Friday, October 31, 2014

When a fat guy isn't a fat guy anymore!

     For those of you that didn’t already know, I work at a Harley-Davidson Dealership, and the other day a customer was asking me some questions about the Sportster 72 model he was interested in.  He asked a question that I can’t really remember anyone ever asking me, at least about a Sportster.  His was asking what the weight limit or load limit was for the motorcycle; basically how much weight can be safely loaded on the bike.  As much as I know about these bikes and that is one question I didn’t know the answer to so I called my buddy Mark, who is a salesman, over to see if he knew the answer.  As the three of us were talking the customer said he wanted to know because he was concerned that he and his wife might exceed that limit.

     Now before I go on let me describe this gentleman for you so you can have a mental picture of the situation.  If I had to guess he was probably in his mid to late 40s, somewhere between 5’7” and 5’9” and was quite large.  Now let me give you a little more detail, the majority of his weight was in his midsection “beer gut” if you will, while the rest of his body wasn’t in shape but wasn’t overly large either.  He reminded me of me quite a bit with how he was carrying his weight.  My friend Mark, who also has had a life long battle with his weight, currently is trying to rebound from his last up swing in his scale.  So if you were standing from a far and couldn’t hear the conversation you would see two larger men and one smaller man talking.  Now I really really hate having to describe and talk about other people solely based on their size, shape and weight, but I have to so you can understand the context of the story and the comment which the customer had made.

     Now back to the story, the customer stated he was around 300 pounds and that his wife was not to skinny herself and he was concerned that the bike would not be able to handle the two of them safely.  Mark says to the customer that he is a big guy and when he owned a Sportster, he didn’t have any issues with the bike handling him or when he had a passenger.  Mark stated to the customer that he shouldn’t worry about it; the motorcycle would handle him and his wife just fine.  That’s when I chimed in and said, I rode a Sportster for five years and it handled me with or without my wife no problem.  He turned to me and said “of course not.  A little guy like you wouldn’t have a problem.”  I immediately smiled, laughed and stated that I wasn’t always this small, and that I use to weigh over 300 pounds.  Mark also piped up and stated the same thing.  We had a laugh and Mark continued on with customer, answering all of his remaining questions. 

     It wasn’t till a little while later the impact of what happened really sunk in.  I am sure this is completely common among those that have lost a significant amount of weight, but I still see and think of me has a large person.   The majority of my life has been spent as an overweight or obese man, which means all the life experiences and wisdom I have learned and acquired to this point has been as a fat man.  So as in this situation I talked as if I am 300 pounds and the man I was dealing with of course had no idea and felt like I couldn’t relate to him.  Now that is my fault for not stating that info at first so the customer would understand the context of my comments, but I don’t wanna go around saying that all the time.  I will feel like all I am doing is bragging to people when that is not my intention.  Part of me feels like I need to constantly wear a shirt with my before picture on it so people will understand some of my comments and why I make them. 

     I am constantly making choices based on the fact I think I am bigger than I am.  For example, when I ran my last 5K, at the registration table they asked me what size shirt I wanted and without a thought I told them XL.  I am a freaking size large now not an XL, why do I continue to do that.  On the flipside I don’t really want to have my mindset change.  I feel like if I start to think I am “thin” or a “little guy” I might get to comfortable and let my guard down.  Maybe I will start to feel like I don’t need to worry about eating this or that, skip a few runs for no good reason or I don’t have to put forth any effort anymore.

     I keep having these episodes where one morning I’ll look in the mirror and still see a fat guy that needs to keep going, while other times I look and go holy shit I’ve lost a lot of weight.  The crazy thing is, that when I weighed 300 pounds I would look at myself and see a guy that carries his weight well and think I am good I am not that big, and other times go W.T.F. I AM FREAKING HUGE (#).  It is so crazy how your mind and eyes can play tricks on you.  You think of yourself one way, but your mind sees something else.  You are almost never sure of who you really are and a lot of times people aren’t going to really tell you either.  When I was heavy, no one really said anything about my weight, it seemed like it wasn’t a problem and was no big deal.  At least that is what was said to my face anyway.  For example, when I couldn’t ride the roller coasters at Cedar Point, it wasn’t my fault for being to fat; it was just despicable and degrading that CP would make the seats and belts so small.  How could they treat people this way?  Now I get comments like I am getting to skinny, I need to gain weight, where did Dean go, are you sick.  WTF!!! I finally tip the scale in my favor in this battle with my weight and food demons and now I am to skinny and need to eat.  When will this bullshit stop! Which is it people? Somebody please tell me!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wednesday Weigh In

     10/29/14 official weigh in
179 lbs
Change: -1.5 lbs
Total loss from heaviest: 138 lbs
Current BMI: 28.0 (overweight)
Change: -.2

     Well its been a little over a week and a half since Columbus and I am finally starting to get back into a bit of a routine with my life.  The one thing that I thought would be the biggest challenge for me, really wasn't to bad to be honest.   All this week I have been slowly decreasing my daily calorie limit back to where I should be now that I am not running the volume of miles I was pre marathon.  I had a couple of days were my stomach grumbled a little trying to tell me it wanted something when I knew it didn't really need anything.  I try to put that fire out with a large glass of water which seems to help it subside.

