Races

Race 1/49 – Lifeskills Run for Autism

This past Saturday, April 11th, we did our first of 49 athletic events!

A little backstory first…

My wife works for the WKU Kelly Autism Program. As you can infer from the program name, it is a program designed to provide assistance and support for individuals with autism and Asperger’s. The program she works for recently held a 4 Mile Run and 1 Mile Walk to fundraise for their services.

Since she works for the program, we had to be there bright and early to help. Obviously, Moon Pie had to come, too.

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The turnout was pretty impressive. I was especially impressed by this young woman. I am afraid I can’t remember her name right now, but she has autism (and in fact, did not even speak until she was five years old). She sang the National Anthem before the start of the race.

Wow. That’s all I can say.

As I said in my last blog post, I am going to wear a different dork shirt to each race. For this race, I am wearing my Garbage Pail Kid Adam Bomb shirt!

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This will also be the first shirt in my dork quilt.

Tina and I were doing the walk instead of the run, which means I was allowed to be slightly obnoxious and take pictures as we went. (I promise – I didn’t stop walking. I snapped as I walked.)

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We pushed little guy in his stroller. He was pretty much zonked out by the time we were done.

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It was a nice, easy way to start our recommitment to a physically healthy life. And it was fun – this is only the third “race” I’ve been involved with. I definitely understand how people get hooked on this!

We’ve already signed up for our second “race.” It’s on April 27th!

Miles: 1 mile
Comments on Dork Shirt: 1

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No More Run For Your Lives Weigh-In…

I never weigh in on Wednesday, but I also usually don’t disappear for almost two weeks at a time with nary a word.

This really isn’t even a weigh-in. Let me just do a bit of word blurg (a nicer word than vomit, don’t you think?) and describe everything that has happened lately. The good… and the bummed me out.

First, the good.

I weighed in two Fridays ago at 370.8.

Woo hoo!

I weighed in this morning, because I realized I hadn’t written a single blog post in almost two weeks, at 374.4.

You know what, though. I’m not too sad about it, for two reasons. One, there is a reason for the weight gain, which I’ll explain in a bit. And two, I’ve still lost inches! I realized that I had gotten into the third hole of my belt.

As a result, I measured myself and saw that my waist was 51.5”, which is two inches down from the last time I measured on September 9th. Woo hoo!

So, let me just get everything else out that has happened here very quickly.

Run For Your Lives is in two weeks on October 22nd.

It does not look like I will be running.

Why?

Because I freaking sprained my FOOT on Sunday! Seriously, who sprains their foot?!

Well, I do. I sprain my foot. Tina and I went for a jog, and while I wasn’t really feeling the workout, I pushed through and finished it. I felt like I was in a decent place for the race. I didn’t suspect I would be capable of running the entire thing, but I did feel like it was possible that I might be able to jog and walk the race and finish in under 42-45 minutes.

However, by late Sunday night, my foot ached. I wasn’t too stressed about it.

The next morning when I woke up, it hurt worse. My left foot ached so bad that I could only walk/hobble by putting all of my weight on my heel. I was SLOW. One of my colleagues saw me when I finally trudged in to work and said, “You should really probably get that checked out.”

“But… Zombies!”

Well, that argument didn’t really hold up, so I decided to bite the bullet and go to the WKU Health Services Center. Fortunately, it is located about one hundred feet from the building my office is in, so it wasn’t too far of a trek.

After X-rays and a little foot manipulation, it was determined that it wasn’t broken (whew!), just badly sprained (suck!). I was given an anti-inflammatory and crutches and ordered to stay off of my foot as much as possible for the next week.

“But doc, zombies!”

No go. He said that I was to do no strenuous, weight-bearing exercise for the next week. More to the point, he said, “I appreciate that you are trying to be physically active and losing weight is fantastic, but a man of your weight, especially when you have already had stress injuries like this one, should not be jogging. Exercise, definitely. Weight-bearing exercise, even. But no high-impact activities like jogging. After you’ve lost some weight, we’ll talk.”

I can’t be mad. He said it in a very delicate way, which I appreciate. I’ve had doctors in the past who would have told me, “You’re too fat. Fat people shouldn’t jog.” He was very appropriate and personable about it, which was nice.

