Friday, August 31, 2012

She is not one of us

So let me get the “Start being accountable Kevin” update off the table so I can get something else off my chest today.

Today is Friday and I would give my eating and exercising a “B” for this week. I am still getting my tires butt up and out of the door 5 very early mornings a week. Not setting any land speed records but as I understand it, slow if just fine for burning calories.

My eating is still far better from 7am to 5pm than it is from 5pm to 7pm. Makes no sense that I am eating so good for the first 10 hours of the day than I am the last 2. But that’s how it’s falling out. That’s where my room for improvement is. Nice to have something to work on huh? ;-)

Let’s move on to something way more related to my running than my recent kick in the butt stuff.

For the past few weeks, since I’ve been doing this early morning running stuff, I’ve come to see and recognize a few other crazy people either out running or walking (some alone and some with their dogs).

One person in particular is a woman who, in the rather bright glow of my neighborhood street lights, looks like an attractive 30’ish blond. Although I run on the sidewalks, she likes staying in the street, hugging the side of the road.

From the first day I saw her I raised a hand and gave her a smile and a cheerful “Good Morning”. In 100% of those friendly instances, in return I have been given a completely blank stare. Not a smile, nod of the head, wave, grunt, not even the finger! Lest you rush to her defense, let me also add she is not wearing ear plugs and does make eye contact.

Now I grant you that females need and SHOULD be very leery when out on the dark street alone. In fact, I have pretty much forbidden MY wife from running outside at that dark hour of the morning. I give you that. But this woman has already made a different decision. She is out there almost every time I am. So we have seen each other probably 4 days a week for 6 weeks now. If I was going to be of some danger to her, wouldn’t I have done something by now? I’m NOT saying she should relax or let down her guard. Unfortunately she probably should never do that. But what harm is there to return a smile? Nod your head at me, raise your hand, stick your tongue out, tell me to “F” off.. Something.

Anyway, there are far more important things to thing about while I run. My beloved Ohio State Buckeyes have their first football game tomorrow!!! And I DO think about lots of other, more important things while I run. But for 10 seconds, 4 times a week, for the past 6 weeks, I’ve had this one thought in my head as I past this woman…. “You are running, but you are not a runner. I’m a runner and I have hundreds of running friends. You are not one US”.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What's YOUR "Kick-in-the-butt"?

So, after a week I would have to give myself maybe a B- on this attempt at change.

My eating has improved, although not where I need it to be. Honestly, eating during the day has been very good. My selection/choice of foods is better with oatmeal, Greek yogurt and more fruits. But my dinner and evening snacking needs some work.

What may be happening is my calorie deficit during the day is a bit too strict causing me to head for the pantry when I get home. It is also, I think, causing me to eat too much for dinner. What is sometimes happening is that I am ruining a perfectly good day of “dieting” from 7:00am to 5:00pm with less than good eating from 5:00pm to 7:00pm. I’ve been able to be a very good boy at not eating anything after dinner.

So, I am thinking I need to maybe add more GOOD stuff during the day and see if that doesn’t help me do better during the evening. We will see.

On the exercise front, not a lot of change, but I wasn’t needing a lot there. I continue to run 5 days a week, although still very “labored”. I honestly don’t expect a change on the labored front until some of the eating changes have had more of a chance to kick in and help lose some weight and improve my overall feeling.

As we all know, during these times, we ALL look for things to help, reasons to stay on track. Anything helps. It may be putting on a pair of pants that doesn’t fit well anymore. Maybe that extra belt hole does the trick. CERTAINLY a labored run does it for this guy. But as time goes on, we need to make sure that if something doesn’t jump out and smack us in the face, we look for it.

This morning I was smacked in the face.

If you have been following my life at all, you know I am 55 years old and raising my second gorgeous and perfect family, one 5 year old son and two beautiful 3 year old daughters.

This morning, my son walked out of the front door at his daycare wearing a backpack and HUGE smile, and leaped onto a school bus for his first day at kindergarten.

Although this was no doubt a far more traumatic experience for my wife, the importance was not lost on Connor’s veteran father. And neither was the fact that the REAL reason I should give a darn about my health was staring me right in the face….. From a big yellow bus window!

This perfect kid has no idea, or at least doesn’t care that his dad is pretty much the oldest dad of all his friends. All he knows is when he’s ready to wrestle, I better be ready too. Or that even though dad might rather sit in a nice lounge chair and watch T-Ball practice from the sidelines, HE wants me on the field helping to coach.

