Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Weather or Not


I weighed 283.8 lbs this morning. That is a loss of 2.6 lbs this week, bringing my total weight loss to 83.2 lbs. I am always happy to see a loss.

The weather finally broke today, temps got up into the 30's. Our road was clear by the time I got home, unfortunately it wasn't a run day. If I wouldn't have run as far as I did yesterday I would have broke schedule and ran outside, but 9.5 miles in 2 days is enough. I wish my bike was in a little better condition as I could have at least rode that outside. I need to get it into the shop for an overhaul in the next month or two. When the weather breaks I want to be able to do as much outside as possible.

I rode the indoor bike this evening on Program 1. I ended up riding 8.603 miles in 30 minutes.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Calorie Deficit

Yesterday the fam and I went scouting in town for acceptable running locations. The forecast for today was overcast with no precipitation, so I figured if we could find a road with clear shoulders I might have a shot at running my scheduled 7 miler outside. Unfortunately most of the roads in town still have pretty snowy shoulders. The roads out by my house seem to require a weather anomaly to be runnable this time of year. By the time we were headed home I was pretty sure that running outside was out of question. This morning I ate breakfast at about 8 am. Then at 9:50 am I had a banana. By about 10:45 am I was ready to run. My plan was to do the first 10 minutes the same way I did yesterday's run. Then alternate runs of 10 minutes at 5.0 mph and 10 minutes at 4.5 mph. By 17 minutes in I knew that my plan was for crap. While it is perfectly fine for me to get up to 5.0 mph on my shorter runs, it wasn't going to be feasible with such of long distance on the menu. The 4.5 mph felt a lot better. By 30 minutes in I had decided to up my speed to 4.6 mph and try to leave it there as long as possible. There were a few times that I had a crisis of faith as to whether I would honestly be able to finish. It was just getting to me that I had been running for over a half an hour and I still had at least an hour to go. In all of my preparations for someday running a half-marathon, I guess I haven't spent alot of time considering that I may be on my feet for 3 hours or more when the day comes. Luckily I was able to work through my mental freak out. One of the things I told myself was that the race won't be held on a treadmill, that seemed to make me feel better. Somewhere near an hour in I had a slight pain on the top of my left foot, the same place I was previously injured. I suppose a cautious person may have called it quits there, but I pressed on. I was relieved when it went away 3 or 4 minutes later. In a week if I'm laid up with an injury I guess I'll know where my error was. I didn't have any other problems until about the 6.4 mile mark. All of sudden I was hit with really intense hunger pains. Something I haven't really considered through any of my runs yet, is the possible need for gels or gu's. Clearly as my runs are getting into these longer distances, that's something I'm going to have to plan for. I finished running all 7 miles in 1:30:57. The most surprising number though was calories burned, 1189. It bears mentioning that is calculated without a height or weight input, so in reality it was probably a larger number. I can say without a doubt that this was my toughest run, but I think that is mainly because it wasn't outside.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Greased Lightning

I rode the indoor bike tonight on Program 1. I ended up riding 8.755 miles in 30 minutes.

Today I was more ambitious than I have ever been on the treadmill. I started things out at 4.4 mph, 5 minutes later I upped it to 4.5 mph and then at 10 minutes in I went to 5.0 mph. I knew I could make it for at least 10 minutes or so, but beyond that it begins to be mentally taxing. The last time I ran I was able to complete 16:49 at 5.0 mph, but that was pretty difficult near the end. By 20 minutes in I was telling myself that 4.9 mph wasn't enough of a break to be worth knocking the speed down. Just over 25 minutes in I hit 2 miles and suddenly the math rang clear in my head. If I kept the speed where it was I was going to finish faster than I had ever ran 2.5 miles. With that kind of mojo, the rest of the run was a breeze. I ended up finishing in 31:07, a new 2.5 mile record by 6 seconds over an outdoor time. Today I feel like my treadmill running has finally come into it's own.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Ketchup (Redux): The Quickening - This time it's personal

Jan 6-24 (Short answer)
Life continued, I worked out. (For the long version see below)

