I just figured out there is more to fitness then running…

Life keeps moving at such a fast pace, it gets harder and harder to find time to write.

Summer running stinks!

I hate hot, 100 degree runs.  In fact, most days it is just 90 – 95, but with the humidity it can be as much as 15 degrees hotter outside.  Add black asphalt and a 3:00PM run, and – well you get the point.

So I’ve made some changes.

I’ve started playing tennis with TJ a couple times a week for the past few weeks.  It has been a lot of fun and it is much easier to play tennis for an hour or two in 100 degrees then to run 5 miles.

Also, RS has made incredible progress at the Y lifting weights and working out.  In 3 months he went from a fairly normal, slightly overweight teenager to six pack abs and thin and trim.  I must say that although I never wanted to cross train or do anything but run, now I see the value.  So I’ve joined the Y with him and yesterday was our first workout.  Needless to say, I can’t lift my arms above my head today, LOL.  Actually as he was showing me what he does, an Iraq war vet came over to help.  He basically told me that I needed to start slow, get a balance and be patient for about 3 weeks.  Once I was able to lift a bar without weights for 3 reps of 20, then I could move on.  I could tell he knew what he was talking about.  We didn’t stay to long as I needed to meet TJ at the tennis courts, but it was a good beginning.  After being at the gym for 45 minutes, I proceeded to play 90 minutes of tennis.

So my quest for the long run and another marathon is on a bit of a hold while I adjust to my new routine.  I’m not stopping running all together though.  I’ll run 2 -3 times a week and do other exercise the rest of the week.  My goal is to get through the summer without giving up on my 3+ years of fitness and weight loss.  I honestly think if I tried to go through a 4th summer of just running in the afternoon heat, I would have just given up.

Life keeps moving at the speed of light.  I’m just trying to keep up!!!

Tom

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Breaking my body memory by longer runs

30 miles in 4 days.

Honestly, I guess I’ve overdone it a little, but I had good reasoning.

Sunday I went out for a long run at our state park.  I ran 8.8 miles. I didn’t look at my watch, but I ran until I couldn’t run anymore.  It was hilly and the temperature was okay when I started, but had gone up 10 degrees by the time I finished.  I also had negative splits, so that made me feel better.  I really wanted to run long and not stop at 4 miles.

Monday was my hill run day with TJ.  We usually run between 7 – 8 miles and 6 of those miles are large hills.  It was probably the toughest run of the Spring so far.  It was hot (near 90) and I had just run nearly 9 miles the day before with a lot of mountain hills.  I came home from our run and just sat for an hour throwing the stick with the dog and drinking my Gatorade.

Tuesday was an impromptu longer run.  I ended up at 7.3 miles.  I didn’t really go in my normal route of running in the park.  I just ran in different directions, got lost in my thoughts and finished when I thought I should.

Wednesday I tried to see if I could get in another 8 mile run.  I did make 6.2 miles, so it was a good 10K, but my legs were so tired and I was so hot, that I just didn’t think I should push it.

I wrote a few days ago that last year I got into a 4 mile Summer rut (I called it survival mode).  I really want to break free of that this year.  I hate running in the heat, but I also know I can get used to it and I can make it though without crashing and burning like I did at the end of last Summer.

You’re body gets a memory and it will get used to what you give it.  If you eat junk, it wants junk.  If you always run 4 miles, it won’t want to go 5.  It really is amazing.  For instance, I have gotten into the habit of drinking 32 oz of water every morning after I wake up.  Now my body craves it.  I even drank it before my last 5K because I have to have my morning water.  That is one reason I’m running more.  I want my body to get used to running in the heat and deal with it better.  Also I want to get past a weight plateau I’ve had since my last business trip to New Orleans.  This week of longer running has really helped.

Finally, be careful running in the heat.  People die in the Summer by running and not being hydrated.  I usually drink 96 oz of water during the day before my run and another 32 after my run.  I also have slowed down my pace to deal with the increased mileage and the heat.

