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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2 years running today!

2 years ago today I ran 1.5 miles.  I weighed in at 220 after losing 58 lbs.

My pace was 12:44.

That was the beginning.

Yesterday I ran 5 miles at an 8:30 pace.

It has been a good two years.  Lots of races (wish I did more).  Lots of fun with TJ, RS and @BigBigGeek.

My PRs are:

  • 5K – 21:43
  • Half Marathon: 1:44:11
  • Marathon: 4:14:32

I’ve never run a 10K or a 10 miler.  No reason, just haven’t done it.

This is a short post and business will keep me from posting the next day or two, but once again, thank you for taking this journey with me.  I appreciate everyone who reads the blog.

Tom

My life, my running, and stuff you never knew about me

I write a running blog.

Most of the time, all I write about is something to do with running.  Something related to running.  Something/anything I can relate to and want others to relate to.  I write about a tiny slice of my day.  I have written a post for this blog about 90% of the days since I started… Just about running.

Ideas can be difficult to come up with. Sometimes when I run I think of what I will write the next morning.  Hmmm, there is a pain in my left foot… A blog post was born!

One of the consequences of magnifying a single part of my life is that people get the impression that this is all of my life.  If I am hurt and writing about my depression of not running, then people get the impression that all I am all day is depressed and hurt.

There are 23.5 hours of the day that I never write about.  Sometimes I’ll include some personal stuff in my blog, but that is rare and when I do it is usually related to my running.

So I decided to write some random personal things about myself that I don’t think I have written about before, or that people who are new to my blog don’t really know unless they have gone over the 300+ posts from the past year (and I don’t think they have).  Also this is in part accepting the Sunshine award that runningtoherdreams gave me last weekend.  Thank you.  It means so much.  It made me think of putting just a little about myself “out there” and I hope people read her blog.  It was one of the inspirations that got me to my marathon last August.

Here we go:

I was born the youngest of 4 children.

I am now the youngest of 3 living children as my sister passed away in a cave diving accident.

My mom went into labor with me at a Penn State football game.

I was born with hips that turned in so severely that I spent a long time with corrective shoes and a bar between my feet.

I could hear when I was born, but soon lost my hearing. My adenoids grew and blocked my hearing.  Since I could hear for some time, I learned to read lips, so no one caught on that I couldn’t hear.  One day when I was 4 years old my mom put me on her lap, facing away from her and asked me if I wanted ice cream.  I didn’t make a move (I’ve always loved ice cream).  My speaking was so poor that my late sister was the only one who could understand me.  So after lots of tests and a surgery, I woke up from the anesthetics and the first thing I said was, “I can hear”.

I lived in a small town in Pennsylvania.  We left our doors unlocked and open when we left the house.  Us kids would all play at the other kids house and vice versa.  It was a good childhood.

We moved to Northern Va. (Mt. Vernon area) when I was in high school.  George Washington used to fox hunt in the backyard of the home my parents bought (long before I was born ). 🙂

I used to race sailboats with my mom and dad on the Potomac.  We won many trophies over those few years.

I was a messed up kid from the time we moved to DC (age 15) until after my freshman year of college.  During that summer after my freshman year I became a Christian (that story is under my “Faith” tab) and my life has never been the same.

I am married with lots of kids.  They are almost all grown (no more child tax credits), and have all turned out to be honorable, good children.

I have been an evangelical Protestant Christian my whole Christian life, and am becoming Catholic on Easter this year.

Although life has thrown in some challenges over the past few years, I am so thankful and grateful for my life, my family and my work.  I couldn’t have created a better life for me if I was the one creating it.

The day Joe Paterno got fired from Penn State, I was going to have wrist surgery, I weighed almost 300 lbs, I couldn’t get my wedding ring off and they threatened to cut it off, so my Lovely Wife “helped” me get it off.  Hmmm. That hurt.

I lost 100 lbs in under a year.

