Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I'm Going to Brag For a Minute

I'm getting excited about the Hot Chocolate Run on Sunday, but Saturday will be a big day for me as well.

That's because my son Matt and his Aurora Central Catholic teammates will be running in the Illinois Class 2A state cross country meet. The Chargers finished fifth in their sectional last Saturday and will be running at state as a team for the first time since 2006.

Matt is second from the right in the black shirt. To his left (in yellow) is Matt Meyers, who is the No. 1 runner on the team and could finish in the top 25 and earn all-state designation. Matt's best friend Javy is on the far left.

If I need any inspiration in my running, I certainly don't have to go very far. Matt is the perfect example of what happens when you work hard. Back in the spring he finished 8th at the conference meet in the frosh/soph 1,600-meter race, and had never broken five minutes for the mile.
His hope at the time was to just be one of the top seven runners on the varsity team. He has run pretty much six days a week since June and went from someone hoping to make the team to the No. 2 runner on the squad. Last Saturday he ran 16:25 for three miles and hopes to break 16 minutes at state. It can happen...the state race is extremely fast (as you could imagine) and with no pressure he can just focus on running fast.

So back to Saturday. His team had finished sixth at regionals the week before, it was one of those days where pretty much nobody on the team felt good. It happens, but we knew that it was going to be close at sectionals.

Matt felt much better than the day before. His coach had told him he expected him to finish somewhere in the top 25-30 (there were over 160 total runners), and I told him if he could do that he would probably qualify for state even if his team didn't, as the top seven individuals on non-qualifying teams also advance.

Still, it might have been one of the most nerve-wracking days of my life! It is so much harder to watch than it is to compete yourself...I learned that a long time ago. The way cross country works is that the top five runners count towards the scoring, and it is added up by place. Lowest score wins.

We all knew that three teams: Yorkville, Glenbard South and Illiana Christian, would advance. They were clearly head and shoulders above the rest of the field. That left four teams, Central among them, to fight for the last two team spots.

Everyone had to run one of their best races of the year, and they did! Matt finished 31st overall, so he didn't miss his projection by much. Javy was right behind him and Adrian (the fourth person in the above photo) was a couple of spots behind.

Then, we waited. Unlike other sports, where there is a scoreboard to provide instant feedback, cross country is a mystery until the results are announced. Sure, you can count places and do the math, but everyone usually miscounts or forgets to carry a number, so it's not the most accurate.

For some reason, it took the officials close to an hour to certify the results. I don't envy their job, they have to take the paper results and compare it to video of the finish, and with so much at stake they couldn't afford to screw something up.

First came the girls results. The Chargers didn't advance as a team, but two runners moved on individually, which was exciting for them. One of them, Karina Liz, attends my church with her family and I have known them for a long time. She is only a freshman and has so much potential it is mind-blowing.

Then, the boys. With 21 teams in the sectional, they started with 21st place and went backwards. As we stood as a group awaiting the results, the tension grew with each team. They were quickly to ninth place, then eighth, seventh and sixth.

When they announced that Lemont had finished sixth, we looked around and realized they hadn't said our name yet. What a feeling for everyone! We all exploded, and I don't even remember hearing the rest of the team results.

It was a proud moment for all of us. Both Matts would have qualified individually, but it is much sweeter that they are going as a group. They are a close-knit bunch (most cross country teams are) and the fact they get to experience this together is awesome.

It's so hard to put into words your feelings when one of your kids has success at something...anything for that matter. The biggest thing about this is that I never for a moment expected it. I had hoped that Matt would love running (he does) and beyond that I didn't care whether he ran at the front or the back of the field, or even somewhere in the middle. All I cared about was that he was doing his best and having fun.

Nowhere did I imagine he would be a part of a team that is going to the state meet, and I never thought he would reach the heights he has so far. He has a long way to go, but now has the goal of running in college too, which is something I never thought he would want to do.

To add to the excitement, at the school's fall sports brunch on Sunday, he and Javy shared the Most Improved Runner award. I'm glad they did, they have been great friends and their support of each other has helped them both become the best they can be.