As my wife says everyday before I head out for my run, “BE WISE” (and yes, she says it with that emphasis).

Tom

Running with a stone!

Running has taken a back seat at times over the past couple months to physical issues.

First, a couple (or the same) kidney stones that put me down for a week.

Then a mass on my kidney was found that ended up being a cyst.  No big deal after all.

Finally a week ago Friday I had a good run.  It was only 4 miles, but I felt good and enjoyed it.  I got home and went to the bathroom and had very visible blood in my urine.  Ugh.  Not something else.  So I went to the doc in a box and they said I had no infection, but if it continued, I should go to the ER.  Fortunately it stopped quickly and I was fine.  I took Saturday as my day off of running as usual and then went out Sunday for a longer run.

The weather was cool on Sunday and lots of rain, but the run was good.  I got to 7.5 miles when the thunder started.  I texted my son to come pick me up (as I do not run in storms) and by the time he got to me, it was thundering and lightening all around me.  I got home safely and totally soaked and went up to get in a shower.  I used the bathroom and… yes… bloody urine again.

So now I realized, this wasn’t a one time thing and it was connected to running.  I’ve had lots of injuries over the past few years of running, but this one took the cake.  So Monday I made an appointment with a urologist and waited to see what was happening to me.

Fortunately it wasn’t something horrible.  I had a stone in my bladder and when I would run, the stone would literally cut my bladder and make me bleed.  So I had to stop running until I could get this stone out of me surgically.  My doctor was able to schedule me for last Wednesday, so I went in, got it out and came home.

Finally yesterday I ran and had no problems.  It was such a relief to run and not bleed.  Crazy me writing that, but it is true.

I hope that all these seemingly unrelated problems are now over and I can get back to training for my half marathon at the end of December. I have new shoes, a fixed up body and am ready to head out.

One cool thing is that my urologist commented that it is incredibly rare for someone to lose nearly 100 lbs by diet and exercise. He said in all his years of practice he only knows of about a dozen people who have done that successfully.  I admit, that made my day.

Tom

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!

I’m glad I run!

Running has been interesting lately.

My weight has stabilized (thanks to ACV) so I don’t need to run to keep from gaining weight.  Though this is a blessing, it is also a curse in some ways.  It has become harder to get out each day and run in the heat when I don’t “have” to run to keep weight off.

We also haven’t run any races since our half marathon in April.  The reason for this is mainly because of my hip and back issues that have also been solved thanks to my Backjoy Posture+ seat cushion.

So in some ways I have more reason to run.  I don’t hurt anymore (for the most part) and I am thinner.

Finally I have new shoes.  I accidentally wrote that I had Wave Rider’s rather then Wave Precision in my last post.  Either way, I’ve never run in a Mizuno shoe or in a shoe with a higher drop of 4mm.  These have a 12mm drop and I can tell the difference.  The first day I wore them was a bit of torture.  My left heel would scuff the ground as I ran, which I assume was left over from my hip issue.  Also they have a much more cushioned heel, so I had to almost learn to run all over again. That first run in 100 degree HI was difficult.

Yesterday was my second run in these shoes and it went so much better.  It was much cooler out and I ran well with no scuffing of my heel.  I wound up my 4 mile run at nearly a 8:30 pace which I haven’t seen since the heat kicked in.

So new shoes, less weight, little to no pain.  I should be training for a marathon rather than dreading the next run.

I chalk all my lack of desire up to the summer doldrums.  THIS is the reason to make exercise a habit as I wrote for my section in the Runner’s World Big Book of Running (Link).  My running isn’t based on a feeling.  It is based on a habit.  So whether I want to or not, hot or cold, I go out each day for my run.

Running has been interesting lately.  I’m glad I run!

Tom

Shake out run… A day or two late

Yesterday was a good run; my first run after my half on Saturday.

