Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Streak Begins Again

I couldn't pass up another day without a workout (although it was tempting), and thus I put in a good 65 minute run and walk tonight.

It was great and quick and fun, and all is right again in my world.

I've had a streak of 12 days on, 1 day rest. Then 11 days on, 1 day rest. We'll see where this new streak of 1 day - so far - leads me.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

To Workout Or Not

I'm struggling with the decision to workout out tonight, or to take the night for rest and recovery. I've been on a streak of 11 straight days of exercise - with the past four days totaling 7 hours of exercise.

I'm exhausted. Literally falling asleep while working earlier this evening. It's that time of night I normally suit up and hit the gym, and I'm torn.

Tonight is supposed to be a run night, and I'm finally starting to feel a bit more awake after drifting off to brief sleep about 20 minutes ago. I'm awake enough to workout. But 2 extra hours of sleep sounds amazing.

Monday, February 23, 2009

New Feature Coming Soon

Instead of trying (and failing) to keep you updated with every workout, I'm going to do a week end summary of each day with its statistics and - if necessary - short summary of the activity. I think this will help me maintain the Nutrition Log, which also includes space for the daily workouts, and it will lessen the daily impact of blogging. It's a challenge to find the time to do what needs done daily as it is.

However, I'll still make near daily posts with exciting workout news, or other health-related topics coming to my attention.

Thanks for following me as I undergo this year of loss and health.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Progress Report VIII - Feb. 22

Weight: 209.2 lbs.
Loss/Gain: - 3.8 lbs.

39.2 lbs. to Goal (170 lbs.)

Exercise Hours: 8:19:24.53 hours (biking: 1:13:43 hours; running: 58:51.54 minutes; walking: 4:35:55.04 hours, weights: 40:54.95 minutes; elliptical: 50:00 minutes)

Exercise Distance: 51.66 miles (biking: 21.4 miles; running: 6 miles; walking: 19.11 miles; elliptical: 5.15 miles)

February Wellness Challenge progress: 9.3 + 7.2 + 11.4 + 9.5 + 7.8 + 10.4 + 9.4 + 11.4 + 9.5 + 11.15 + 10 + 7.9 + 8.7 + 10.2 + 9 + 9.9 + 9.9 + 9.9 + 8.4 + 9.9 + 15.9 + 18.9
225.65 of 224 cups.

I thought last week was busy and stressful, but it was a cakewalk compared to this week. I suppose there wasn’t as much stress, but busy, yeah. It was very busy. However, I knocked it out of the park with the exercise this week. Every day I did something – and I didn’t take it easy (except for one relaxing walk with The Girl – but even Superman needs a break). I worked hard. Killed calories and added new exercises, like weight lifting and time on the elliptical trainer. I’m a cross-training fool. The weights killed my arms. They have, after a week and three workouts, finally recovered to the point were it isn’t total agony to simply raise my arm. I knew the pain of a new start would happen, but that doesn’t make the wait for it to go away any easier.

Looking at myself I can really see the changes. I suppose that is bound to happen when you shed 27.6 lbs. in less than 2 months. It’s awesome and inspiring, and I feel the best I’ve felt in the past 3 years. (And check out this bonus: I’m healthier too! It isn’t just about looking good.)

I’ve had some skipped meals over the past two weeks and I wanted to make sure that didn’t happen this week. (It didn’t.) There is nothing healthy about not eating, especially when you are working out as much as I am. Still lacking in the grains department, though. I’ll rectify that situation with next month’s challenge. Hopefully that focus will get me on track with what I see as my only nutritional weak spot at the moment.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Updated Progress Report VII

Only about a week late on getting my exercise and water data on this Progress Report VII. I'm never going to get this far behind again. I had all of the information written down across 4 different sheets of paper. I was just so busy that I didn't get it put in my Nutrition Log, and thus couldn't calculate it for the Progress Report.

I'm still working on updating the Nutrition Log with this week's stats, but I'm mostly done and will be able to supply a completed report tomorrow when it is due. Thanks for the patience and understanding.

[And check out the exercise. I'm Steve-level impressive with this now.]

Extended Gym

The weekends are going to be nice. They will give me the time to really hammer out a workout at the gym. Today I was there for just over 2 hours of exercise. I started with a run, then did a couple more miles of fitness walking, before jumping on the elliptical trainer for another 20 minutes of work. In between I threw down 3 sets of 15 reps on the seated row weight machine (30 lbs.: I'm not going for bulk - yet - just definition with my endurance muscles).

