278 to 3500

Today is my running anniversary.

I’ve now run for 3 years and over 3500 miles.

I started this journey at 278 lbs.  My running began after a physician directed diet that brought my down to 220 lbs.  I now weight 186 lbs.

Running isn’t easy for me.  Starting my running career at 49 years old and having been in horrible shape, my running is almost always accompanied by pain.  I run with hip pain and heel pain most of the time.  I don’t know if it is a good thing or not, but the hip and the heel are on opposite sides of my body.

Over the past 3500 miles I’ve learned a lot about myself.  I don’t listen to music while I run, so it is just me out there.  I can be a boring person to run with by myself. LOL.  I have learned to do things while I run.  I pay more attention to my surroundings, I pray, I say hi to people I pass.  I try not to think of the next hour or two that I’ll be pushing myself and try to distract myself in anyway I can.

During my runs I have solved a lot of problems.  It may be the oxygen getting to my brain, it may be the quite and the fact I have nothing else to do but think.  I will say that most of my good ideas and problem solving have occurred during my runs over the last 3 years.

Just some philosophical musings from a 3 year runner.

Yesterday’s run went great and I have a new system for running that seems to be working well.  I’m going to try it a few more times and then I’ll post it for everyone.  So far, I’ve done this for 3 runs (4, 13 and 8 miles) and my runs have been better, stronger and I’ve felt better afterwards.  Check back in a few days and I’ll tell you my system if it keeps working for me.

Have an awesome week and keep running!

Tom

My week running and learning life lessons from my workouts

I made my goal this week – but it wasn’t pretty!  My goal was 45 miles and after my low mileage week last week, I had hopes for a great set of workouts.

Monday 6 miles – My plan was 8 miles, but it was raining hard, I was soaked.  I was cold.  I ran through puddles 2 inches deep and it was getting dark, so I figured I’d cut my day by 2 miles and try to make it up later in the week.

Tuesday 10 miles – My plan was for an 8 mile hill run with TJ, but after the hills (crazy hills), I decided to make up my 2 miles from Monday and ended up with a 10 mile weekday run.  This was the longest weekday run I’ve had in my short career and was a lot of fun with TJ.

Wednesday 4 miles – My plan was for 4 miles in order to give my body a rest.  I started the run and knew it would be rough.  I was tired from the 14 miles the two previous days.  It was windy!  30 mph winds right in my face.  So as I was running into the wind, I could tell I was using my hill run muscles – and they weren’t happy about it.  I finished, but I was exhausted – really exhausted!  RS had to drive me home.

Thursday 8 miles – My plan was for 8 miles and I did it.  It was very cold (wind chill in the low 20s) and it was  a rough run, but I got through it and felt great about my mileage so far.

Friday 4 miles – I planned on 4 miles as I knew Saturday I would have the longest run I’d attempted in a year.  The run was okay.  I was a bit sore and tired from the week, but my weight was down (183) to the lowest it had been in a LONG time and I was really glad it was Friday.

Saturday 13 miles – This was tough.  I planned on 13 miles.  I knew if I made it, I would have a record week since my marathon 18 months before.  After about mile 5, I started fading. By mile 8 I was doing poorly.  I didn’t bring goo or any type of help for the run as it was a training run and I wanted to “feel” the whole run.  I hit a wall at mile 9.  It felt similar to my marathon.  I thought as I was running that if I finished this run, I would have run 25 miles in 3 days, so my body was feeling that mileage.  RS was running in the same park and by mile 11, I texted him and asked him to run with me my last two miles.  I was really hurting, but I wanted to finish.  People hit walls all the time in races and I wanted to get past it and finish what I started.  I finally made my 13 miles – I was shot.  I finished just under a 10 minute mile.  It took me 20 minutes just to be able to drive home and then I still was doing poorly.  After a shower and recovery drink I felt better though.  Honestly, if it weren’t for RS being with me, I might has stopped early.  I probably should have stopped anyway, but I was determined to finish my long day and record week.