     To get the time I needed off for the race I had to switch around my days off which meant when I got back to work Tuesday of last week I had eight straight days before I would get another day off.  I know that doesn't sound that horribly bad except I had just run a freaking marathon and all I wanted to do was rest!  Today was finally the day I could truly just sit down, relax and not have to worry about anything.  Now don't think I was a complete lazy bum, I did get out of the house for a run and I headed into town to take care of a couple of things. 

     After Mandy headed off to work this morning, the pups and I decided to sleep in till almost nine before I got up and headed out for my run.  The temp was hovering in the mid 40s with the sun shining and a decent breeze to contend with.  My idea for this run was to just get 4 easy miles under my belt.  As I walked out the door I told myself not even to look at my watch, which is impossible for me, but it was a nice thought though.  During the two miles out I had that cool wind coming right at my face making it feel a little cooler than the temperature was saying it was.  When I would glance at my watch, it was mostly just to check my mileage, which is basically a lie because I know exactly where the 2 mile turn around spot is, so really I was checking my pace.

     For most of the run my knee was a non issue, but somewhere around the 2.5 mile mark a little light pain crept up on me, but quickly subsided.  The one thing I am still having issues with, is my calves.  I made it further today than on Sunday before they started to ache, but the fact is they still did.  The aching pain never really got to horribly bad, but I did add some walking at the start of miles 3 and 4 for maybe a tenth of a mile each.  I thought it would be a good idea to break it up a little and give my calves a little break.   When I got back to the house the aching diminished a lot quicker than it did on Sunday.  This tells me I am healing and if I continue to take it easy for the rest of this week I should be back to my old self really soon.  My plan is to rest Thursday and Friday; I was planning on running Saturday, but with our event that evening at work I'll be putting in at least 12 hours on my feet.  I thought it best to skip it and do my next easy run on Sunday.

     I might as well say it now, I am skipping the Monroe Half Marathon that's coming up on the 9th.  This decision was made for me by fate when I was trying to register for the race.  I spent an hour and a half trying to register, but every time I submitted my info to get to the payment screen it would kick me out.  I eventually took that as a sign that maybe I shouldn't be running it.  The more I thought about it, I felt like if it is taking this long to get my legs back from the marathon I don't know if I'll be ready to race by then.

     Anyway I have been thinking long and hard (#) about where to go from here with my running and my goals.  I have started to formulate a couple ideas that I will run by you all soon.  I think next year is shaping up to be fun and quite challenging. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

1st Post Marathon Run, Whew!

     I have been going a little stir crazy not doing any running and I decided I couldn't wait any longer, I had to get out and get a couple of easy miles in.  Sunday I didn't have to be to work until eleven which was seemed to be a perfect situation.  My legs had finally felt like they had return to normal and I was able to sleep in a little later, which allowed me to get my run in after the sun had up.  I new I wasn't going to do anything to tough, but I thought I felt good enough to do 3 miles at an easy pace.  Well, I felt good enough to maybe walk 3 miles, but to run I truly found out how deep into your muscles a hard marathon run can go.  I don't think I was even a quarter mile in when my calf muscles started barking.  I kept my pace right around a 9:50 per mile, but looking back I think I should have maybe slowed it down or even added some walking breaks in there.  Once I hit the mile and a half mark and made the u-turn back home, the outside of my right knee started to bother me a little.  It was reminiscent of the pain I was having when my I.T. band was bothering me.  The pain was very faint so it really didn't cause me to much concern at this point.  My thigh muscles were not sore, but they did feel a little tired and if I had to make a self diagnosis, my tired thigh muscles is probably the cause of my I.T. band issues.  I would venture to guess it will subside with a little more rest and as I gain some strength back.  Once I got back to the house my calves had had enough.  When I finished the marathon my entire calf muscle was sore, this felt deep like the core of my muscle still hadn't quite healed up yet.  I gave them a good stretching along with the rest of the body before I dropped and did two sets of 30 push ups.
     I decided to give myself another two days off before I try again on Wednesday.  Tonight I'll see if I can con Mandy into giving them a nice massage.  I figure with more rest, a little ice therapy and some solid stretching Wednesday's run should be a little better. :)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Final Thoughts on My First Marathon Experience