Running is a big deal to me because it has allowed me to do so much more in my life since I stated.  It was almost 2 years ago when  I ran my first 1.5 miles.  I have run many 5K’s a half marathon and a marathon since then.  I enjoy the outdoors for the first time since I was a child.  I am in great shape for the first time ever in my life.  Since the age of 49, my life has been more impacted from running than almost anything else.

Okay, I’m done.  I guess I wanted those who read this to know that running isn’t everything.  It is just a thing God has used to add value to my life and give me experiences that I never thought I would have.  One day when I finish this ultimate race I am running called life, I will look back and be in awe over my “midlife crisis” called running.

Thank you all for being a part of it.

Tom

…but I wanted to eat pizza!

Yesterday I decided would be an off day… but I wanted to eat pizza last night.

So it wasn’t an off day.

My weight is creeping up on me again.  For some reason even running 4 miles a day it is moving in the wrong direction.  I don’t know why.

Yesterday was pizza night at my house.  Normally the Friday that I get paid we get pizza  for dinner and relax and enjoy.

I got home from work and decided to go run.  It probably wasn’t smart as my body is sore from running all week and yesterday makes 8 days in a row.  But even with not taking a day off this week, I’ll only be at 30 miles, so that isn’t too bad.

I’m off in a few to meet @BigBigGeek for some miles at the state park.  That is always fun.  We are going to run 6 miles which will be my long run for the week.

Question… Does anyone know or have experience on how long it takes to recover from a marathon?  I mean fully recover.  I feel like even almost 4 weeks later I am still a bit stiff in my running.  It could be the heat that has popped back up or the fact I took a few weeks off.

Yesterdays run averaged about 10:00 pace with walking.  At the end I pushed the last quarter mile down to a 6:40 pace just to get myself used to pushing through at the end (something TJ taught me).

Have an awesome weekend!!!

Post marathon weight gain

While preparing for my first marathon I read a lot of articles.  Everything from strategy to tapering.  Training to resting.  But I realize I didn’t read much about issues after the marathon.

Specifically physical and mental issues that are consequences of training so hard for 4 months and then suddenly stopping.  Maybe I’m alone in this, but I wasn’t prepared.

In training for my marathon I had to eat.  I had to eat quite a lot.  That wasn’t a problem for me.  I love to eat!  That is probably the reason I weighed 278 lbs two years ago.  So marathon prep was a license to do what I wanted to without consequence… Or so I thought.

Now, 10 days removed from that once in a lifetime first marathon, I’m still eating.  Not a lot, but more than I should.  It is almost like all the bad habits I lost over the past couple of years are creeping back in my direction.

So 3 lbs isn’t a lot and I really am not that worried, but it is amazing how the things you need to do in preparing for a marathon are not necessarily good for you after it is all over.  On top of that, I really want to lose 10 – 15 more pounds now that I don’t need all those carbs for running.

Anyway, I just wanted to put this “out there” for other foodies that are training for a Fall marathon to be careful after it is over.

Another option is to start training for another marathon.  I may be doing this into old age just to stay thin.  🙂

Who says running isn’t good for you!?!

Yesterday was a fitting way to enter my vacation and this weekend’s marathon.

I went to my doctor for a physical.

It was two years ago that I went in and was told I was pre-diabetic and if I didn’t start getting some sort of exercise that my future was not going to be hopeful.  Thinking back on my physical in 2011 I remember the following info:

  • Blood Pressure: 150/100
  • Weight: 268
  • Pulse: >90
  • Sugar: high
  • Cholesterol: Good was low and bad was high – Overall high
  • About a third of my blood test was going the wrong direction

Yesterday, two years and 2000 miles of running later, here were the same stats:

  • Blood Pressure: 100/60
  • Weight: 182
  • Pulse: 64
  • Sugar: Normal
  • Cholesterol: Good is high and bad is low – Overall it was good.
  • My blood test was in the normal range on every item.

My doctor made an interesting statement.  He said he was amazed that I had done so well.  I told him that he shouldn’t be surprised since he was the one who told me to begin exercising.  He said, “But no one usually listens to my advice”.

