Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I knew it was going to be bad...

I was doing well on the weight loss front recently. My recent blogs told a bit of a story line where my weight has been going down, perhaps not as steady as some linear algebra formulas, but trending down nicely.

Then came Christmas. For many people, Christmas gives an unwanted gift of a few pounds. For me this gift was 5.6 pounds. I guess Santa was upset I was eating too many of his cookies or some rock star was overly naughty.

In addition to the cookies, I ate too many chips and large celebration dinners with desert chasers. Although I had a few hard training days, I took off both Wednesday AND Thursday. I could have bailed on going to Weight Watchers and faced the scale next week but I chose to face the music like a true headliner.

I'm hoping these pounds aren't sticky. What I gained in one week I could lose in one week, at least that's the plan.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

10 Down and 20 to Go (or 18 Down and 34 to Go)

It seems like forever when I started with the "body composition" focus and one of the first things I did was join Weight Watchers. For those of you not familiar, when you join Weight Watchers they give you three choices on how to pay:

  • An unlimited monthly

  • A 10 pack of coupons to use once a week. If you miss a week you are supposed to pay anyway.

  • Pay week to week.

Of course, the unlimited monthly is the cheapest option as I guess they have a fair share that keep on paying even when they "drop out". I decided to go the 10 pack route. The guilt looking at the coupons helps keep me going.

This is my 10th week and I'm out of coupons. I need to buy the next pack and realized that I have two 10 packs to go before I take a little weight loss break to focus on my race day performance. This is where the 10 down and 20 to go came from.

Today was also a weigh in day. Today's result showed down 0.8 lbs for a 10 week total of down 18.0 lbs. The only disappointment was that most of the weight loss happened in two weeks. Out of the 10 weeks, I had 2 weeks were I was down a lot (-9.2 [week 1] and -4.2 [week 9]), 6 weeks where I was down a little bit and 2 weeks where my weight actually went up (boo, hiss). In order to hit my race day target, I need to lose 34.2 more lbs in the next 20 weeks (or average of about 1 3/4 per week). On the high side, but still doable.

Bringing this back to the world of triathlons, the good news is that my power to weight ratio on the bike is improving (the power is going up while the weight is going down) and I have less to lug around during the "run." The bad news is that I'm going to need new race clothes and a wetsuit. I no idea of the size that I would need.

I like having these problems.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Ho Ho NO - my first DNF

On Friday the weather gods frowned on us, dumping about 4 inches of the white stuff. The kids celebrated by making the first snowmen of the year as it snowed most of the day and into the night. The next day had the HoHoHo 5K scheduled and I was looking to break 34:00 to get one of my goals off the board. Amanda and I decided that if the race went off, we would run.

We woke up Saturday to wind, snow, unplowed roads and a race going off as scheduled. After Courtney ran the fun run, we were off.

Amanda, as usual, dropped me in a few seconds. I tried to stick to a 10:30-10:45 pace but it was like running in sand! I passed the one mile mark at about 10:55 and made the turn onto a unplowed road. My right calf then felt like an ice-pick was not so gently inserted into it. I stopped, walked, started again with the same pain, realized my day was over, and literally limped in. I thought about walking the second lap but every step was painful. I stopped. My first ever DNF.

Everyone had a hard day time-wise including Amanda but most (except me) finished. My friend James said he can't recall when he ran so slow but he also never placed higher in his age group.

Time for some rehab. Hope it will be quick.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Hot Chocolate

This morning I "competed" in the Seaford Wellness Council Hot Chocolate 5K (see www.seafordwellness.com ). I went into this race with two goals:
  1. Run the whole thing.
  2. Finish under 34:00
I came close to meeting my goals, running the whole thing but finishing 9 seconds off the mark. I stuck around to make sure I didn't win any of the raffle prizes (kept that streak alive) and, of course, had to sample namesake beverage. Lots of Team Total Training people on the podium and a little celebration afterwards over Steve and Jean's house. Thanks Steve and Jean!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Give me a break

No video to watch as the camera developed a leak before it was my turn to be filmed. No, I don't think it was due to putting on the wide angle lens needed for a fat guy. To be rescheduled at a future date.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Let's go to the video tape

First, a weight loss update: 11/25 led to a gain of 2.0 lbs while 12/2 had a loss of 1.2 lbs. Overall weight loss is 12.6 lbs. I seem to be treading water and the goal is still to lose another 39.6 pounds before Eagleman. In order to be on track I need to lose > 9.6 in the next month. I'm sure the Egg McMuffins I had for breakfast didn't help so we need more focus.