So THERE is the reason to keep this going. THERE is the added kick in the fatter-than-normal butt I need. Now, all I need to do is put the feeling I had this morning when I watched him strut to the bus, and I have right now writing about it, in my pocket and remember to pull it out tonight should I head for the pantry when I get home from work!

Wish me luck, look for YOUR kick in the butt, and lets all do what we need to do.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

"THE Plan", such that it is

Day 2 of “Come on Kevin, stop being a slacker” and all goes well.

Wednesdays my wife works from home and gets to sleep in a bit so I take them off so I don’t wake her any earlier than necessary. So, no running for me today but that’s OK. I have been taking 2 days a week off running and this is the usual one.

My eating is going well but let’s face it, it’s rather easy, or easier the first week. My motivation is high and it takes a whole week or two before the eating part really starts to eat at me (hehehe, I’m here all week folks).

I’ve been asked about my eating plan so I thought I would throw that out there and ask for suggestions/criticism.

I just can’t get myself to keep a detailed log of what I eat. I’m very good at doing it during the day while I am work. I use My Fitness Pal to track and log that. I like it a lot. You should check it out at You may find it helpful.

First of all, I need to determine how many calories I should shoot for each day. According to the tools at My Fitness Pal, to lose 1.5 lbs. per week, at my current weight, I need an intake of 1360 calories/day. Sounds kinda low to me but what the heck do I know? Good place to start.

So, my plan is to log my eating and exercise during the day. That will give me a very good idea of what I need to do in the evening.

Further, I really like the idea of eating the same foods for breakfast, snacks and lunch. Pick healthy and tasty foods and eat them day after day. It makes it a no brainer. No wondering if it’s good for me or what the calorie count is. So with that in mind, here’s my eating plan for weekdays along with some eating rules I have implemented:

• Breakfast is oatmeal. Calories= 200

• Morning and afternoon snacks are Greek yogurt, Calories = 130

• Turkey sandwich on wheat bread and a banana for lunch. Calories = 300

• NO eating anything after dinner. Nothing.

• No sweets. None. Not a couple of jelly beans. Nothing.

• Lots of water.

• Run at least 5 days per week.

Any more EASY suggestions? Don’t be shy but unless they are easy, and to me the ones above are easy, I just won’t stick to it.

And here’s something cool about using running to lose weight. Check out these numbers….

From what I listed above, when I leave work I will have consumed 760 calories. That’s actually 56% of my daily allowed total. Not too bad since my day/eating should be half over. BUT, when I run for an hour at an 11.5 minute pace, I burn 776 calories! So, in other words, on the days I run, I have all of my daily calories to consume for dinner in the evenings! It’s like I haven’t eaten at all until I sit down at the dinner table. Pretty cool huh?

Just THINKING about this little item above helps me get my butt outta bed for an early morning run. And I’ll take any help I can get!

There ya have it. On paper this makes sense. I may fail miserably during the execution, but at least I am semi-scientific about it. Beats the heck out of “I’ll just watch what I eat and exercise more and the weight will drop off”. If that works for you, more power to you, and I hate you! ;-)

Whatcha think?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Remember Me?

Well look who's back blogging! I can't promise for how long, nor can I really say it's for you.

In my opinion, people blog for themselves. They blog to get things off this chests. To put in "ink" things that have only appeared in their thoughts. Reasons for needing to do this are as varied as there are bloggers.

So, anyway, for what it's worth, here I am again, for now.

This week I've been spending another great week with family, including my hot wife Snookie, in the family resort town of Ocean City, New Jersey. So much for kids to do in his family oriented DRY county and we have been taking advantage of many of them. Enough to make the local economy happy I think.

With temperatures beginning each morning in the low 70's and climbing to the high 80's, I have been looking forward to doing what every runner thinks about while on vacation, RUNNING!

This place is a great running town. A 5 mile boardwalk with sights and sounds that could keep any runner occupied, waves pounding the beaches, and completely flat! What's not to love!

If I to turn the clock back to last November, which I HATE doing, I'd be employed at a company I worked for for the last 32 years and making more money than I probably deserved. My running would be at one of the high points we live for, running 6 days a week, averaging 6 miles and a pace somewhere close to 10 minutes miles using a 4/1 run walk ratio. For me, this was as good as it’s been in a long time.

All that was turned upside down after a 30 minute meeting with the HR department. Long story short, telephone companies are not doing well these days and I was a casualty. Think about it, how many of you have kids out on their own and a land line?? Damn those cell phones!