It was a 1,200+ calorie burning workout, but it did leave me feeling a bit nauseous. I hadn't eaten much since lunch yesterday (which was out at Mimi's Cafe, and was a what I can imagine calorie heavy bowl of seafood fettucini). I did restrain myself to 1 large slice of Felix and Oscar's pizza at bowling last night. What it boils down to is that I was probably under-prepared for such a heavy workout at the gym. I know I'm eating out again tonight, but I'll still make sure I load up on fruits and vegetables and protein at lunch and later this evening, depending on my meal out.

All in all, I'm loving this new me. This fit and healthy me. I'm not there yet, but I'm light years from where I was less than two months ago.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Useless Arms

I can't hardly move my arms. Day 2 of weights has rendered them effectively useless. How cool is that?

I'm going to accept the pain because I'm starting to see some definition in my body once again. This is due mostly to the weight loss and aerobic exercise, but I know the weights will help speed the process along. That is, if I stick with them.

Bring on the pain. Bring on the muscles.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Running and Dreaming

While I was running tonight I came to the realization that running and dreaming aren't all that different for me. During both activities my mind wanders. It bounces from one idea or line of thought to another - all thoughts fleeting and lost once I've stopped.

It is relaxing, and a relief from the worry of the day.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Dreaded Weights

I started lifting weights tonight. And I am dead. My arms a like noodles - completely worthless and flailing around. And when they aren't just hanging lifelessly at my sides, they hurt.

These first few weeks of lifting weights are always the worst. It's a matter of finding the correct weights and then building up a tolerance to the activity. It probably doesn't help that I also threw in some biking and walking. My "easy" night of working out turned out to be almost as intense as my run last night.

It all goes back to the dangers of the gym, and all it's shiny, sweaty equipment to utilize.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Run (Indoors) - Feb. 16

I'll be posting my thoughts about the run here soon. (For you impatient folks with limited attention spans: it was another fantastic run.)

Stress Is Healthy?

If stress isn't healthy, then I'm in trouble. Today has not been the most relaxing of days.

Lack of sleep is supposed to be good for you, too, right? (Crap.)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Progress Report VII - Feb. 15

Weight: 213 lbs.
Loss/Gain: -2.8 lbs.

43 lbs. to Goal (170 lbs.)

Exercise Hours: 6:52:35.00 hours (biking: 2:25:03 hours; running: 40:38.41 minutes; walking: 3:46:53.59 hours)

Exercise Distance: 54.73 miles (biking: 35.44 miles; running: 4 miles; walking: 15.29 miles)

February Wellness Challenge progress: 9.3 + 7.2 + 11.4 + 9.5 + 7.8 + 10.4 + 9.4 + 11.4 + 9.5 + 11.15 + 10 + 7.9 + 8.7 + 10.2 + 9
142.85 of 224 cups.

Random Challenge Week of Feb. 9: drink no pop (soda) - check.
+1 point

This was a very busy, very stressful week of work for me. I still managed to get out and exercise every day but Friday (I was simply too exhausted and had been working all night). The neat thing about this week was that I started running, had my first outside bike ride of the year, and FINALLY made it to the gym. I now feel as though I’m fully invested in the exercise component of this loss and health challenge.

Looks like I’m finally reaching the point where more normal amounts of weight loss are occurring. Those first few weeks, as overweight as I was, were bound to give me huge losses, but now that my body has shed its extremes of extra weight; it appears I’m in line to lose the 1 to 2 lbs. I anticipated losing healthily each week.

The two nights of leftover pizza, plus the 4 nights eating away from home put the balanced part of the diet to the test. Not enough fruits and vegetables, and one skipped meal (busy) also were not great things to notice in my Nutrition Log. I am pleased with my water intake for the week – right in line with my expectations.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

I'm Coming for You, Steve

Beware, Steve. I'm coming after you.

I told you I would on Tuesday after our bike ride. I know you are going to be difficult to catch in exercise time, but I'm making it a priority.

My streak of 12 straight days exercising was broken yesterday, but I came back hard today. I'll get it posted up here on the blog soon, but it was a killer workout at the gym. (Yeah, baby - I'm back at the gym.)

