Thursday, December 31, 2015

Good Riddance 2015.

2015 was my worst year ever. Many of the details I'm not comfortable sharing which is odd for someone who has often been accused of sharing too much, especially on a blog. I did learn more about certain subjects than I ever wanted to but learning about those subjects is something I wouldn't wish on anyone.

I believe most the bad stuff is behind me and my family. I have a plan to work out some of the remaining physical woes (a contributor to the worst year), other scars are healing on their own. One of the things I am grateful that I learned is who and what is important and I have to remind myself of that every day.

Here's to reminding myself in 2016.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Week 1; day 1: It is better to train for the wrong race that to not train for the right one.

A bunch of my iron cronies, feeling old, fat and out of shape, are coming up with a "Fran" plan which is centered around getting now un-athletic slugs to the finish line of Timberman 70.3 in 2016. This plan includes an Oly in June and maybe some other misadventures.

There needs some diet stuff in there too. I'm the furthest from my traditional race weight of all my friends so that is my biggest challenge.

I raced Timberman before. It wasn't pretty. The hills hurt fat guys, especially fat guys named Joe. I finished but there is some opportunity for revenge. Whether the revenge comes from me or on me is still to be determined. The difference is that I'm older, fatter but not wiser.

Yesterday was Timberman 2015 so that makes today is week 1; day 1. I hope the blog will turn into short bursts of activity and chronicles of diet and exercise. Hey, if it doesn't work, try something else.

Disney Half is still on. my body isn't cooperating while I ramp up walking so I may need to bias more training in the pool. Luckily, I've got an endless pool for that so the excuses aren't so easy.

Monday, June 29, 2015

You can't out train a bad diet

Especially when you don't really train. But............

Today I ate well, rode a CitiBike from Tribeca to Penn Station instead of taking a subway, and jumped in the pool for a quick 20 minute swim.

One day in a row.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A death and regrets.

Yesterday I got an email from someone who I didn't know stating that someone I did know had passed away. Herb, the person I did know, was a head hunter or, to use the more official nomenclature, an executive recruiter. I don't know how or when we met but the how was probably based on me answering a want ad in the newspaper (just by saying a "want ad in the newspaper" is dating "the when" properly). Herb placed me in my first job in financial services in 1991. I've probably hired 20 people from him over the years with the last one just a few months ago in January. There were times when I spoke to him as frequently as daily yet there were times when we didn't speak for months. He would know the type of people I would hire and when he found one, would send him or her my way. He wouldn't bother me with people who didn't fit. I'm guessing I knew Herb for over 25 years.

The odd part of our relationship was that we never met.

I couldn't tell you if he was young or old, short or tall, what color his hair was (or wasn't) but I would recognize his voice on the phone as soon as he said, "Hi, guy." We sometimes exchanged holiday gifts (by mail), sometimes we didn't, and sometimes we just sent cards. We always said that we would get together for lunch or dinner some time but we never did. Something always came up and it was never a priority with everything else always going on. He often said that he "owed" me at least a lunch for all the business we did. I responded that I owed him for the high quality folks he presented and the best way to make me happy was to keep them coming. He held up his side of the bargain.

Herb's death bothered me. It made me realized that some things that may not seem so important really are. I wish that I made meeting with him more of priority but did not. I will regret that every time I think of him. Then I will remember all the good stuff.

The funeral was this morning. I didn't go. I didn't feel comfortable since I kept thinking about introducing myself as someone who worked with Herb for 25 years but never met him. Even so, I miss him.


Sunday, May 10, 2015

What stays in Vegas.

Last week I had to go to a nerd convention in LasVegas. I was supposed to fly out on Sunday night,  go to the show Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, then fly back on Thursday. I packed my Garmin and running clothes with the expectation to try to continue easing back to work out mode. I also hoped to eat healthy or at least as healthy as I could. I was going to blend in with the nerds. Some people say that isn't so hard for me.

Great plan, but then it got adjusted to reality and rationalization.

Rather than run on Monday, I realized I didn't know how much walking I would need to do with the show. It wound up being more than I expected with the Fitbit saying I topped 20k steps. In fact, one of the wins for the week was the step report from Fitbit. Every day over 10K steps. I rationalized that all that walking was just as good as working out. I have to stop rationalizing.

Work kept forgetting that I was in the pacific timezone with my day starting normally at 4:30am. I was tired and blew off most of the vendor dinners but didn't eat so healthy instead of these dinners. Vegas didn't wow me, it seemed to have more stuff run down that my previous trips and the people seemed lower class. I didn't gamble much ($20 total) and worked a lot. Even with all that, a week in Vegas resulted in no weight gained. Probably as good as I could have hoped for.

