Friday, October 28, 2011


I have been working really hard to lose 10 pounds by Thanksgiving.  I have been extremely conscious of my diet.  I have made sure to avoid going back for seconds, and if I do, I make sure to take more vegetables than anything else.  I have been very aware of my beer consumption.  If I overindulge on beer, I make sure not to overindulge on food, and vice versa.  Also, I have not been consuming beer unless I feel like the occasion calls for it, i.e. wienie roasts, guy's nights out, Oktoberfest, etc.

I have been working out very hard, and have not missed a single day!  I have worked hard to improve on my sprint times, pull-up reps, and stair step speed!  I have added maneuvers that I have not done in over 10 years like squats and cleans.

And all of that work and discipline has been paying off; I have lost 3 pounds in the last 2 weeks!

And then yesterday, Katie and I closed on the refinance mortgage on our home.  We saved a ton of money in interest, will possibly pay off our home before the kids graduate from high school (just in time to pay for college!), and for some odd reason it worked out that we do not have to make a mortgage payment in November!  Right after the closing, Katie and I decided that we should go out and celebrate with a dinner out.

There were several options that we had for dinner.  Some of them have healthier options like the local pubs that we have.  There are possible healthy choices at Mexican, but the chips and salsa usually blow it for me.  There is of course pizza which is not necessarily healthy, but I can control the portions more easily.  And then there is the Chinese buffet!

I don't know what it is but I really like Chinese buffets.  Beyond the fat and calories, I know there are very serious concerns for food-borne illnesses at a Chinese buffet.  However, I just really enjoy the food available, crab rangoons, egg rolls, fried rice, General Tso's Chicken, Spicy Chicken, oil-laden green beans, sugar dusted fried biscuits, and so much more.  I find portion control to be simple, but small portions of 15-20 items adds up to about 5 pounds of food!

Needless to say I lacked the self-control that made my efforts so successful and I completely overindulged.  Now this morning, I feel extremely guilty; I feel like I let myself down.  I have plenty of time to make up for my lack of discipline, but I have certainly thrown an obstacle in my way.  I also feel angry.  How can it be that I cannot screw up one time without screwing up my whole effort? I just feel terrible! I hope it's not Listeria!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


I had a terrible night's sleep.  I went to bed around 9pm, but woke up at 11:42pm and could not get back to sleep.  At 12:30am, I went out to the family room and turned on the TV which usually puts me right to sleep, but at 1:30am I moved from the recliner to the couch in the hopes that my horizontal position would finally put me out of my misery.  I eventually did fall back to sleep, but was up again at 3:45am.  At that point, I settled on just getting up and starting my day.

My workout went pretty well.  I ran my first 200yd sprint in 33+ seconds, nearly a whole second faster than my previous best.  My pull ups did not go great, but I still did 2 in a row and 4 overall.  I did pump out 8 dips in a row on my first set; I was very happy with that.

Now I have had meetings all morning long, an on-line tutorial in a few minutes, and guests coming over tonight.  I need a freaking nap!

I know full well why I had trouble sleeping.  I have a couple of things going on at work that have me thinking and strategizing.  I am concerned about my son's upcoming surgery and more specifically his recovery.  And, in general, I just have a lot on my mind.  But now that I am at work (don't worry, I blog over my lunch hour) and supposed to be taking care of business, I really just want to lay down for a few hours.  My workout provided me with some energy early on in the day, but that has worn off.  I sure hope I can get some sleep tonight!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Get Your $#!^ Together!

This past weekend, Katie and I participated in the Town & Gown 5K run at the Illinois State University Homecoming celebration.  The actual race went well.  I stayed back and ran with Katie, since it was her first run in 2 weeks after twisting her ankle and having surgery.  We finished in 32:49.5, which is a good time for Katie considering her interrupted training.

The slower pace aloud me to really enjoy the run.  I was able to cheer Katie on and get a couple of action photos.  And I really enjoyed the interaction with the participants and spectators.  I saw an 8 year old boy running the race with his father.  I asked his dad how old his son was and how many races he had competed in.  this was his second 5K and I was very impressed.  Plus, it got me excited to train and race with my own son next spring!

The picture at the top of this post would make you think that the slogan for Homecoming was "Get in the Game", and maybe that is the official slogan, but all over town were streetlight banners that read "Spread the Red!"  I got such a kick out of that phrase.  I just kept repeating it over and over.  It still makes me giggle.

While the race itself was entertaining, the organization of the event was terrible.  Katie had complained at length about website and registration process.  And when I checked out the webpage, looking for a map, the confusion was easily recognizable.  The race map also included the parade route and what seemed to be a couple of other notations.  There was a race blog that was filled with people's questions and the organizer's poor responses. 