     If I was asked to give an overall grade to the Columbus Marathon committee on this year's race I would have to give the whole entire experience an A or A-.  Overall I loved the race, the course and all of the town support to go along with it.  Being as I have never run any other marathons you can take my recommendation for what its worth, but if you are trying to considering where to run your first, I would say to put it right at the top of the list.  Why I didn’t give it an A+?  Well, come on nobody is perfect! LOL! Seriously though, the layout at the expo didn’t make for a great experience and the problem with the overcrowding of the corrals at the start really bugged me.  Another was the temporary fencing they used seemed a little dangerous to me for those running along it with how the legs stuck out into the course. This was especially bad at the start, with all the runners crammed in I was running along the fence and I found myself high stepping a little to keep from tripping.  The last thing that I had issue with was the road during the 24th or 25th mile they took us down.   It was a road made up entirely of all brick and had a lot of ruts and high/low spots. Not that I think that kind of road is ever really good to use for any course, but at the end of the race where a lot of people are shuffling their feet vs. running normally made it a little dangerous.

     Other than those little picky things, I loved this race and would totally do it again some day.  Every water/fuel station was well maned and all the volunteers were great.  Plenty of port a potties to satisfy the size of the field and all the spectators alike. Out of the entire 26.2 the only boring part of the race, as far as the scenery goes, was a bike path with fields on either side that only lasted a few hundred yards.  I think the race committee new this because there was a lot of great signage featuring inspirational and funny quotes for a laugh and to keep us going.  This race seems to really pride itself on providing an "all about the runner" race experience and boy did they deliver.  

     While I was sitting here reflecting back on the marathon for this post, I couldn’t but help think back to my first ever race experience.  The idea of running a marathon at that time would have been crazy talk considering just running an entire 5K was a challenge to me.  That race was in April of 2013 and I finished the 3.1 miles with a 33:27 and an avg. mile pace of 10:46 and in just 18 months I completed a twenty six point freaking two miles averaging 8:53 per mile. 
     As amazing as that sounded to me I really wanted to give myself a little different perspective on this so I looked up what my weight was and what my marathon time would have been if I ran one 18 months ago.  Using the average pace from that first 5K I would've had a 4:42:05 finish time while I was weighing in at a whopping 260.5 pounds vs. Sunday's race which was 3:52:43 finish time at a weight of 177.5 pounds.  That is a difference of 42 minutes & 22 seconds and a weight difference of 83 pound.  I really don’t know what to say to that, just thinking about it out gives me a lump in my throat.

     As for my training, I will have to look back at it little more to decide what, if any, changes I would like to make.  The three 20 mile runs I think really helped me prepare for the mental aspect of the race, so I am sure those will defiantly stay in.  I do like how I kept my training plan flexible to accommodate my work and personal life schedules, while keeping it strict enough to maintain some quality training.  If I was going to make any big changes, it will revolve around doing a little more speed specific training and cross training.  I am not sure what that will entail yet, but it is on my radar. 
     The two things I couldn’t live without when it comes to marathon training, other than my shoes, is my Garmin and my Camelbak.  Despite the occasional issues with the Garmin, it really helped me analyze my runs and kept my pace in check.  My Camelbak was a life savor on the long runs.  It kept all that weight off of my hips from my fuel belt I usually use, which helped my running form and allowed me to carry enough water and nutrition to last the entire run without stopping.  I know I have been slacking on getting my product reviews done, but for now I will give both these great items two huge thumbs up.
    So where do I go from here?  Well I can say without a doubt this was my first, but defiantly will not be my last marathon.  When the next one will be remains a big question.  I was thinking before Columbus that if I finished the race and wanted to do another one it would be the Medical Mutual Glass City Marathon that I am one of the ambassadors for.  However, now I need to see how long my recover takes, because 7 days after that race I will be at my SoleMates reunion running a half marathon with them.  The way I feel 4 days after I am sure I could do the race, but I don't think it would be a PR attempt by any means.  The other thought I had was if I ran the Toledo half instead and the Indy half that next weekend I would qualify to join the Half Fanatics club which is on my my to do list.  So needless to say the decision to do the half or the full in Toledo is up in the air at this point.  For now, I think I am going to run the Monroe half in a couple weeks and do another turkey trot on thanksgiving.  Then I am going to concentrate on some speed work this winter and finally get down to my goal weight.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Columbus Marathon Post Race Review

     Saturday morning I packed up the car and Mandy, Widdle and I hit the road for the 2 1/2 drive to Columbus for the race.  When we got just north of the city we got caught in a little traffic due to the Ohio State football game.  My parents were waiting for us in the hotel lobby and helped us unload and get settled in.  We gave Widdle some time to get use to his surroundings before we headed to the race expo.  The expo was freaking packed when we got there and the layout was not the greatest.  The packet pickup was on the second floor terrace overlooking the expo floor.  The stairs for the packet pickup were all the way in the back of the hall, which was a pain to weave our way through the tight isle ways.  When we got up there I had to go to three different stations to get my bib, shirt and goodie bag.  There was a lot of vendors there, but the hall seemed to small for everything going on.  I couldn't really enjoy the expo so we decided to just head out and get dinner before I settled in for the night.