What a difference a couple years make.  I am heading out tomorrow not only excited about my race, but also excited that I probably just added about 30 years to my life.

I guess it was worth an hour a day of hitting the pavement.

Weight loss update – Running on hold

I haven’t posted much about my weight lately, mainly because there hasn’t been much to post about.  Yesterday was my off day from running, so I thought I’d take a moment to write about my weight.

When I was at my highest weight a couple of years ago, I weighed 278 lbs (thus the name of my blog).  My doctor told me to do some type of exercise and try to loose some weight.  Now, as of this morning, I weight 177 lbs.  That is a 101 lb (45.8 kg)  decrease over the past two years.  In fact it was July 2011 when I was in real trouble.

I am probably not like most people in many regards.  I didn’t just wake up one day and decide to loose weight.  I knew I had issues and was way over weight, but I didn’t believe in dieting and weighed too much to run.

My weight loss actually began with TMJ surgery.  After I had surgery on my jaw, I wasn’t allowed to eat anything I couldn’t cut with a plastic fork.  So, I stopped eating out at lunch and began bringing frozen entrees to work.  Just doing that I lost 25 lbs.  I then began seeing a doctor with my Lovely Wife for her back.  He put us both on a medical weight loss program.  I lost 35 lbs in 1 month.

Then I began running.

I didn’t run to loose weight. I lost weight, therefore I decided to see if I could run.

I could.

Anyway, there is a lot more that happened, but I wanted to just do a quick post about how I got to my 101 lb weight loss.  My Lovely Wife has lost 86 lbs and that has been done with a bad back that keeps her laid up most of the time.  That is honestly the most amazing story to me.  It is much easier to loose weight if you can run 5 miles a day than if you have to lie in bed a lot of the day.

So, I am excited to be below 178 lbs for the first time.  Hopefully this continues.  I have been hovering around 180 for a long time.  For my height, I should really be around 160, but I am not going to push it.  I am happy to be where I am and I will let my body decide for itself if it wants to let go of another 10-20 lbs.

A quick running update…  I don’t know if I will run today or not.  My hip woke me up last night with some pain, so I may have to take at least one more day off and hope for it to get better tomorrow.  I definitely don’t want to take a chance at being out long term because I didn’t give it enough time to get better.  Don’t worry though, I’ll write tomorrow and you will know what I decided.  🙂

Summer running – 4 ways to make running more tolerable

What was I thinking?

Marathon training in the South and in the summer.

I had a great run with TJ yesterday and actually ran my 8 miles 5 minutes faster than Monday.  But my pace is still down and the heat is really difficult.

There are ways to enjoy running in the summer.  Okay, maybe not enjoy, but to make it more tolerable.  I have been trying to tweet articles as I have come upon them, but they mainly seem to “boil” down to the same things:

STAY HYDRATED:  Personally I try to drink at least 96 ounces of water a day before I go running and preferably 128 oz.  I can feel the difference, even in the winter, when I haven’t had enough to drink.  I began drinking half my body weight in ounces of water back when I was dieting and have been able to keep it up.  The way I do this is to drink 32oz (1000 ml) of water as soon as I get to work.  I just down it quickly and get it out of the way.  Then I drink another 32 oz before lunch and a final 32 oz after lunch.  I try to finish my last 32 oz about 2 hours before I go running, if at all possible.

STAY COOL:  That may seem like a stupid thing to write about running in 100 degree heat, but it is true.  Anyway to keep yourself cooler during your run is very helpful.  I have gotten a hat and shirt that cool as they get wet (or sweaty).  I also have heard that just running your hands under cold water before you head out of the house goes a long way in helping you stay cooler.  Some people will run early in the morning or in the evening to make sure that they don’t run in the heat of the day.  Unfortunately I can’t do that with my schedule, so I have to come up with other ways to cool off.  I have even gotten to the point of going inside after the first half my run to drink some water and cool off a bit before continuing.

