Saturday, December 27, 2014

Run With Me, FOR FREE!!!!!!

     While Santa was making his rounds dropping off all his gifts to the good boys and girls of the world he did a favor for the organizers of the Glass City Marathon and dropped off TWO FREE ENTRIES for me to give away to two lucky readers of my blog.  The winners of these two entries may use them to participate in their choice of The Glass City Marathon, Owens Corning Half Marathon or 5K

     It was an honor for me to be asked to represent this race, not only because it is my hometown race, but because it is such a well organized race that takes great care to deliver a top notch race experience.  The Glass City Marathon prides itself on being a flat fast course great for those going for a Boston Qualifying time, better known as a BQ.  If nothing more than a great race experience is your goal than look no further.  Race weekend features corrals at the starting line, pacing teams, chip timing and a finishers book that is sent to you after the race.  Marathon and Half Marathon finishers receive a quality made finishers medal that you will feel proud to display around your neck.  Additionally, every runner receives a quality event shirt and a glass mug paying homage to Toledo, which is known also as The Glass City.  Amongst all that the organizers manage to put together a wonderful post race party featuring top notch local musical entertainment, quality food from from local establishments, free swag from local business and sponsors, FREE Massages for runners and last but not least most runners favorite post race adult brewed beverage.  There has been beer in years past anyway so I am assuming there will be this year.

The drawing is now closed
*These entries cannot be used for entry into the relay event, but may be used in the Glass City Marathon, Owens Corning Half Marathon or 5K on race weekend of 2015.  I am not buying you a race entry, the amazing people who put together this race weekend are allowing me to slide you in for free due to my status as a Glass City Marathon ambassador.
     Just a reminder, the early bird registration period for these races ends at the end of the year and the price will increase on January 1st.  If you don't wanna wait to see if you won a free registration and want to take advantage of the early bird pricing you my do so by clicking here for registration.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Wednesday Weigh In / The Shame Of It All

     Merry Christmas Eve everyone!!  Today is going to be a very busy day for me as I am working 9-2 then I am heading to my sister's for a Christmas Eve get togetherI went ahead and wrote this up last night because I knew I wasn't going to have any time today to write it.  I did however wait till this morning to do my weigh in so I can stay consistent with what numbers I report.  Thank God I waited because if this is what I saw this morning, just think what it would have said if I did it last night.  So lets just get this out of the way right now.

12/24/14 official weigh in
179 lbs
Change: +3.5 lbs
Total loss from heaviest: 138 lbs
Current BMI: 28.0 (overweight)
Change: +.5

      I have debated whether to write about this or not, but after seeing what the scale had to say I think it warranted a truthful response.  So on December 19th we had our company Christmas pot luck, which is always bad for us food-a-holics because of the smorgasbord of food available.  The pot luck took place during work and being the manager of my department I decided to let my employees go ahead and eat while I covered the department.  I felt that was the right thing to do, but what it did was gave me almost an hour to wait to eat so I was extremely hungry when it was my turn to dive in.  Now of course I was going to enjoy myself, it was a holiday party, so I filled my plate with a sandwich, some chips and cheesy potatoes.  The cheesy potatoes were really good so I went back for seconds, but didn’t over do it. 

     Now this is where things went all kinds of wrong.  By this time I was all by myself in the lunch room with a bunch of cookies, brownies, chocolate covered pretzels and buckeyes.  I told myself I could have one cookie and one buckeye, well all that did was start that little tiny snowball rolling down hill.  With no one around for me to feel embarrassed for gorging myself and before I new it I was 5 heavily frosted and sprinkled sugar cookies and 5 rich chocolate & peanut butter buckeyes in.  I had that disgusted ashamed feeling, yet I couldn’t stop myself.  I had to physically walk out of the lunch room to keep from eating any more and yet it was all I could think about.  More! More! More! is all my brain would comprehend.  I started chewing some Extra gum to try and keep myself from going back once the minty flavor of the gum kicked in.  The trick worked, but the damage had already been done.

