Friday, March 27, 2015

Wearin' The Green 7K - Race Recap

     This was a race I did last year and really enjoyed, despite the extremely cold temperatures and wind chills from the wind coming right off of the lake.  The event is held at Maumee Bay State Park right along the coast of lake Erie and is home to some great camping, golfing, swimming and a lodge with all the amenities.  I will say the race organizers get an A+ for being honest when it comes to the description of their race, just read the what they posted on imATHLETE:
"Let’s be honest about this race for a moment. This race has the absolutely worse weather of any outdoor event not only in the Midwest, but perhaps in the entire US (of course I have not done that Ultra marathon in Death Valley, so I could be wrong). Due to the time of year and the unique positioning of Maumee Bay State Park right on the shore of Lake Erie, the running conditions border on being suicidal! Expect Gale Force Winds, Snow, Sleet, Rain, Freezing Temperatures, Icy & Snow covered Roads, swarms of locusts, and the four horsemen of the apocalypse, all in the same 4.34 mile course. This race makes running a marathon look really easy!!!! If you had a brain in your head, you would run screaming from this entry form, but as I know you will not, don’t come complaining to me on race day about the weather. Oh, by the way the four horsemen don’t get scored in the age groups, so that is at least one positive thing. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED! Don’t even think that I cancel this race for any of the above conditions, just get your snow shoes and survival gear ready and pay up the insurance before you come! Now back to the entry form."
     Last year we had cold temps and gale force winds, this year it was just freaking cold.  The course weaves its way around the grounds of the park, utilizing the road and paved bicycle trails.  Once you get about a half mile from the lodge you are some what protected from the trees, but that all changes for the last mile.  You turn north to exit the campground area and climb a small hill to come face to face with the frigid Lake Erie wind.  This year the wind wasn't that bad, but any wind coming off that lake, just makes everything cold.  You continue along the lake  for the majority of that last mile before turning south for the finish back at the lodge.

     Once I finished, I headed to my car to grab a Powerade and dump some of my gear so I could take a few pictures.  It was perfect timing, just as I was finished taking a selfie at the start/finish line, my friend and Fremont Inland Turtle Running Group mate April was just coming down the final stretch.  I shot a couple pictures of her and saw she was being closely followed by a guy with his little dog.  The dog was so cute, and this gave me the thought to start training with Jedi to maybe run this race next year with me.  Later I found out from April that the dog kept barking at her, as to say, good job keep going.  After that we walked back down the final stretch to watch and cheer the other runners as we waited for the other Turtles to finish.

     We headed for the lodge to get warmed up, grab some grub and check the final results.  They had a nice spread again complete with bananas, bagels various cookies and of course their well known large shamrock shaped sugar cookies with thick green icing, Mmmmmm.  They are in limited supply and go quick so I didn't have a chance to get a shot of them, but I did manage to eat one, which I split with April.   

     Shamrock shaped medals are given to the first 60 finishers, and last year my goal was just to finish with a good time and be a top 60 finisher.  I ended up finishing in 36:59 @ 8:29 per mile avg. and got myself a medal.  This year I wanted to better my time and get another medal and boy did I do that.  I finished with an overall time of 32:26 @ 7:28 per mile avg. and not only did I get a medal, I finished 24th overall and 4th in my age group which netted me a nice beer mug.  I was super happy with how things went and how my knee held up. 

     My next race coming up is my 3rd Run-aversary at the Run the Res 5K in mid April.  This was my first race I ever did and I continue to use it as a bench mark of how far I have come and to remind me just how hard I have worked.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Thursday Weigh In and THE Results!

