m okay crawling across the finish line on October 22nd, covering zombie bites and on the verge of becoming undead myself, just because it will mean that I’ve accomplished something that I never thought I would do. Become a runner.

Zombie movie of the week?

Trailer Park of Terror. Seriously awesome movie. Go watch this.

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