     Now add to that, Saturday my parents arrived in town for Christmas and the family all met at Fricker’s to eat dinner.  There is not one healthy thing about Fricker’s, but boy does it taste good.  I ended up eating cheese fries and greasy breaded wings like it was no big deal.  Normally I don’t make a big deal about it, but because I haven’t been running or getting any exercise recently I am not burning the calories to allow this kind of behavior.

     I have no reason to think this is the beginning of the end and I will slip and slide all the way back to 300 pounds, but it sure did scare me how easy it was.  Especially considering how hard I have worked to get to where I am.  I wasn’t going to write this because it is really fucking embarrassing to admit, but it’s the truth and this is what I struggle with. 

 Merry Christmas Everyone!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Glass City Marathon Preview

     Can you believe there is only a few days left this year, where did the time go.  I don't know about you, but I have been thinking a lot about what races I want to run this next year.  Most of the summer and fall races haven't opened their registrations yet, but the spring races sure have.  Now is the time to pick which event and what race distance you wish to embark on.  My spring will open with my 3rd run-aversary, a 5K, followed up by the Glass City Marathon!

     The Glass City Marathon features four race options that allow everyone to participate.  The thing I love most about this event is how well it caters to runners of all abilities.  Those of you that have run multiple races before would feel comfortable at this event, but for those that have never run a single race or a "big city" race will enjoy the small town atmosphere with a big city feel.  

     So the Glass City sounds like the perfect event for you, but you just need to decide which race distance to run?  Well here is a quick rundown to help with your choice or click here to visit their website.

At a lot of races the available 5K doesn't always get the same treatment as the those participating in the longer distance events.  At the Glass City Marathon, the staff does quite a bit to ensure this doesn't happen.  When I ran this race two years ago, I was so impressed on how 5K participants got the same start through the corrals as the half and marathon runners got.  The course was quite nice, but what was really exciting was the finish.  The race concluded just like the others with a grand finish in the Glass Bowl Stadium.  This was only my second race I ever ran and I did not feel intimidated at all the entire time.

5 Person Glass City Marathon Relay
I was really considering this as an option this year as my friend Katie from my Strangers to Sole Mates Ragnar team put together three teams for this year's race.  It allows those that are ready for a longer distance than a 5K, but isn't quite ready for a half or full marathon.  How it works is a team of five runners will complete the entire marathon distance. Each runner will run one leg of varying distance handing off a runners belt containing your scoring chip to the next team member at each relay exchange zone. The course is the same as the marathon course. Exchange zones will be marked with flags and cones. Hand-offs must occur within these zones.  One nice feature to this option is if you want to be part of a relay team and also participate in the half marathon or marathon event you may do so by acting as the first leg of the relay team and continuing on the course after the first exchange. To do this you will be required to register for both the individual event and the 5-Person Marathon Relay.
Relay Leg Approximate Distances
Leg 1 – 5.1 Miles
Leg 2 – 6.1 Miles
Leg 3 – 4.4 Miles
Leg 4 – 5.3 Miles
Leg 5 – 5.3 Miles

Owens Corning Half Marathon
I ran this race last year and absolutely loved it.  You get to see some of the best parts of the city with great fan support almost the entire time.  If you want to read my race recap from last year click here.  The half marathon course will begin in the center of the University of Toledo campus between lot 10 and Lot 6 on Stadium Drive. Heading north into the quiet neighborhoods of Old Orchard and Ottawa Hills, the course leads you to the area’s finest Metroparks system utilizing the University Parks bike Trail. A loop through Wildwood Metropark then back through Ottawa Hills to a short tour of the UT campus concluding with a grand finish in the Glass Bowl Stadium.  Walkers are welcome and will share the same start time and route. The half marathon course will remain open until 11am.

Glass City Marathon
 The marathon course will begin in the center of the University of Toledo campus between Lot 10 and Lot 6 on Stadium Drive. Heading north into the quiet neighborhoods of Old Orchard and Ottawa Hills, the course leads you to the area’s finest Metroparks system utilizing the University Parks bike Trail. A tour through Sylvania leads you to Olander Park, passing the statue of Sy Mah then back down the bike trail to a short tour of the UT campus concluding with a grand finish in the Glass Bowl Stadium.  This course has little elevation changes, smooth paved roads, and is expected to provide very fast race times and a memorable experience.