     I really did my best to get some sleep the night before, but I just couldn’t get my brain to shut down.  I am sure that is pretty typical for most people the night before their first marathon.  I finally dozed off at some point because I woke up to use the bathroom and the clock said 2:45 and the last time I remember seeing was around 10:30.  I had my alarm set to go off at 5AM, but I ended up waking up on my own a little after 4:30.  I hopped in the shower to help wake me up and then fixed myself something to eat.   For breakfast I had three slices of white bread with a little smart balance butter, some cinnamon and a little Truvia sprinkled on top along with I a Clif brand chocolate chip crunch granola bar and a bottle of water.  The night before I had my gear all laid out so I really didn’t have to think about what I needed when I was getting ready.  

     We met my parents in the hotel lobby at five minutes to six and slowly made our way down to the starting area.  I was concerned by how far the walk was going to be, but it turned out to not really be that bad.  The weather was pretty darn good for a start to a race.  The temp was in the low to mid 40s, hardly any wind at all and partly cloudy skies.  When we reached the start/finish line we looked around for where my parents, Mandy and Widdle were going to be when I started the race.  The layout didn’t allow for any spectators near the corals pre race so we wanted to figure out where they were all going to be and I made sure I was on that side of the street when I passed them.  We took a few pictures and I began to take off my warm up clothes and get myself situated.  We hugged, said our goodbyes and I made my way to the corrals.

     The race was scheduled to start at 7:30 and the corrals were to be closed at 7:00, so with fifteen minutes till seven I hit up the port a potties to drain the bladder one more time.  A word of advice to all runners, but specifically the ladies, if you use a port a potty and don’t want to have the door opened on you than use the lock.  When you fail to lock the door it reads open and others think it’s free to go in.  After that little incident I headed to corral B and made my way to the front along the left side fence so I would be sure to see my family when I started.  The start had a great vibe to it with a incredible sound system with a laser light show going.  My corral was about half full with about ten minutes to the start when the announcer came on the PA and said that all runners should be in their corrals.  It was like a stampede of late arrivals pushing and crowding their way into the corrals.  I really think there was a lot more people in my corral than there was suppose to and I really didn’t see anyone checking bibs to see if people were getting into their proper corrals either.  With five minutes to the start the singing of the National Anthem took place followed by the start of the wheel chair race.  A few minutes later a nice fireworks display signaled the start of the runners and after a couple of minutes of slow shuffling I passed the start line and gave my family some high fives and away I went on my journey.  

     I had said that I wanted to use a pace group to help with my pace of the race, but unfortunately that wasn’t going to happen.  The time I was shooting for was smack dab in the middle of two pace groups, so I thought, I have trained all this time by myself I am going to run this race all by myself.  The first mile was awesome and sucked all at the same time.  The road was kind of narrow and with all the extra people in my corral made it really hard to get a good rhythm going.  I was constantly speeding up and slowing down and I was so afraid I was going to trip on the feet of the temporary fence they had lining the street.  That being said the good part had to do with the spectator support.  It was incredible how many people were there cheering, clapping, holding signs and offering there support.  It literally gave me goose bumps for that first mile. 
     Once I got to mile two I started to get into a good rhythm and was really enjoying myself.  The runners started to get spaced out and I had a lot more room to stretch my legs.  This race had some really great areas to run through once we got out of the downtown concrete jungle. 
     For the first 6 miles of the race my pace seemed to be right on schedule.  I wanted to be between an 8:46 and an 8:50.  I figured that would keep me close to my goal pace and I wouldn’t burn myself out by going to fast in the first half of the race.  When I hit the 10K timing mat my pace was right on schedule at an 8:49 and that is when things went a little haywire.  My Garmin started giving me what I figured out to be false info due to bad reception from the satellites.  It started saying I was running an eight minute mile pace, which was way to fast and I was so afraid I was going to burn out to early so I slowed down.  It barely budged so I slowed down some more.  I was as close to a walk as you could get without truly walking and it said I was still doing an 8:25 pace. WTF!!!  It was at that point I knew something was wrong and I sped back up to what felt like the pace I was running.  Unfortunately it was to late and the damage was done, because when I crossed the half way timing mat my pace had dropped to an 8:59.  I was a little upset with myself, but I was still on pace for a sub 4 hour finish.  My plan was to do a negative split anyway for the second half of the race so without going to awful crazy I picked up the pace and started catching up to and passing a few people I was running with before my big slowdown.