Tonight I am getting my swimming form (or lack of it) videoed. I know I suck at swimming but I need to see the video to see the degree of how much I suck. After we film, I'll review it with Steve and/or Takao and try to identify the most impactful flaws to try to get those problems minimized.

To coin Warner Wolf I hope this isn't the "Boo of the week."

Saturday, November 29, 2008


"We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too."

Friday, November 28, 2008

Amanda the rockstar.

Yesterday was Thanksgiving. In addition to Dawn and my 15th wedding anniversary, we did a family Turkey Trot at the 6th annual Gail Gorin Turkey Trot in Smithtown, NY. Dawn and Courtney did the 1 mile fun run. I was amazed on how strong Courtney looked. Most days, Courtney would be the rockstar. In fact, her performance earned her rockstar status but there was still a 5K to be run.

Amanda made the trophy ("Victory") and it was winner take all. I tried my mind games on her in the days leading up to the race with little success. Last year she beat me by a little over 7 minutes. After the start (with no ready, set), I stayed with Amanda for about 10 seconds when she turned and said, "See ya." My goal pace was 11:00/mile and to see how many walk breaks I needed. Amanda was trying to beat her 5k personal record of 27:23.
I knew something was off when slightly after the two mile mark I saw runners joining the route from the wrong direction. Not one or two but about a hundred. Most were fast (or at least faster than me).

I ran a good race for a gravy sweating, injured, old, fat rockstar bettering my time from last year by a little over 30 seconds finishing in 34:18. This was my second fastest "5k" of the modern era even though the Garmin said 3.2 miles for me.

Amanda stayed with the lead group. Unfortunately, the leaders went off course and ran close to 4 miles! She still beat me soundly. No one knows how long she actually ran. Her time didn't set a PR but she came in 4th for the 0-18AG and 15th women overall. We don't know if 1,2 or 3 ran as long as she did but trophies were awarded only three deep so no hardware for her. A very impressive effort nonetheless. She won the trophy bettering me and earned rockstar status.
I may never beat her but will keep trying. There will be another 5k family challenge soon. Maybe the Ho Ho Ho on December 20. I think I have to watch out for Courtney a little too though.....

Monday, November 24, 2008

Hi Ho, Hi Ho......

Today I returned to work. Oh well, who ever said balance was easy.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Mineola Mustang 5K

First, an update on the weight loss war:
  • On 11/11/08 the scale said down 2.4 for a total of down 10.8. WeightWatchers awarded me two gold stars - one each for losing 5 pounds!

  • On 11/18/08 the scale said down 2.6 for a total of down 13.4.

Just as important, I ran a race on Sunday, 11/16 - the Mineola Mustang 5K. For most of the time I looked like I was running but much slower in comparison to "real" runners. I planned in 2 walk breaks: one at the one mile, a second at the two mile, and threw in an extra one at about the two and a half mile. The wind was howling and I consider my finishing time of 35:34 a great success for a slow fat rockstar.

Even with the injury and weight loss challenges, this was my third fastest 5K (in modern times). The anniversary of my now second fastest (then PR) 5K is next week. I'll be running the same event, the Gail Goran Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving in Smithtown, NY ( http://www.leukemia-lymphoma.org/all_page.adp?item_id=317828 ). Dawn and Courtney are doing the fun run and Amanda and I are scheduled for a repeat showdown in the 5K. Last year she toasted me finishing a little over 7 minutes better than my performance (remember, this was my PR :( ). Stay tuned to see if there will be the smell of burnt toast for Thanksgiving in the Rock Star household or will I take some time out of her!