What a weekend this is going to be! So if you see me floating a bit above the ground on Sunday, you know why!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I Can't Wait

For a couple of things, well, three now that I think about it.

I can't wait for Saturday to see if my 16-year-old son Matt and his cross country team runs well enough at sectionals to qualify for the state meet. Of course I can't wait until next weekend because 1) if he qualifies for said meet it will be next Saturday and 2) I have big plans for the weekend and the Hot Chocolate run.

But I'm adding another one after my run after work tonight. It was just an incredible day here, the temperature flirted with the 80-degree mark all day, just a reminder of summer and how we don't know what we have until it's gone. We have about 18 more hours of this beauty and warmth before reality sets in and we plunge back into the 30s tomorrow night.

The weather gave a lot of people the same idea that I did, so there were a lot of my fellow runners out on the trail after work. There is a path around a park called Waubonsie Lake (because it is next to Waubonsie Valley High School I guess) and if you take the long way around it is between 2.6 and 2.8 miles. They once had a sign out there but I forgot the second number.

Anyway, I ran at a pretty nice pace and felt great. The sun was going down -- I actually finished after dark -- so it was warm but not as bad as if old Sol was beating down from a clear blue sky.

One thing I noticed was that there were a lot of people out there, both men and ladies, who were really hammering their workout. Wednesday can be a night for that on a lot of schedules, and some of those folks were really letting it rip.

I of course kept my slow and steady pace, but at the same time was feeling a bit motivated. When I am in good shape I love to hammer out runs and push the pace more than I probably should. Sure it hurts but the satisfaction of finishing one of those workouts is awesome. Plus, it's just a day that you know you got something done.

Alas, those days are a ways off, but that's OK, it just gives me the incentive to work towards it, and maybe when winter goes away and next spring arrives I can join them back on that trail and do my best to keep up!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Gotta Love Runs Like This

When my dad and I would play golf, someone would hit a good shot and he would say "that's the shot that will keep you coming back!". What he meant was that no matter how good or bad of a player you are, you hit a couple of shots a round that are so sweet that all of the other stuff gets forgotten.

I had a day like that yesterday when I had a run that reminded me of why I do it in the first place. It all started when I got up at 5:45 and headed into Chicago to meet my friend Bernie for a run. I was a little tired and it was quite chilly so I was glad I had someone to run with as my motivation was a bit low.

We started out and headed east towards Lincoln Park. Our plan was to go about five miles, but we were winging it since we hadn't mapped anything out beforehand.

We settled into a nice groove and caught a lot of deserted streets and walk signals, which is a huge key to urban running. Our pace wasn't super quick but we were having a good conversation so that was fine with me.

Once we got to the park, we headed left into the Lincoln Park Zoo. I always forget that the zoo is free, further proof of the awesomeness that is Chicago, so we ran right through the main entrance and past the tiger exhibit, and one of the big cats was already up to start his day. I love cats of all sizes, by the way.

Bernie had worked at the zoo for several years, so he navigated. Once we were inside, we headed south towards the nature trail. It's not really a "trail", but a wide walkway (or in our case, a "run" way) around a beautiful pond and through some wetlands, which were heavily populated by ducks.

By now the sun had come up and it was nice and warm. We kept rolling along and after leaving the zoo headed back towards where we started. It was at that point I was feeling so good I was about to look over at Bernie and say, "hey, let's go a little further".

I didn't and we made our way back to the park. The boot camp that I sometimes attend and Bernie almost always does was just finishing their workout, and when we asked what time it was we realized we had been running for an hour and 15 minutes!

I'd have to guess that we ran about 6.5-7 miles, and it was awesome every step of the way. We just ran so free and easy, and I never felt like we were working hard. It was just two friends enjoying a run.

I love having runs like that. When I think of some of the more memorable runs I've had, I think I have to add this one to the list. Yeah, that's how great it was. It also gave me a big boost of confidence for the Hot Chocolate Run in two weeks. I am not going to get up near the full distance of the 15K (9.3 mile) distance, but the way we ran I feel like I could have continued that for quite some time.

