Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wednesday Weigh In

     Wow is it Wednesday already!  I really wasn't looking forward to this one, because of running less mileage for my taper, all the experimenting I was doing with carbo loading before the race and how I celebrated after.  My breakfast and lunch routines didn't hardly change at all, but dinner is where the carbs took over.  I was eating home cooked BBQ chicken with brown rice or spaghetti with meat sauce, from the jar, and oven baked chicken my wife made.  I don't really know for sure if it made any difference in my performance on Sunday but hey it couldn't hurt.  Now my post race eating that is a different story, and by all means I am not complaining because I rarely go all out anymore and it was REALLY GOOD!!  Fried fish, hot roast beef sandwiches, cheesy potatoes and chocolate chip cookie with frosting, needless to say I was in a food coma!
     Monday morning it was right back to the routine with the nutrition, but the running was on hold for Monday and Tuesday due to some sore legs.  When I got up this morning I told myself I would not be disappointed no matter what the outcome.  The scale was pretty damn nice to me today when I looked down to see 195.2 on it.  So my official numbers are as follows:     
 4/30/14 official weigh in
195 lbs
Change: +.5 lbs
Total loss from heaviest: 122 lbs
Current BMI: 30.5 (obese)
Change: +.1
      The rest of this week's running schedule is pretty relaxed with 4 miles today and another 4 miles on Friday.  The month of May is my pre-marathon training period, where my goal is just to maintain the nice base I have built up to this point.  I am working on and obsessing over my marathon training plan which I will share once I get it all nailed down. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Glass City Race Recap

     My third Half Marathon is officially in the books, and all I can say is: OH YEA, OH YEA, OH YEA (while doing a little dance hahaha)!  Needless to say things went really well and for me to say that I crushed my PR would be an understatement.  Officially I finished in 1:57:43 at a 8:59 avg. mile pace.  My previous PR was 2:13:43 at a 10:12 avg. mile pace, which means I knocked an even 16 minutes off my my record.
      Saturday I headed to the University of Toledo's Savage Hall Basketball Arena for packet pickup and the expo.  The expo was laid out just like last year and featured pretty much the same amount and vendors from last year, which unfortunately again was the weakest part of the whole event.
     The layout to pick up your packet was quite nice, they had it laid out by bib numbers and had so many lines that there was virtually no wait, which was nice.  I checked out the vendor offerings and picked up 3 new headbands from Bondibands (check them out here), I fell in love with them after getting one at Ragnar in San Diego.  Once I was done I headed home for a high carb dinner with Mandy and prep all my gear for the morning.
     I got up at 4:10am, hopped in the shower and got dressed.  I woke Mandy up and while she was getting ready I drank a bottle of water and ate a little cereal to get a little something in the stomach.  We left the house around 5:10am and made really good time, which you should when no one else is on the road, and arrived a little before 6:00.  The temp was hovering around 40 with a light breeze so we made our way into the the basketball arena to use the restrooms and stay warm while I stretched.
     With 15 minutes till the start we made our way down to the corrals where we met up with my friend April who was also trying for a sub 2 hour finish.  We planned on running together because we were going to run at the same pace and also to push each other as we needed it.
     Once the gun went off it took what felt like 2-3 minutes before we hit the timing mats, but we were finally on our way.  April and I lost each other right at the start, mostly because the the narrow street and the amount of runners I felt like I was in a can of sardines.  I was weaving in and out of the runners, running on the grass, anything I could do to get my pace up and going.  Once we got off campus I climbed a long slow rise hill on a major road, which allowed the runners to spread out a little.  Somewhere between .5 and 1 mile I reacquired April and we settled in on a 8:45ish pace.
     The first few miles we weaved our way through some very nice neighborhoods with quite a lot of people lining the streets holding signs, ringing cowbells and cheering on all the runners.  It was so nice to see all the support along the course.  One sign that I saw a couple of times that made me laugh was a cartoon pile of poop with a smiley face on it, and the sign just said the word don't above it.  We came to mile 5 where the first exchange of the marathon relay was and I saw this big orange sign with my name on it.  When I read it, it made me laugh and I knew instantly it was for me!  Katie had some words of encouragement sent from another one of my Ragnar SoCal teammates Thomas!

Here is a picture of me with the sign later that day!