Jan 6

Being a Sunday with a relatively warm temperature for January, I decided to do a long run outside. The plan was to run 5 miles, 2.5 down the road and back. Everything went well. When I was almost to the turn around a big rottwieler ran out in the road. I just about filled my drawers. The dog tried to jump up on me and I yelled at it to get down. I'm not sure who was more shocked me or the dog. It just stopped and gave me a look like it was offended that I didn't want it to jump up on me. Then a second later someone from the house yelled for the dog to come back, so it promptly turned tail and headed back. I'm just happy that the dog seemed to have some level of training or discipline. Out here in the country, it seems most folks have dogs to chase people away. The rest of the run went well. This is almost the same route that I couldn't finish because of my foot injury back in November, so it meant a lot to me to be able to go out and conquer it. The splits ended up as follows: 1.1 miles - 14:33, 1 mile - 12:43, 1 mile - 12:49, 13:10 - 1 mile, .9 miles - 11:05. I finished the 5 miles in 1:04:20, an awesome improvement from the last time I completed 5 miles.

Jan 7
I weighed 293.2 lbs this morning. That is a gain of .4 lbs this week, bringing my total weight loss to 73.8 lbs. Similar to the last time I gained I consider myself lucky to be up so little. When celebration is the problem I'm not too upset, cause I know that's not my everyday life.

I rode the indoor bike tonight on Program 1. I ended up riding 7.8 miles in 30 minutes. I still go numb sitting on the seat.

Jan 8
I ran on the treadmill again this evening. I set the speed at 4.2 and every 5 minutes I increased the speed .1 mph. The routine really took it out of me. 2.225 miles later 30 minutes had gone by and I was done for the day.

Jan 9
I rode the indoor bike tonight on Program 1. I ended up riding 8.297 miles in 30 minutes. The seat still turns me numb, but not till the last 5 minutes.

Jan 10
I must have some river boat gambler in me. Yesterday the weather was nice enough to run outside, but it wasn't a run day. I almost said the heck with my schedule, to run outside. In the end I decided to believe the weather forecasters that more snow wouldn't come until late afternoon today. I drove home from work and when I got about 10 - 15 miles away from the house it started to snow. By the time I got home it really could have gone either way, as to whether I should run outside. Five minutes later I was out the door. My plan for today was my same old 2.5 mile route that I ran a bunch this fall. I wore my yaktrax on my shoes since it was snowing and I was going to be running on the still snow covered dirt road for about a half a mile. I also wore my compression long sleeve under my light weight running coat and my sweat wicking winter hat. It's always a little cold starting out these winter outdoor runs in shorts, but by 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile I'm warm enough. The run went fine, everything as expected, 2.5 miles in 32:14. By the time I got back home my road was completely covered in snow, like the song says, you gotta know when to hold'em and know when to fold'em.

Jan 11
I rode the indoor bike tonight. For something different I decided to set the bike on Program 3. It's definitely a tougher ride. I'd say twice as much time on the higher resistances as Program 1. I ended up riding 7.998 miles in 30 minutes. The seat still turns me numb, but not till the last 5 minutes.

Jan 12
I ran on the treadmill again this evening. I set the speed at 4.2 and every 5 minutes I increased the speed .1 mph. The routine really took it out of me. 2.225 miles later 30 minutes had gone by and I was done for the day.

Jan 13
When the day began I wasn't sure how many miles I was going to be able to squeeze out of it. It was snowing so my immediate thought was that an outdoor run was out of the equation. I really didn't want to do a long run on the treadmill though. My wife was the one who got all brilliant by suggesting that I drive into town to run outside there. As soon as she said it I remembered that a road near my mom's house, Sunyside Dr., had been completely clean of snow including the paved shoulders on the previous day. It took a few minutes to gather my stuff and I was off. I had always thought that Sunnyside Dr. was 4 or so miles long, but after having driven it twice today paying close attention to the odometer I found that it's actually closer to 2.8 miles. I decided to run a little extra on an adjoining highway, M-115, as it was clear as well. Once I had 6 miles measured out I headed to my mom's house to park and gear up. The start and finish for my route were a block away, so I'd get a little warm up and cool down. The run itself seemed to go fine. Because I had only measured via my cars odometer ahead of time, I only had a loose idea as to where the mile breaks were. I think I ran the second mile a little too fast. Guessing by my watch it took approximately 11:30 which if accurate would have been a mile record for me. The next mile I had to slow down as I was running out of energy, so to speak. I hit the turn around half way point at 38:20. The return trip was slower. I couldn't seem to find the fortitude to push myself to go any faster. I ended up running all 6 miles in 1:20:51. Not as fast I thought I'd be, but at least I made it.