I have no intention of rehashing the last 10 months, but suffice to say there was a lot of suffering. Among the victims were my mojo, my running, and my weight and waist line.

Ahhhhh, the snowball from hell. It starts with a little depression. Being depressed leads to not wanting to run. Not running leads to weight gain. Weight gain leads to greater depression..... Need I go on?

So let's skip ahead to present day, August 2012.

The past months have seen a lot of miles added to my log, but virtually all "junk" miles. Shoes on, out the door, and 5 miles later heading to the shower tired and sweaty but probably not in any better shape for the last hour of my time.

I begin writing this on Friday, August 17, 2012, the last day of our family vacation here in beautiful Ocean City New Jersey. On this vacation, I have run 4 of the last 6 days. Up early and out the door at 6:30 in the morning so I can be back in time for breakfast with the family. It is during these runs I have come to the revelation that prompts me to blog once again.

My runs the last few months, including especially the runs here on the boardwalk, have been less than expected and hoped for. Not only has the pace been very very slow, I've been thinking of nothing but the finish line during what should have been perfect runs in paradise. Heavy breathing, more walk breaks than planned for, and 50 minutes of wishing my Garmin would hurry the hell up and get me to the 5 mile mark!

Here's the part that REALLY gets me going: there are two kinds of runners I see here, everywhere actually.

The first kind I call the "effortless runner". The effortless runner glides along at a pace that looks to other runners as Kenyan-like. Feet barely touching the ground, smile busting out all over, without a bead of sweat. These guys and gals really look like they could run like this forever and guess what, that's exactly how THEY feel! We have all had that run. Mid-way through a run you suddenly realize how darn good you feel. We all live for these runs!

The second type of runner I see is the "labored runner". This guy just looks miserable. He's running because he knows it's good for him. He runs so he can eat more for dinner, so he can have a few more beers this evening or so he can be cool and say "I'm a runner". Don't get me wrong, ALL great reasons to run. Perfect reasons to run actually. MY reasons for running.

But really, who the hell wants to be a labored runner? Who wants to suck wind, stare incessantly at your Garmin hoping the run is almost over, or add so many walk breaks you end up REALLY adding run breaks?? Not THIS GUY!!

So, I guess the real question is: If I am a labored runner, how do I become an effortless runner?

For me, FOR ME, I have been doing this long enough to know how to do it. The answer is far easier than the execution.

Let me put the answer this way:

Things I am doing when I’m a labored runner:

• I skip workouts

• I eat anything and everything I see, as often as I can. That includes way too many sweets.

• I fail to “watch what I eat”, meaning making sure I am eating the foods that make me feel good. That includes fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. No shocker there huh?

So what’s the BFD? Why do I find myself yo-yoing between the two every couple of years? Why would I do anything that would screw up that perfect run feeling? Let’s not go there, because honestly it just really makes me angry to stop and think about it. But before I move on, I’ll say one word…… WEAK!

Eating right, maintaining a healthy weight, and working out ALL lead to feeling great, period. But for some reason, I continually let all those benefits be eaten up, literally. Makes NO sense.

But the GOOD news is, I can’t FIX the issue until I define it. So, Issue, consider yourself defined.

Next obvious question is: Now What?

Ahhhhh the old now what question. Well that’s as obvious as the problem. Simply take all the things I do when I’m a labored runner and reverse them. Do the opposite. There, problem solved. Now to write a book and become a billionaire.

So if the solution is so obvious, why is it so damn hard to achieve? Or put a better way, what do I need to do differently, or add, to succeed? Know what I think it is? Know what I seem to add every time I am successful? ACCOUNTABILITY AND ANGER.

The anger part is the easiest. I just finished a vacation that was 99.99% perfect. The .01% all had to do with my lousy running in an area that should have been paradise to run in. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

So what’s left is the accountability. That’s where this blog comes in. As I said, I’m doing this for me. Selfish Kevin! I really have no illusions that anyone other than me will actually read this stuff, but knowing that it’s out there for the entire planet to read does add a bit of accountability, and I need that badly to succeed.

So, I started a “diet” yesterday. Made a plan on what I would eat and when, and got through day one. *Pat on the back* This plan is easy. It’s a no brainer. Calories in vs. calories out. The devil on my left shoulder against the angel on the right.

From time to time, the plan calls for me to write an update on this blog of how the fight goes. What I have learned, what I have done right, and of course what I have failed at. Accountability.

So here goes. And may the best imaginary figure on my shoulders win!