     After that April and I seemed to keep a pretty steady pace for the most part, the course is pretty flat with small rolling type hills that weren't to bad to deal with.  We crossed another major road and headed into one of the area metro parks.  This was a little tough, mostly because we were on the narrow paths so occasionally I was on the grass passing people.  I think it was around mile 8 where the marathon and the half split from each other.  A mile and a half on the boring bike trail before we headed back into some neighborhoods and more hillsNow compared to southern California these were nothing but one was pretty steep and I really didn't need that!  Right on cue some of my more motivating music had hit my ears and I was able to power through the hills.  A little Battery immediately followed up by Whiplash from Metallica was timed so perfectly, I couldn’t have planned it any better myself.  When we hit mile 12 I asked Siri to text Mandy so she would know I was almost done. 
     We finished exactly the way we started, back on campus running over the creek right through the starting corral area.  When we hit the end of the corrals we made a hard right turn, right where my wife was standing cheering me on, but of course, I turned my finishing song on and had it cranked up and didn’t hear or acknowledge her.  Sorry Honey!  Once around the corner there is a sweeping uphill left turn entering the football stadium, otherwise known as the Glass Bowl.  Once I crossed the finish line grabbed a water and my finisher’s medal and felt such a wave of accomplishment come over me at what I had done, a sub 2 half marathon after just over a year of running.

I did a little comparison from last year's 5K and this this year

     We headed to the post race party to get my glass finisher’s mug, we are known as the Glass City, and a little food. We sat down enjoyed a little pizza and snacks and listen to the band playing which featured a good friend of mine, who I was in a band with for quite a few years. 
     Mandy and I headed home to shower and get ready for a post race party with my friend Katie’s family.  We enjoyed some of the best fried perch I have had in a long time along with some other great dishes.  We had a wonderful time, but after a couple hours we were getting tired from being up so long and wanted to head home to relax on the couch with a movie and each other.  I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end the day.

Here are a few more pictures from the day, including a couple that were on Facebook, shot by a local photographer with a quadcopter hovering overhead. 

Friday, April 25, 2014


     Sunday I will be toeing the line at my hometown race, The Owens Corning Half Marathon presented by The Medical Mutual Glass City Marathon, for my 3rd half marathon.  My first half-marathon was the Detroit Free Press International Half Marathon where I ran a 2:23:41 @ 10:58 per mile avg.  A little less than a month later I ran the Monroe Half Marathon in 2:13:46 @ 10:12 per mile avg.  My first I was just committed to finishing the race and enjoying the experience, but the 2nd I really wanted to see what I could do and pushed myself to where I had absolutely nothing left in my tank when I finished.
     Sometime after the Monroe Half I was listening to another Runner Academy podcast featuring guest Dr. Stan Beecham (click here for link).  Dr. Beecham was talking about how most people don’t reach their full potential not because of their training, talents or physical abilities but because of their mind.  One point he made that stuck with me was not to make multiple race day goals.  Meaning don’t say this is my “A” goal but if I don’t hit that my “B” goal is this, all that does is give you an out and you may not train as hard to hit your “A” goal.  He recommends picking a goal that you may only have a 60% chance of making, meaning a 40% chance of failure.  If you make it awesome but if you come up short that doesn’t mean you’re a failure it just means it wasn’t your day.  So to put it into perspective:  My goal for this race is a sub 2 hour, so anything 1:59:59 or better.  My current PR is 2:13:46, so if I hit my goal, great, but if I don’t and come in at say 2:04, I am not a failure I still set a new PR.  The failure would be if I played it safe and didn't even try to hit a sub 2 in the first place.  Now to be completely honest there was some time over the winter that I was beginning to doubt that I could pull off a sub 2 at this race, but after a great set at Ragnar and killing my 5K time my confidence has increased dramatically.  I know I have zero guarantees that I will reach my goal, but I will have a hell of good time trying! 
     The Glass City Marathon has been around since 1971 and while it has gone through several changes in course routes and locations around the city of Toledo, Ohio, it has found its way back to where it all began.  Currently the races starts out on the campus of the University of Toledo, I'm told it makes its way around some of the prettiest and historic areas of Toledo.  You are then brought back on campus running into the UT Rockets football stadium, the Glass Bowl, finishing on the 50 yard line.  The Half Marathon will follow the same route as the Marathon until, I believe, around mile 8 at which time we will break off on our own course back to the stadium.  The Marathon course has been touted as flat and fast, so for those of you that have dreams of qualifying for Boston, this is a great place to do it.  The Glass City Marathon is put on by the local running club, the Toledo Roadrunners, and they sure do put on a class act full of events for all ages.
Marathon: 2000 runners
Half Marathon: 3000 runners
5 person Marathon Relay: 250 teams
5K: 2000 runners/walkers
Kids Race: unlimited
     So far the weather forecast is looking promising with partly cloudy skies, 10% chance of rain, and temperatures of 58H/40L.  On Saturday I will head to the University campus to pick up my bib, packet and check out the expo.  Now I have only previously done the 5K but I will say that the only let down of this event is the expo.  Now to be fare the only other expo I have been to is the Detroit Marathon which I would expect to be better considering the larger market and size of the race. 
     Last year when I ran the 5K, which was only my second race to date, I was very impressed with layout.  I thought I would throw up a couple pictures from last year.
     I have a couple of friends also running the Half, a friend running on a relay team and her sister is running her first Marathon.  It should be a great weekend and a great race no matter what time I finish in!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wednesday weigh in