When it comes to training plans, and if you are a regular reader to my blog you know that this can be a hard decision to make.  Just type a Google search for a training plan and you'll get hundreds if not thousands of suggested ways to train.  What I did was cherry pick the best parts of two different plans the Hanson's Marathon Method   and the Hal Higdon Method along with suggestions from my friends that have trained for many many races.  If you have never run a mile or looking to make the jump to the next unfamiliar distance then I would say go with Hal Higdon's plans.  He has plans for all skill levels and all distances and gives great descriptions for each plan to help you choose the right plan for you.  If you are looking to do the half or full marathon and have a few races under your belt and want to push yourself to achieve that next PR than Hanson's Marathon Method may be for you.  Tread carefully, this plan requires total dedication and a lot of time as you are running lots and lots of miles 6 days a week.  I would suggest that you read the book before you attempt the Hanson's plan.

     As of now my plan is to run the Owens Corning Half Marathon, only because I am running another half marathon six days later with my Strangers to Sole Mates reunion.  If it wasn't for my reunion I would have chosen to run the full marathon.  If you are like me and have events so close together you need to take that into consideration into what distances you plan to run.  You know yourself better than anyone and for me I know how much time I need to recover from a marathon versus the half marathon, which is why I chose the half marathon.  Another thing you need to consider is your fitness level and how much time you can devote to your training.  This is the one thing you really need to have a come to Jesus conversation with yourself about.  I don't care if you are going to run the marathon or the 5K, any of these distances can be a humbling experience if you don't properly train and stay within your fitness abilities.  Find the best training plan that fits your schedule and you can honestly commit the next 2 to 4 months of your life to.

     I hope the info I provided about the event and available training plans will help aid you in your choice of which race you would like to embark on.  I hope to see you all toeing the line April 26, 2015.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Wednesday Weigh In / Tattoo Day!!!

     If you were to ask me, there is no better way to spend a cold windy day off from work than all day in the comfort of a tattoo artist's chair. Since I finished my first marathon, I new I was going to get a tattoo to commemorate my achievement, so it was just a matter of time before I got it done. My tattoo artist is quite sought after in my area, so I had to make my appointment over a month ago. My plan for this appointment was to get my race medal on my leg to go along with my first half marathon medal and get a memorial piece for our dog Stinka that passed away. I have been trying to come up with ideas of what I wanted to get since the day it happened, but I couldn't settle on what I wanted till literally the night before. My appointment wasn't till noon so it gave me time to get my chores and my weigh in out of the way. Since the whole reason for this post in the first place is my weigh in, I'll get that out of the way now.  I gained a half pound from last week, but no complaints here.

12/17/14 official weigh in
175.5 lbs
Change: +.5 lbs
Total loss from heaviest: 141.5 lbs
Current BMI: 27.5 (overweight)
Change: +.1

     I got to Lucky Luke's Tattoo Studio, 1610 West State St. Fremont, Oh 43420 (419-333-8282) in case you were wondering, and Luke and I started mapping out the day. First he would draw up the race medal and then we would knock that out because it would take up the majority of the time. Once that was finished, he would draw up the memorial tattoo and lay it on me. Mandy was getting her memorial tattoo for Stinka as well once she got off of work.

     The race medal had a fairly simple design to it, especially compared to the Detroit Half Marathon Medal that he did for me previously, but sometimes looks can be deceiving. The medal had subtle details stamped in it and a metal flake blue inlay that proved to be a slight challenge to recreate. Other than it taking just as long, if not longer than the marathon was for me to run I think it came out AWESOME.  Luke managed to capture all the details to make a two dimensional image look three dimensional. No matter what happens in the future with my actual race medal I will always have it with me to remind me I am capable of some incredible things.

      With Stinka's tattoo, I didn't have a lot of room to play with on my arm and my original design was to tall for the space I had available. Luke looked at the space and reimagined it perfectly. I wanted something simple and basic, but still had some character to it. I love old school designs and that is what we came up with. We took the cross and banner from the original design I had and added a paw print and a little cloud shaped filler to complete the look. I think it came out amazing and Mandy loved it so much she ended up ditching her idea and getting the same piece.