Unfortunately, once I got back to civilization, I realized my motivation stayed in Vegas. The timezone impacted me coming home and I've been a lump the few days since I got home. Fitbit tells me I'm doing about 4k steps a day since I'm home. Much less than my 7-8k average.

I finally unpacked my dirty clothes and realized I need get back my focus. Going for a walk later today with the goal of 10k steps. Maybe I'll even wear my Garmin and turn it into a "real" workout.

That's a bet I will make. And I'll probably win.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Returning to training and mind wanderings

Earlier this week I signed up to run the 2016 Disney Half Marathon. I signed up my daughter Amanda too as her college schedule got adjusted so this race is now the weekend before she goes back to school rather than the week after. This will be her second half Mary. I counted my history and found it will be my eighth.

The last time that I did this race the result was not pretty. I was fat, I hadn't trained, and I walked the whole thing expecting to be picked up at any time by the sweep bus. I avoided that embarrassment but that was about the only one I did avoid.

Now I am fatter, I still haven't trained, in worse shape but have 248 days to fix that. Today, I hunted up my Garmin, my iPod shuffle, my RoadID, put on my sneakers and hit the running trail. I walked for just over 40 minutes and 2.35 miles. One has to start somewhere.

I saw this stencil spray painted on the trail. There were a bunch of them that were put there by folks training for last years flavor of Disney (I only know this because at some point someone painted "RunDisney2015"). I found it motivating. I also found it a little disappointing that someone is spray painting the trail.

As I was doing semi-real training for the first time in a long while, I had a few thoughts bounce into my head. Where they came from, I don't know but here are some of them:
  • You can't out run a bad diet.
  • During Ironman training I used to run a half Mary one day almost every weekend. 
  • Every bit helps.
  • There were a lot of old people on the trail walking and running.
  • I want to run most of Disney, not walk.
  • I'm now one of those old people.
  • I need to run an official sanctioned 10k before the end of September to get a qualifying time to be with the runners rather than the walkers at Disney. Time to look at race calendars. Perhaps Cow Harbor?
  • I haven't written a blog in a long time. Fixed!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Some 2015 Events to consider

April 19 - Mini Mighty Man. Pool swim 400yards, Bike 6 miles, Run 2 miles.

May 9 - SBRA Montauk Century. No frills century.

June 6 Cedar Beach sprint. 0.5 OWS, 13.8m Bike, 5k.

You have to start somewhere.

Monday, January 12, 2015

What is your sound track?

Last Sunday morning I went to my now normal 7:15AM spin class. This week the class was a little different: the music for the spin class soundtrack was going to be only Bruce Springsteen. I was a little skeptical how it would be since most of the time they play technopop or Rihanna or Beyonce' or something like that at these classes. The most mainstream that they do seems to me to be some old Michael Jackson. I wondered how Bruce would turn out.

I had a great class, felt like I pushed it more than usual, and believed it to be mostly related to the sound track of the class. There were more old guys than normal and the class was close to sold out. The energy was good and the time flew by. All good.

On the way home I got to thinking (always dangerous). First, I realized I have never seen Springsteen in concert and need to fix that at my next opportunity. Second, I started thinking of the impact of music on training and these is where my brain keeps pondering. I normally train with music. I have a bunch of old iPods that I rotate through. There was a time where I even got one of those water proof iPod holder/headphones and it worked OK even for swimming until it broke (someone said I broke it but I won't admit guilt). Racing often outlaws music devices so I need to make up a soundtrack to keep me going. Even when they didn't I found out that iPods don't like when you dump water over your head to cool down and you sort of dump the water on the iPod. I learned that fairly quick though (these I did break).

I saw the studio is doing something similar to this next week where my Friday night semi regular classes will be a Taylor Swift class. I think this might an opportunity be time to break out the Computrainer on my road back to real training.

What do you listen to while training by yourself?

Friday, January 9, 2015

Defining weight loss weekly success.

This week I lost an additional 1.6 pounds for a total 2 week weight loss of 6.8 pounds. 9.8 pounds to my first goal.

My week wasn't a good week in terms of following my dietary goals. Even so, I lost some weight.

In the early part of the week I wasn't feeling great so took Monday off from work. Tuesday was a return to the rat race and then the deep freeze seem to hit everywhere.

Especially my water pipes, which froze on Thursday at 3am in the morning.

Because of that I was up all night and fell back into bad eating issues. Of course frigid temperatures made for an easy excuse. What's the correlation? I don't know but it sounded good.

I was surprised that I lost a little weight but was glad anyway. I asked the question to myself of what made a successful weight loss week. I decided that anything better than 1 pound in a week would be a success. Otherwise I need to figure out what happened.