     Hello Everyone and welcome to another edition of Wednesday Weigh In!  This week we finally had a string of nice spring like days with plenty of sunshine and temps in the upper 60s, the grill came out and couple that with an Easter dinner, means I completely broke from my usual routine.  Mandy gave me the choice of steaks or something else to grill.  Now I am not one to turn down steaks but for some reason I was craving BBQ chicken, and I figured the chicken was the "healthier" choice too.
Two different nights this week my plate had BBQ chicken and brown rice with a little sea salt, pepper and smart balance butter spread.
     One issue I had this week was I felt like snacking on everything in sight.  I did stay away from sweets and  I wouldn't say I was binging, but for example when we were at our friends house sitting around talking, they had chips and popcorn laid out and I would occasionally pick at what was in front of me.  Never losing control and eating handfuls just a slow constant grazing.  That seemed to be the theme all week, and to top it all off I am in my taper for my half marathon this weekend so I am running a lot less than normal so needless to say I didn't expect this weigh in to go well.  The scale showed me 194.6 and I was plenty good with that considering how my week had went.
 4/23/14 official weigh in
194.5 lbs
Change: -.5 lbs
Total loss from heaviest: 122.5 lbs
Current BMI: 30.4
Change: -.1
 Today is also my last "long run" for my half this weekend.  We did have a cold front come through yesterday so the temps have dropped a little bit.  I decided to wait a little while before heading out for my 6 mile run.  Once the sun came out, the temp jumped up and around 1:30 I headed out.
     Other than a very light 2 mile jog on Friday, this was my last real run before the race.  I really pushed the pace this time on my "hilly" course while also giving the shot bloks one more try just to be sure they will work for me.  The run went extremely well, I kept my pass fast never dropping below a 9 minute mile.  The shot bloks gave me no issues again so I think I am ready to go.  Here is my pace/elevation chart and my splits showing pretty much what I felt during my run.  I started out fast, slowed down a little towards the middle dealing with the hills and my pace quickened on the home stretch.
     Before I left I got everything ready for my post run meal, which I decided would be spaghetti.  I had some pre-cooked chicken that Mandy made the other day so I cut some of that up and mixed it in sauce.  I had everything ready to go in the pots so all I would have to do is turn on the burners when I got back.  I was pretty impressed with how it came out considering I bought the cheap store brand pasta and store bought pasta sauce, I think Mandy's chicken is what really took it over the top!
The only thing I would change is I wish I had a whole wheat bread instead of the white bread but I am not complaining.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Where's the XL

      Happy Easter Everyone!  I hope everyone had a wonderful time with friends and family today, I know I did!  Mandy and I took advantage this morning and slept in, which I really needed.  I rolled out of bed to a beautiful sunny Sunday morning.  I headed out for a 6 mile tempo run around 11:30 this morning, with a temp of around 60 and barely a cloud in the sky.

