Monday, March 31, 2008

An Inspiring Fat Man

I saw this video on Runner's World. It really touched me.

It's great to know you aren't alone. I love the part where he says he's 258, but would like to be around 200, tomorrow if possible.

Like the guy with the hair says -- the key is consistency/not immediate results.

I did a hard half hour on the elliptical today - kept my heart rate in the 160's (my max HR is 172) - then showered and joined Mrs P and our family for some Thai cooking. Garlic asparagus with tofu. Awesome. It tasted like spring.

Tomorrow, back to the weights. The short workout was easier on my knee, even if it was more intense. It felt good to soak in honest sweat again.


Sunday, March 30, 2008


OK, I am not going to the gym to lose weight. As I say at the top of the blog. I am running for my life. The weight is a measure of progress, it is not the goal.

Still, I was really pleased when the scale read 370 today. That’s 35 lbs lost since January 19. I am encouraged, but I need to keep that in perspective. That’s a little more than 8% of my original body weight. Ultimately, I want to drop 50%. Still, I’m happy with the progress. I am shooting for 2 lbs a week for the next two years. I am ahead of that pace - also encouraging.

I added a short walk and about 10 minutes of stretching before I lift weights. I also added some leg exercises to try to strengthen the muscles around my knee. It feels better every day, and I want to keep moving in that direction. My last cardio day was pretty disappointing - I may just start on the elliptical tomorrow and not even try walking.

Someone suggested that I think about run/walking in a race this summer. a lot of people find that preparing for an event helps them to focus their training. I looked up some races in the Bluegrass, and I’m considering it. There are several 5K’s being sponsored by our running shop, and also a big 10K here on July 4. I think it might be cool to actually get out and run with other people. I am very content with the treadmill for now, but I can imagine a time when I will want to get out and smell the good Kentucky air.

All in all, I have to say I feel pretty good today. I hope you do too.

A satirist is a man who discovers unpleasant things about himself and then says them about other people.
Peter McArthur

Friday, March 28, 2008

Running in the Dark

Fat and depression have been my companions all my life. I am determined to part ways with both of them, but they are stubborn bedfellows.

I’m bummed this morning. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to give up this time.

I’m not sure I would call last night a work out. I was scheduled for a cardio day, but couldn't really get it going on any of the machines. I started on the recumbent bike, but after about 10 minutes the knee felt a little weird, so I decided to try something else.

I’ve never tried the stair climber before. It seemed like an exercise with very little pounding, so I checked it out. I made it about 2 minutes. Not because my knee hurt, but because it is one mother of a workout for a fat man. I decided to try something else.

The treadmill was a washout. I did about 15 minutes at 3mph. My heart rate never got above 108. I guess that’s a good thing. That’s what my heart rate was the first time I stepped on the treadmill after walking to it from the locker room. Still, it felt more like a good sweat than a good walk.

The elliptical was my last choice and turned out to be my best effort. I did 10 minutes and finally got my heart up to 131 bpm. Then I bailed.

I had intended to take a yoga class last night, but my “warm up” had taken all the wind out of my sails. The depression that exercise has been battling down rose up and grabbed the back of my shirt. I changed my shoes and came home.

The knee isn’t painful, not really. I don’t limp or anything, but the threat of injury has triggered a real fear that I will get hurt and give up. Irrational? Sure, but depression isn’t a rational disease. I’m not at the stay in bed with the covers over my head stage - haven’t been there for years - but I am in a pretty dark place right not. The place where Mrs P asks “Are you mad at me?”

When I left the gym last night, I decided to take today off. That decision was what put my emotional state over the edge, I think. I may go in and do a light weight workout, just to keep the wolves in my head away from the door of my heart.


Post Script: right after I finished this post, I went to my Google Reader to look for a reason to lighten up.
It's not true that life is one damn thing after another; it is one damn thing over and over. - Edna St Vincent Milay
Sometimes just knowing that you're not alone is comfort enough.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Taking It Easy

I have a little puffiness in my right knee. (Pennsy's is hairier). I did some research and found out that it’s pretty common. I’m treating it with RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. I'm also trying glucosamine instead of aspirin, ibuprofen, acete... Tylenol, and other hard to spell anti-inflammatory drugs. No more running for a while.