Jan 14
I weighed 294 lbs this morning. That is a gain of .8 lbs this week, bringing my total weight loss to 73 lbs. Honestly I don't know what to make of this gain. I weigh myself everyday even though I probably shouldn't. On Friday it jumped up about 5 lbs which was very surprising as I've been doing well with portion control and exercise. Over the next few days it's been creeping back down, but it's still not where I would expect it. I guess this is a plateau, I knew I'd hit one eventually. On the bright side I wore size 40 jeans today, I haven't done that in years. I rode the indoor bike tonight on Program 1. I ended up riding 8.391 miles in 30 minutes. Until I say something just assume that the seat still turns me numb in the last 5 minutes.

Jan 15
It was a run day and it turned darn cold, so to the treadmill I went. Looking at the runs I've been doing lately I've decided I want to go back to running distances. I've experienced no additional setbacks from my injury and I feel like I'm back in the swing of things so it really in the natural progression. All that meant that I'd have to come up with a new plan for picking my speed on the treadmill. The method I was using of increasing the speed every 5 minutes just wouldn't work for running longer times. I ran the first 5 minutes at 4.2 mph, then 20 minutes at 4.4 mph, and finally 8:55 at 4.6 mph. That made the total 2.5 miles in 33:55.

Jan 16
I rode the indoor bike this evening on Program 1. I ended up riding 8.26 miles in 30 minutes.

Jan 17
The weather wanted to play nice today. On the drive home I determined that the dirt road on my normal route was too snowy for running. Luckily I had anticipated this and already figured out how to squeeze an extra half mile out of the other end of my run instead. The action was pretty uneventful, finished in 31:13. Just the fastest I've ever ran 2.5 miles, ho hum.

Jan 18
I rode the indoor bike this evening on Program 1. I ended up riding 8.392 miles in 30 minutes.

Jan 19
About 5 minutes or so into my run today inspiration struck. I was on the treadmill and I had already run 5 minutes at 4.3 mph. I just increased the speed to 4.4 mph when it hit me. It doesn't make sense to run my fastest at the end of my run when I'm most tired. My plan had been to work up to 4.5 and just run that speed for most of the run with maybe one more increase at the end, but now I was thinking I could just jump up to 5.0 mph at around the 15 minute mark. I wasn't sure how long I'd be able to last, but at least I wouldn't be at my tiredest. About 10 minutes in I went to 4.5 mph. At 15 minutes I hit the 5.0 mph button, nothing happened. I was still running, but it didn't feel like the lightning bolt I was expecting. The display confirmed to me that I was running at 5.0 mph. It took about 2 minutes for what I figure must have been an adrenaline rush to wear off. Now I was starting to feel the difficulty. I figured if I could hold out for 5 minutes that would be good enough. I ended up running it to 7 minutes, by then I needed a break. So I lowered it 4.9 mph, again not the difference I expected. That speed only lasted about 3 minutes, then I was down to 4.8 mph. I was able to finish the run at that speed. So 2.5 miles in 32:09, for me it's astonishing to see numbers like that come from a treadmill run.

Jan 20
This fall when I was beginning to ramp up my mileage I never took any cut-back weeks. I always figured that my mileage totals were a little low to be too worried about cut-backs. Now though that I have put a 6 mile run under my belt I feel like my long runs are getting long enough to justify the need for a cut-back week ever 4 weeks or so. Also I've been wanting to try a brick workout, ever since we got the indoor bike. So that's what I did today, an indoor brick. The plan was to do 30 minutes on the bike and then put my running shoes on immediately and head down to the treadmill for 2.5 miles. I wasn't certain how much of cut-back this was really going to be, but worst case scenario it would be a learning experience. Since I wanted to make sure I would finish I set the bike on the easier Program 2. The bike went pretty normal, I cranked out 8.932 miles in 30 minutes. I used my watch to time my transition, just to be anal. So 2:22 later I was down on the treadmill. The plan here was to do an easy 2.5 miles so speed wise I would start at 4.3 mph for five minutes, then 4.4 mph for 5 minutes, and finish the rest at 4.5 mph. The back of my calves were really the only thing that felt tight. The tightness lasted from about the 3 minute mark to about the 8 minute mark. After that I felt fine. I ended up finishing 2.5 miles in 33:40. Overall the brick was not the fearsome beast I imagined it to be. When I do one of these in the future I won't hold back on the bike and assuming I'm not dead I'll push a little harder on the run.