OSU Stadium
     From mile thirteen to mile eighteen I was feeling pretty good, but as I expected the miles were starting to take its toll.  I changed up my playlist on my phone to give me a little boost and keep plugging away.  Miles nineteen and twenty were not as bad as I thought they were going to be going into it.  With everyone talking about hitting the wall I was expecting this huge change where my body had nothing left, but it never happened.  What did happen was my right thigh started to hurt and tighten up.  It started off slow and just kind of bugged me, but progressively got worse as the run went on.  If I had to say I hit the wall it was probably around mile twenty two when my legs felt like I was running in cement shoes, but that feeling faded pretty quickly by the time I got to mile twenty three. 
     Miles twenty three and four were the toughest for me because my right thigh was in so much pain.  I changed to more of a shuffle for a little while and then tried to do more of a high step to bend my leg a little more to try and stretch it out.  Just at that time Mandy called me to see how I was doing and to give me some encouragement.  It was like she new what I needed because even though I was talking about how bad my thigh hurt, talking to her helped me relax and keep my mind off of it.  After we hung up I told myself I came this freaking far without walking or stopping and I wasn’t going to start now.  Just before I hit mile twenty five the thigh started to loosen up and felt half way normal again.  I changed my playlist again to my “last Mile” playlist which started with Eminem’s Till I collapse.  The opening of that song was perfect for my situation and gave me the shot of adrenalin I needed.

       The whole time during my training I would visualize what it would be like as I ran that last 1.2 miles.  The thoughts and emotions I would feel as I took those last strides through the finishers shoot with my hands raised high in the air.  Well I got the hands raised in the air part right.  I was so focused on that last 1.2 miles I almost got tunnel vision.  I cranked up my music as loud as it would go and told myself I am going to give it everything I got till I cross that line.  I was so focused I barely noticed my Dad and Nephew waving at me and I totally missed Mandy, my Mom and my Sister screaming at me just before the finish line.

     It took quite a while for the weight of what I had just done to impact me.  I really think the overall shock to my body and aching pain was all I could feel at the time.  I was greeted by my family who were so happy for me, but all I could think about was my legs and how hard it was to walk.  Don’t get me wrong I was happy, how could you not be after completing a task such as a marathon, I just expected all those feelings to take place immediately at the finish line not a day or two later when I was able to sit back and reflect on it.  If I had to guess one of the big reasons I don't think I was able to just soak it all in and enjoy the moment is because of the hotel.  Apparently their was a Fleetwood Mac concert that night and the hotel was fully booked and they weren't allowing any late checkouts.  I finished around 11:30am so almost immediately I said we need to get going to I could get in a quick shower and pack up to head home.  This also kept me from enjoying all the post race festivities that were going on.
     This post has already gone on a little to long so I think I will end it here.  I'll come back with some final thoughts on my training, the race and what my future running plans are. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Marathon Training - Race Preview

      This year marks the 35th anniversary of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Marathon and Half marathon held in Columbus, Ohio. This year's race had a combined 18,000 available spots for both races, which sold out a few weeks ago.  Assuming that all 18,000 actually participate, it sounds like it will be a very crowded day for the runners and the spectators.  According to the race website, over 100,000 plus spectators show up to cheer the athletes along the entire course, including over 100 bands and entertainers to provide a great experience for both the spectators and runners.
    Over the past few months I have been receiving periodic email updates on any changes or additions to the race.  One of the things they are doing this year is two full blown starts.  What I mean by that is, normally they have the singing of the National Anthem then a fireworks display, followed by the send off of the runners.  I am guessing on how it will exactly go this year, but it sounds like they will do the usual start and let half of the field go and then do another full start with the National Anthem and fireworks for the other half as well.  This would allow the runners towards the back of the field to have the same experience as the runners in the front.  It makes total sense to me and shows that they value that all runners have the same great experience. 
     The course has made two changes this year.  The one that made the most impact which sounds like a huge upgrade from previous years is the start/finish line.  They have moved the start and finish lines and combined them in one area called North Bank Park.  Even though I have been to Columbus a few times I am not familiar with the area, but looking on Google maps and watching the course video on their site, it seems to be a great big area capable of housing all the runners and a lot of spectators.  The down side to this is it will be a longer walk down to the start line from all most all of the hotels in the downtown area.  I did a quick route calculator and the rough distance to the old start line is a little less than a mile from where I am staying, while the new start is roughly 1.3 miles from the the hotel.  I guess I can put a positive spin on it and say I will be good and loose when I get to the start line.
     For info on the title sponsor of the race I visited their website and here is what they had to say The Nationwide Children’s Hospital has been the title and beneficiary for the Marathon & 1/2 Marathon for the past three years now.  More than $2 Million has been raised for the Hospital since the partnership started in 2012, which includes a $350,000 contribution from the Columbus Marathon board of trustees. Now I am not a representative of the hospital or the race in anyway, but I do believe in helping the children who have to suffer through the many cancer and life threatening diseases that are out there.  So if would like to, here is the link, I took from the race website, where you can make a donation to aid in the life-saving work of Nationwide Children's Hospital. CLICK HERE.
     One other really cool thing the race also does is what it calls Patient Champions.  They have 24 patients of the hospital set up at each mile of the race with giant foam hands so the runners can give them high fives as they go by.  The other two miles of the marathon are miles that honor those that have participated in previous years and those that unfortunately have lost their battle.  Below I copied and pasted the words that the website uses to eloquently describe this: "The Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon is about much more than running or walking an incredible distance. It’s about 24 Patient Champions whose stories, one at each mile will inspire you, one Angel Mile to honor, remember, and celebrate those who have already finished their race, and one Encore Mile for the patients who Participated in previous events. Meet them here.  26.2 miles, each with a different story, a new inspiration, and another reason to keep running. These miraculous kids will be on each mile of the marathon on October 19th, supporting you every step of the way."