Friday, February 13, 2009


The weight loss has become noticeable. I'd seen the signs in my pants becoming looser - literally falling down, with belts pulled tight to their limits - and my stomach not so clearly doing the Jell-O jiggle, but it has been the overwhelming number of compliments thrown my way at work that has got me smiling.

The past few days everyone has been letting me know how good I look. I'm not going to argue; it only encourages me to continue.

(Still, it is nice to hear.)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

First Run of the Year - Feb. 12

I'll be posting my thoughts about the first run of the year here soon. (For you impatient folks with limited attention spans: it was fantastic.)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

First Outdoor Bike of the Year - Feb. 10

I'll be posting my thoughts about the first outdoor bike ride of the year here soon. (For you impatient folks with limited attention spans: it was fantastic.)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Fitness Walk - Feb. 9

Is nice when the weather changes from a forecast of showers into the sunny mid-60’s just in time for a workout after work. It was windy, sure – extremely windy from the South – but when you are walking and the temps are nice, it matters not. It was a beautiful thing, this walk. I had a spring in my step and speed in my feet.
Workout: 56:06 minutes; 4 miles; average pace 4.3 mph; walked the route from my place, past Summit and over by Ry’s, then back; did some shoe surgery to remove what I now believe to be the cause of my worst blisters and found the walk so much more enjoyable; everything from legs to lungs felt great; if I’d only had more time and not so much work and company, I’d have made a longer workout of the night.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Computer Course Biking - Feb. 8

I went to ride indoors with Steve this afternoon, expecting to do another of the Carmichael Training DVD’s. What I got instead was a ride on the trainers hooked up to the computers. I’d heard Steve talk about these before, and I’d seen people riding them the past two weeks, but I didn’t think I’d be on one. If you are a fan of technology and want a killer workout, stop by Kyle’s Bikes and try one out yourself.

It was fun. And cool. But tough for only my 3rd ride in a long, long while.

There’s a real course in the computer, transporting me via monitor to some road in Europe (France is my guess). The program is hooked directly to the trainer, and it adjusts the tension automatically for the hills. And there were hills today. You still control your gears and shifting, allowing you to manage the terrain.

The best part of the whole experience was watching Steve power through the ride. He blew me away, much like some great guy I knew. My dad would have loved this setup. He’d have enjoyed the idea of crushing all of the other riders.

Me? I’m more content to just finish the ride, getting a great workout, and maybe going a bit quicker – a bit harder – than I did the last time I rode.
Workout: ~37 minutes; 11.87 miles; average speed ~19.2 mph; the ride started with a rather large hill, but it leveled out after 3 or so miles, only to climb again (not as much) around the 7th mile, after which the ride was relatively flat (but I was wiped); was a bit light-headed around halfway through because of the difficulty of the ride and my lack of fitness, but I worked through it; did drink water, but could have drank more while riding; wanted to record all my info (calories – somewhere in the high 400’s, wattage, cadence, etc., but didn’t get the chance); fun ride, and will be more fun when I’ve been riding a bit more regularly.

Random Challenge - Week of Feb. 8

This one was coming ever since I decided to create this record of loss and health. In honor of H20 Hydration Month – it is time to do the unthinkable: cut out the Diet Coke, at least for a week. (Although, in all honesty, during this past week in my attempt to drink more water, I completely forgot to drink any pop until Saturday when I realized I hadn’t had a drink and then order a Diet Coke with my pizza.)

So, here’s the Random Challenge, for 1 point:

During the week of February 9th – 15th, you must cut out any pop (or soda, for Steve) from your weekly libations (drinking). Include your success of this challenge in next week’s progress post.

And remember, anyone can come up with Random Challenges. Just email, or post in the comments, and I’ll put them up for all. Only one Random Challenge per week though.

Progress Report VI - Feb. 8

Weight: 215.8 lbs.
Loss/Gain: -2.4 lbs.

45.8 lbs. to Goal (170 lbs.)

Exercise Hours: ~4 hours 43 minutes (biking: 1 hour 38 minutes; walking: 3 hours 5 minutes)

February Wellness Challenge progress: 9.3 + 7.2 + 11.4 + 9.5 + 7.8 + 10.4 + 9.4
65 of 224 cups.

