Finally, an update on running, racing, hills and bikes!

It has been a long time since I last wrote.  Honestly, I just didn’t have the time to get a post out.  Life has been rolling at a thousand miles per hour for the last month, but I did get to run a race, run most days, do a huge hill run and bike some trails.

Red Shoe Run (formally the Red Nose Run)

This was the 3rd time TJ and I ran this race for the Ronald McDonald House.  It was a great race for us.  RS joined this year for his first year running this 5K and a coworker of TJ came also.

Cool things about our race:

  • TJ came is second overall out of 340 runners of the 5K.  Wow!
  • I came in 2nd in my age group (the old guys) and 19th overall.
  • RS ran his first race in 6 months and beat his last time by 10 minutes.  He has just started taking up the running mantle again.
  • TJ’s coworker ran his first 5K.  TJ has been running with him once a week and the guy went from out of shape, to running his first 5K, first 3 mile run and best time he had ever run.  TJ was so excited to have such an impact.
  • It was 18 degrees and windy at race time.  Okay, that wasn’t cool… it was cold.  I couldn’t feel my fingers in my gloves by the time I finished.  Alabama isn’t supposed to be that cold, EVER.

It was a good race and as always the Ronald McDonald House did a great job and raised a decent amount of money.  We joined the race too late to do any fund raising, however it was a great event to be a part.

Running in general

My running is picking up a bit.  In December I hurt my heel (heel spur to be exact) and had to slow down.  It still hurts from time to time, but I can and do run each day.  I am trying my best to get out of running 4 miles.  I have been stuck in a rut since summer and need to get some distance.  Last week I ran a 5 mile and 6 mile run, so that is a beginning. Running in the cold isn’t my favorite thing to do, but it is better than the heat.  The last few days it has been between 60 – 70, so life has been quite good for running.

Hill Run

I told TJ over the weekend that I really needed a hill run.  I haven’t run hills in a long time and I could tell.  My legs have felt tired during my daily runs and my hip/back hurt much more over the weekend after I picked up my mileage last week.  He asked if I wanted to run the hills in a nearby neighborhood and I agreed.  It was insane.

We ran a total of 8 miles (my longest run in a long time) and 700 feet in elevation.  He stayed with me though and I made it through without stopping.  The day before RS and I road bikes on trails at our state park for an hour and my legs were already tired.  So the hill run wiped them out.  Toward the end of the run we ran the biggest hill around.  I almost didn’t have the strength to make it.  My breathing was labored, but my legs had nothing left.  I plowed through and made it to the top of that hill, but I’m sure I wasn’t moving very fast.  The last quarter mile I put everything into the run I had left.  I can honestly say I have never felt so tired since my marathon.

The good news is that my legs feel better today.  Yesterday, the day after the hills, my legs still felt off.  My 4 mile slow recovery run was very slow and not fun.  Today, after a good night sleep and some time between me and the hills, my legs feel better, my back is better and my hip doesn’t hurt.  I don’t like running hills,, but they are worth the pain, at least for me!

Conclusion

Life is beginning to return to normal.  My work has been insane (14 hour days at times) and as a result, life was stressful.  Work is still hectic, but I feel like I am beginning to get a handle on things.  I hope to possibly run the Shamrock Half Marathon in March (was trying for the marathon, but… NOT).  If I can stay healthy and increase my mileage, I should be label to do it.

Virginia Beach, here I come!

 

Tom

PS – My weight got up there after the holidays and injuries.  I was near 200 lbs January 5th.  Today (Jan 21) I am back to 188. I hope to continue this downward trend in my weight for about another 10 lbs.

From 110 to 8 – why I’m thankful #WeAreThankful

I was thinking to myself during my hill run yesterday…

I’m thankful I can breath!

I’ve been running now for several years.  My Nike app says that I have run 2,993 miles.  7 more miles to a total of 3,000. Wow.

They say running can be bad for your heart.  They say that long runs can damage a heart.  I say that breathing is much more important then the alternative.  Running these 2,993 miles has change me, made my life happier, given me more freedom in life, made my family life better, reduced my heath care costs and prolonged my life by possibly 30 years.

I’m thankful I can breath!

My Grandfather died at my age.  He was my height.  He was overweight, as I was 3 years ago.  In the prime of his life, it was over.

My Mom was always concerned about my weight.  Others were also, but she had reason as I was the same stature as her dad.  Hmmm, would I live past my early 50s?

What does the title of this post mean?  I’ll tell you.

3 years ago, at the point I weighed 278 lbs, I had a sleep study done.  I knew something was wrong and the study agreed.  During that short night with a thousand wires all over me watching my every breath, I had an apnea incident (stop breathing for 10 seconds or more) on average 110 times each hour.  My oxygen level got down to 60 and within a few hours of starting the test, they stopped it, put a cpap mask on me and let me sleep the rest of the night.