So… as much as I want to be a runner, it’s going to have to wait.

I’m still trying to decide what to do about Run For Your Lives. Tina and I have already reserved our hotel room, so we are going to DC for the weekend. As for whether we’ll race… well, ordinarily, I would just plan to walk the race. However, this race is released in waves, and I don’t want to be walking the course when the wave behind me comes running up. Any suggestions? I hate to throw in the towel, but I think I’ve been benched.

But wait, the suckfest continues!

I also have a sinus infection. I’ve got a Z-pak, but I’m REALLY hoping I’ll be well by Saturday. After all, Saturday is our One Year Anniversary!

Fortunately, fall break starts tomorrow. I’ve got literal stacks of papers to grade and tons to do, but I am going to be able to do them from home. No teaching on my feet for hours. So hopefully, the rest will help me heal.

I’ll try not to disappear again!

On the plus side, I am eating well. I’m all about real food at the moment, regardless of caloric content. Doesn’t this breakfast look amazing?

So, what’s new with you?

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Power Rangers: A Pressing Engagement

Busy summer.

I truly believed that by working at a university, I would have an easy summer. There aren’t many students here now, right? It’s got to be easier.

Yeah, right.

One of the busiest summers of my professional life ever. (I’ll be honest – I’m really looking forward to having next summer off. My new nine month contract starts in August! Woo hoo!)

But I wouldn’t change a second of it. It’s been awesome. I’ve made some extra money, paid down some credit card debt (still have a ways to go, but we’re working on it!), had some good times, and kept working out. My weight, as always, is giving me a little trouble, but I’m in charge here, and the numbers are dropping. I’m actually excited about weighing in tomorrow. I expect to post at least a two pound loss, so woo hoo for me.

The Run For Your Lives is in just a few months. Holy crap. I have to get cracking! Weights are good, weights are great. The weight room makes me happy. And weights are going to be crucial during this challenge, because the Run For Your Lives isn’t an ordinary 5K. They’ve only released two of the twelve obstacles we have to navigate during the race (while running from zombies), but one involves climbing a wall. Climbing a wall will take muscles. It would be nice if I was about two hundred pounds lighter, but I’ll just have to do the best I can. Fortunately, we’re allowed to skip obstacles if we just physically can’t do them, so I always have that in my back pocket. (This is not the best option, for two reasons. One, if you skip an obstacle, while you are allowed to finish, you automatically finish as a zombie, and I’m still hoping to finish the race as a survivor.)

So, in a change of pace, rather than lift weights this morning, we did cardio at the gym this morning. I’m still nowhere near ready to run a 5K, and given that I’m being CHASED through a 5K on October 22nd, I should get a move on. I feel confident in my ability to tear it up; I’ve still got time. I just have to start. So today we did.

It’s funny. If you take a break from exercise, you lose it. A few months ago, I actually jogged 1.55 miles without too terribly much effort. Today, three separate 1-minute jogs almost killed me. Oh well. I was there once; I’ll get there again. Tina and I are even talking about hitting the gym after work a few times, too, just to get in more cardio time. (We like weights in the morning.)

But this morning, I watched an episode of Power Rangers at the gym. I just put my iPad on the treadmill, signed on to WKU’s wireless internet, pulled up the Netflix ap, and got the 4th episode of the 1st season going. The pregnant lady next to me on the treadmill kept giving me looks out of the corner of her eye when the show started. I know she was just jealous she had to watch AM Kentucky while I was rocking out with Zordon and Alpha.

So yeah, I accidentally took a little hiatus from my dorkdom to work on work. Geeze, it’s like there are bills that have to be paid or something. And while I can’t promise how often I’ll post, I’m really going to try and do more than just my weekly weigh-ins.

Without further ado, I present to you the 4th episode of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, A Pressing Engagement.

Plot

Our episode starts with Jason in the Youth Center, trying to set the Angel Grove High Bench Press record. For most reps. The record to beat is 1,010. Not heaviest weight. Most reps.

Okay, I’ve never heard of such a weight lifting record, but whatever. Ernie loses count around 1,005, and Jason is afraid people will think he’s a quitter. Kimberly and Zack assure him that they will think no such thing.