I only had one issue.  No, not my hip.  My legs felt a little tired, but okay.

No, my issue was one I never expected.

My right shoulder.

Hmmm.

I woke up with a raging headache on Monday night / Tuesday morning.  As I got up to take some Advil, I noticed my shoulder was hurting badly.  Not just a pull, but more like a pinched nerve.  I took some Advil and went back to sleep, but it was hard getting into a comfortable position.  After I woke up I felt fine and actually forgot all about the incident until my run yesterday.

About 3/4 of a mile into my run, I felt the same feeling in my shoulder.  My thoughts went directly to the race I ran and wondering if I held my shoulders too tight and did something to myself.  As I ran yesterday, I tried to keep my shoulder loose and rotated my arm around to see if I could get any relief.  Finally, I decided to run 4 miles rather then 5 and headed home.

After my run I was fine.  I played with the dog and all was well.  I slept well last night with no problems.  I am hoping that it was just a one night thing and that I slept wrong rather then something that will be longer term.  Honestly, I thought to myself, “Seriously! I finally ran a great race, didn’t get hurt and had a fun time and now it is my shoulder that is hurt?!”

I really do think I am fine, but it was a big concern yesterday.  Oh, and by the way, the run did go well.  It was hot and my legs were a little tired, but I finished my 4 miles at an 8:21 pace, which is about average for me lately.

Have an awesome day.

Tom

Running from obesity

Are you as amazed at the human body as I am?

How is it that a person can go from 160 lbs to 278 lbs and survive.  The amount of adjustment to the structure of the body during that time must be amazing.  I’ve been told, it takes one mile of arteries and vessels to handle one lb of fat.  Think of that infrastructure that God put into place to help us when we become obese.  Not that obesity is  a good thing, but even though I had gained over 100 lbs after college, I was still able to work, walk, sleep, eat and do everyday tasks.  Crazy.

Now, I am just as amazed about how the human body can go from 278 lbs to 178 lbs and totally adjust.  Where did all that fat go?  Where did that infrastructure go?  Where did the extra arteries and veins and… everything that had be be made to contain all that weight go?  I’m sure scientists know and I am sure many of you smart runners know.  I don’t know, but I am thankful that my body was created to adapt.

Another question.  How can a human body go from 278 lbs to running a marathon in just over 2 years.  I am not writing this post to get positive feedback.  I was just thinking of these things yesterday as I was running my 5 mile route.  I have not been running even 2 years yet and have already run almost 2,500 miles.  My weight is up a little from the 178 which was my lowest.  I now am in the upper 180’s, but I’ll get back down there one day.

I guess I am a bit philosophical today.

I am amazed that I have been given the gift of a second chance.  I remember praying years ago that if I could just get my weight under control and get a good job, I would have accomplished more than I ever thought I could.  Now I am a vice president of an awesome non-profit, my weight is in a good place and I am back to running 30+ miles a week.  In fact yesterday my hip had no pain until that last 1.5 miles of my run.  That was HUGE for me.  Running without pain.  Is it possible?

I replied to a comment from Pandora Viltis from my post on Friday when she asked how I could keep running without experiencing much of a “runner’s high”.  My reply was an eye opener to me.  I said, “I run to keep ahead of obesity”.  That is true for me.  That motivates me.  That keeps me going when I hurt and when I am in such pain I have to walk rather than run.  That gets me out 6 days a week, by myself, alone and sometimes wanting to do anything else other than run.  I never want to get back to where I was.  I have been given a gift, an answered prayer, and I do not ever want to lose what I have been given.  It means too much to me.

So I run.  If it rains, I run.  If it snows, I run.  If it is 100+ outside I run.  If it is 10+ outside I run.

Maybe running from obesity isn’t everyones reason for running.  Maybe I should have a better reason.  But for me, that is my reason.

I never want to go back. I cannot go back.  By the grace of God, I will never go back.

Tom