I’m thankful for technology.  That sleep study saved my life, I’m sure.  Afterwards, a series of event happened (as I have recalled in this blog) where I lost 100 lbs, I started running, and everything changed.

2,997 running miles later, I had another sleep study.  This time, I wanted to see if I still needed my cpap, and if so, how bad was my apnea.

Less then 8!

That is right, I actually went from 110 apnea incidents to less then 8.  Considering less then 5 is normal, I still suffer from mild sleep apnea, but I’ll take that all day long.

I’m thankful I can breath!

Running literally saved my life, perhaps in a more dramatic fashion then others because of my genetic makeup.

I am thankful.  I am thankful to my family, friends, but most of all to God who put me on this miraculous path.

Finally, I was asked by the Outreach Coordinator of Oscar Insurance (they provide health insurance in New Jersey and New York) if I would write a post on thankfulness and participate in their #WeAreThankful campaign.  I don’t know them and they don’t know me. However, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to participate when I have been given one of the best testimonies a guy can have!

I’m still alive!

I’m thankful I can breath!

4 miles on 4 apples

Well I must say life has been too busy to write.  I tend to prioritize things that I need to do when life gets crazy and unfortunately, this blog isn’t a high enough priority (unlike family, work, sleep and running).  

Yesterday I had an apple day.  What is an apple day you ask?

We first started apple days on the diet that my Lovely Wife and I lost most of our weight.  Basically, an apple day is where you take 1 day and eat 6 apples.  That is it.  No other food.  Just 6 apples.

That isn’t a fun day.  It is hard, and it is a sacrifice, but the results cannot be questioned.  Yesterday alone, I lost over 3 lbs.

My weight has been creeping up.  I was in the mid 180’s and have been closer to 190 for the past month.  I questioned my doctor as to how I can run 4 miles a day and gain weight.  Part of the answer is poor eating and that has caught up with me.  So… an apple day was to be had.

On to my run.  I started my run after work as usual, but yesterday after work I had only eaten 4 apples of my 6.  I really wanted to run my 4 miles to keep up with running for the week, but I was worried about 4 miles on 4 apples.  I shouldn’t have worried.

I didn’t break speed records.  I still stopped at 4 miles, but I felt great.  One reason was probably the 69 degree weather.  It was beautiful, sunny and not a cloud in the sky.  But I also felt better.  Not as heavy (not speaking weight heavy, but overall  heavy).  It was just a good easy run and about at the same pace I’ve had for the week.

I was excited to check the scales this morning and find I lost 3+ lbs.  The thing about an apple day is that something in the apples kicks your metabolism in the pants.  The weight loss continues as long as you don’t eat something stupid like pizza (did I say we are having pizza tonight).

Anyway, I just thought I’d pass that tidbit along.

All is well.  I have my eye on running a half marathon in December and a full in March.  I think training during the fall / winter / spring should be a good thing since I live in the South.

Have an awesome weekend and be blessed.

Tom

P.S.

TJ showed me this quote from Earnest Hemingway yesterday… It made me think!

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Season of Change

My blog, 278toBoston.com is named for a reason that most of you understand.  To be honest, it has really helped keep me in line and give me motivation over the past year or two.

I struggle in two main areas.

  1. Weight
  2. Goals

When I weighted 278 lbs, I never thought I could lose that weight.  I honestly thought I’d die of some heart related disease and everyone who got on to me about my weight would say, “See I told you so.”   I had a hard time with long term goals.  Losing 100 lbs wasn’t possible.  Running a marathon as my dad had, wasn’t possible.  Living a normal healthy life after 50 wasn’t possible.  After all, not only was I obese, but I had hip and leg problems.  In fact my legs and ankles were beginning to swell and just walking up the steps was a difficult task.

One day, on an 11 hour drive home from visiting Chicago (the “fat” pic on the side of this blog was taken that weekend), I had to drive the whole way home and couldn’t stay awake.  I almost couldn’t make it home.  I had to stop twice to sleep.  Ends up I had severe apnea.  At my sleep study I was told that I stopped breathing 110 times in an hour.

Things were not going well.

Seasons of change come and go.  I’ve learned over the years that when a season of change (a good change) comes, I need to take it and run with it or it will pass me by.  In a season of change, I went to a Dr. appointment with my Lovely Wife and that doctor helped me.  I lost weight, I began running, I lost more weight, I began racing, and finally ran a marathon last September.

To be honest, I still struggle with weight and goals.  My weight is consistent, but is about 10 – 15 lbs over where I should be.  My goal (in my blog name) of making it to Boston one day seems but a dream.  It can get so overwhelming.

Sometimes you need a sign.

