Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Last minute decision

On Saturday I was busy working. I was doing a live to tape video production for the local music festival. While I was getting our multi camera production set up, I was watching participants from the 10k race cross the finish line. Jealousy set in.

After a long day shooting video, I got home late. In the back of my mind was that little voice. When I woke up in the morning I decided I was going to run the triathlon. Well, first I had to see if it was okay with my wife... as mentioned in a previous post... money is tight.

She was okay with it!

Race Day

I'll admit, I was nervous. I have done the triathlon before, but back then it was a 500 meter swim. This time, it was 750 meters and a cut off time of 30 minutes. I had reservations on if I could make it... considering I hadn't been in the water that much this year... and when I had it was mostly just in the shallow area playing with my son.

I got my stuff together, bike stuff, swim stuff, and running stuff... or so I thought. I biked to the race area and when I started getting my gear ready in my transition area I realized that I forgot to put my shoes into my bag. They were in there originally but after doing a double check I guess I forgot to put them back. A quick call home and my wife had to go through hell just to get my shoes to me.

Our dog Brisco decided he wanted to go for a car ride too... the thing is, he hates car rides and yelped and cried all the way.

I was now ready to go.

The Swim

As soon as I got in the water my nerves cooled down. I was having a little trouble on account of the waves. I swallowed a bit of water and had a couple episodes where I had to cough. I found switching to the backstroke was great. It helped me catch my breath, and also prevented me from drinking the water. When I was about half way through the run I realized something was wrong. Not with my run, but with one of my fingers... my wedding ring was gone! I've lost so much weight over the spring and summer it obviously just slipped off. When I reached the shore nobody told me I was done... so I kept going to transition 1.

Time 21:29 15/21 in male category

The Bike

Nothing too out of the ordinary happened on the bike. I used the time to refuel and eat some jelly beans. I gave my other pack to another athlete just before the race began. He came unprepared and was from out of town so I donated 140 calories. I digress. Within the first 10k I managed to pass a number of people... I myself got passed once. On the last 10k I came across I cyclist with a flat. I asked if he had levers, he said no... I had a tube but no levers in my saddle bag. He then told me he didn't know how to change a flat anyways. He had a road bike... some people. Anyways, the last 10k was tougher on account of the headwind. Watching a lot of the other cyclists really makes me want to upgrade mine. Either new parts or an entirely new bike... someday I suppose :)

During the 2nd transition I had some difficulty taking my helmet off. My fingers were numb from the bike but after a bit of fumbling I got it.

Time 47:47 17/21 in male category

The Run

My legs were pretty tired but I pushed myself. I refused to walk as I had done in previous triathlons. I came across an aid station on which I quickly began to choke on the water... i dumped the remaining water on my head and continued on my run. I picked up my speed when I got closer to the finish line. It's such a great feeling to hear the crowd cheering. My endorphins kicked in and I was treated to a nice little high while crossing the finish line.

Overall I was very happy with my results. Considering that I hadn't trained in the water, and I was 60 lbs heavier in March I think I did a pretty good job.

Time 26:25 8/21 in Male Category - Running all summer paid off!

The only negative I'll be taking away from the triathlon is the loss of my wedding ring.

Total Time 1:35:40 - 15th in male category - 1st in age category

Saturday, August 4, 2012

My persepective

I've been obese for the better part of my adult life. I could use the excuse that "it's glandular!" I do have hypothyroidism after all and am taking medication every day. It could be easy to say that was it in it's entirety, but the truth is I are horrible and I lacked motivation to exercise.

Now that I have the ability to contrast and compare, in my opinion people take you more seriously and will actually listen to what you have to say when you're at a healthy weight. What I mean by that is that when I was 200+ pounds and tell people I was a runner I would get a condescending vibe from them. It's possible that it could have been my confidence at the time, but it's just how I felt. Maybe it was a combination of how we both felt.