Rita notices that Jason is distraught, but his friends make him feel better. Therefore, she will send a monster called King Sphinx down who can flap his wings, blow the other Rangers away, and make Jason be alone or something.

This should have been the episode they submitted for the Emmy nod.

Anyway, Jason, Zack, and Kimberly hear from Zordon about the monster, morph, and sure enough, Kimberly and Zack are blown away from the fight and into the Youth Center, demorphed.

Jason, of course, is alone, but the other four get together, Zordon tells them something about Power Crystals or Power Somethings, and the Ranger find them, throw them, or something, Jason finds them, and they turn into his friends.

I really was paying attention. But in the end, Jason is reunited with his friends, they defeat the monster, and he reattempts the bench press record, this time with Trini counting. And of course, he succeeds, with his friend’s help. Mostly because Trini can actually count above 1,000 without being distracted.

Cheering for Jason's victory... and Trini is levitating

Cheering for Jason's victory... and Trini is levitating

Weight Loss Analogy

Okay, I never claimed that every episode would be a winner. Part of the problem is that Power Rangers was adapted from footage of the Japanese show Kyoruu Sentai Zyuranger. Other than the appearance of the Ranger suits, very little stayed the same. It wasn’t a show about five teenagers fighting evil. It was about five ancient warriors fighting evil.

That made for some interesting fill-ins when the show was adapted for a US audience. The Power Crystals allegedly made more sense in the original footage. (The usage of Japanese footage is also why the Yellow Ranger looks masculine when morphed. Yellow was male in Japan.) But regardless, I’m going to disregard the Power Crystals or whatever other nonsense was going on and just focus on Jason.

Jason admitted that he needed his friends to help him out.

How perfect is that for weight loss and fitness? Whether you have a little to lose or almost 200 pounds to lose (or more), we don’t need to do it alone.

I’m not going to say that it can’t be done alone, but I know that I, for one, have no desire to attempt it alone.

I’m very lucky in that I am surrounded by people to help me out. Tina is my number one support. I have my coworkers, who always express an interest when I share any success I’ve had in the gym or on the scale. I have my Weight Watchers @Work group, who are likewise very encouraging and a great support system.

I’ve also got this blog and all of you. I love having a place where I can vent, share my dorkiness, and talk with others. Even if you don’t have a blog, you can leave comments and talk with people on their blogs. We’re all in this together, and collectively, we can accomplish more than we can alone.

Those are just some of the people I have in my corner, helping me in my weight loss fight. (And I’m including you in my corner, too. You’re a bigger help to me than you’ll ever realize.)

Who is helping you?

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29 Weeks and Counting: A Run For Your Lives Update

I skipped my weekly countdown to Run For Your Lives last weekend. Sorry; last weekend was crazy busy, the following work week was even busier, and now, as I sit sidelined with an injury, is the first real time I’ve had in a while to sit down and collect my thoughts.

Okay, not entirely true. I posted about my planned month-long attempt at intuitive eating that started on April 1st. So far, so good. I’m feeling mentally good, I’m feeling physically good, and I am truly looking forward to weighing in on May 1st and hopefully seeing a significant loss.

I’m going to combine this update with the story of my 2nd 5K, because the two are very closely related. So before I go on to describe the update of my training plan for Run For Your Lives, let me tell you a bit about our experience at the 3rd Annual Buffalo Crossing 5K in Munfordville, Kentucky.

This was a much smaller race with about 150 participants as opposed to the 500+ present at last weekend’s Family Enrichment Center 5K. Not a problem. It was also in my hometown, which was a nice bonus. (After the race, we went to visit my parents. And I actually saw my dad during the race, because he is the president of the local Rescue Squad and they volunteered to block off the intersections so we didn’t get run over. He was our only cheering section during the entire race except for the finish line.

And a quick photo of Tina and I before the race… much warmer than last weekend, which was nice. (Note: You can also see the tattoo on my lower left leg that I want to get removed at some point.)

The race started in Thelma Stovall Park by Green River. I realize if you aren’t from Munfordville, that pretty much means nothing to you. Just know that it meant that, as soon as the race started, we would have a VERY steep, 1/8 mile climb out of Thelma Stovall Park to get to the historic downtown streets where the rest of the 5K took place.