Monday, November 10, 2008

"A man's got to know his limitations" - Dirty Harry

There were a bunch of quotes that I hoped to include in this blog entry (in addition to the picture to the left) including the quote of Jim Lovell character in the movie "Apollo 13" of "we just lost the moon."

The reality was doing the Philly Half was a long shot given my physical state. I gave training for it a try and could have slogged through the race, but it wouldn't have been a happy day (or a happy week or perhaps even longer after). My longest run is about 5 miles and that wasn't smooth (I know, how many of my runs are smooth?) so, I've decided to not do this race.

I haven't "lost the moon" as there are other races on the horizon and the primary goal is still Eagleman in June. I'll shoot for a different half most likely in January and will fill in a few short races as training exercises in the near term. Most won't be determined very long beforehand so check back frequently if you want to run with the "Rockstar."

A better quote from Jim Lovell is "There are people who make things happen, there are people who watch things happen, and there are people who wonder what happened. To be successful, you need to be a person who makes things happen."

I'm making Eagleman happen.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

In for a penny, in for a pound

The weight loss battle is still raging. Last week the scale went the wrong way (said +2) for a total weight loss of 7.2. This week it went the right way (-1.2) resulting in a total loss of 8.4 pounds. Weight watchers set an initial target of -28 pounds. While I have more than the 28 to lose, this is a good starting point. Now I just have to keep focus.

So I was looking at my 2009 race plan. The early part of the schedule was set with StA in April and Eagleman in June. Of course, NYC Marathon is penciled in for November but that left a hole between Eagleman and NYC26.2. I needed to pick a race with enough time to recover from Eagleman and early enough so that it wouldn't impact NYC. The contestants were Timberman in August and Mighty Montauk in October.

Either could work. Each had advantages over the other but I had to decide as Timberman would close out soon. I took the plunge registering for Timberman this morning. I'm figuring if I get in shape to do Eagleman there shouldn't be that much more to get ready for the hills of New Hampshire a couple of months later. The cronies that I'll be training with are in for T-man as well so put August 23, 2009 down on the calendar. I'm going for it.

Philly half  is still undecided but that'll work itself out one way or the other shortly. Stay tuned. 

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A fine line between supergenius and insane.

I can't run. Even when I could run I couldn't really run, but that was changing last spring. I set a goal of qualifying for the 2009 NYC marathon by doing the 9 NYRR races that guarantee entry and was actually getting faster. Although no one would mistake me for lightning or rocket fast, I was finishing races closer to the middle of the pack than with the stragglers at the end, running the whole way. They were mostly short races but races are races. I got the 9 done.

I entered to lottery for the NYC08 marathon but Yolanda Vega didn't pick my number. I thought of the next best thing and signed up for the Philadelphia full marathon on November 23, 2008. This was going to be my first full marathon having walked the Long Island half marathon in May 2006 and run/walked the Disney Half in January 2008. I wanted to actually run (vs run/walk) Philly.

Then reality struck when I hurt my leg shutting me down for most training all summer. I've started training again but my longest run in months was this week: 48 minutes of 5 on/1 off. It wound up being a little less than 4 miles and I was hurting afterwards.

But I still have an entry into Philly. I downgraded it from the full to the half but they don't offer refunds. Maybe I can do it, maybe I can't, but I'm going to see if the training progresses enough to give it a shot. Stay tuned to see if the shot turns out to be a dud.

PS: Weight Watchers says down 9.2 pounds this week. Who woulda thunk it?

Friday, October 17, 2008

10/16/2008 will be the last day that you are expected to report to work.

Yesterday I had a hand delivered letter that included this title as one of the first sentences so today was my first day as a somewhat unemployed rock star. My thoughts are still a bit jumbled trying to figure out which is the best path for me but it does indicate another step on the journey is required after being with the Brothers for 11+years. Based on the news, it wasn't a complete surprise.