Close friends were and have been a huge factor for me. They know how pig headed I am and when I set my sights on something I go for it. Losing weight this year became mandatory after a little self realization and figuring out my son needs a daddy for as long as possible. Throughout my lifetime my own dad has been obese and don't have too many memories of us being active... aside from the odd hike through the forest to get to our family cabin at a young age. I want my son to have actual proof that his dad is super.

Super is how I feel now. I'm 5'11" and am currently 170 lbs. According to my biofeedback scale, I've got 16% body fat. It's a huge transformation from the fat guy back in February/March. Now when I tell people I'm a runner they will actually ask for my "expert opinion."

The thing about that is I know just as much about running now than I did several months ago. I've encountered ignorance for the better part of my life. I am an Ojibway First Nations person, and have had people say or act strange around me at times and have developed a fine gage on what borders on ignorance. That being said some people are just clueless and innocent on the entire issue, but I digress.

I am enjoying this sleeker version of me and my self esteem has shot up a fair bit. I never considered myself an unattractive person, but at the same time when my mid section could be mistaken as the Michilin Man's I will admit I was a bit self conscious... especially at the beach.

Now perhaps it is my own self confidence that is purely to blame regarding this issue but sadly I don't think it's the case. Our perceptions on the overweight are obvious. I'm even guilty at times. It is hard to be non judgemental when there are obvious signs of not being "healthy." When I was running yoyoing from 190-210 for the longest time I was running some major distances... the most was completing a marathon. Right now my greatest distance this year has been 23 kms. As funny as it is to say, I was in better fitness then than now.

With that last example I think my point becomes abundantly clear. Because of my own experience when someone tells me they're a runner or a _____ I'll take them at their word... unless it's of course something crazy like they're me from the future and they've come to warn me about Skynet.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Virtual Racing!

I found a race I can participate in!

Since the arrival of our son Lincoln this year we've been pretty tight with our money. Working on paying down debt and trying not to buy or spend on anything we absolutely don't need. This means entry fees are a no no.

Imagine my excitement when I found a virtual race over at Mommy Run Fast. My first thought upon reading this was using our computers... like in game form. I was half right. We will be using computers but only to communicate our times. Check it out! Enter the 5 mile or 10 mile. I have a strong feeling that I'll be the turtle amongst the group, but I don't care about placing at this point in time. I'm doing it for fun :)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Juggling Act

Finding time to workout has been a challenge. Add to the fact that I have some major deadlines at work, a baby and an amazing wife at home, and now I'm studying for a course that I absolutely need to pass... things are getting difficult to say the least.

The last couple of runs have been short, and indoors. The treadmill may become a familiar companion over the next little while. I refuse to run in the dark for safety reasons. So fitting a run in when it's dark the treadmill becomes my only solution. Training my brain not to go insane will be my next big challenge.

I still plan on doing long runs outdoors on weekends or when time allows it. I'd ask you how you find time but due to the fact that this blog is still in it's infancy I sadly have no readers... so ummm Hello! (listens for echo)

Weight loss and fuel

So one of my biggest challenges over the summer has been eating. I'm eating for weight loss and for running. 

It's been tough to find that balance. On some days I end up starving my body because I filled up on lower calorie foods then on other days I just throw caution into the wind and the inner fat guy in me comes out and devours everything in front of him. Like I said, a huge challenge.

Lucky for me the fat guy version of me hasn't made too many appearances. I love that version of me, and it is my opinion that gorging on food once in awhile is a good thing, but only if you get right back on track. 

Now when I say gorging, I don't mean the Michael Phelps 12000 calorie kind of day. Unless of course you're training as hard as he does. For me, I welcome the odd cheat day. It's a day where I can indulge in pizza, and maybe some movie theatre popcorn while watching a movie or Justified, Breaking Bad, Suits, Franklin and Bash, or one of my other favourite shows.

The point about cheating is that it isn't cheating. You shouldn't have to cut out something you love just so you can lose weight. For me, on average I indulged once a month. I also ran on average 80+ kms a month the last 4 months so maybe even less frequent depending on your workout routine. 