WEATHER FORECAST : A look into Al Roker's Crystal Ball
     It looks like the weather is going to cooperate and give us a nice and cool rain free day.  We are still more than 24 hours out so this can and probably will change I'm sure.  For now I am feeling pretty good about what I am seeing, just got to hope that mother nature gets all the rain out of her system tomorrow.

     Let us discuss race goals.  When I started running a couple of years ago I seemed to play it safe with my goals because I didn't want to fail.  When I would run a new distance all I would worry about is finishing that distance, which was really playing it safe because other than the marathon I have done all the other race distances in my training runs prior to the race.  Now I haven't run a distance further than 20 miles so technically I really don't know if I can do the full 26.2, but based on how my training went and as long as I don't have any major problems or injuries I can reasonably assume I am going to be able to at least finish.  It might take me six hours, but I could finish the distance.  So I think a goal of just finishing is playing it safe and a waste of all the hard work I have put in this year, so I am giving myself a time goal as well.  When I started training I was thinking a 4:30 or better time, but I quickly learned that that was to slow for my abilities at that time.  So I set a goal of trying to do 3:59:59 or better time, which day one of my training felt like the right goal.  About half way through my training I realized that I could push my goal a little more based on how my runs were goingSo I reevaluated and decided on anything between a 3:55 and 3:59 is doable for me.  Toward the last quarter of my training, my race pace runs were continually coming in at a pace the would put me around a 3:50 to a 3:52, so I said that should be doable for me.  The key word is doable! If that is what I think is doable than I am going to try for one notch  past doable.  What does that look: 
Avg. of 8:46 per mile
     I truly think that if everything goes well I could achieve this time.  My race pace training runs have been pretty steady at an 8:50 per mile, so I think I can push myself a little more for a sub 3:50 marathon.  To be honest, if I don't and I finish with a 3:59 or a 4:10 or even slower, that is a hell of a lot better than my previous marathon time, o:oo LOL  I have a pace strategy in mind so we will see on race day how it all shakes out.  Hell you never know maybe I'll freak and play it safe, or maybe I'll get out there and a 3:49 was even still playing it safe for me.  We will see on Sunday!!
      The race is well organized with an established history and should play a great host to many of first time marathoners like myself.  I am excited to begin this final chapter on this journey that began roughly 6 months ago.  With all the hours of training, the early morning runs, the afternoon long runs and all the sacrifices to allow for it has come down to this, my victory lap.  The race is nothing more than being able to enjoy the fruits of my labor of these past 6 months.  I may have time goals I have set for myself, but at the end of the day, all that really matters is to be able to cross the finish line and join the brothers and sisters who call themselves Marathoners.

* For quick access to my entire Marathon training journal click the "Marathon Journal" tab just below the Running In The Fat Lane header

Thursday, October 16, 2014

marathon training week 15 recap


     That is it, I am all done.  Thursday and Friday is nothing but rest and stretching for me and Saturday will be my travel and expo day.  Thank you all for following along on my journey to twenty six point two miles.  No matter what the out come is on Sunday, the training was an experience all its own.  I have to say I have learned a lot about myself, and what I can accomplish when drive and determination is fueling it.  