In the short term, it is giving me more opportunity to train while I look for a job. Making lemonade out of lemons......

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Are we making headway on the body composition front?

Got this question asked of me by BikeMike, my coach. I was planning on rejoining Weight Watchers on Tuesday and this just cemented it for me. I bundled stopping running due to my leg injury with eating excessively. I got on the scale and found this mix has resulted into a recent weight gain of almost 25 pounds from my "low."

Stay tuned as there is a reason why there aren't many fast fat guys.

Cedar Beach Tri

On Sunday, October 12, I completed the Cedar Beach Triathlon in Miller Place, New York.

I could write about:

  • How I wasn't ready for this race this year due to my leg not letting me train for the run. I was just going to do the race as a training exercise.

  • How the water conditions were hard with swells and currents causing a lot of people to bail out (maybe they were the smart ones as my time for the 3/4 mile swim exploded from 29:49 in 2007 to 38:45 in 2008).

  • The almost wipe out on the bike on wet pavement going downhill at about 30 mph. Did the second bike lap with a wheel out of true.

  • The nonrunning run being close to last year's time. Huh?

  • My lame attempt as a Capt. Morgan wannabee looking more like the Heisman.

But the most important thing about this race was my cheering sections. Courtney and Papa got up at O'dark hundred. They were there at every transition and helped me keep going just by my knowing that they were there. I couldn't image facing them if I gave up the swim as it was "too hard." Yup, guilt works.

The 2009 Eagleman team was well represented with Captain Casey Morgan getting the golden flipper award as first out of the drink and Fran nipping him at the end after a blistering bike leg. I heard Eaglechick Christine's name announced over the loudspeaker finishing as I still had about a quarter mile or so to go. Lots of TNT and TRE folks there too with lots of stories, some good and some less so.

Thanks to Robin (aka Mrs. Capt. Casey Morgan) for the picture of Courtney and the Rockstar!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Last night I went for a run.

What's the big deal? People run all the time. Triathletes probably run more than most Joe citizens. Triathletes that expect to complete a 1/2 ironman would expect to be able to run fairly frequently. I won't even get into the speed or lack of speed issue now.

It is a big deal to me since the last time I ran was June 18 at the JPMorganChase Corporate Challenge. The rain started about 10 minutes before I started running with 18,000 of my close warm personal friends around 3.5 miles of Central Park. Some were running with umbrellas. Really. The thunder and lightning started when I hit the 1 mile mark. My left calf, left hamstring and left butt started hurting once we started going up the hills on the north side of the park. When I finished I could barely walk. I still finished and cut off about 10 minutes from my time the previous year. The next day was agony.

I tried rest and that didn't fix it.

I tried ART and chiropractic and that didn't fix it.

I saw my regular doc for muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatories and that didn't fix it.

I started PT and that didn't fix it.

I saw the doc who did my back operation years ago. He told me it wasn't my back but most likely muscular.

So, I've been out of the game for for over 3 months. Cancelled doing the Mighty North Fork Tri. Deferred out of the NYC Tri. Walked the Mighty Hamptons Tri 2 weeks ago.

So I was pretty happy with running a mile at a 13:05 and then walking home. I look forward to going for another run soon. We'll see how my leg holds up.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

It is all a matter of perspective...

My friend Dana called me earlier this week after she finished the Nation's Triathlon in Washington DC. She said that she spoke to Dave Scott, triathlon icon, shortly after finishing. Dave asked her how she did. She told him she won. "You won?" questioned Dave. Yes, she said. She had a great day, finished what she started, and her family looks up to her for taking the challenge of these endurance events and meeting those challenges while supporting Team in Training. That other people might have finished before her wasn't really important in the scale of things. Dave said that was a great attitude.

I agree.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Prologue - why I am doing this?

I started doing a variety of endurance events as part of Team in Training a few years ago, starting on cycling and then "graduating" to triathlons and 1/2 marathons. I've done a number of events and have signed up for Eagleman 70.3 in June 2009. Some events have been more successful than others but I figured I'd use this blog to at least tell the story of this journey.