My regular diet still consists of a lot of the same foods I ate before the weight loss journey. I still eat eggs, although I eat egg whites more frequently. I eat turkey bacon instead of bacon when it's available,  I still eat chips on occasion, but very small portions (betcha can't eat just 20... I can), basically everything in moderation.

I was once a 260 lb guy who sweated going up half a flight of stairs... Now I'm 170 lbs and I can run 20+ kms easy. I am by no means an expert on nutrition or fitness, but I know what worked for me. It's important to stay motivated, find that extra gear and stay there. Losing weight has been one of the toughest challenges I've ever faced, and even though I'm at a healthy weight now, I know it'll be on ongoing battle. It will definitely be easier than losing the weight... I do not want to have to lose weight ever again.

One thing that helped me with my weight loss is reading about the Gracie family and their diet. They're a legendary family of fighters from from Brazil. They treat food as fuel first, not taste. Obviously the general public as a different idea, but the general public is also in an obesity epidemic.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

No major races this year

So it looks like the only race I'm going to be participating in this year is a local turkey trot 5k. I was hoping to take part in a half marathon and maybe a triathlon but that just isn't in the cards. I have a very busy schedule from now until the fall and money is playing a huge factor as well.

I have something big I'm working on, but I won't get into that right now... If all goes to plan it could mean huge changes for my family, in a good way. So right now my main focus is on that, my job, and of course my family. Priorities... they're in order.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My Marathon Story

June 20th 2010
The furthest I’d ever run before that date was 32 kilometres. I was confident and very excited. When the starting gun fired, I felt a surge of energy. I wanted to run as fast as I could, but I didn’t. I had a plan and I was sticking to it.
I ran the same pace I had been training at, the only difference was I was not alone. It was a little claustrophobic running with so many people. I didn’t mind it, but was annoyed at the runners who pushed their way through the crowd without warning anyone. Running etiquette dictates when passing someone you should give them some warning.
It wasn’t until around the 10.5-kilometre mark things got interesting. This was where the full marathon runners separated from the half-marathoners. The road suddenly became a lot less congested as there were about five times more half-marathon runners than the full.
At around the 16.25-kikometre mark, I came to a group of runners who were very friendly. I learned one of the men in the group was a veteran marathon runner. He was giving advice to the group. One of the guys told him this was his first marathon.
“We have a marathon virgin over here,” shouted the veteran.
The crowd cheered.
I told him I was one too, so he announced me as well.
As I passed the group, the veteran told me to slow down or I’d never finish. I thanked him for the advice but proceeded at my pace.
At around the two-hour mark I did a body assessment. I realized I was getting kind of cold. I hadn’t eaten yet. I slowed down and began walking. I grabbed an energy bar and took my time eating. I started to feel better immediately.
When I passed the 32.5-kilometre mark, I began to smile. At this point my legs were burning but I still had plenty of energy. And I remembered one of my favourite quotes, “pain is temporary, quitting lasts forever.”
As I crossed kilometre 39, I felt tears well up. I could have easily cried. I knew at that point that I was going to finish the 42.6-kilometre race. I was focused and tried not to pay much attention to the occasional EMT helping runners who more than likely didn’t finish the race. A few of them I recognized as some of the runners who pushed their way through the crowd at the beginning.
With just over a kilometre to go, I really began to pick up my pace. I was surprised at how good I was feeling, especially when I entered the university stadium.
When I rounded the final corner, I saw my wife and our friends the Jones’ cheering me on. I crossed the finish line at four hours and 32 minutes.
I was greeted by volunteers who brought me to the recovery area. It was there that I drank the best chocolate milk I’d ever tasted. I have to wonder if all food tastes this good after running 42 kilometres.
I did it, I had a medal around my neck. I set a goal and I achieved it. I am bothered a little by my time. I feel I could have done better. I could have easily finished about 10 to 15 minutes sooner if it wasn’t for those darn lineups at the portable toilets along the way. But I’d rather be a little slower than extremely embarrassed if you know what I mean.
So I’ve been bitten. This will not be my last marathon.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


Much like Ms. Krabappel I hate yo yos. For her they were just getting on her nerves, for me they're having an effect on my health. For her we're talking about the toy for me? My weight.