     To say I am excited by what transpired this morning would truly be an understatement.  To be totally honest I wasn't really expecting anything this morning, maybe a half pound change, but definitely not what appeared.  Yes that picture below says 173.6 which is just a number to some, but to me it means I am a half pound away from my goal.  A number that in September of 2012 felt like a pipe dream, and now that dream is close to becoming a reality.
3/26/15 official weigh in
173.5 lbs
Total loss from heaviest:  143.5 lbs
Current BMI:  27.1 (overweight)

     Today's long run was done quite a bit later than usual due to this lovely weather we are having.  I woke up around 7:30am to cold rainy morning.  I check the forecast and what I found was rain early, followed by snow and low 30s in temps and finally around 3:00 the rain and snow quit and the temperature climbed to a balmy 41 degrees.  I don't really like waiting so late, it makes it easier to just skip it, but I like food and 1300 calories burned will let me splurge a little bit ;)  Once I got out on the road I was feeling really good.  My training plan called for a 15 second per mile increase for this week's long run, which I thought might be a problem, however my legs had no problem with it.

     The results for my blood work came back and I thought I would share them.  Back in 2012, when this all began, my blood work results were the catalyst to take the first step in this life long journey.  Each year since then I was to be tested to see if I made any progress.  To be honest I was given the opportunity, but I never made the time until know.  

TEST                         2012          2015
Cholesterol                 156            106
Triglycerides              142             37
HDL Cholesterol        34              46
LDL Cholesterol        94               28

Glucose Fasting         100             88
  Insulin Level              18.93          2.78
Avg. Glucose             108             85
     I understand that the change is so dramatic being that there is a three year difference between them, but it does illustrate what one can achieve with hard work and better nutrition.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

GCM Owens Corning Half Marathon Training week 6

     Wow what a difference a week can make when you put in the effort to really change your mindset.  This week's training went really well.  I got in all my runs, all my cross training and strength training, but I did end up skipping the yoga.  I just flat out ran out of time when I was getting home from work and hour or more late almost every night this week.  The biggest bright spot was how I did at the Wearin' the Green 7K; in short, I crushed the shit out of it.   My knee held up and my legs felt good and strong.  I'll be posting a race recap soon, but I will say I finished 24th overall and 4th in my age group!

Here is how my week broke down:

Monday: I had 6 miles at my half marathon race pace.  I finished with a per mile avg. of 8:44 and despite feeling a little tired at the end, I was quite happy with how the run went.

Tuesday: This was suppose to be cross train day, but I was really tired from yesterday so I decided to make today my rest day and do today's workouts tomorrow.

Wednesday: I got up early and headed to the gym to get my cross training and strength training done.  I decided to use the sit down version of the elliptical because I feel like I can get things moving faster and really get my heart rate up.  I had enough time to get all but one strength exercise done which I was able to get to after work.  Yoga ended up being a casualty in today's battle.

Thursday: Today was my day off and I had a lot to get to.  I had a doctor's appointment for my yearly check up and blood work.  I also had a appointment for my car in the late afternoon so I fit my long run in around 1:00 when it was a little warmer out.  My legs were tired from my strength training yesterday, but I managed to get through it.  

Friday: I had yoga and my 20 minute recovery run on tap.  I slept in and extra 20 minutes and then headed to the gym to run the track since it was still pretty cold out.  I could have fit in my yoga if I didn't sleep in, but I thought I could get to it after work.  I had to stay almost and hour and a half past my normal time at work so by the time I got home I had enough time to eat and go to bed.

Saturday: When I got up in the morning it was still pretty cold and I knew it was going to get into the 50s later in the day, so I chose to wait till after work to run.  I had a tempo run that I ended up not reading my plan correctly and shorted myself a little.  I was suppose to run a mile warm up then do 20 minutes at 9:15 pace followed by another mile for a cool down.  Well I did a half mile warm up, 20 minutes at pace and finished with a half mile cool down.

Sunday: Today's workout was to do hills and speed work, but I figured running a 7K at a fast pace would be just fine, plus I really wanted to get out and run a race event.  This was the first one since the marathon in October.  I also have strength training to get done as well, so I am gonna quit typing and get to it.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Thursday Weigh In At The Doctor's Office

     Well since Sunday I have managed to keep my head in the game this week with my food and my workouts.  I have had to make some minor adjustments but I have done everything in my plan except one yoga session.  I didn't have a big loss this week, but I am proud of myself for making the choice to get back on track.  
3/19/15 official weigh in
176 lbs
Total loss from heaviest:  141 lbs
Current BMI:  27.5 (overweight)