    34 cold ass degrees this morning and with everything that went on yesterday I really wanted to get some rest.  I slept in and then spent some time with Mandy, Jedi & Widdle before I headed to work.  I figured I could get my run in when I get home.
     I got out of work at a decent time which allowed me to get home and get the lawn mowed before I got my run in.  The weather was a perfect mid 50s with some cloud cover and barely any wind.  Tonight is my last race pace and longest run until the marathon.  I headed out and almost instantly new this was going to be a great run.  I had a spring in my step and my legs felt strong.  As the run went on I just felt better and better.  The last mile I pushed it just a little and when I hit the last quarter mile I visualized running to the finish line and kicked it out to the end.

  Well my second to last run is in the books.  It was pretty warm out for 5am, more like spring than fall weather.  I think what made it feel so warm was the humidity.  We had rain come through last night so it was a damp sticky mess out there.  The run itself went pretty well despite my legs felt a little tired at the beginning.  Once I got 3/4 of a mile in they loosened up and the run seemed to get smoother.  Pace was pretty rock solid at where I wanted to be except for mile three.  I really didn't want to push the pace that hard but I think subconsciously my body has learned to add a little to the last mile and I think that is what happened here.   

   Today is a rest day for me.  My plan all week is to do some stretching in the morning and in the evening so I can keep my body loose.  One more short run tomorrow and that is it until Sunday!

     On this morning’s run, I wanted to keep it nice, light and easy.  Thankfully the weather cooperated with me and gave me some real nice conditions to run in.  The temps were in the low to mid 50s with practically zero wind and no rain in sight.  We have had a lot of rain the past couple days and even last night, so when I headed out it was quite wet out.  The storms also made for a lot of tree debris to dodge on the bike path.  Since I wanted to keep things nice and easy I kept my pace right around the ten minute per mile mark.  I didn’t want to “burn myself out” by going to fast, but I wanted to give my legs a chance to stretch out and get loose.  I felt fine, but I didn’t feel like I had that spring in my step like I had on my Sunday run.  I will say that I had zero fatigue in my legs despite the fact that I was only doing a three miler.  When I got back I did my usual stretches and I wanted to get in one more round of push ups so all I would have to do the next three days is relax and do some light stretching to stay loose.  Currently I am at 60 reps that I would normally do in three sets of 20, but this time I switched it up and did two sets of 30 reps.

* For quick access to my entire Marathon training journal click the "Marathon Journal" tab just below the Running In The Fat Lane header

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wednesday Weigh In & Long run??

     I am not really sure what happened this week, I thought to myself, after what I saw on the scale this morning.  The reason is because I have drastically decreased my running mileage and increased my food consumption as well.  I haven’t gone overboard with my food, but I have increased the caloric intake with the majority of that increase coming from high carbohydrate foods.  I have added a lot of potatoes, brown rice and pasta to my diet this past week, mainly to load up on the carbs for the marathon.  To be totally honest I figured I would be up a couple of pounds because of it.  I’ll gladly take the drop, but sometimes the body really doesn’t make any sense to me.  Anyway, a loss is a loss and I will celebrate it like all the others, and keep working towards my goal!

10/15/14 official weigh in
178 lbs
Change: -1.5 lbs
Total loss from heaviest: 139 lbs
Current BMI: 27.8 (overweight)
Change: -.3

Not much of a long run, hahaha!  A three mile super easy pace run would be my last of my marathon training schedule and last run before Sunday's race.  Normally I post about my Wednesday run here as well, but since I will be posting my last training recap tomorrow instead of Sunday I figured I would just post it there. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Loss & The Heartbreak

 You left my life,
But you will never leave my heart!

     It is a sad time in the Running In The Fat Lane household.  We were faced with the decision that no parent of a furry four legged child ever want to have to make.  I know this blog is geared toward my running and weight loss journey, but sometimes life throws you a curve ball that really can affect you.  I thought this would be a nice way to remember our little Stinka and give you all a little window into the family side of my life.
     Back on Valentine's Day of 2003 I asked Mandy to marry me, obviously she said yes, but that was the genesis to where Stinka would eventually enter our lives.  At this point we were not living together and we had decided to have our wedding in June of 2004, so we were trying to decide between renting our buying a home.  At this time the rates were pretty good and it made a lot more sense to buy, so we started looking for our home.  One day we were out shopping and stopped into a Petland store to look around and play with the puppies.  Now I know what your thinking, a fucking pet store, but when we saw Stinka we fell in love with him.  We were young, stupid and didn't know any better, but even those poor dogs deserve loving homes too.  Anyway, we bought him and Hemi became part of our lives.
     To explain the name thing, we originally named him Hemi and stuck with it for a while.  He was trained on it and all his vet papers and his original ID tag had that name.  Well as time went on Hemi became pretty known for; well his stinky farts!!  We were constantly commenting on how bad they were.  Mandy and her family are known for giving their pets all kinds of little nicknames, and one night Mandy called him Stinka.  Over time we were using Stinka more and more and Hemi less and less.  Before we new it, Hemi was a lost cause and Stinka would forever be his name.