What I'd really like is if I could have another run like this one.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

On The Clock

I figured I would start this post with a picture of my goal for next year. Yes, this mass of humanity is the starting line of the Chicago Marathon. I've been in that mosh pit five times before, and can't wait to do it again! I don't have the words to describe what the energy and feeling is like in the moments leading up to and after the start. As crazy as it sounds, it takes close to 30 minutes for everyone to cross the starting line. Thank goodness for timing chips.

Speaking of timing...as I mentioned in my last post, I hadn't run for time since my 5K on July 12th. Not that I haven't wanted to, in fact I'm normally pretty obsessive about that sort of thing. The problem is I lost my trusty Timex Ironman a while back and had yet to replace it.

So I borrowed my son Matt's watch (which I felt entitled to since I bought it for him!) and went out for a run during lunch yesterday. It was really breezy, windy enough so that I don't know if it helped, hurt or evened things out. Fortunately the last half was with the wind, because I needed it!

I have close to a half-dozen different loops around the campus where I work, which is a collection of 2-3 story office buildings and warehouse facilities. Suburban running at its best. The loops go between 3 miles and 5.2 miles, depending on time and fitness level.

Since I'm a little slower than I used to be, I selected the 3.6-mile loop, hit the watch and was off. I had hoped to run around a 10-minute pace, and hit the first mile in 9:30. Man, I was sucking some serious wind!

At this point, running into the wind was a bit of a help as I used it to settle down and catch my breath. As has been my norm lately it took a while to feel "great" but by the time I got to the last mile I had opened up my stride and was feeling good.

I hit the parking lot and checked my watch. 3.6 miles in 35:49! Sweet! It wasn't by much, but I broke the 10-minute mark, which felt outstanding! There was a time when I would rip through my 5.2-mile loop in about 37 minutes, but it's a step forward, and progress.

I followed that up today with a 3-miler during lunch. I almost didn't go out because I had the worst cramp in my leg overnight and was a bit concerned about running on it. I can't believe how bad that hurt! Now that it is getting colder I sleep while wrapped up in my quilt and it seemed to take forever to get out of bed and walk it off. Man, that's pain.

The spot in the muscle where I had the cramp still hurt today, but I made sure to hydrate and stretch it out a little bit. Thankfully it wasn't even a thing during my run.

Though I would love to run tomorrow, I won't. For now I just don't think it is a good idea to run three days in a row. The plan is to hopefully get out Saturday and Sunday. Hard to believe the Hot Chocolate run is three weeks from Sunday. Getting excited!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Welcome to a Blog Reboot!

Dedicated readers to this site -- and I know there is at least one of you as I get a pageview with each post -- will see that we are going a bit of a different direction today.

In honor of my commitment to run the 2013 Chicago Marathon, I have decided to rename the blog. I'm still hoping to be a big loser by the time October 6, 2013 rolls around, but there is a new element added to it and that will be more to the forefront of the blog.

Don't worry, I'm not going to go full runner-geek on you, it will still be thoughts and ideas as I follow my journey, but now there is a serious goal in mind, so I'm going with it.

More later, but just wanted to throw a quick post up to show that you are in the right place!

Monday, October 8, 2012

I'm Slowly Becoming a Runner Again

Yesterday I attended the Chicago Marathon, working as a correspondent for the website Letsrun.com. It's very technical and geared more towards serious runners, but it can be found here.

I spent most of the day watching the race from the media center, but did hustle out to catch the start of the race. It's always an exciting moment to watch people head out on such an amazing journey.

I have to admit that I was very jealous of the people who were walking (or hobbling) around downtown wearing their finisher's medals after the race. After my debacle at Chicago in 2008, I had decided not to run another one until I felt that desire in my heart again.

It's there now, and we are all systems go to run on October 6, 2013. In the meantime, there is a lot of work to do!

For right now I am still getting ready for the Hot Chocolate 15K on Nov. 4. I haven't made it out to run as often as I would like, but I'm still making steady progress given my goal of just finishing the race.

Last week, I did a long run of what I thought was 6.4 miles but when I drove it in the car it measured at 6.6. Bonus! The better part of that is that it didn't feel like a death march at the end. I was hurting, sure, since that is probably near the extent of my range now, but the next day I felt good.