RUN SLOWER:  This is a hard one on me.  I worked all Fall and Winter to move my pace up and was pretty successful. Now as we begin with the heat of the summer, I am happy with 45 to 60 seconds a mile slower pace than during the winter.  The psychological effect of this is the most difficult to get beyond.  But now I have resigned myself that slowing down now will keep me alive for another run tomorrow, so that is good. 🙂  Basically as you run your blood goes to your skin to help cool your body.  This is blood that used to be available to your muscles.  So you will run slower in the heat because your body has to cool itself.  Just slow down and enjoy the run!

BE SMART: Pay attention to your body as you run.  Don’t push beyond what you can handle, even if it is less than normal.  Heat isn’t something to play games with.  Drink a sport drink or something equivalent right after exercising and rest.  If you feel at all nauseous or have weakness or other unusual symptoms during a run, call someone to pick you up.  TJ, RS and I have begun texting my Lovely Wife when we leave and when we expect to get back.  That way if we are out too long, someone knows to come look for us.

This isn’t an exhaustive list – obviously.  Just a couple of things I have picked up throughout the past several months.   I am not a doctor, but I like to learn from experience. I hope this helps.

Enjoy the summer.  Enjoy your runs.  Enjoy life.

Running in the heat… A blessing and not a curse

Hot and tired.  That seems to be the theme of my runs this Spring (not even summer yet).

Yesterday was National Running Day (http://lifetimerun.com/Sub_Social/NRD) and even though I was going to run anyway, it was pretty cool to be a part of something bigger than just my neighborhood :).

I went out after work and got some pickles.  Pickle juice is supposed to be good for the heat because of the sodium and other ingredients including vinegar.  TJ sent me an article that says that you only need to consume 2 oz of pickle juice before a run to keep the cramps away. So I figured I’d give it a try.

I didn’t cramp.  But the run was still hard.  I ran my 7 miles and then sat outside with the Dog and TJ and soaked my foot in ice water and drank my Gatorade.

I really want to figure out the “key” to running in the heat.  I run, but it isn’t fun at all.  Most of yesterday I was hoping for the storms to come so I could cut my run short.  Not because I couldn’t do it, but I didn’t want to do it.  Just being real.  If it weren’t for the Lehigh Valley Marathon in 14 weeks, I wouldn’t be running this much right now.  But the marathon cometh and I have to run whether I want to or not.

One benefit to running in the heat is my metabolism has seemed to kick in again.  I have been hovering around 182 for several months now, but for the past three days I have steadily been losing weight.  Of course everyone is probably thinking it is water weight, but I drink a gallon of water a day and eat salty pickles and I am still losing weight.  As of this morning I weighed 178.9 which is 2 oz short of my best weight.  So, wether it is water weight or just my body grabbing what it can for me to keep running, I’ll take what I can get. To be honest, I would really like to be in the 160’s by the marathon.  I don’t think I can get there without dieting and it is hard to diet and run, let alone diet and train for a marathon.  So, perhaps the hot weather is a blessing and not a curse.  Time will tell.

Today I will try for my 9 mile run I have to run this week.  If I can get that out of the way, then the rest of the week I can coast on my 7 mile runs until my 13 mile run on Sunday.

Happy National Running Day – one day late!!!

Back running – lessons learned

I got back in the saddle again yesterday!!!  Yup, I ran 5 miles.  My run went well and I had no pain from my achilles!!!!  It was nice to be back so soon and I didn’t want to overdue it, so I ran slowly, especially at first.

Today I still feel fine.  I guess a couple days off with my foot elevated and on ice did the trick.  It amazes me that it hurt so much Friday and by Sunday I was running again.  I am grateful.

I am going to keep the next few days lighter than normal and make sure not to mess anything up.  Also, I think I was overdoing it a bit and I need to cut back for a week or so to make sure I don’t overtrain.  I think that between overtraining and not sleeping well I created the perfect storm for getting injured.

I’m excited to get back out on the road.  I also need to get the 5 lbs off I gained over the past week.  Ugh.

Note to self: If you aren’t running, you need to cut back on your eating.

Lessons learned!