My last couple of sessions on the treadmill have been pretty intense, and I guess I overdid it. Not to worry. I can keep my leg up when I’m home, and find other ways to do my cardio at the gym.

I was also feeling kind of sore from my last session with the weights (what a crybaby). I decided to try something different. I used very light weight on each exercise, 60 to 70 percent of what I’ve been doing. I went down to 12 reps, but added a fourth set. I also really focused on keeping my technique perfect by performing each rep very slowly. It took a long time, but It still felt like a workout. I was especially careful with the leg extensions, curls, and squats. I want to strengthen the muscles around the knee without doing any more harm. I don’t want to get hurt badly enough that I have to stay home for an extended period. I missed enough time in the gym with all the business travel I did in March.

Actually, taking it easy in the gym gives me a chance to focus on my diet. I am eating much better than I’m used to, but I’m still far from perfect. I don’t want to start counting calories - the days are just too short - but there are some things I would definitely like to clean up. The last thing I want is for my weight to go back up. That would so suck.

There is a yoga class tonight. I have been wanting to do some work on flexibility. This might be a good opportunity to start learning some exercises that don’t require all that iron. I’ll see how the knee feels after a day of sitting at my desk.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A Swoosh in my Step

I went out yesterday to visit our super running shop here in Lexington. The people are smart and fun and I don’t think I have ever heard a negative word about them.

I went shoe shopping - which Mrs P likes far more than I - because in my research I learned that my black and blue toe nails indicate a condition called runners toe and are caused by wearing shoes that are too short. Once your toe nail falls off, you’re pretty much grounded, so off to the store I went.

The man there poked the end of my gym shoes to confirm that they were too short. then he put me on one of those old fashioned foot sizing gizmos with the sliders and all. My big old feet are now size 13 1/2. Talk about middle age spread.

He also observed that my arches are very high, which will make my foot tend to roll out when I run - supination it’s called. He went down to the basement and brought up three pairs of size 14E running shoes for me to try on. They all felt fine to me. I told him that since I had no real favorite, I would just take the cheapest pair. He then told me that the New Balance were full price, but that the two pairs of Nikes were last year’s models left over from the year end clearance sale because they are so BIG. So I wound up getting two pairs of Nikes for less that what the New Balance pair would have cost.

Mrs P loves finding a bargain and she was very proud of me! And a little turned on, I think.

Tonight I walked/ran on the treadmill - 4 miles in 52 minutes - faster than ever. I’m looking forward to spring. I like what’s happening to my body and my mind, and I want to take them both out in the fresh air for a spin.


Friday, March 14, 2008

Weak as a Baby

I had a spicy dinner too late the night before and did not sleep well. I also skipped my afternoon snack even though I have a basket of apples in my office. I was ok during the day, but the gym never lies.

I wanted to do a low weight high rep cardio day on the weights, and I ran out of juice fast. Started with cable curls and pushdowns and I never really felt right after that. I had to lower weight to do my second sets on several exercises, and really struggled on the Lat Flies, not one that’s ever been much of a problem for me.

I decided to walk a mile on the treadmill to cool down. I finished, but at the slowest speed I’ve ever walked and I actually had side stitches before I was done. I was afraid I’d given myself a hernia!

At the water fountain, I said something to the lady in front of me, and she said she was feeling the same thing. She blamed it on the time change. I have never noticed that affecting me before, but then I have never asked as much of my body as I am now.

I think that all those things combined - daylight savings time, Hoppin’ John at 9:00 for supper, 5 hours of fitful sleep, careless eating - all that stuff sort of worked together to remind me that fitness is an organic web. Pull out one thread, and the rest of the fabric feels the difference.

I took last night off to try to get my bearings a little, and I’ll hit it tonight for a long night of Cardio. I need to be in the gym this weekend, because there’s more travel coming up next week, this time to Chicago. I’ll almost certainly miss three days, and I want to anticipate that as best I can.

I’m looking forward to this week’s weigh in, though. My pants are pretty clownish these days. I want to get some more, but I kind of don’t want to commit to my current weight. Does that make sense? No, but neither does going to business meetings wearing baggy Charlie Chaplin drawers. I’ll probably pick up a pair or two before my trip.


Pennsy's onesy is by Nappy Head
I found the Little Tramp photo on this blog:
The Spark (Pennsy's feet are bigger)

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