My last couple of runs have been 3-milers, but they have both been very encouraging as it feels like I am getting a bit faster. I need to start taking a watch along for official reference, but on my run last week I guesstimated that I covered the distance in about 30 minutes.

Getting under 30 minutes for three miles is a nice milestone. I'm not thinking at all about the past, when I could crank them out a lot faster, I just keep focusing on getting better every time I go out, and feeling better too.

I'm feeling like I'm changing. The scale isn't saying so: I haven't eaten well and still hover around 245 pounds, give or take. But what is changing is my general attitude about myself.

Running has a lot to do with that. I've discovered when I run and am happy with my running I don't worry about how I look or what the scale reads. If I'm running farther or faster, that means more to me. It means that my fitness is improving and that I am getting closer to my goals.

Of the seven marathons I have run, I'm going to guess five of them came when I weighed 205 pounds or more. Now, my best have come when I was much lighter of course (I weighed 190 when I set my personal best of 4:07:46 in 2005) but when I run I don't let my weight define me like when I'm sitting around like a slug.

Because it is making a difference. I was at the doctor last week and they measured my resting heartbeat at 60, which is down from about 72-75, and my blood pressure (thought I don't remember the exact number), is down about 10 points. I think it was 118/70, but don't quote me.

THAT'S progress too! Maybe the scale doesn't say it (and yes, there is still a lot of work to do), but my body is, and that is just as important.

I don't know why, but running is my thing. It was something I hated when I was younger -- then again, suicides in basketball and other types of "running" that are intended to make you throw up at the end don't necessarily encourage participation in the sport -- but I picked it up at the age of 31. Like many, I always thought that the running community was made up of skinny folks who went fast.

But that changed when I turned on the television and caught the start of the 1999 Chicago Marathon and realized that many of these people were just like me. So I happily joined them, and have never "looked like a runner" yet. In fact, I was changing clothes in a locker room after the 2005 Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, Minn. and a skinny runner guy said "you sure don't look like a marathoner". Of course, that was after I beat him by 30 minutes.

I like the way running makes me feel, and it brings a certain amount of confidence that I carry on to other areas of my life. It's fun to be a runner again!


Friday, September 21, 2012

I Absolutely HATE Being Sensible

Yes you read that right, but I'm also discovering that the older I get the more sensible I become.

I started running in early 2000. I was 30 years old and had begun a quest to run the Chicago Marathon -- which I did that year and four more times before I last ran it in 2008. Back then it was pretty easy to ramp up the miles, and though I had an IT band issue during that summer, it went away and I was back to running.

I've been lucky to not have suffered any serious running injuries, like a tear or a stress fracture or anything that has befallen some of my friends and training partners. I have had a few things crop up here and there but they would come and go with time.

One thing I have noticed as time has passed is that the "going" part of an injury takes much longer than it used to. A couple of days has turned into 5-7 days, and sometimes even more.

Back when I first started running I probably ran through a lot of issues that I maybe shouldn't have, but I'm stubborn and competitive and don't like to give in. Even when I'm sick I try not to let it affect my daily routine. I used to have bad sleep apnea and 2 1/2 years ago I had a surgical procedure where I had my tonsils taken out, my pallette shaved and bone spurs cleaned out of my nose.

People I had talked to before told these horror stories where they were laid up for 2-3 weeks after having the surgery. Though I did take an entire week off from work, I was so stir crazy I was up and doing many of my normal things about four days later.

That's me...at my age still young and stupid sometimes. But I have gotten better over the years, even though I hate it.

Which finally brings me on topic. Back in June I had a cramp of some sort in the lower part of my right leg. It sort of stuck with me for a few days and it went away. A few weeks later, I was about two blocks away from completing a run when, in the same spot, I felt this really big pull.

Back on the shelf.

Things had been OK with it since. I have been stretching and am continuing to run slow, just because keeping at an easy pace doesn't take as much push-off on each stride.

It came back yesterday. On a walk of all things! I had gone on about a 2.5-mile walk at lunch, but I wore my older dress shoes instead of changing into my running shoes. I mean, come on, I was walking...what could possibly go wrong?