I don’t mind saying that the first hill kicked our butts. It is seriously a tremendously steep hill. It is probably the steepest hill I have ever walked up. Very few people were even able to jog up it.

The rest of the race went up and down the remarkably hilly streets of Munfordville. It was a surprisingly strenuous course. Even though I more or less grew up in Munfordville, (I actually lived in the country NEAR Munfordville), I had no idea how hilly this little town of 1,700 people actually was.

The last ½ mile of the course took us back to Thelma Stovall park where we finished on a very uneven, rocky, dangerous “walking” course. It would have been tremendously easy to turn an ankle. I was very relieved to finally cross the finish line at fifty-ish minutes. I can’t give you a time more exact than that because the timing system was… well, it was pretty much a guy with a clipboard and a stopwatch.

My thoughts on this race: Suckfest. Hated it. I am SO glad I did the 5K I did last weekend first, because if this had been the first road race I had EVER done, I would probably have never done another one. It was poorly organized, and those of us who signed up for the walk (instead of the run) were told at the start line that we were not allowed to run. Pfft. Tina and I ran past the guy who announced that just for spite. I get his point; people who ran during the walk portion can throw off their awards system. Well, I had no plans to place high enough as a walker or runner to receive a medal.

As far as race swag, nothing but a t-shirt. I will concede that it is a nice t-shirt, even if it is the brightest pink I’ve ever seen.

Last weekend at my 5K, I said I was going to write the name of someone who inspired me on my arm as inspiration. I thought that was a great idea, as a lot of people have inspired me to get to this point. While that remains true, the words of Carla a.k.a MizFit also rang really strongly in my ears this week, too.

“I am my own superhero.”

Truer words have never been spoken. While I am grateful to everyone (and I forget tons of people off of the list I posted last weekend – one of my main fears for creating such a list!), I must also acknowledge that I am doing this for me. So I did this 5K with no sharpie tattoos. All me.

I wish I could keep this 5K story from being a total downer, but I’m afraid I have even more bad news. I have a pretty severe case of bursitis at the moment.

Okay, maybe it’s not severe. Maybe it’s mild. All I know is that there is clearly an inflammation on the back of my right heel, it hurts in a BIG way, and I am currently hobbling when I walk.

I’m blaming it on three things. One, I am obese. That’s obviously a big contributor.

Two, my shoes suck. They are old and clearly no longer do the work they should. (Tina and I took a trip to Shoe Carnival this afternoon to remedy this.)

And three, I pound when I run or walk, and I was running/walking on pavement. Bad move. I’ve really, sadly come to the conclusion that I am not meant to run on pavement until I’ve lost some more weight. Last weekend, my right heel hurt pretty severely, and I was pretty much on ice-pack detail for two days. Same this weekend, only it hurts more. I’m not insane; something must change.

So, the 5K plan is being temporarily scrapped. I still hope to someday do 223 5Ks, but while I am now two down, the other 221 are going to have to wait for a while. It does me no good to injure myself and prevent me from doing any substantial exercise.

Now, all that being said, I do still have the Run For Your Lives coming up on October 22nd, and I am still immensely excited about it. It’s not just a 5K; it’s also an obstacle course. So there is still TONS of training that I can do.

I’m going to continue doing 5Ks at the gym. The treadmill is more cushioned than pavement, and it doesn’t hurt. (Please note – if it starts hurting on the treadmill, too, then I’ll have to modify this yet again.)

The Run For Your Lives is also an obstacle course, so there is plenty of strength and agility training we can do, too. We’re going to keep hitting the weight room hard. We’re going to keep doing yoga and stretching, and we’re going to incorporate some plyometrics, too.

Zombies beware. I may be injured (note to Zombies: my right heel is especially tough, so if I am caught and you decide to eat me, I won’t be offended if you give my right heel to your zombie dogs.) but I am not down.

Zombie movie of the week?

28 Days Later.

Just a little over six months to go. I’ve still got TONS of training left to do!

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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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12-31-13 - 412.0
1-3-14 - 407.0 (-5.0 pounds total)