Jan 21
I weighed 286.4 lbs this morning. That is a loss of 7.6 lbs this week, bringing my total weight loss to 80.6 lbs. Finally the scale recognized what I'm trying to do here. It feels like this has been a long time coming, but looking back at my excel file that holds all my weigh-ins my losses have been consistent overall. Sure there have been a couple plateau points, but I feel like nothing can stop the overall trend. I'm still tying to wrap my head around the fact that I'm not a 300 lb guy anymore.

I rode the indoor bike around mid-day on Program 1. I ended up riding 8.565 miles in 30 minutes. For the first time I had no numbness.

Jan 22
It was a run day and last Saturday's plan worked so good. I knew what I was going to do. 4.3 mph for 5 minutes, 4.4 for 5 minutes, 4.5 for 5 minutes, and then 5.0 mph for as long as I can. I was able to keep up 5.0 mph for 11 minutes. Then I ran the last 5:56 at 4.9 mph. That made a total of 2.5 miles in 31:56. I'm figuring this treadmill thing out.

Jan 23
I rode the indoor bike this evening on Program 1. I ended up riding 8.415 miles in 30 minutes. Numbness returned, my reprieve was short lived.

Jan 24
Another run day, same plan as the last one. I was able to keep 5.0 mph going for the remainder of my run today 16:56. So that made a total of 2.5 miles in 31:49. My plan for the future is to scale back my warm up so I have more time to run at 5.0 mph.

***I'm finally up to date. I apologize to anyone who reads this journal. I never meant to get this far behind. At some point I will probably stop doing an entry for everyday. For now though I want to document every step of my way to a half marathon.

Friday, January 18, 2008


I am so ridiculously far behind. Some of the days I've written entry's for and some I have to go back and fill in stuff. As a show of good faith here's a few days worth. I plan on being fully updated someday, but it won't happen until next week, at least hopefully.

Jan 2
I rode the indoor bike tonight. I set the bike on Program 2. It was definitely an easier ride than Program 1. I ended up riding 8.207 miles in 30 minutes. I still go numb sitting on the seat.

Jan 3
Today was a run day and the weather hasn't broke yet so it was back to the basement for me. I started things out at 4.2 mph an aggressive increase compared to last time no doubt, but something to try. Every 5 minutes I increased the speed .1 mph. I ended up running the last 5 minutes at 4.7 mph, my new fastest treadmill speed. For my 30 minutes I ended up running 2.225 miles total. It was definitely my toughest treadmill run yet. I'm not sure if it is really viable for every run day to be at these speeds, but at least weekly. We'll see how tough it will be next time.

Jan 4
The plan was to ride the indoor bike, then life interceded in the form of a visiting brother in-law and a case of beer. Excuses, excuses, I know.

Jan 5
The plan was to do an easy run and the weather really seemed to want to cooperate. It's been warm the last few days and the only breathe of precipitation was a little rain this morning. The roads were clear enough that all I had to do was wait for the fog to lift some. By noon the visibility was clear enough for a run. The dirt road that I run sometimes was still pretty icy so I figured I'd just stay on the asphalt for 2 miles. This being my first run outside since Christmas it gave me the opportunity to try out the new sweat wicking hat, yaktrax, and running coat. The hat worked great, warm but not hot, perfect for running. The running coat was a little warm for the temperature, but it blocked the wind perfect. I wore my long sleeve compression shirt underneath, I probably didn't need it. The yaktrax worked great as well. In case you live in a warm climate, they are basically a set of rubber straps that are stretched over the bottom of the shoes. Each of the rubber straps has metal wrapped around it (like a stretched out spring) to provide traction. Once I got them on my shoes I was expecting to feel all that metal, but clearly some engineer had thought of that at some point, cause I couldn't feel it at all. The roads ended up being ice free enough that I didn't really need them, but I was glad to find out that they worked (on my very icy driveway) and they didn't hurt my feet any no matter the surface. I ran the first mile in 13:11 a happy reminder that I'm still faster outside. The second mile felt fast, but I was afraid to guess by just how much. It turned out to be a new record mile for me at 11:35. If only this warm spell could last a year and a half or so.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy Holidays: Daily Accumulations