Well when I got back I felt a twinge back there again. So I walked it off and streched it a bit, and was thinking of giving it a go on a short run last night. I was halfway to the door and I felt it twinge again. So I didn't run.

I brought my gear to run at lunch today, and I felt it again. Which means I didn't run.

Sensible? Yes. Frustrating? Yes!!!

Back in the day I would have probably given it a go. It didn't hurt too bad, and if I were careful maybe I could run through it until it went away.

That was back in the day. The odds of my aggravating it would probably be much higher now, so all I can do is wait. Ugh.

So I'm being sensible, which I don't want to be. Today would have been a great day to run. It is about 60 degrees and there is a light rain. I love to run in the rain -- not a coming-down-in-buckets rain, but just a light shower that keeps things cool.

Fall is one of the best times to run. It just feels so good to be out in the cooler temperatures, and the humidity is usually down. My motor runs much better in these kinds of conditions.

But I wait. Instead of running I spent my lunch going to Walgreens to buy some heating pads that you stick on and leave for several hours. Those seem to work pretty well for me. Buying heating pads and talking about the weather...is this what getting old is all about?

I guess the toughest part is that I had a couple of great runs this week and was looking forward to continuing that momentum. I had a great 5.25-mile run on Sunday and then I put in 4 miles on Tuesday, and even though I picked up the pace a little it felt easy.

But it's better I wait. There are lots of good runs waiting out there for me if I'm smart enough to be able to run when that time comes.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Expectations

I've been through a lot of things over the last few years. You know those lists of the most stressful things that can happen in a person's life? Yeah, I've lived most of those. A lot of them at the same time.

But you know what? Like anything else, I made it through. Maybe not unscathed, because there are very few things that happen in our lives that don't leave some sort of permanent mark. Still, days turned into weeks, and those turned into months, and here I am. I don't know if I can say I'm stronger, but I'm different, and in my case, different is better.

I learned an interesting lesson during those times. I was talking to a counselor once and she stopped me mid-sentence and said "You know what? I think one of your biggest struggles is that your standards for happiness are too high".

When I thought about it, she was dead on. I was always one of those people who thought that if once I accomplished certain things, I would be happy. Like if I lost weight I would be happy, if I ran a fast marathon or broke 80 on the golf course, I'd be happy. The mere fact of moving on from a difficult marriage was going to make me happy.

You know what? I was wrong, and that's why I wasn't happy! The things that need to make us happy are the things that are right in front of us, because those things are the only ones we can enjoy. It's been a difficult transition, but one big change I've tried to make in my life is this:

Love the journey, not the end result.

In a stark contrast from the past, I try to be happy with what I have done, or where I am, instead of expecting things to get better down the road.

In the past, I might have been mad about the 5K I ran over the summer. It was so slow, and I had to stop and walk, and on and on and on. But the thing is, two months before I couldn't run "a" mile, let alone 3.1. I passed a lot of other people who had at times slowed to a walk, so I wasn't the only one. And get this, I had a great time!

For a long time, I had gone to races all by myself, which was fine. But I'd always thought it would be fun to run with a couple of friends and get together for some beverages afterwards and rehash the experience. To truly participate in the bond between runners.

That night, I did that. I hung out with Darcy, who is always a great companion, my friend Scott, who I hadn't seen in months, and Bernie, who's just a cool dude. We hung together the first mile and while I was a bit behind them at the end, we got together for some photos and then headed to the post-race party, where we had a couple of beers and laughed...a lot.

Honestly I remember that way more than my time, and that's the point! When I did look back at my time, I saw it through a more realistic set of eyes. I got out of it exactly what I put into it.

It's like losing weight. We get stuck on that number on the scale, which isn't the only quantifiable number that matters. We get discouraged if we go a week and lose, say, a half pound. That's only part of the story. Sure, we only lost a half pound, but maybe we ran a bit farther than we had the week before, or we went five minutes longer on the treadmill or ellipical or whatever.

When I got on the scale the other day I was at 245 pounds, meaning I had maybe lost a pound over the previous week. But at the same time, I had done a long run of 5.25 miles, the farthest I had run in over two years. And I felt so good, I think I could've even gone farther!