On race day, when we went to check in, the attendant said that we were not registered.  Katie said that was not possible as she had a confirmation (which we failed to print out) and our credit card had already been charged!  The attendant said something about the site having problems for a couple of days, but that he was sure that all registrants had been accounted for.  Then, I heard a volunteer whisper "Another one?  That makes two."  Obviously, the webmaster had failed to find at least one other registrant!  The guy gave us new bib numbers and did not charge us anything additional, but we did not get goody bags or shirts (until Katie asked one of the nice volunteers if we could have a leftover shirt and they gave us a couple).  There must have been quite a few mistakes because the volunteers had run out of goody bags before the race even started.

It was pretty cold out the morning of the race, so some of us headed into the brand new student fitness center to keep warm.  While initially inviting, as more and more participants came in, looked around, and used the facilities, the staff there became a bit more apprehensive about our presence.  They even announced over the loud speaker that everyone was to stay in the atrium area.  I don't know where anyone else had wondered off to, but the staff must really not have liked it.

The finish of the race was good enough.  They had some water, clif bars, and bagels (with cream cheese!).  they had a table full of medals that Katie and I thought were for participants, especially since they were right at the end of the food line.  We started to grab a couple until we overhear someone say that the medals are for the different winners.  We coolly placed the medals back where we found them and headed off.

The organization of the event was definitely frustrating, but it was also a big eye opener for me.  I have mention on a couple of occasions that I may want to organize a race in my community.  I became very aware that I had better have my shit together, if I want people to have a good experience at any race I am associated with!

Note: I weighed in yesterday for the first week of my 6 weeks to lose 10 pounds before Thanksgiving, 192lbs, down 2 pounds since last week.  Yeah!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Joy and Pain

I have mixed emotions about my Tuesday workouts.  On the one hand, I enjoy the physicality of the workout, and on the other, the workout is very difficult and hard on my body.

My new workout routine means that on Tuesdays, I jog the 1+ miles to the high school track to warm up. I sprint 800 yds in 200 yard intervals with 200 yard jogging in between.  Then I do, between 15 and 20 successive standing broad jumps, run up and down 10 flights of stadium stairs at the football field, and jog over to the playground for pull-ups, chin-ups, tricep extensions, and dips.  Then I jog the 1+ miles home to cool down.

I enjoy the jogging as time to get outside and just really stretch my legs, think about life, and enjoy the quiet. However, part of the last 1/4 mile is on an uphill, which can be exerting after the workout is complete.

I love the physicality of the sprints.  Honestly, when was the last time any of us have run out on a dead sprint for anything?  It is extremely intoxicating.  My first 200yd sprint today I completed in 34 seconds!  I was extremely pleased with that number!  I know it is far from setting any sort of land speed record, but I feel like it is pretty good for a man my age.  I would like to see me run a 30 second 200yd dash before winter really sets in.  The remainder of my sprints are not nearly as fast, but I push myself hard, and by the end I am breathing very heavy.

There is nothing I like about the bounds (successive broad jumps).  I am a terrible jumper and I feel lucky not to fall on my face.  However, I would like to get better and I think this training will help.  Plus, I read somewhere that a person should go out and work on something they suck at; I suck at jumping! 

The stadium stairs are cool.  I feel as though they may help with my difficulty with hills, but sometimes I wish there was more steps in a row than what exists at our stadium.

I am getting really geeked about the playground work.  My pull ups are coming along.  I would like to do 5 in a row before the snow falls.  And I recently added the dips into the playground work and I have been pretty impressed with how well I have been doing.  I can crank out 2 sets of 5 dips before I am falling apart.

Overall, I find a lot of joy in my Tuesday workouts!  My success at the physical work makes me very happy.  Plus, I am anxious to see greater results.  However, the workout does leave me in some pain.  My body is drained and my muscles really feel the sum of all the parts.  But, no pain, no gain, right?

Thursday, October 13, 2011


I have a few things that I need to cover, but none of them individually would make an entire post.  So you get them all in no discernible order.

1.  I did 3 pull-ups in one shot today on the playground.  I have never done 3 pull-ups in a row, ever!  I think that may have scored a C or better on those Presidential Skills Tests in school.  I think my 7th grade gym teacher, Coach Bob, would be proud.  I did 6 pull-ups total, plus 6 chin-ups, 20 tricep extensions, and 10 dips.  I think it is working!

2.  I couldn't sleep last night very well, so I watched the "World's Fittest Man" competition on ESPN2.  It is a competition where contestants perform all manner of CrossFit exercises.  First off, those contestants are freaking amazing!  Second, I think I have come up with a couple of different moves I can try if I get complacent with what I am doing now.  I need to build a box to jump from.