Dec 21

I got home from work and I got lucky. The weather was great and my wife didn't mind waiting for me to go grocery shopping with the fam. We'd had a few days of sun with no precipitation so the roads were free of ice and snow. There was a time in my life when getting lucky had nothing to with running outside, not anymore. Well maybe it's a shared euphemism, at least. It felt really good to be back out on the roads. With the treadmill being broken it was kind of a double treat, since I have no idea when that situation will be rectified. I abandoned my starting walk and decided I'd just start running like the old days. I felt slow as I was plodding along. I didn't feel like I was running (but I was), more like I was power walking. I tried not to think about speed as I know some of my abilities will be diminished with all the recovery time I've needed. I was only running the 1.8 mile course on my road because I didn't want to over extend myself. I reached the last mile mark 10:42 which surprised the crap out of me. Only twice have I run that stretch of road faster, and that was right before my injury. The last mile went well as usual coming in at a ridiculously quick time of 12:43. I did not expect to be turning in my second fastest mile at home today, but I'll take it anyway. I was glad to see that I didn't lose what little speed I have over this injury. Assuming the treadmill gets fixed soon I probably won't have a run this great (read: fast) for a long time.

Dec 22-25
My wife's cousin never did come pick up the treadmill during the weekend. I weighed 297 lbs the morning of Dec. 24. That is a loss of 6.6 lbs for the week, bringing my total weight loss to 70 lbs. I felt damn proud to be below 300 before Christmas. I treated it like a Christmas present to myself. The best damn thing I ever got myself. I got the exercise bike on Christmas Eve, so once I put it together I'll have something to work out on. Christmas day was nice with the fam. Got some running stuff: A sweat wicking hat, a nice set of wind/rain proof coat & pants, yaktrax (ice crimps for running), some pants, and a few other things. One pair of pants were size 42 and they felt a little big so we are going to take them back and get 40's (this still blows me away). Christmas afternoon, my father in-law helped me get the treadmill over to my wife's cousin. This was helped by their family gathering being held at his house. The cousin thinks it will only take a few minutes, it's just a matter of actually doing it.

Dec 26
After shedding the last of our holiday company I finally got around to putting the exercise bike together. Not too many pieces, more packaging and waste than bike parts. I had to wait for my wife to go buy some D cell batteries because that is what the thing runs on instead of a power chord (brilliant). Once she got back I got my first ride. It has a few programs but I was reluctant to try those on my first voyage. I set the resistance at 2 with a goal of 30 minutes. Since the bike isn't downstairs yet, I took advantage of the television. After about 20 minutes or so I could feel my nether regions going numb. Getting used to a bike seat will clearly be the biggest hurdle here. I finished my 30 minutes having pedaled 7.745 miles. I never changed the resistance setting so I'm not certain it was a great workout. I was sweaty at the end, but not out of breathe.

Dec 27
I decided to try out a program on the bike today just to see how it works. Most of the programs run for 30 minutes. Every minute is considered a segment and the segments range in resistance and target speed. Sometimes the resistance and range stay the same for a few segments in a row, and sometimes they increase or decrease. Like going for a ride outside with a friend who you are trying to keep up with and then finding a few hills. I chose program 1 for today. I was able to stay at least a couple miles an hour faster than the target speed through 95% of the ride. The portion near the end when the resistance goes up to 8 for two minutes, it was all I could do to be barely above the target of 11 mph. Again a little after 20 minutes in everything below my waistline and above my thighs went numb, definitely an odd feeling. Then also to know that it will be numb until I get done and then be all prickly while the feeling is coming back for another 10 minutes afterward. Today's ride felt like a butt kicking. Definitely more of what I was looking for, out of breathe, legs hurting, sweating all over the place. I didn't mention it yesterday but I am doing my running stretches after bike rides.