     The run went pretty well, no dogs tried to take me out this time, but a horse came to the fence to say hello so I snapped a quick picture.  I was able to hold close to what I hope will be my race pace for my half marathon next weekend.  I stopped a couple of times to take pictures just because it was so nice out I thought it would be fun to share.
     After my run, Mandy and I got around and headed to my sister's house for a wonderful Easter lunch.  We had ham, au gratin potatoes, green bean casserole, grape salad and biscuits.  The ham, potatoes and biscuits were good, but the others I wouldn't know, not really my cup of tea!
     I did wanna quick share my Friday morning with you if I may.  The shirts that I have to wear for work can be quit expensive and with my consistent weight loss trying to keep up with shirts that fit can be a little tough on the wallet.  Having said that, I have a couple XL that fit me pretty well and 3 or 4 XXL that are getting pretty big, actually I am swimming in them.  Friday when I was looking for a shirt all I could find clean was the XXL so I said screw it, I grabbed one and headed to work.  For some reason lately I have really been diggin' the plaid shirts and I noticed a new one we had gotten in that I wanted but hadn't bought it yet.  The fact that I was swimming in my current shirts was bugging the hell out of me so I decided to finally buy it.  Now in my mind I still feel like I should be wearing an XL, so that's the size I was looking for.  Do you think I could find it, NO.  I asked the dept manager "where's the XL?" and of course it was already gone.  I was extremely bummed, but she suggested I try on the large.  I told her I doubt it will fit but I will give it a try.
Well as you can see I was wrong and it fit!  I took my shirt out to the car and took a quick selfie to celebrate the occasion.  It just amazes me sometimes how good these little things can make you feel and boost your confidence.
I would love to hear about your little victories, so feel free to share it in the comment section below!  

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wednesday Weigh In

It has only taken a week but I am finally back to a regular routine with sleeping and eating.  It was nice that I was able to just fall right back into my diet like I had never left.  I tell you the old me would have been in big trouble if I gave myself a hall pass for a week.
     I have come to the realization that even though this will always be a constant struggle for me, I have gotten over the hump of losing self control, at least for now.  I am constantly tracking every little item I eat or drink on the My Net Diary app on my phone and while I was gone I didn't use it once. Even though I did eat "poorly" with the fried fish and the giant Voodoo Doughnut and what not,  I was excited that I didn't just say screw it and go nuts like I use to.  I bring this up because this is a first for me.  Every other "diet" I have done when an opportunity such as this would come up I would revert to my old ways by the time I got back and wasn't able to recover.  I almost feel like my running has a lot to do with it.  I use running to help take the weight of and when I get to my goal I will use it to maintain the weight.  As much as I enjoy running, man it is a lot of f-ing work and the last thing I wanna do is waste my time running all those miles for nothing.
     My body seems to have also responded well to my regular routine, I was pleasantly surprised to what the scale had to say to me this morning.  So without any more delay the reason for today's posting.
 4/16/14 official weigh in
195 lbs
Change: -3.5 lbs
Total loss from heaviest: 122 lbs
Current BMI: 30.5
Change: -.5
      Today I had my last long run before my taper for my Half Marathon during the Glass City Marathon.  I waited to head out till 1pm due to the cold weather we are having again.  It almost reached 40 degrees when I hit the road which wasn't to bad since it was around 19 when I got up.  There was a hardly any wind, which was a nice change, but I say hardly because I ran a 6 mile loop course and miles 5-7 and 10-12 the wind seemed to pick up and gave me a nice little head wind.  I like this course because it keeps me fairly close to home and has a few hills to give me a little resistance.  At mile 2 I passed a house that I could hear 2 dogs barking and when I looked to my left they both came running from behind the house full speed at me.  I was running on the road and kept my eye on them, well one of them came to a stop and just barked at me while the other kept on coming.  As he got closer he appeared to be a pit bull mix, which is fine but it put me a little more on high alert than say if it was a chihuahua or something, but I couldn't be sure.  Now at this point I was just past the property and he was now coming up on my 7 o'clock.  He came all the way into the street so I turned to face him and tried to keep moving away.  He barked and growled then lunged at my feet and appeared to attempt to bite my ankle.  I gave him my loudest angry yell to back off, which did the trick, because he began to whimper and then turned and ran.  I kept moving and kept my eye behind me till I turned the corner.  No harm, no foul but it sure got the blood pumping.  The rest of the run was pretty uneventful, even when I passed the same house a second time.  Yes I was an idiot and ran by the house again, but I wasn't gonna let a dog dictate a change in my route that I had all planned out.
     My pace was a little all over the place as you can see from my splits.  The graph shows you my pace (green) vs elevation (blue) and how that translates over the 12 miles.  I was trying a new on the run nutrition plan, Clif brand Shot Blocks, which seemed to work pretty well without any GI issues.  I have 8 mile long run next Wednesday so I will give them another try just to be sure.  I took one after miles 3,6 & 10 and you can see from my splits that I slowed down during the miles that I was consuming them.

