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I Did It!

When I joined MFP I was like everyone else. I wanted to lose weight which was going to make me healthy. Everyone knows that overweight and obese people are at greater risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and even cancer. Except for the stroke, I had them all.

This journey, if you stick with it, can be pretty exciting.

When I started running, I just wanted to run a 5K. That was it; finish a 5K. It took me an entire year to run a 5K in 32 minutes. Really, I just wanted to finish. After my first one, I decided I wanted to run one in under 30 minutes. 5Ks are a gateway drug.

I am addict. If one is good, two is better and six are nirvana.

If you go back through my blogs (or buy my book), you may remember that I wrote about some day running a half marathon. It was so far out of my realm, even with all my awesomeness - cough cough, I didn't think I could do it - ever. I ran my first half in February of 2013. In fact, I ran 3 half marathons in 2013. Instead of getting faster, I got slower. 2:16, 2:24, and 2:27. That's what I thought.

Runner's have a lot of excuses, I have none.

Everyone knows that to run a sub-2-hour marathon, you need to be at least an average runner - maybe even a young runner. The national average is 1:50 for men and 2:05 women. That is what I set my sights on, finishing in less than 2 hours. I am a man!

Every goal I have set for myself, I did not think that I could achieve it. It was going to press me to my limits, and I would give myself permission to fall short by just a little. Somewhere on the course, in the middle of the burning and wheezing, I would tell David there was another race I could do better. Part of the problem was that I didn't train for the desired results. The rest was that I didn't believe in me. Lots more excuses that I am not going to entertain here.

How bad am I? Once I set out for a 15 mile run doing 3 5 mile loops past my house. I gave up at 10. Now I run 7 1/2 miles away from my house. It's the only way I can do it.

Last year's Hyannis Half Marathon was my first. It was cold, wet and rainy. There were high winds that blew my glasses off, sleet, effing-freakin-freezing rain and 5 inch deep puddles. This year it was 45 degrees and sunny. Excuse-less running weather!

I did something different. I made a plan.

I have made plans, but they were unrealistic, and were too lofty. This time, I picked a pace that practiced running at one day a week. Sometimes even faster, but for shorter distances. I had a friend that was running and she needed to run the same plan. We did it together.

Everything felt great, because of my new job, I was well rested not being able to run much. I had done a 5 mile run at my race pace the day before and all was well. I just needed to maintain it for 2 hours, not 45 minutes.

The miles wore on, past the harbor, by the beach and through the little seaside community. At mile 10 I was feeling it and my run buddy ran on ahead. It was me and my head for the rest of the way. I kept checking my watch and focusing on the little things like breathing and form. I was tired and nearly stumbled. I ate my last GU and kept pushing until it kicked in. Mile 12 and most of 13 were tough, but I was so close I told myself that if I had to walk, I was going to push until I had to.

Finally I heard the music at the finish line and gave it all I had. There were quite a few runners in those last few hundred yards and I passed about 20 of them sprinting to the finish line.

I saw the clock: 2:02, that was my gun time, but it took minutes to get to the starting mat. I glanced at my Garmin and I stopped the timer: 1:59:17 Later my official time was 1:59:15 I had done it. I trained, I practiced and I stuck with the plan.

Some Days I am So Pathetic

Once upon a time there lived a pathetic runner (that would be me). No matter how hard I try to be normal, I always do something to that is just ridiculous. For example, I tie my shoes to go for a run, and some how, as I stand up it turns out that I managed to include the lead for my headphones. I nearly tore my ears off. Then there were the hang tags I left on my new running clothes, falling off the treadmill at the YMCA and running down the street in my compression underwear and no shorts. More on those stories HERE.

God is merciful and each day is another chance to redeem myself. I usually fail.

I just started back to work after two lay offs in two years. Between work, a dead car and a couple of major snow storms, I missed a few runs. I got in 5 miles last Monday because work didn't have a computer for me and they let us go an hour early. I managed 3 more miles last Tuesday. There was darkness, and God called it night.

There is a lot of snow on the ground here in New England - maybe 2 feet or so (.7 m). If I remember correctly, my road actually has a sidewalk. I'm sure that it will reappear in the spring along with the disappearing dog poop in the dooryard.

I wear reflective gear and run facing traffic. The problem is there is too much traffic to choose from.