About 9:30pm or so the phone rang, we were entertaining relatives. It was my wife's cousin, he had just finished welding the treadmill and wanted to know if he could drop it off then. I was shocked, the good kind, and said yes please. A half hour later the treadmill was back in my basement and I was trying to figure out how to make our company leave. Unfortunately our guests stayed till late into the evening and I was unable to make it downstairs, but at least the ball is back in my court (so to speak).

Dec 28
I had made plans earlier in the week for the morning today. So I had to wait till after the kids and I got back from lunch at my mom's house to get downstairs. Once downstairs I was tasked with the chore of remembering how in the heck I'd tore apart the deck of the treadmill. I took a few minute to admire the weld job that had been done. My wife's cousin was nice enough to cut a couple extra pieces of metal and weld them onto the plates that he'd already welded back on, to act as braces. That area looks gaudy with strength now. Most of the putting back together went easy. The toughest part was getting the rear axle back on and inside of the housing on each side. After some failure and some thought I figured it out. It just took a little percussive force on some of the relatively low tensile strength plastic and snap it was back in place. After that I just had to tighten the belt. Which is easy to do but I was unsure how tight to make it. I ended up trying it a few times until finally I had it tight enough so that it wouldn't slip when I ran on it. I don't know if you can have it too tight, so it's not tightened all the way just in case.

Once my wife got home I got a chance to take it for a proper test drive. It felt good to have it back even if it is still a treadmill. Yet another case of you don't what you've got till it's gone. I didn't do any walking as I haven't even felt a tightness in my foot in awhile, let alone pain. I started out running at 3.7 and then took the speed up .1 every 5 minutes. By the end I was running at 4.2 mph with a total of 1.972 miles in 30 minutes. A nice little run. I checked out the welds after the run and everything looked tip top, the metal didn't even feel warm, very good news.

Dec 29
Not wanting to over do things now that I seem to be exercise equipment rich, I've decided to alternate running and biking for a couple weeks at least. Actually it will probably be 4 days run and 3 days bike, but that won't be any different until next weekend. So that made today a bike day. I liked Program 1 so I did that again today. It kicked my butt again. I felt a little vomitous during the segments when the resistance goes to 8. I went numb again at about the same time, I hope that goes away as I get used to the bike.

Dec 30
It being a Sunday and me having a treadmill, I figured I'd try a long run. Since the last long run I did was 40 minutes long, my goal for today was 50 minutes. I ran the first 10 minutes at a speed of 3.8 mph then I ran the next 30 minutes at 4.0 mph and the last 10 minutes at 4.2 mph. It went well and I ended up running 3.332 miles. I got to thinking though as I was nearing having run 30 minutes at 4.0 mph. The difficulty of wasn't bad it felt about as easy as when I start running at 3.7 usually. I think my problem with getting faster on the treadmill is just that I start too slow. I think if I started a little faster and progressed at my usual rate from there I wouldn't notice that much of a difference. This particular realization may seem trivial or obvious to you dear reader, but at the time of my originally thinking it I bet you could have seen the meta-physical light bulb over my head.

Dec 31
I weighed 292.8 lbs this morning. That is a loss of 4.2 lbs this week, bringing my total weight loss to 74.2 lbs. Eating throughout this little holiday break has been held very much in check. I think in the last week I've consumed exactly two cookies, one piece of pie, and one piece of cake to total out my holiday sweets. Honestly though this weigh in was timed perfectly as I'm sure the liquid calories I consume tonight alone will effect next Monday.

I rode the bike on program 1 for 7.74 miles. My butt and stuff still goes numb. I may try one of the other programs this week just to see what they are like. Program 1 still leaves me huffing and puffing, but not sweating as much, at least today.

Jan 1
I was really quite hungover from last nights excesses. The plan was to run but I felt like such crap I just laid on the living room floor and let the kids use me like a jungle gym. Later on in the afternoon I felt much better so I did end up going for a run. I put the plan into action that I was thinking about during my last run. I started things out at 4.0 mph and every 5 minutes I increased the speed .1 mph. I ended up running the last 5 minutes at 4.5 mph, the fastest I've ever run on the treadmill. For my 30 minutes I ended up running 2.12 miles total. I think today's run was the biggest ego boost I've had since back to Dec. 21 when I unexpectedly got to run outside. It wasn't as fast, but it showed me how to push myself better on the treadmill.