For now, I'll ride my success for a while.

Monday, January 5, 2015

A sad story - the data of my getting fat.

After I wrote this I realized that some may think this a bit of a pity party. Let me be clear - it is not. I wrote it to come back to this post from time to time as a reminder of what happens when I lose focus. Because of this I turned off comments and I'm not putting this on Facebook. Don't feel offended. This is all about "me vs. me."
Thanks for your support.

Most of my physical and medical maladies are due to me carrying too much weight. I assume there was a seemingly magical threshold for my body that when I crossed it I triggered a whole bunch of bad things but have no idea what that threshold actually is or was.  It might have been a combination of weight and time (being fat for a too long) but again, that would be yet another mystery for me to fail to solve.

As the calendar flipped to 2015, I went back through my data (I'm a data hound and track way too much stuff) to figure out how much I actually gained this year. I have years of data points on what I weighed and when [there are some gaps but it is not material]). I was a bit surprised to find I only gained 11.4 pounds in 2014. While not great, I expected it to be more. Of course losing 5.2 pounds in the last week made this look better than it was.

I went back in time and found that in 2013 I gained 7.2 pounds. As a single data point, again not so bad. In fact, better than 2014.

So, I kept going back in time to find where it got bad. 2012 had me gain 34.6 pounds but this wasn't where my troubles began. I completed Ironman Florida in the first week of November 2011. I found in the year of 2011 I gained 21.2 pounds, most of it in the 2 months post Ironman.

But my weight gain did not start post Ironman. It actually began between my bike accident in 2010 and the start of my actual Ironman training. The lowest I've weighed in the last decade was 245. I hit 250 in September 2010 and gained more weight while training for an Ironman. Yes, I've proven that one can gain weight, and a lot of it, while training for an Ironman. I've also proven I can gain a lot of weight after Ironman too. I don't have much more to prove in this area.

There is a concept called nutrition periodization where you match your nutrition (intake) plan with your  training (consumption) plan. In summary, during periods of high training you need a higher caloric diet. As you lower your training volume, you need to lower your calories in. I failed in that not only did I, post ironman, keep my calories high, but I reduced the quality of the food I consumed. I replaced salad with french fries, breakfast at home became fast food breakfast sandwiches on the go, first one then two (hey, they were on sale, 2 for $3), and the spiral kept spinning in the wrong direction.

The last time I lost weight (before prepping for Ironman and at the beginning of what I call adult onset exercise) I started at 328.4 and ended at 245 for a loss of 83.4 pounds. So it can be done and I can do it.

This time I'm starting at 351.2. 250 would be great as a long term goal. 101.2 pounds. While that will be a great long term goal, I think it is too big a goal for me to grasp so I need to go after smaller chucks. I think it might be novel to track my lost weight against when I gained it. So my first goal is to lose the weight I gained in 2014. So 11.4 pounds to my first goal.

I have a plan and just need to execute against it.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Wasn't pretty.

Last Friday I signed up for Weight Watchers. I figured I had to start somewhere. The number on the scale, while not a surprise, wasn't pretty.

Later that day I went to Soul Cycle and knocked out a 45 minute spin class. That too wasn't pretty but I got it done.

Last Saturday I "ran" a little more than 2.5 miles. My ankles complained a lot afterwards about it not being pretty.

Last Sunday I got up early and completed a 7:15am Soul Cycle 45 minute spin class. There was a heat malfunction in the studio so it was stupid hot. HOW HOT WAS IT? It was so hot the instructor joked it was a Bikram cycle class. I though about leaving midway through the class but stuck it out. Again not pretty.

Monday I was supposed to swim but I got distracted by a basketball game on TV. Duke was pretty, me sitting on the couch wearing my bathing suit watching them till the game was over, less so. I could have headed towards the pool but for some reason I headed towards the bed instead.

Tuesday I took an opportunity to walk during lunch. Cold, windy, a break for a salad in the middle, only 1.4 miles in approx. 27 minutes. It counts but still wasn't pretty.

Wednesday was New Years Eve. 715am spin class. Woke up not wanting to go, went anyway (it beat going to work), they fixed the heat (yeah!), but my body was yipping for all this "exercise."  It wasn't pretty.

I celebrated New Year's day by doing close to nothing. I did take two naps since I was up way past my bedtime the night before waiting for the kids to get home. Then to the outlaws house for a dinner where I ate way too much. Still not so attractive.

Today I weighed in for Weight Watchers. I lost 5.2 pounds this week.

It is a start. Perhaps there is hope for a prettier week next week.