This was my first full week of exercise. It actually went very well. I worked through my injury of blisters and was still able to make it out every day. It does take up a bit more of my already limited time, but I know it’s what I need, thus it is easily justified. I was worried throughout the week that the exercise wouldn’t have any impact on my weight loss – and it was unfounded worry. However, I still find it unusual that I lost less weight in a week where I worked out multiple hours, diet remaining the same. Not going to question the results; I’ll chalk it up to the mysteries of the body.

Did better with the dining out this week. Went out once for work (Quizno’s – I love the Roadhouse Steak Sammies) and then twice this weekend with The Girl. That’s quite acceptable. Only, now I have a ton of left over pizza (which is a lot like dining out – the food is the same – but I’ll make sure to supplement it with fruits and vegetables and exercise).

The water challenge is going well. With the exception of a couple days being just under the 8-cup goal, I am still meeting the goal of an average of 56 cups for the week. It’s a bit more difficult to drink the required amount of water than I anticipated, which tells me I definitely wasn’t meeting my hydration requirements previously.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Feeling Hinky

I'm feeling a bit worried about my weight this week. Nothing has changed on the diet; I'm still eating just as I've been eating the past month. I have added exercise and a more healthy amount of water to the equation, though. You would think this would have nothing but a positive - nay, more positive - impact on the weight loss. However, I had this selfsame thought over the summer when I decided to workout.

Nothing happened. No weight loss at all. (And this was multiple hours of activity.)

So, now - of course - I'm worried that the same may hold true this week. It's irrational, I know. I don't have to lose weight every week, and thus should not even be worried. But still, it seems damn odd that there could be a chance of not losing weight, especially when I'm doing everything right.

Sorry for the rant, the worry. It happens, and gets the better of me, from time to time.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Wonderful Night for a Walk

Tonight’s walk was an amazing thing. I wasn’t entirely sure I even wanted to head out for the walk after a later night of work, but I did decide to do so, and it was so the right decision.

There are some workouts where you feel “in the zone.” Where everything is ideal, perfect and pleasurable. The temperature was in the mid-30’s – just warm enough to not feel cold on your cheeks or chin – and the wind was nowhere to be found. My blisters were still sore, but manageable. The legs felt great, and the lungs were pumping away without strain. There was such a bounce in my step I had to hold myself back from jogging, all-out running.

This – this walk, this workout – makes the blisters and the pains of beginning an exercise program worth every miserable second.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

My Poor Feet (and Leg)

After my 2 hour and 14 minute walk on Sunday, I found my feet destroyed. Blisters. Alaska-sized sonofaguns. And they hurt, bad.

Not that that stopped me from walking another 2 miles Monday night, kept me from biking Tuesday (not that biking really irritated them), or from walking another 2 miles tonight (although it was close – they hurt bad).

I had this same problem over the summer when I was doing some walking and running. I don’t know why, after years of never really having blister issues, I now know – really know – such problems. It could be the shoes, which have always seemed a bit “off” to me. Or it could be that I have rather old, and cheap, socks. I need to find some way to solve my blister problem because I do have high hopes to continue walking, and eventually get back into running, even marathon training. Some research and experimentation are in order.

The leg, you ask? Yeah, I don’t know what was wrong there. I think I must have overextended my knee and strained the muscles and ligaments behind it. But, again, I’m not entirely sure. What I do know, is that after hobbling around Sunday night, Monday, and Tuesday, the bike ride seems to have cured my problem. There’s still a slight twinge of pain – going up stairs, mostly – but I’m pleased to note that it seems to be healing up.

I think I need to lance the blisters, though. Tonight. So that maybe I can stand tomorrow.

Sprint Biking - Feb. 3

I was pumped to return to the indoor bike workout this week. As tough as last week’s ride was on me, I was anxious to test myself again.

Riding with a smaller group, we tackled a Carmichael bike training DVD that had us powering through a sprint workout.

The sprinting was mainly 12-second bursts of speed, pedaling at a cadence of 80-120, with some longer recovery periods in between the sprints. Some of the sprints were at high resistance, while others tested us at lower resistances. The final bout of sprinting involved a ladder of 1-minute high resistance, 20 seconds medium resistance, and 10 seconds low resistance. We did this ladder twice near the end of the workout, and it was brutal.