      Anyway off to my running club meeting then spend the evening with my wife!  Thanks for reading!

Monday, April 14, 2014


So today I ran the Run the Res 5K which was the first race I entered which means this marks my one year Run-iversary!  I actually started attempting to run back in November of 2012 but I use this race as when I officially became a runner.  A slow runner but a runner none the less.  When I arrived I picked up my BIB, T-Shirt and goodie bag and headed for the starting line.  We were about an hour early so I could warm up and stretch.  Mandy came to support me and take a few photos to use for comparison to last year.
  My legs have been really tight and heavy on the last two runs I have done so I was a little worried.  I got in a nice light slow jog for a quarter to half mile, along with a good stretching session and the legs started to loosen up.  The wind was gusting quite a bit causing us to have a strong head wind for the first mile of the race.  I lined up at the start, which is at the bottom of a small hill, when the gun went off I took off up the hill and tried to settle into a good pace.  The first 2 miles of the course wrap around the water reservoir before coming to a hill.  Last year this hill seemed like a monster to climb, but after what I climbed in southern California this was a piece of cake.  After I crested the hill, I charged down hill to the turnaround to come back.  I was feeling really good at this point.  Again I climbed the hill and blasted down the other side make a push to the finish.  When I hit the last turn to the finish I saw Mandy and gave her my best airplane impression and sprinted across the finish!  Checking the result sheets after the race I posted a finish time of 25:54 @ 8:21 per mile average!!!! Which basically means I CRUSHED IT!
Here are my splits from my watch.
    So for a little comparison of my times here is my current 5K PR
28:02 @ 9:01 per mile avg
I knocked a little over 2 minutes off my overall time
Here is my time from this race one year ago
33:27 @ 10:46 per mile avg
I knocked between 7 and 8 minutes off my overall time
 Last year I weighed in at 259 lbs and this year I was 198.5 lbs 
Obviously my weight had a lot to do with my speed increase, but I have put in a lot of hard work getting ready for Ragnar and the Glass City Half Marathon and it defiantly paid of today!

Here are a few more pictures from the event
I even beat the guy with the crazy pants!!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Ragnar SoCal Recap Pt 4