      Anyway, to give you a quick update on my knee injury, my friend Hilary from my Ragnar SoCal team gave me a few ideas and also suggested I meet with a sports physical therapist. She has been struggling with the same issue and said the therapist made a big difference with her recovery.  With my tattoo fresh on the leg I won't be running for a couple weeks anyway, so I have been researching local therapists and plan to make an appointment with one for the first week of the new year.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

1000 Miles and Depressed

     Today's run was my first back in two weeks due to my continuous IT Band issues.  I went out without using the IT band isolator strap.  My ultimate goal is to get back to original form so I wanted to see how I would do without it.  I headed out keeping my pace quite slow and just trying to concentrate on my form.  Somewhere around the mile and a half mark I was starting to feel the tightness in my knee with some minor pain.  I hit the turnaround and ended up stopping so I could stretch out the IT band.  I walked for maybe 20 yards and then got back to it with no problems.  As I suspected The pain crept back and I ended up stopping again to stretch things out and walk it out.  Again I was pain free for a little while, but like I was expecting, pain came back.  once I hit the 3 mile mark I gave up and walked the last mile home.

     When I got home I was feeling frustrated and depressed, and realized I was only 1.1 miles away from hitting the 1000mile mark for the year.  I finished my stretches and thought to myself, I am not going to run again for the rest of the year so fuck it I am gonna go out and at least hit the millennium mark for the year.  I geared up and headed down the bike trail for a half mile and turned around to head back.  The whole time I was thinking this a stupid idea to continue to run, but I wanted a victory of some kind today.

     Now where do I go from here.  I am officially done for the year.  I have a tattoo apt in a couple of days and combine that with the knee issues I am just going to hang up the shoes till January.  I am also going to seek professional help in the form of a sports physical therapist.  I found out today that in Ohio you don't have to see and get a doctor's note before you can see a SPT, you can go directly to them.  I am going to contact a couple of places and see what I need to do to get started.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

PVC gym equipment

     With the I.T. band issues I have been having I have been doing a lot of research on recovery and prevention.  The main component of prevention is getting the muscles that surround and connect to the I.T. band stronger.  Obviously there are many ways to accomplish this, but the last thing I want to do is pay a ton of money for a gym membership, so I started researching body weight exercises.  The more and more I read, the more I got interested in overall strength.  I found a site called Nerd Fitness that had a youtube video on a simple playground workout for those that don’t have access to a gym while they were traveling.  My town has a great playground that was perfect for this, so I gave it a try, but the down side to this is the overall timing with winter setting in.

     As I continued to research I found people creating workout equipment out of PVC pipe to allow them to do the same moves I was doing at the playground.  I came across this one that allowed for everything I wanted to do, all in one self contained set up.  I downloaded a couple of pictures from the site and wrote down their materials list and went to work on recreating it. 

     The site recommended that for people below 180 pounds, the 1 ½ inch pipe was sufficient, anyone over that should use 2 inch pipe to prevent the pipe from bowing and possibly breaking.  Being that I am right on the border I chose to go with the 2 inch, just to be safe.  The website suggested you measure from your hip bone to the floor to get the proper height for the horizontal bars.  The width I figured out when I put two folding chairs together and simulated a dip to see how wide would be comfortable and measured the distance between.  As far as the rest of the measurements I simple made a guess on what I think would be enough to create a steady platform.  For my set up I went with 3ft by 2.5ft for the base and 3ft tall for the parallel bars.  After I finished all the measurements I added up all the lengths I needed to give me a total length so I new how much material I had to buy.

Here is what you will need:
28 - foot of PVC pipe (your measurements will determine how much you need)
6 - T connectors
8 - 90 degree elbows
Hacksaw - to cut the sections you need
Sharpie - to mark your measurements
Masking Tape - this helps maintain a straight cut if you don’t have a miter box
Glue - I used Gorilla brand expanding super glue, but there is PVC specific glue available

(On a side note, the PVC pipe at Lowes was sold in 5ft and 10ft section.  The 10ft section was only a little more than a dollar more than the 5ft section, I am guessing because it was pre-cut, so I would suggest going with the 10ft pieces and save some money.)