I think running is like life.  Some days are great, some aren’t.  Some days there is no reason why the day is as bad as it feels.  Some days you want to give up half way through.  But learning to push yourself past that point is a life lesson that running really helps with.  Knowing that as your run the race, you are running for something more then just running.  You are training for lessons in life that are invaluable to learn.

I’m glad I run.

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!

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!

IMG_52541

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?

Running, hurt, better, running, happy

Somedays running can be ordinary.

Somedays you think your run was ordinary, but it really wasn’t.

Somedays running is fun and you feel like you can run forever.

Somedays you get two miles into a run and know you need to stop or risk getting hurt.

Monday I ran my 4 miles.

Tuesday I ram my 4 miles.

Wednesday I woke up and my ankle hurt so much I could barely walk.  Strange that I was fine during my Tuesday run.  Of course it was HOT and I was tired.  I hadn’t slept well the night before and the heat, though not as bad as at other times, just got to me.  I ended up walking several times.

So I woke up Wednesday and limped out of bed.  At work I had to walk slowly and favored my other foot.  It hurt so much, I wondered if I had sprained it.  I had visions of having to take weeks off of running and just keep weight off of it all together.  That afternoon I decided to walk through my neighborhood.  I figured it would work its way out of make it worse, but at least I’d know what I was up against.  So I walked a couple miles and headed home.  To be honest, it was better after a while.  I still couldn’t run on it, but I could walk without issue.

Yesterday I woke up and felt fine.  No pain.  No limp. All was well.

So I went for my run yesterday afternoon.  It was awesome.  Not only did my ankle feel fine, but I felt like I could run forever.  I ended up running 5 miles, which was longer then I’ve run in a long time.  I felt comfortable. It was cool outside (I love the polar vortex in the summer) and all was well with the world.

This morning I am back in the 184 range for my weight.  I have been creeping up past 184 off and on since my vacation.  184 is not where I want to be as a goal, but is acceptable to me, so that is good news.

Ultimately, somedays are good and some are bad.  I’ve said this before, but if you have a bad day, know that a good one is coming soon.  If you have a good day, don’t be shocked at the next bad day because it will happen.  That is the way we are made and that is life.

I’m glad I had a good day yesterday.  I really needed one.

Tom

 

A Fathers Day run and busy weekend!

It was a good Fathers Day weekend overall.  The one exception was a migraine yesterday, but at least I got to run.

Saturday was busy with errands to run and things to do.

Yesterday, though, I got to run the mountain with TJ.   First we eat breakfast (his treat) and then headed to our state park to run.

It was humid and I was soaked by the time we finished, but it was a lot of fun.  We ran the same route as last week, but without stopping (except for the ports-potty).  We finished yesterday’s run in the exact same time as last weeks, which was pretty interesting.

The mountain was quiet.  I didn’t see any other joggers and only a few cars.  AND, after the run, I had no pain in my hip or back.  That was the most amazing part.  I guess this seat cushion has really helped.

After the run and Church, we “ran” a few more errands and that was when my migraine started.  To be honest, some of my kids and my Lovely Wife suffer with headaches a lot, but I almost never have one; so when I get one, it shuts me down.  I did make it to TJ’s for burgers, but that was about it.  I came home and went to bed.  I fell asleep pretty quickly, but woke up with my head raging about 10:00 last night.  Fortunately I woke this morning feeling pretty good, so I got up and headed out to work.

All in all, it was a good weekend.  Lots of food (too much food).  Funny, I weighed in at 184 today and felt badly that I weighed that much. 🙂  A few months ago, I’d have been trilled to weigh that little.

I hope everyone had a good weekend and an awesome week.  I hope to begin running everyday again now that I’m feeling better –

Tom

No pain is gain!

I ran yesterday.

Normally I wouldn’t write such a crazy first sentence to open my post on my running blog, but I haven’t been able to run much lately.  Between back problems, hip problems, and lots to do, I just haven’t kept up with the running.

That’s the bad news – On to the good news.