     Those of us in Van 2 headed back to John and Ric’s house for the after party.  When we got there,  I got a quick change of clothes and headed to the back yard.  Everyone's jaws hit the floor when they stepped into the back yard and saw what Ric had put together.  It rivaled some of the best wedding receptions I have been to.  Satin covered chairs, LED mood lighting, fully stocked bar with all the trimmings, propane heaters to keep us warm on a cool night, fine china and flatware, stainless steal buffet style food trays and large umbrellas floating above us.  
John’s Aunt Sue prepared a wonderful spegetti dinner with your choice of a vegetarian or a meat sauce, garlic bread and salad. 
The Ragnaholics joined us as well and I couldn’t ask for a more wonderful way to wind down and celebrate, than with my new running family.
     The next morning John, Susan and myself returned the vans and met the team at Baja Betty's, John’s favorite hangout, for a mimosa brunch.  I of course stayed away from the mimosas but the spread was fantastic and the food was wonderful.  I also partook in the “cheese crack”, which is a homemade cheese dipping sauce that I thought was going to be to spicy for me by the looks of it, but it was not at all.  
     We reminisced about our adventures and took a few picture, then John awarded Tay, who was unanimously voted by van 2 has our All-star of the Van.  Tay is such a wonderful person and totally deserved it.  With her new job and having to move, she had the least amount of time to train and she rocked her three legs, all while having a constant smile!  Cat had the great idea to have everyone sign her BIB but all I had was my medal so I asked everyone to sign the back of mine. 
     After brunch most of the team headed to the world famous San Diego Zoo.  My overall impression was it was a nice facility and had a lot of interesting designed exhibits, but even with a $5 off coupon it was $41 dollars a person.  Once we got into the place we hit the Skyfari chair lifts that took us to the back of the park and gave us a nice birds eye view of the place.  We made our way around the main exhibits, checking out the polar bears, pandas, monkeys and others.  The park is very hilly, and all of our legs were so tired and hurting so we hopped on the double-decker tour bus to get a tour of the rest of the park.  
     We were all pretty exhausted and getting hungry so Hillary’s boyfriend suggested a great fish place on the water called The Fish Market.  The restaurant was literally right on the water of the bay, right next to the USS Midway museum.  I ended up getting the fish & chips mostly because there was not much else that interested me and my basic palate.  It was so nice just to sit and talk with everyone.  I learned so much about their backgrounds and why they are who they are, which is what makes them so great!  The sun set over the bay as we were finishing dinner and we said our sad goodbyes to Caitlin who had to change her flight and get home early for a family emergency.      
      Thomas and I made plans to visit the USS Midway while the ladies made plans to head to Mission beach.  The Midway was amazing!  Its sheer size alone makes you stand in awe of how it can stay afloat.  They offered a free audio tour with your admission so, we made our rounds from the lower decks all the way top side on the flight deck.  The one thing that stood out to me was how the higher in rank you got the nicer the accommodations would get.   Unfortunately we were running short on time so we were not able to make it to the tower tour of the ship.  
     Thomas’s flight was leaving at 5pm and all of us wanted to get together for lunch before I took him to the airport.  We met at a cool little restaurant called Fat Fish in Mission Beach and hung out on the patio.  Again, I got the fish & chips platter, it is my weakness when it comes to seafood.  After a wonderful lunch we had another round of sad goodbyes with Thomas leaving.  After I dropped him off I headed back to Mission beach to check out a huge souvenir shop.  Being that close to the Pacific I told the ladies I couldn’t be this close and not get my feet wet, so we walked to the beach and hung out and took a few pictures.
     We dropped Martha off at her sister’s place, hugged and said our final goodbyes, because her sister was taking here to the airport.  Cat, Bonnie, Katie and I headed straight to the airport to drop Colleen off and say our goodbyes.  The four of us met John and is Aunt Sue at another local favorite of John’s, Gossip Grill.  We grabbed a table on the patio and the ladies ordered some drinks while we waited for John and Sue to arrive.  I was a perfect relaxing end to a long week.  I ordered myself a bacon bbq burger and fries which was really good.  The menu was quite interesting with their choice of words for some of the items.   
     When we finished John took Katie back to the hotel, since it was going to be the last time he would see her.  Cat, Bonnie and I headed back to John’s to pack.  When John got back we sat around and talked for a little while longer before we all crashed for the night.
     Katie, Bonnie, Sue and my flights all left around the same time, so it was quite interesting getting us all to the airport.  John let us use his Jeep Compass to get to the airport, which we filled the entire back cargo area with luggage, we had bags between our legs, on our laps and squeezed 5 people in. 
     Cat’s flight was at 2pm so she dropped us off and John was going to take her back later.  It was hard to say the final goodbyes with everyone, but I was ready to get back home and see Mandy, I had been missing her terribly. 
     My first flight went pretty well, I had an isle seat but this time had someone right next to me.  I was able to get a good bit of reading done but I dozed off for a little while, which was unusual for me.  We landed in Chicago where I had an hour layover.  It seemed to go by pretty quick, because before I new it I was in my window seat taxiing to the runway.  The second flight, a lady that was on my last flight and I shared a row with no middle passenger which was nice.  Once we hit cruising altitude the started passing out drinks and snacks.  I didn’t even have half my drink down when we made a sharp turn and the pilot came on stating we were on final approach and to prepare for landing.  Once off the plane, grabbed my luggage and headed to the door to meet Mandy.
      I have said this is was a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget.  Its true that I will never forget, and have made 11 new life long friends, but the adventure was so fun I know other Ragnars are in my future.  If you asked me if I would recommend doing a Ragnar, I would say HELL YES you should. 
     Till next time, thank you Strangers to Solemates for such a wonderful adventure!!!