Starting out I thought it would be best to take the route into the center of my little town. That is where we keep our most treasured heirlooms: two traffic lights (one on each side of the intersection). I ran with my little flashlight, waving it at the 2-ton steel zombies while I screamed "please don't kill me!"

Out on the state road, I stood at the crosswalk like a New York hooker waiting for someone to stop and let me cross. I finally gave up and dodged a couple of trucks. Jumping the snow bank, I landed on the sidewalk using no other body parts than my feet. The truth be told, I expected much worse.
 
A pathetic runner victory.

Heading on down the sidewalk I found some wet patches... that turned to black ice. The water fooled me into thinking it was spring or even summer. I shortened up my cadence and slowed down to see if I could avoid launching over he guardrails into onto the frozen Blackstone River or scaling the snowbank on my belly like a penguin and gliding under an oncoming commuter.

I switched from crunchy snow to dry concrete and patches of ice as I trekked towards town. For the most part it was uneventful as I surveyed the pavement using ancient Mini-Mag. I passed the liquor store, the gas station and the bank before turning back.

I enjoyed a nice little groove on the way home. And then my flashlight started to fail. I did a facepalm as I remembered that I did not change the batteries when the clocks changed. Actually, I haven't changed them since the hurricane of '89.

I made it home and immediately started looking online for running lights.
 
The End

Thanks for the votes and comments.
 

Why Am I Not Logging?!

You would think that after 3 years, I would have this logging thing down. The scale has been good to me, the tape measure and the the 5K times even better. I have a lot of excuses for not logging.

- EVERYTHING that I eat does not have a bar code for the MFP scanner.
- I have been doing this for years, I have it down!
- Too many new foods with travel and on-the-run meals.
- It's a pain in the iPhone.
- Other people gave up and succeeded.
- My spouse loves me no matter what I weigh.
- The dog doesn't growl at me unless I lick my own dish.
- Counting calories sucks the joy out of eating!
- I run 40 or 50 miles a week.
- My health is good - no make that great!
- I am at my goal weight - well close.
- I paid my dues.
- Logging is for weak people.
- I like points better.
- My lifestyle changes will keep me on the path.
- I can eyeball the proper portion size from across the room.
- I cheated when I was logging.
- The economy sucks.
- They had cake and I ate it.
- I never took a cheat day (more like a few years)
- Counting is inaccurate.
- I don't eat fast food.
- I wrote a book about all this!

Honestly, after a few weeks, it's already not working. I'll be back.

Thanks for the votes and comments.

So You Want to Lose Weight?

The fat man in me was disgusted with my looks, how I felt and even a little scared about my health. The doctor was a nag, pizza tasted good enough to suck down four or five slices and the Dollar Menu at McDonald’s was calling my name. The only thing that hadn’t happened was for the Post Office to give me a personal ZIP Code.

My joints ached, I was depressed, and feeling badly had become a way of life.

I worked in Boston, commuted a couple of hours a day, sat in office chair at least nine hours, plus laying in bed watching TV or sitting in my own office chair. The most moving I did was walking from the car to the office, plus a few trips to the coffee pot.

My life was so hectic that other than going to church on Sunday most weeks, I did nothing. Save a few long weekends, my vacation time was used up trying to manage the rest of my life doing things like getting oil changes, watching my daughters various school activities, and the dreaded yearly physical.

I was at teh doctor's office and there was a full-length mirror in the exam room. I accidently saw myself and nearly let out a little girly scream. I was disgusted and I felt trapped. I had to lose weight! About the same time my wife had joined a circuit cardio class at the local YMCA.

Ah yes, time to get with it! I started to envision myself back in the skinny days – I actually had those!

Three years ago I went to my first cardio class. HOLY CRAP! I was a mess, panting, aching, and nearly barfing. I was shaking after five minutes. 

No wonder I’m obese! I felt hopeless and didn’t even eat when I went home. I was sore for days after.

I kept going and going and dropped thirty pounds and then one morning I got up and had congestive heart failure. I had no one to blame but myself and my life choices. The good news is I made it though that trauma and after a week in ICU, I got on track. I haven’t been perfect, and somewhere in there I discovered being fit was far more important than losing weight. What I ate and how much I ate really mattered more than losing weight or running a 5K.

Three years later I am down close to my goal weight. The doc thinks this may be my “happy weight” but I keep on keeping on.

Thanks for the votes and comments.

More about my story HERE.
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