I enjoyed every minute – well, most of the minutes – of the workout, and may get back to Kyle’s Bikes for another ride on Sunday before the regular Tuesday night ride.
Workout: 1 hour 1 minute, covering 15.4 miles, at an average of 154 watts.
Reactions: even 12-second sprints can be draining if you are putting forth a real effort; still having difficulty sitting on the seat for extended periods of time – just need to ride more and my butt will remember what to do; didn’t feel like cramping this time, but was on the verge of being sick from exertion near the end; drank 1 bottle of water.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Milliliter/Cup Conversion

The English System is not yet lost, but the Metric System has reared its ugly head in the form of labels on some of our water bottles. In attempting to track my water intake, I've come across these tricky buggers. So, for my clarification - and to ease your calculations - I'm including the milliliter-to-cup conversion figure:

1 cup = 236.588237 milliliters

So, that means - for example - that 2,200 mL of water would be equal to approximately 9.3 cups. (2200 mL divided by 236.588237 mL ~ 9.3 cups)

Eight cups of water = ~ 1,892.7 mL

Sunday, February 1, 2009

February Wellness Challenge

For 5 points, you must drink at least 8 cups of water a day – every day – until February 28. You are allowed to make up any missed water intake over the course of the challenge by drinking the necessary extra cups of water.

Keep track of the number of cups of water consumed throughout the month. You can share your total number of cups of water (minimum of 224 cups) on February 28 in the comments section of the "End of Challenge – February" post.

Enjoy the challenge!

February - H20 Hydration Month

In anticipation of the increasing amounts of exercise we will all be working towards, I’ve decided to name February H20 Hydration Month. One of the things I’ve noticed over the course of tracking my diet during January was the lack of water in my diet. This month’s goal is to rectify the situation, and keep us all properly hydrated as the challenge rages on.

According to research provided by the Mayo Clinic, the average – healthy – sedentary adult should consume approximately 2.5 liters of water a day to replace the liquids lost through urine output, breathing, and sweating. This can be done by drinking 2 liters of water (a bit over 8 cups) and eating a healthy diet (20% of normal food intake is water). The research provided in the linked article is quite informative, and worth the click over.

Exercise, environment, and health also influence the amount of liquid needed to remain adequately hydrated. To that end, I’ve located a Hydration Calculator that will help you determine the amount of water needed when considering these outside influences.

End of Challenge - January

For the 5 points, you must have eaten at least 15 different fruits and vegetables before yesterday, January 31. These must have been mouthfuls of fruits and vegetables, not just a nibble of apricot, or single pea in a bowl of soup.

I managed to eat the following 17 fruits and vegetables this month: applesauce (apples), peaches, pears, bananas, carrots, broccoli, lettuce (Romaine and iceberg), zucchini, green beans, peas and pea pods and sugar snap peas, potatoes, bell peppers (red and yellow), pineapple, strawberries, mango, black beans, edamame.

I could have eaten a larger variety, but even I was impressed to find that I enjoyed some vegetables and fruits I’d never before tried (zucchini, snap peas, mango, and endamame). Make sure that you don’t forget to continue consuming fruits and vegetables; they are an integral part of living a balanced, healthy life.

Share your list of fruits and vegetables conquered throughout the month in the comments section of this post to earn your points.

Progress Report V - Feb. 1

Weight: 218.2 lbs.
Loss/Gain: -3.6 lbs.

48.2 lbs. to Goal (170 lbs.)

Exercise Hours: 3 hours 2 minutes (biking: 48 minutes; walking: 2 hr 14 min)

Random Challenge Week of Jan. 26: exercise at least 3 hours - check. +1 point

January Wellness Challenge progress: applesauce (apples), peaches, pears, bananas, carrots, broccoli, lettuce (Romaine and iceberg), zucchini, green beans, peas and pea pods and sugar snap peas, potatoes, bell peppers (red and yellow), pineapple, strawberries, mango, black beans, edamame.
17 of 15.

This week saw the beginnings of exercise for me. On Tuesday night I went and rode bike indoors – a practice that will be routine from now on. I had great intentions of making it to the gym in the morning this week, but sleep still won out. I’ll get there, hopefully this week. (Cross fingers)

Need to watch the dining out. I’m starting to fall back into the bad habits of the past. Once or twice a week, maximum. It’s so much cheaper – and healthier – to eat at home.

I am pleased to see the weight still shedding. I realize that most of this initial weight loss is due to portion control and attention to diet. Next month I’ll focus on adding the exercise component more completely to the program. From there – and I honestly think I could get to my goal weight early – it will be the challenge of creating a lifestyle to maintain my health.