          I got started by measuring out one piece at a time and cut as I went.  I would dry fit each piece as I went making sure everything was square.  Once I finished the base and it was all dry fit together I started on the uprights and parallel bars.  Since I didn’t have step by step directions I took my time and would refer back to the pictures for guidance.  Once I was completely done, I gave it a quick test run and worked perfectly.  Now I just had to disassemble and glue it up.  I glued it up just as I built it, starting with the base; I would glue a couple of sections at a time to ensure they stayed square until the glue set.  After the base was finished I let it sit overnight to fully cure before I started the uprights.

     After it was all assembled and glued I let it sit over night to let the glue fully cure.  Since then it has worked exactly as I hoped it would have.  If I had to do it all over again I would highly recommend to spend a little extra and get the glue designed specifically for assembling PVC.  I have already had to re-glue one section, but I think that is because I didn't get enough glue in the joint the first time.  Anyway, this has been a fun project to work on and I am glad I did it.  

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Wednesday Weigh In

      Sorry for the lack of posts the last week or so.  My intentions with this blog was to talk about my ups and downs with my running and weight loss, but both of those have seemed to have stalled for now, which has left me with little to say. 

     Today marks ten straight days without a run and it has been awfully hard to wake up every day and not go for a run.  Especially when that's all you have been doing for the past two years.  The hard part with this injury is that it only really hurts when I am running or just finished running.  Right now my knee feels great, but unless I run I won't know for sure and I can't heal the injury without restraining from running.  Its a frustrating challenge to say the least. 
     I have to say though, I have been quite impressed with myself sticking to my homemade workout routine.  Every time I say to myself I think I'll just skip it tonight I remind myself this is all I got and I need to continue till I can get back to running full time.  Also, it is the only stress reliever I have and right now boy do I need it.  Work has been super crazy.  For reasons I am not going to go into we had to let one of our employees go and I am the only other person on staff that has the skills and abilities to do the job he was performing, so not only am I doing all my duties I have a whole second job to accomplish as well.  My boss has been great, understanding and thankful for my willingness to step in and do what is needed for the company, but I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little stressed out.  

     Sunday will be the 14th day of my non running recovery and I think I am going to lace up the shoes and head out for a short two mile run.  Nothing fast, just let my body tell me how fast to go.  Then I'll take another week or so off and continue the leg strengthening exercises.  I am scheduled to get tattooed next Wednesday and running with a fresh tat on your leg doesn't go very well together.  I'll let the tat heal up and then try another two mile run and see how things progress from there.

     Now for the weigh in.  I was able to have a nice little victory this morning with the scale.  I managed to squeeze out another half pound, which I was quite happy with.  With today's number that puts me only two freaking pounds away from goal!  It seems like such a long journey to get to this point, but am I glad I started it.   

12/10/14 official weigh in
175 lbs
Change: -.5 lbs
Total loss from heaviest: 142 lbs
Current BMI: 27.4 (overweight)
Change: -.1

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Wednesday Weigh In

     Well what does one do when they can't run, its your day off and your wife is off today?  SLEEP IN!!!  Yep that's right sleeping in was what was on my agenda for the morning.  Once we crawled out of bed we crashed on the coach and cuddled with the pups.  We were trying to figure out what to do for the day when Mandy mentioned she had a gift card to the movie theater so an afternoon screening of the current Hunger Games movie and a large tub of popcorn was on tap.  Before we left I got my official weigh in done and it felt like deja vu when I looked down at the scale.  I swear I am not using the same picture from last week either.  I even stepped off and back on again just to make sure.  I am not complaining at all and will take it.

12/3/14 official weigh in
175.5 lbs
Change: 0 lbs
Total loss from heaviest: 141.5 lbs
Current BMI: 27.5 (overweight)
Change: 0

     After the movie I ran a quick errand before we headed home to do what, watch last night's Sons of Anarchy episode.  I know how it sounds, that all I did today was spend it on my ass, and damn it I enjoyed every minute.  However I did manage to not be a complete slug today.  I spent an hour this evening doing my body weight exercises and my IT band stretching routine.  My homemade pvc workout contraption has been working well for me.  I had Mandy snap a couple pics of me for proof I really did something today! :)