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I Finally Decided to Get Serious!

In November last year, I said "I do." Well, really I said, "I will love you forever." I had a less romantic encounter in February of 2011. There I was, fat (around 300 pounds), feeling old, and clinically depressed.

I confess, in my mind, I felt my life was pretty much over.

I was a desk jockey commuting into the city. I played in a country band and trust me, I was no chick magnet. Ha! Even when I was thin and playing in a rock-n-roll band back in the 70s and 80s, I didn't have any better luck.

I was married and played worship music through most of the 90s.

I tried the Dr. Phil diet thing back in 2003. I lost 30 pounds but ended up getting plantar fasciitis from wearing the wrong shoes and using the treadmill. Damn, PF is painful! I tried all sorts of things to cure it including the night splint, ice, cortisone shots, shoe inserts, rolling it, and even PT. Nothing.

I ended up gaining back 80 pounds.

I was pretty disgusted with myself and I couldn't even look in the mirror anymore. I shaved in the shower and ignored myself until my annual physical. Then I would be embarrassed ( not from just the rectal exam), get the lose weight lecture, and go home feeling defeated. I remember that all my clothes didn't fit anymore. I went from a 32" waist to 46". It got worse, I went to Sears and bought some ugly 48" stretch-waist work slacks. That was the low point. I felt like a clown in them.

I didn't think for a minute, that had the energy to lose weight.

I had a routine - a rat race, and it wasn't fun. Other than my family, I felt like I didn't have anything to live for. I had no dreams. I just hoped the doctors could medicate whatever was wrong with me. I was at least ten years away from retiring where I could sit around do nothing.

I felt hopeless.

My wife at the time, decided to do an In It To Lose It, class at the local YMCA. Because they had babysitting, we did it together. They gave us some tools, and logging on MFP was one of them.

What a pain in the @$$ it was, using the website.

I didn't make any friends, and I wasn't all that great at logging in. I did go to the class twice a week. OMG, I felt like throwing up every time. DOMS was my constant companion. Each week I started working out a third time on my own.

I lost about 20 pounds in the first two months!

I used to warm up for CrossFit like workouts by doing 20 minutes on the treadmill. It was ugly, and everything hurt. I worked really hard at managing my food. Diet meals and portion control helped.

However, my food choices weren't all that great.

I printed out a Couch to 5K plan I found on the Internet. With the encouragement of my friend Tommy, I started that too. A 5K was taking about 45 to 55 minutes to complete. OK, really an hour.

That was my first running goal.

What matters in all this is that I started. What matters now is that I stick with it. Most of you know that my running goals went from a 5K to running across Massachusetts in two days, and Rhode Island in one. I have completed about 90 races in all. Nine marathons of which four were World Major marathons.

My current running goal is to finish the six Abbott World Majors.

I will be in London April 22nd for number 5. I hope to be in Tokyo a year from now completing marathon number six. Then I want to retire from marathon running (not running) and work, do art, write, and enjoy the all the goodness in my life with Ruth. Until forever comes.

Thanks for the votes and comments. I got an IM from a friend. Yes, I am raising money for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation (Team Challnge London).

Why I Hate Running II

Saturday morning I was a little late getting started because of the rib pain from my crash two weeks ago, kept me up for a few hours the night before. I usually have a cup of coffee around 5:30 or 6 am while reading my email and LIKING my friends accomplishments from the night before. Without coffee, I probably would be like, whatever.

The lack of caffeine can ruin a whole freakin' morning in a matter of minutes! It's one of the reasons I hate running life.

It was my 12 mile run training day and I wasn't off to a good start. I enjoyed a few minutes of social media and then I thought about getting dressed to run. I feel sort of weird waking up and running our the door; my bed was so comfortable and warm.

Now it was time to wait for my digestive system to work its magic. It didn't happen.

In fact, a sunny, beautiful, and crisp running day was slipping away. IBD was about to rob me of another run. It made me angry. It took an entire year of marathons from me in 2016. I managed to pull it together in 2017 when I ran Berlin.

Now registered for London ** in April, I need to get out there and get the hard work of training done.

Saturday turned into a joyful array of family and friends to celebrate my wife's birthday with lunch. Then there was the romantic dinner at a local steakhouse. Yes, there was chocolate. It was a  fun filled day!

In the back of my mind, this training run began to stress me out. I already lost 9 weeks with a broken leg and another week after my fall two weeks ago.

Sunday we got up early, had life-giving coffee, and got our weekly grocery shopping done. I prepped an easy-bake lunch (no, I don't have an Easy Bake Oven), and Ruth and I headed out the door. We had a two hour window before the next event. I made a pit stop before heading out.

It was then I noticed trouble on the horizon. Ah well.

I fiddled with my running app on the way downstairs, slipping on my Smartphone arm holder. Arm holder sounds like I have a prosthetic arm, but arm band sounds like I am a terrorist - but I digress.

Ruth and I opened the front door and got a blast to the cool, crisp air that gave my nipples an appreciation for their female counterparts. Together, we headed down our familiar route on the Boston Marathon course. This morning I couldn't remember how the heck to start. It was one foot in front of the other.

Making our way down the sidewalk, it was a an obstacle course dodging patches of slush and ice.

It was cold, and my shin started with this weird pain. I made a mental round of all my joints to see how things were. Too many to count, so I decided to focus on the run. Then my shorts started creeping up. Due the low levels of caffeine, I guess I didn't properly situate them after my pit stop.

I turned and smiled at Ruth while I dug out a world class wedgie.

With about a mile or so to go, I just wanted to get home and log my efforts because my MFP friends will think I am awesome for not dying.