     Today was my long run, but before I got that taken care of I had my yearly doctor's appointment.  I new I was going to be asked to get some blood work done so fasting was on my menu last night.  I would like to say my appointment went great, but I got a little annoyed with my doctor's nurse.  She was doing the whole pre-consultation stuff, you know, blood pressure, pulse, height and finally weight.  She had me step on the scale, which read 182, as she was recording it, which she recorded as 192, she made mention of my weight from last year. She says you use to be 217 and that I was doing a good job now that I weighed in at 182. I responded and said thank you and that I use to weigh 317 a little over two years ago and the first words out of her mouth was "wow did you have gastric bypass surgery?".  Really?  Is that the world we live in now?  That is now the norm for weight loss in America.  Don't get me wrong, there is a place in this world for GB and those that do it have made that choice, but she seemed floored when I said no I did it all on my own.  WTF She acted like it was just crazy that someone could lose weight through hard work and dedication. 

     Again, if you are reading this and you have used lap band or gastric bypass for your weight loss, I understand your choice. God knows I have thought long and hard many times about heading down that path. Ultimately I decided that I was not the right person for that kind of sacrifice. It has taken me a long time to get the motivation to start what I did two years ago and I know it will take a lot to maintain this for years to come, but that is the path I have chosen.

     Lastly, I also picked up a copy of my lab work from 2012 that was the genesis for this journey.  I wanted to be able to compare today's blood work to where I was at back then.  I am hoping and assuming things will be good, but you never know these days.  I will keep you posted once I have the results.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

GCM Owens Corning Half Marathon Training Week 5

     This week has been a bit a of a struggle for me mentally and physically.  I keep trying to get back to my pre-marathon form with my dedication and my nutrition, but sadly I keep failing myself.  Last week was a little rough and I told myself it is time to make a change, and when I did it lasted a couple of days and petered off.  I think a lot has to do with my current frame of mind.  I keep feeling like I don't have enough time in the day to get everything I either need and/or want to accomplish.  You would think with the weather changing I would be in better spirits and ready to get out and run, but lately that hasn't been the case.  Plus as you may have read from my Thursday post my food intake has become a bit of a problem as well.  I don't want to say I feel depressed because at the end of the day I don't have any real problems that warrant me feeling depressed, but I just kind of do.  For example I woke up early to get my workout in the other day and I looked for every excuse to skip it and go back to bed, or I would tell myself I can get it in after work and by the time I get home that is the last fucking thing I want to do.  I just can't seem to get myself on a schedule that agrees with me and it is aggravating the shit out of me.
     Back in the day when I was fat overweight Dean I would try to lose weight and get in shape, and when I'd get started I would be totally focused and disciplined to my goals.  Then after a month or two in I would get sick or something would come up that would sideline me for a short time and I would lose all focus.  I would start to pull the same crap that is happening to me now.  This was my first thought is because I was sidelined for so long due to my injury, which makes total sense, but I worked so hard to get through therapy, so what is the issue?  To answer my own question, I think my priorities and my schedule or lack of a schedule is all out of whack.  My Therapist wrote me a great training plan for the GCM Owens Corning Half Marathon, but I have failed to properly organize it so it fits in with my work schedule.  I really need to sit down and take some time to map out a schedule to get the second half of my training program prioritized along with my other interests.  I mean I only have a little over 40 days till I run the Owens Corning Half Marathon at the Glass City Marathon.  So maybe going back and reviewing the goals I set for this year will get me inspired to bring back pre-marathon Dean.

     So I guess you were wondering when I was going to actually talk about my training for the week.  I am sure you can tell by the picture above and my long preamble above that, that should tell you this week wasn't that great.  I only got 3 days of running in, one cross training day, one strength day and zero yoga.  To most that might sound like I got a lot done, and maybe I am being to hard on myself, but I skipped part or all of my workout on 3 of the 4 days I had something scheduled.  