As I was running a few weeks ago, I was in a new neighborhood and ran past a house with a teen boy kicking a soccer ball.  As I ran past, he waved and said hi and I returned the greeting.  I thought, “How nice! Most kids look down and ignore me as I run, but he said hi and smiled”.

A few days later I was running by the same house.  That boy has not been out since, but as I ran by I noticed his mailbox.

A sign?  I hope.  Maybe I can do this.  I just need to go with the season of change and believe:

Do I believe?

Do I believe?

Some running and much weight loss

I ran two days in a row.

It seemed to go well.  Yesterday evening my back was sore, but not until I went to bed.  This morning I am fine though.

So I think I am progressing past this very strange injury.  I am trying to slow down my runs and walk slower at work.  I tend to walk between 2 – 3 miles a day at work and have so much to do, I’ve learned to walk briskly.  I honestly think this is much of my problem since the pain in my back is always worse in the afternoon.  I am also making sure I get up from my chair every 20 – 30 minutes to stretch and walk some.  This has also helped.

The body is a complicated thing, especially mine.  I guess 40+ years of inactivity has caught up with me now that I am active again.

I am still losing weight.  This morning the scales weight in at 181.8 which is my lowest weight since before my marathon last Fall.  On top of that, I am wearing pants that wen’t close to fitting me 2 months ago and now they feel fine.  I’m thrilled that I finally am getting my weight under control.. and.. wait for it… yes, I attribute it to apple cider vinegar (ACV).  I started taking my 2 Tbs of unfiltered ACV twice a day a couple of months ago.  Back then I weighed in regularly in the mid to upper 190’s.  So, to be conservative, I’ve lost over 15 lbs in the past few months.  This includes pizza on fridays and burgers on Sundays.  I honestly think the key is exercise and consistency taking it.  It took well over 4 weeks for me to see a weight loss.  The only thing that kept me going was it also gave me energy for my afternoon runs.

The cool thing about ACV is that I don’t feel like I am dieting.  I do watch what I eat, but I am not hungry.  Yesterday I even turned down cake at work!  I’ve never done that before.

So I honestly can’t complain.  Even with my 5 days off running last week because of my back, I am still keeping my weight down.

Now if I could only run as fast as I want to, all would be good.

Have an awesome last half of the week!!!

Tom

My pain in the back (literally)

I finally got into my bed Friday night after two days on the floor in the office due to the snow. It felt great!!!

However…

I awoke with an old familiar pain. As I rolled over in the middle if the night, I had such a sharp pain in my back that I woke myself with a moan. Okay, maybe between a moan and a small scream. This happened throughout the night.

3 years ago when I weighed almost 300lbs, I injured my back while taking bags out if a hotel. It mimicked heart pain, so I spent a day in the hospital while they cleared me of a heart attack. Later this pain got so bad I had to live in a recliner for weeks and move as little as possible.

It is muscular and in my right middle back. It isn’t nearly as bad as it was 3 years ago, but I also weigh 100lbs less.

I went to the doctor yesterday and got Meds for pain and muscle relaxers. I can walk okay with just a small jab here and there, but rolling over in bed wakes me up.

So sadly I have an injury that isn’t from running, but will prevent me from running. I hope taking off a few days and not doing too much will get me out of this.

Last time this happened I was in so much pain I had to get an MRI. It found that I have 3 disks bulging in my neck (this was from a childhood accident), but nothing wrong with my back. I asked a good friend to ask people to pray for me and the day after the MRI I woke up fine.

Anyway I have a lot to do but don’t want to overdue it.

I still wouldn’t have changed a thing about all that I did during the storm. I just hope this clears up soon. I just signed TJ and myself up for a half marathon in April!!!

189.9

Yes!

I made it back down to the 180’s. Okay, the upper 180’s but it still counts!

After my marathon and my injury and Thanksgiving and Christmas… well let’s just say I was pushing 200 lbs.  I think I got up as high as 197.5.  So for me to weigh myself this morning and see the second number of my weight be an 8 was a wonderful thing!

For me… this is how I lose weight.  This is what works for me..

I eat anything I want before I run and nothing after.

Now that isn’t exactly true.  Essentially my basic diet consists of eggs for breakfast, almonds for a snack, Stouffer’s macaroni and cheese for lunch and about 64 oz of water.  Then I go home and run at least 4 miles in the afternoon.  It has to be 4 and not 3 miles.  I will lose weight at 4 miles and I won’t at 3.

So I might snack after I run, but mainly I drink 32 oz of Gatorade and try not to eat much.

If I eat a regular dinner, I usually gain weight.  However I can eat almost anything (within reason) in the morning (Krispy Kreme 5K is looking tempting).

My eating isn’t complicated.  I do know that if I run at least 4 miles and don’t eat much for dinner I’ll lose weight.

Tonight for dinner… Pizza.  Oh well, I’ll have the rest of the weekend to get back down to the 180’s.

I love pizza.