It all adds up, and it all matters! Because if we are doing the right things: eating well, exercising, taking care of ourselves; all of that will add up to good things. It has to, there is no other way.

Trying to adapt that attitude has been a true game-changer for me. The passion to do things well, and the desire to compete -- not only with others but myself as well -- hasn't gone away. It's just channeled in a different direction, and one that in the end will benefit me more and more.

In another session I made the following statement: When my only expectation is to finish something, I'm never disappointed.

That's a real mantra to me now. Because it isn't lowering my expectations, per se, it's more giving in to the process and trusting that process to take me where I want to be. I've found that mindset takes me even further, and makes me happier, then setting lofty goals that are hard to attain and sap my happiness in order to get there.

At this point in my life, it's just dumb to continue beating my head against a wall. Striving to compete, to give my all and do my best, is going to take me further than I've ever gone before. I just know it. The journey is what makes me happy, and that's the way it should be.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I've Had an Epiphany Of Some Sort

(Did I spell that right?)

Anyway, it's been a great last 10 days or so as I felt inspired and set some goals.

The first one is that I am running the Chicago Marathon in 2013. I've run seven of them before, and the last one was in 2008. Back then I wondered if I would ever want to run one again. Don't get me wrong, race day is awesome, but the idea of training and running 20-milers all by myself wasn't thrilling.

But now I have some people in my life that I know will love and support me and be with me every step of the way, so that decision was made pretty easy. It also helped that I read the novel "Marathon" by Hal Higdon, which is about the final 72 hours leading up to the Lake City Marathon (or as I quickly figured out, Chicago by another name). As he details the characters' actions and feelings in the final hour before the race, I started to get butterflies. Seriously! It was then that I felt like I had it in me to do it again.

In the short term, I'm also running the Hot Chocolate 15K in Chicago on Nov. 5. It was just going to be the 5K, but a few of my peeps talked me into taking on the longer race, and I thought it would be a nice challenge.

I went out and ran 4.8 miles on Monday night and that felt really, really good. I followed that up with a 3-mile run Tuesday and a 4-mile walk tonight. I think I will follow that two-on, one-off routine for the next few weeks, and add a 1/2 mile or so to the long runs so that I will be close to the 9.3-mile distance when the race rolls around.

I have been eating much better, and got on the scale at 244.8 today. Just a couple more pounds and I will be down 20 since I started! Exciting!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Getting There!

I got on the scale today and was surprised to see I was sitting at 247.4! I don't really feel like I did enough over the past week to drop six pounds, but I will take it anyway. I started thinking about how good it would feel to be down 20 pounds -- meaning I have five to go to get there -- and I hope to make it in the next couple of weeks.

Slow and steady! I have to keep reminding myself that. I think I have eaten pretty* well this week, but I am giving myself an asterisk because I had a few lapses. But overall I gave it a pretty good effort. I brought my lunch to work for several days which is always a big help, although I have to admit I've had some ballpark food the last couple of days.

As a freelance sportswriter, I spend my summers covering a minor league baseball team. Very few perks come with that, but one of them is that I get a free meal from the concession stand. Unlike past years, where I went up there like it was a trough, I have shown an amazing amount of restraint this season. But with the season (possibly) ending on Labor Day (today) I have indulged because it is a long way until the 2013 season opener next April!

On the workout front, I was held back a bit because of work, but I finished the week with a late-night three-mile walk. I sort of lead a strange schedule in that I often don't go to bed until one or two in the morning, so being out walking my neighborhood isn't a strange thing.

Back when I was running a lot, I did a lot of midnight running. A great thing about that is that you don't have to worry about traffic and it is very quiet -- and in the summer the weather is a lot cooler. In fact, some of my best runs have come late at night.

I've been having some back issues over the last few days, no doubt overdoing it a little when I played a bunch of golf on Wednesday. So I've stuck to walking over running, but that should change in the next day or two. I want to get going again so I can run a couple of 5Ks before the year ends. In fact, there is a fun 4-miler on Thanksgiving that I have run in the past, and it would be nice to get in shape for that.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

You're Current Weight Is...

...251.4 pounds.