     My tempo run on Tuesday went fine, but my long run on Thursday could have been better if my legs were not so tired from my strength training on Wednesday.  I started to have some mild knee pain from my IT band in the last two miles and my hamstrings were sore for a couple of days after that.  You can read more about that run here.  Because I skipped Friday and Saturday's workouts I told myself that there would be no excuses, just running.  I had to work so I couldn't do my interval and hill workout at the gym so I ran the intervals on the bike path and used a highway overpass for my hill workout.  I decided to take the long way back to the house and throw in a easy tempo run to do it. Here is a selfie from high above the world on a midwest mountain!

     I saw this quote today and I think it says exactly what I needed to hear right now!


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Wednesday Weigh In, on Thursday??

     Wednesday weigh in coming to you a day late and a pound or so heavier.  Normally I weigh in on Wednesday mornings, which is usually my day, and makes it a little more convenient.  I can take a little extra time to make sure I have cleared my system of any unnecessary weight, or in other words, use the bathroom!  Since my schedule has changed, which I am afraid, looks to be permanent for the foreseeable future.  I was still planning yesterday to get up and weigh in before I headed to the gym, however, when I woke up I went straight to the kitchen and took my two bee pollen pills and drank a half bottle of water.  Needless to say my weigh in would not have been accurate at that point.  I decided that it would just be easier to act like network TV and move your favorite show to another night, so I am switching Wednesday Weigh In to Thursday.

     Since my last weigh in I have struggled a little bit with my food intake.  Mostly it has revolved around my snacking and my portion sizes.  Whenever I have made something to eat I almost always would eat a little extra and not add it to my tracker.  For example if I was measuring out some cereal I was take a small handful and toss it back or if I was having popcorn an extra handful before and after I weighed it out became the norm this week.  I have done this before, but this week it was happening more and more.  I am not stressing about it; I mean shit happens and I would rather eat a little extra popcorn or an extra triscuit or two than binge on sugar and candy as the old Dean would do.  With regards to my portion size, I have just been eating a little more and allowing my calories to go above my daily limit, but not by much.  Some days it’s by 50 calories and another day it was like 200, but at the end of a week it all adds up.   The one positive in all this is my running has come back on line and being able to get back to my regular routine allows me to be able to at least put a dent into some of those extra calories.
3/12/15 official weigh in
176.5 lbs
Total loss from heaviest:  140.5 lbs
Current BMI:  27.6 (overweight)

     Like the Wednesday Weigh In my long run day has changed as well.  In my training plan for the GCM Owens Corning Half Marathon I had an 8 miles to knock out.  We have finally gotten out from under old man winter and a pre-spring warm up is on.  Mandy had the day off from work as well, so we took advantage of the time to sleep in.  After we got up we were playing with the dogs and enjoying the morning as I waited for the sun to kick in and warm things up a bit.  While we were playing around I snapped a cool shot of our older dog Widdle enjoying the warm sun spot in the kitchen.

     The run went alright, but could have been better.  I had strength training yesterday and it was all about my weak hamstrings, and boy did they pay the price.  I was sore all day yesterday and I could still feel it this morning.  The first six miles were fine, but my hamstrings were letting me know they were not happy.  Miles seven started off with a climb up an overpass, and about half way up I got some pain in the outside of my "bad" knee.  I immediately slowed to a walk till I reached the top before I got back in running stride for the decent down.  From that point on I had some light tightness and very mild pain for the remainder of the run.  My physical therapist warned me that this would occasionally happen until the strength in my legs have built up and are use to all this.  Anyway it was great to get outside to run and off that wretched treadmill.  #deathtothetreadmill

Sunday, March 8, 2015

GCM Owens Corning Half Marathon Training Week 4

      Work has been so crazy for me this past week and what transpired has my schedule is all screwed up.  I've had to change my day off to Thursday now and starting next week we are extending our hours.  This week of training was a little rough for me.  I missed one run on Sunday because I had to work so I couldn't go to the gym when it was open, and because of all the cold and snow I took the chicken shit way out and didn't run outside after work.  Monday I didn't wanna run because I really wasn't feeling the greatest, but forced myself to go and I felt much better afterwords.
     Tuesday I was to do some cross training and yoga, but that didn't get done either.  I just couldn't get going in the morning and didn't want to do a damn thing after work.  Wednesday I had a 5 mile race pace run and some cross training.  Do to having to do the run at the gym I only had time to get 4 of the 5 miles done and had zero time for any cross training.