I hate running, I thought. We trudged on.

Somewhere in the last few miles I began to think about how inviting the bathroom was going to be when I got in the door. Thinking about it, I might change my weigh in day to right after the run...

At four miles, Ruth left me to finish solo. 

I headed towards Boston for another mile and a half, and turned around.  Six isn't twelve, but it is better than zero. As I slowed to a walk a block from my house, the endorphins starting talking to me. I felt pretty good.

Monday Ruth and I went and ran three miles next to the ocean. The salt air, the sound of seagulls instead of trains and cars, along with a bit of sunshine made me love running again.

Thanks for your votes and comments!

** I am running London for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation, strong supporters of IBD research.

Weight Loss, the New Religion

Since the beginning, mankind and their various religions have often turned the world upside down. Everyone has an opinion about unseen - whether it's good, bad, or somewhere in between. They worship, they teach, they hope, they pray, and they even spread the word about their personal enlightenment.

Folks can be just as religious about weight loss!

That's right, some of us have become enlightened and now everyone needs to become like us! What, you don't believe me? Here are the basic constructs of religion.

Belief in Supernatural Being, Deity or Absolute: Weight-losers believe that the calories are supernatural. Then sneak in at night and shrink your clothes and meddle with the zero balance on your scale.

Sacred and Profane Objects: Sacred objects include the scale, skinny jeans and sometimes the tape measure. The profane; chocolate, ice cream, donuts, wings, and pizza.

Moral Code: You must eat clean, lift heavy, do intervals, run in Vibrams, or zip your pants. There are many factions. Not all of them agree.

Religious Feelings: I ate donut, I feel fat. I ate a salad I feel skinny. I ran a marathon and I am sore. I am tempted by food. I mean, if a little wine for communion is good, then a whole bottle must be better!

Prayer: There are rote prayers like the names we call the scale. It's a universal language. Then there is the second donut prayer and the skipped my workout prayer before ascending to the Altar of Poundage. (I heard the Brits get stoned there.)

A World View: Our world is about weight and rarely about fitness. We have a hard time seeing ourselves as we really are. We say it's OK to have curves and type II diabetes. But then we hit a goal or two and sanity clears our vision.

Intolerance: Skinny people make us angry enough to trip them on the escalator at the mall.

Divine Destiny: We dream of the afterlife of being sexy and skinny somewhere in life. The truth is for most of us, our last chance to have a hot smoking body is cremation.

Problem of Evil Explained: We know about sugar, Aspartame and GMO's, just ask us!

A Social Group Bound Together: Umm, we are here on MFP.

Belief in a Sacred Scripture: Fad diets are everywhere, but heretics like me have written their own missal.
 
Capital Fundraisers: Things like getting 10,000 steps, walking 100 miles in a month, and the sugar free challenge. 
 
Rituals: Scale worship is like daily vespers. Then there is something akin to high mass like cheat days after 40 days of fasting and colon cleansing. Most agree that we need to give our old unhealthy lifestyle whatever the appropriate burial ritual is. 

Thanks for reading along. I appreciate the votes and comments.

Fighting Through

Life, exercise, food, logging, and health, each one has its own challenges. The London Marathon is April 22nd! That gives me about 75 days to get it together.

If you subtract the 3 or 4 weeks that won't count, I have about 50 days left to train.

It's a pretty tall order. I have been logging and exercising in machine mode - well, until Saturday. I was on a 10 mile run and right around mile 9 1/2, I stepped off the sidewalk to avoid a patch of ice. It had been a really great run on the Boston Marathon route. The sun was shining, I felt pretty good, my friend Sandy and I chattered away about marathons past.

We had avoided dozens of ice patches.

This one was no different. As I stepped off the sidewalk, I stumbled. And then I tripped. And then I fell. And then I hit the ground. And then I rolled. My rib cage smashed into the curb. I don't even remember my hands hitting the frozen pavement.

And my feet ended up right near the white line defining the shoulder of State Highway 135.

I caught a glimpse of a car stopping. I was a little dazed; Sandy asked me if I was OK. I guess if I was an Olympic faller, this would have been a 10. I got to my feet, dusted myself off, and started trotting towards home.

My ribs were complaining, my palms were stinging, and my hand started swelling.

I thought about calling my wife to get us, but I was cold. Stopping only meant being frozen in the 20 degree weather. Sandy just pushed on with me. She's a nurse, so she asked a lot of questions. I didn't give many answers.

Despite my ever increasing pain, we snapped a Boston selfie at the 16 miles to go sign.

When I got home, I just wanted a drink of water, eat some food, and a chance to lie down. My wife, Sandy, and I chatted about my condition. We talked about our next run, and then Sandy headed for home.

I went and lay down.

After an hour or so of relaxing and a hot shower, I decided to go to the emergency room. Ruth helped me put on my jacket and we headed up the hill to the ER. After and exam, a little Motrin, X-rays of my ribs and both hands, they stuck me back in ER bay #6.

I guess it was irony, or luck - maybe even bad luck.

This was the same bay that I was in April 4th, 2011. That's the day I had congestive heart failure. It was here that my life changed forever. Well, it almost ended there too. As I sat and spoke with Ruth, we waited for the news.

What does this last stay in bay #6 mean?

I hope it is good luck for London. I am glad to report nothing is broken. My ribs hurt like hell. My hand seems to be better today. Everything else is just bumps and scrapes. Motrin is my friend. I am running London, that's for sure. I am half way to my fundraising goal of $6,000. This is my 5th of 6 world majors. Falling is just another bump in the road.

I am good at navigating bumps in the road of life. Now if I could just manage the real ones with a little more finesse.
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