3.  I have 2 more races scheduled in the next month.  The first is the 5K race at Illinois State's Homecoming celebration.  The race starts at 7am; that is really early, even for a race!  Katie is very concerned about her ability to run so soon after her surgery.  We have a plan to make her more comfortable, and even though I have an inkling to burn up the course, I think I am going to stay back and run with Katie.  We don't get to run together very often, and this would be a great opportunity.  Plus, if I wasn't with her, all I would be able to think about was if she was okay.  The second race is the Allerton Trail run.  It is one of only 2 races in Monticello all year, and when I used to work at the park, the race always intrigued me.  I have never run a race on a trail, so that will be a new experience.  However, I am very concerned about shoe selection.  I don't want to ruin my current running shoe on the muddy trails, but I don't really have any other shoe suitable for running.  It is quite the dilemma!

4.  Lastly,  I gained some sympathy weight during Katie's recovery from surgery, and with the holidays looming near, I am concerned about gaining too much weight.  So, I have committed to losing 10 pounds before Thanksgiving.  I even proposed the idea to my weight loss support group and 2 of them have decided to join me!  That is awesome!  In keeping with this commitment and my need for accountability, I will be reporting my weight every Thursday on this blog.  Today I weigh 194 lbs.  I have 6 weeks to get to 184.  Bring it on!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

How To Help a Cancer Survivor

Recently, my wife was diagnosed with skin cancer.  She does an outstanding job of describing the emotional ups and downs that are associated with such a diagnoses on her blog.  Fortunately, the particular type of skin cancer that she had is very treatable and last Thursday we went to the dermatologist to have the cancer surgically removed.

Following the surgery, I was faced with the moral dilemma of how to support my incredible wife, who does so much for our family.  I eagerly prepared myself to take care of all the little and big things around the house so that she could get the much needed rest she deserved.  Also, I prepared to indulge my wife's every whim as she celebrated her new cancer-free life.  However, I was wholly unprepared for exactly what that commitment would mean to my fitness.

The day before the surgery and immediately after both of us having success on our weekly weigh-in, Katie says to me that she is going to indulge in what might be considered "unhealthy" diet practices.  I encourage her to do so and I told her I would do my best to support her decision.  So, almost immediately after her surgery we drove over to Chili's and had a delicious lunch that included an extremely decadent dessert.  Shortly after we went home the party really got started when her friends brought over a new 6-person beer bong!  It may sound a little strange, but my wife is a champion beerbonger!  So, we funneled a couple of beer each and sat down to a meatloaf dinner provided by our neighbor.  The next day, I wanted to treat the kids who had been so patient and understanding with a trip to McDonalds.  The kids each got a Happy Meal and since I thought I deserved a bit of a treat as well, I had a quarter pounder and fries!  My parents came to town on Saturday.  My parents, Katie's parents, Katie, the kids, and I all went to the German restaurant in Gibson City, where I had a healthy portion of smoked sausage spread, weiner schnitzel, bread pudding for dessert and a liter and a half of German Oktoberfest beer!  Everyone was kind of tired the next morning, so we went out to breakfast and I had a huge Irish skillet with corned beef hash, eggs and sausage gravy.  Finally after everyone had left, Katie and I treated ourselves to the last of the caramel brownies a friend had made.  And what is a brownie without a scoop of ice cream?

All in all, I am fairly certain I was consuming about 7000 calories a day.  At least I was a supportive husband?!  Katie has been brave enough to step onto the scale.  I on the other hand have taken to shitting in the woods as to avoid being in the presence of the scale.  I have continued to get out for my regular workouts but essentially, I am writing this week off.  I may think about getting back on the scale next Wednesday. 

The real moral to this story is that my wife is cancer-free and I could not be any happier!  I love you with all of my heart, Katie!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

You Can't Triple Stamp a Double Stamp

...but you can re-post a post from another blog.

When Dan Malinski of Cubicle Dad put out a request for guest bloggers for "Dads who run", I jumped at the chance to write a post.  You can check it out here.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Seeing Results

The new workouts are already starting to pay dividends!  I have lost 4 pounds since last Thursday! 

My diet has been okay.  I have had a couple of splurges, but on the good days I have been eating lots of salads and other health-conscious meals.  I continue to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables at snack times.  I have begun drinking the occasional beer as well (Thank God!) and had one night with the kids and a bowl of ice cream, but overall I think I would give myself a B+, good but not great.

The workouts have been a work in progress as I try to find a new routine.  I did throw in a half mile swim last week, but because of expense ($11 for entrance and a towel!!!!) will not be doing that on a regular basis.  I had an interesting workout today.  I jogged one mile to the high school track to warm up, then sprinted two 400m laps with a 400m cool down in between.  I ran my first lap in 1:20.  I thought that was pretty good for a fat, old guy.  I followed up the track with about 30 "bounds" (think standing broad jump over and over and over...), then I ran one time through the stadium stairs and went over to the grade school for some more pull-ups and dips.  I finished it all off with another mile jog back home.  I am sure that I will eventually tire of these workouts as well, but for now I find the switch to be exciting and my body seems to be responding very well!

But the most exciting part has got to be watching the scale weigh a little less every morning.  It is amazing the kind of motivation that one gets as soon as they start seeing results!