Right now I will take it. It is still 11 pounds lower than my highest recorded weight of 262 at the beginning of June, and while it is higher than my lowest weight since then (247) I know it could be worse.

I have to admit I went through a bit of a self-destructive phase over the last couple of weeks. Not totally intentionally, but it is easy to fall back into some bad habits. With so many things going on I got a bit lazy and started grabbing things on the fly instead of taking the time to put food together to take with me.

The result was a lot of fast food -- although in my defense I did get Subway several times (!) -- and some bad decisions. And a bunch of energy drinks. Man, that stuff is my downfall. So much so that it could be its own post someday.

But since getting myself reset the other day, I am doing much better with that. Just have to keep it going.

Still feeling sore from Sunday's workout, though. I'm trying to drink a lot of water (well, a lot for me) and I went on a 3-mile walk last night. I will probably do the same thing tonight, and depending on time might stretch it out to 4. Hoping my legs shake out a little bit over the next couple of days, I'm really wanting to run.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Hey There!

So I figured I would try this again. No, you haven't missed much over the last 9 1/2 months, I've had some good and bad days and actually weigh about what I did the last time I posted something back in December.

I won't go long today with this post, I'll do my catching up as we go along. While my weight is close to the same, I feel a bit better. I have been running and doing some workouts here and there.

I ran a 5K on July 6 in downtown Chicago with my friends, Bernie and Scott. The race started in Lincoln Park and went out along the Lakefront Path. I love the path, but man it was hot! I had hoped to run the entire distance without stopping, but I walked through a water stop to get some extra fluids and walked for about 10 seconds near the end. Still, I call the day a success. Here's a post-race photo...Bernie is in the gray, I'm in the center and Scott is rocking the orange.

In true Kenyan fashion, both of them took the pace out fast in an attempt to break me, but I did make it through the first mile. Scott dropped Bernie with the finish line in sight and rolled across in 30:25, while Bernie was eight seconds back.

I came home in 33:40, which meant I accomplished my secondary goal of going under 11 minutes per mile.

Since then I've gone on a few runs (and even bought a new pair of shoes!) but had an issue with something getting really tight in my lower right leg. It is still hanging around but doesn't bother me all that often.

Today I joined Bernie for a workout at Wrightwood Park in Chicago. He meets up with a group of peeps a couple of times a week, but the Sunday one is what works best for me. It's a fun workout but also one that kicks you in the butt too!

The workouts involve a lot of squats, lunges, resistance work and cardio. The main workout today was a circuit that involved jumping rope, resistance running and...kickboxing! It was pretty brutal, we did each station for a minute, took a minute break and jumped back into it, making a total of four circuits. Even holding the kickboxing pads for a partner was a workout in itself. By the third time around I was feeling it.

After throwing punches for a minute I went to jump some rope and...nope. Wasn't happening. I couldn't lift my arms! So I grabbed some water instead. In this group you take stuff at your own pace and I was able to jump back in for the resistance running. I can always run!

Bernie is a good friend, and very supportive. He's been there before and understands that it isn't easy, so I'm thankful for his motivation and kind words. Bernie always talks about doing little things to add up to one big thing, which are words to live by in whatever we do.

Sometimes the mountain seems so high, it does for me right now. I would love to lose 70-80 pounds, but to look at those number and realize how far away my goal is, it's like, UGH! But if I do a couple of little things and lose a pound a week, I'm there in 18 months. Maybe not as quickly as I'd like but hey, I'd get there.

One nice thing about getting old is that you get a better perspective of things. In the past, I would have been pissed about my 33:40 but given where I'm at and the fact I tried my best, I can live with it. Fact is, I did it! I was told a while back that my standards for happiness were too high and that I expected too much out of myself.

That was so, so true. I have two jobs, I am a single dad with two kids who have tons of activities, I'm in a relationship with a wonderful woman named Darcy who I love spending time with. What I'm doing is the best I can do right now. I've learned to accept the fact that I can get overwhelmed sometimes and that there are times were a few things need to sit in the background for a while so I can focus on other things. And as you get older, things just aren't as easy as they used to be.

Ok, so that's it for me today. I promise I'll be back tomorrow!