My back and hip are doing awesome.  I wrote Tuesday about the new seat cushion that I purchased out of desperation at Target.  I figured I’d take it back if it didn’t help.  Monday I had almost no pain.  Tuesday was about the same.

Yesterday was the real test… My run!

Actually, I wasn’t worried about the run itself.  It was the “after the run” pain that I feared.  My back and hip rarely give me problems during my runs.  I don’t know why.  I guess it would be better if they did since that would give me a warning to stop.  But nooooo, I feel good during my run and then about 60 minutes after the pain sets in.  I try heating, icing, stretching, and just about everything to stop the pain, but it just keeps coming back.

Okay, “back” to my run yesterday.  I ran 4 miles at just over an 8:30 pace.  I was happy with that, but worried.  HOWEVER, I am here to tell you that afterwards I had very little pain and today I have none.  In fact I felt so good this morning that I didn’t even remember to take the anti-inflammatory that my doctor had given me.  Yes, I am exciting about this.  I think my issues have all been due to posture and the way I sit.  This new seat holds my body up and level so that there isn’t pressure on my hip or back.  I also use it in my car.  I have a stick shift and usually by the time I get to work or home I am in such pain that I can barely walk.  Not now.  I have almost no pain from the car.

I need to give it some more time before I claim victory over the pain, but even 2 or 3 days is just amazing to me.

Finally, with so little running my weight should be back up, but it stayed steady at 184.  In fact today I was in the 183 range – once again I give credit to apple cider vinegar (ACV).  I have NEVER been able to keep my weight steady, especially without running.  I’ve only been able to run 3 times in June (including yesterday) and my weight has not gotten beyond 185.  That is amazing to me.

I hope things keep going in this direction.  It would be nice to run and not be in pain and to keep losing weight.  I need to get down to about 165 to be at my correct weight and haven’t been there in 30 years, so here is hoping that I can keep this going.

Enjoy your day and if I don’t post again this week, have a great weekend.

Tom

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

Running with a positive outlook

This continues to be a strange season in my running life.

Yesterday I came home and wasn’t feeling well.  I had a bit of a sick headache.  My thought was to perhaps skip my 5 mile run for the day and just walk a few miles.  By the time I got home I felt better thanks to my Lovely Wife suggesting I drink some chocolate milk.  I guess it was low blood sugar.  Anyway, I decided to go out for my run.

It went really well.  In fact it went much better then Tuesday’s run.  I did have my ACV before I went out as usual, but the run was stranger then my runs lately.

I ran easy.  I decided to not push myself.  I told myself to just take it easy and get a slow 5 miles in.

As I ran, I noticed my pace improving.  I wasn’t pushing myself.  In fact I was trying not to push.  The more I relaxed, the faster my pace got.  There were actually a few times where I got below 7:00 pace – and I didn’t feel like I was running very hard at all.

In the usual places I got a bit tired and did have a phone call during my run, but I felt strong and well for the whole run.

My last mile (almost a full mile – I don’t care much anymore about the last .05 of a mile) I ran at a pace below 8:00.  I was, however, pushing more at that point since I knew it was going to be a good run for me.

It was a good run.  8:23 pace overall.

Here is a breakdown:

20140402-161605.jpg

I really don’t know what I am finally doing right.  I feel good while running.  My hip is doing well.  My pace is getting better and my VO2 Max seems to be improving greatly.

I have had thoughts of increasing my mileage, but I am good with 5 miles a day and 8 – 12 on my long day.  Rhythm is important and I feel like I am developing one.  In fact, this was pretty much my whole training for my marathon.  5 miles a day during the week and 10 – 20 on the weekend.

So things are moving in a positive direction… Thankfully.  My weight is also down.  I was up above 190 for a bit, but am now at 187.  Hopefully that will continue to go down.

My half marathon is in just over 3 weeks.  I plan on getting in an 11 or 12 mile run this weekend and 13 the next.

This could be a very interesting race for me.  I’m beginning to actually look forward to it.

Tom