     Finally getting to my day off, I had my long run to get done.  For those of you who live in a warmer climate and never have to run on a treadmill, I am so jealous.  There is not much in this world I would say I never want try or to do again, but running 8 miles on a treadmill is one of them.  I think my new hashtag is gonna be #deathtothetreadmill.  Friday I did manage to get some yoga time on the mat which felt pretty good.

     The weather is starting to come around and the temps are on the rise, so running outside will soon be back in my future.  Saturday was still a little cold, especially since I would have had to run around 5am.  I decided to make today a rest day and hit it strong tomorrow.

Monday, March 2, 2015

GCM Owens Corning Half Marathon Training Week 3

Sunday 2/22
     Had to do Saturday's workout today because there was just no time on Saturday to get it done.  I know this sounds like a recurring theme for me, but hopefully it shows that you have to be flexible with your schedule sometimes.  To me as long as I get in the majority of my workouts each week I am happy. Having said that, Saturday's tempo run was on the menu and to be honest I had no issues what so ever.  My legs are starting to get use to the new running stride I have been working on and I am feeling less and less fatigued after each run.

Monday 2/23
     4:30am came way to early today, but that is what I get staying up watching the Oscars and messing around on the computer.  I went to the gym to put in 4 miles at 8:45 per mile, what I hope to be my race pace for the GCM Owens Corning Half Marathon.  I also had cross training to get done, but I barely had enough time to get my 4 miles in so I had to skip it.

Tuesday 2/24
     I was just a wreck when I woke up and was way to damn tired to workout this morning so the cross training got axed.  After I got off work and got home, the last thing I wanted to do was any exercise so just like the cross training, yoga got skipped as well. I really can't figure out why I have been so tired lately.  I know I was up late for the Oscars, but dammit if I can't seem to get my body to have some energy.

Wednesday 2/25
7 mile long run on the treadmill.  Had my last physical therapy appointment with Alisha.  She and I went over some new strengthening exercises that will help with my hamstrings.  My hamstrings have been feeling fatigued and a little sore as of late, so she felt an added strength routine would help that.  After we were all finished, I hung around and did my seven mile long run on the treadmill.  Despite me having to run it on the treadmill, it was nice to do it there so she could check in and observe me. This was especially nice because if I have an issue it is normally at the end of a longer run and having her there to correct any issue she might see before they became a problem.  Well, no issues what so ever and she didn't see any problems with my stride either, so I must be on the right track.

Thursday 2/26
     Last week I skipped this run thinking it wasn't important and Alisha made sure I would never think that again, so I headed to the gym for a 20 minute recovery run that I did on the track.  Nice easy super slow run, which really did feel good to kind of stretch the legs out.  I also had yoga to do, so I left that for the evening.  Well that didn't happen because I was almost an hour late getting home and I had some graphic design work to finish for a friend that needed to be done tonight.  I know sometimes life gets in the way, but man do I need to figure this shit out so I don't keep skipping some of this stuff.

Friday 2/27
     Had a big day today with a lot to squeeze in and I wanted to make sure I got it all done.  For my run I had 6 reps of hill intervals of one minute at 5% incline and one minute at 0% incline followed by a round of speed work.  The speed work intervals were 6 reps of one minute at 7:00 minute pace followed by one minute of a 9:00 minute pace.  Alisha had warned me that out of any of the workouts I do, this one could the one that would aggravate my injury.  Well, that wasn't the case, at least this time.  I did this workout one the treadmill, so I don't know if that had something to do with it or not, but I had no issues with the knee.  It was really annoying having to constantly change settings on the treadmill though.
     After work I had 5 of the 8 new strength exercises to do and some foam rolling.  I could definitely tell I had weak hamstrings after this work out, wow!  I know Saturday is usually a workout day, but I think I will have to swap Saturday and Sunday again, so I think my hammies will appreciate the break. 

Saturday 2/28
     My hamstrings are definitely feeling it today.  Thank God I am taking today off from any workouts.  I have been constantly trying to stretch them out all day.  We will just see how things go tomorrow for my run.