     In October of 2003 Stinka, Harley (my black domestic short hair cat), Mandy and I moved into our new home.  It wasn't long after that that we felt like Stinka needed a friend and we brought Chopper, who through the same nickname process is now named Mr. Widdle, into our home.  The next 11 years Stinka has been nothing short of pure joy in our lives.  Dogs always seem to know when you need a pick me up and Stinka was always there to give us kisses, I mean A LOT OF KISSES, even when we didn't want any.  Stinka sure didn't like other people a whole hell of a lot, but he did love other dogs.  He would always wanna play with the neighbor dog and bark at every little noise he heard outside, which annoyed the shit out of Mandy and me, but today I miss it terribly.

     I am not going to get into the details of what led us to this decision because frankly it doesn't fucking matter.  It is a hard and painful decision and I don't envy anyone who has to do it.  All that matters to us is that we had 11 wonderful years with him and that we were able to give him what all dogs want, a home with parents that love him.  He was our child, our first child and we loved him every day of his little life. 

RIP Stinka

Mommy & Daddy love you and miss you

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Marathon Training Week 14 Recap

      This week has seen a lot of changes to my usual routine that I have been maintaining.  Sunday I was originally scheduled to run a local 15K race that I won a free entry to, but unfortunately that race was cancelled.  When one door closes, another one will open because I found about a cool 5K happening the same day so I headed out to that one.  All I have left is one 6 mile run and two 3 mile runs next week.  I am starting to get that nervous excited feeling, more excited than nervous, but I am sure that will change the closer we get to Sunday.  This week also saw a sad day in my life with the loss of our beloved chihuahua Stinka.  It was hard to say goodbye, but it had to be done to end his suffering. 

     I decided late Friday night to participate in a 5K that my sister was volunteering at.  My sister got involved with a charity group called The Arms Forces that raises money and helps veterans with "invisible" wounds like PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), brain injuries and any other non visible injuries.  My sister isn't a veteran, but she is a stroke survivor and has been looking to help those that are going through the same issues that she has had to face.  This group put together a 5K that took place on the runways of the Toledo Express Airport.
*********Click Here for the race recap!*********

     A normal rest day for me, but after my 5K yesterday, a day of rest was totally welcomed.

    Not a lot to truly tell on this one.  It was a 4 mile run at my easy pace, and to be honest it was a little hard to keep my pace slow, and I guess that is a good problem to have.  The weather was nice, a little on the cool side, but made for an enjoyable run.  I did have my first close encounter with a deer today.  The moon was pretty bright and I had my headlamp fired up, so about a half mile in I see two glowing eyes that were almost as tall as me about 25 yards ahead.  I could tell they weren't human, but it caught me off guard.  I clapped my hands a couple of times real loud and all of a sudden they vanished.  I caught a glimpse of a white tail hopping away from me just before it turned into the corn field and disappeared.  That was the only heart stopping part of the run I had to deal with.  When I got back to the house I stretched out and did three sets of 20 pushups.  Yeah that's right I did 60 freaking pushups!

     I stayed up a little late last night watching tv and I really was feeling tiredI gave myself the opportunity to sleep in about twenty five minutes later than I normally would despite the fact I was scheduled to run a race pace 4 mile out and back route.  I decided in the grand scheme of things one mile isn't gonna make or break my training and I didn't want to leave myself with less time to get ready for work.  When you have a puppy you need all the time you can get when getting things ready for you to leave.  I know this is a training journal, but there really isn't anything to report on this run.  I felt good for all three miles and was able to keep my pace splits nice and close.  

     Taking a taper period rest day :)

     I went for my final double digit run of my training.  I used this run as my test run for all my equipment and what I am planning on wearing.  I set up my route to be mostly flat with only one overpass because my right foot is still slightly bothering me and I didn't want to over do it.  I did want to get one more longer distance run in that was right in my race pace window.  By the time I was able to get out it had warmed up considerably.  I felt pretty good for the whole run, but my inner thighs were feeling a little tight.  I got a little lazy on my stretching the last few days so I am gonna guess that is the problem.  Anyway, I held my pace pretty well except for my 9th mile.  I got a call and wasn't paying attention to my pace as I let it slip.  Unfortunately I didn't have enough time to speed up and save that mile, but no worries, its just a training run.

     No run scheduled today since I am cutting back during my taper.  I have 3 more runs early next week and that will be it for this training journal.
Week 15 begins now

* For quick access to my entire Marathon training journal click the "Marathon Journal" tab just below the Running In The Fat Lane header