I stepped on the scale this morning to find that I'm now 177 lbs. I've gained 7 lbs in 6 days and I have nobody to blame except myself. I'll admit I haven't been eating as well a I should have.

This is my problem... I have to get past that voice that tells me "You're at a healthy weight, eat whatever you want!"

I have a feeling that voice is still that obese version of me. I've been overweight for the majority of my adult life... I don't want to go back so I need to find a way to get that inner demon to shut up and let me be healthy. I find it refreshing that I'm actually acknowledging this tiny bit of weight gain as a problem. It's a problem because it's happened before. I'll lose a whole lot of weight, only to become lax and as a result gain weight. In the past I had this mentality that it was "only 10 lbs" then that would turn into "only 15 lbs" and so on. I told myself when I began this weight loss journey that I would have an alarm weight... that number was and is 175.

Today is Sunday... the beginning of a new week. It's going to take longer than 6 days to lose that 7 lbs but I'm determined to get back on track. I feel good about this, this could be a turning point for my weight loss journey, a period where I can finally say I cut the string on that damn yo yo.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


I've struggled with weight for most of my adult life. I come from a family of big guys... my dad is big, my brother, my uncles, cousins...etc. So when I got out of college and started making a decent paycheque I was able to eat out whenever I wanted, and enjoy junk food if I chose to do so... and I chose to do that a lot.

I work mainly in front of a computer so there'd be times where I'd work throughout the night while snacking, and downing copious amounts of coffee. It didn't take long for my weight to skyrocket. In all honesty I really didn't realize it. I knew I was big but everyone told me I looked fine. In hindsight I really didn't.

My mid twenties - approx 250 lbs
I was snapped out of my high calorie no exercise lifestyle by a huge slap in the face. My dad was diagnosed with Colon Cancer... the same disease that killed his dad when he was 12 years old. After my dad's treatment he recovered fully minus some of his innards, I on the other hand began to look in the mirror.

I started by joining a weight loss forum and sought out advice. I started to go for evening walks, soon that turned into the occasional bike ride. Soon during my walks I'd run a little when nobody was looking.

Calories? I began to understand that calorie counting wasn't just for prissy little Malibu type folks. I educated myself about BMR and began to work on my diet. 

I don't know exactly how long it took, my guess is about a year but my heaviest was a little over 260 lbs. I managed to get myself down to 170 lbs.

I noticed a huge difference in myself. Soon the opposite sex began to take notice too and after a few failed dates I met the woman who would one day become my wife and mother of my child. 

We got married about 15 months after we first met... and then the happy weight came. Since we've been married I've yoyo'd from 190 - 220 until March of this year when I tipped the scale at 230... the heaviest my wife had ever seen me. 

This time around I have an even bigger motivation to stay healthy, he's 6.5 months old right now and I'm the most important male figure in his life. It's a big responsibility, but I plan to be the best role model for my son.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Is it Tuesday yet?

It's easy to become dependent upon gadgets and gizmos. Look at how screwed up we get when the internet goes down! It really is kind of silly, isn't it?

As a runner I'm fully aware of my gadget dependance. Over the last 4 months I've been using my phone to track my runs using an app called Endomondo. The app is awesome, it does it's job. My main problem has been not being able to see my current pace whenever I want. If I want to see what I'm doing I have to unzip my phone from my bicep (not my actual muscle but the case wrapped around it!) and physically take it out without dropping it. I have dropped it a few times and not only did I have to stop and mess up any sort of pace I was keeping, but I would simultaneously have a mini heart attack since those damn smart phones are so expensive!

I have found my solution, I purchased a refurbished Garmin 305 with HRM. If I could have afforded it I would have gone with the 310XT but this will have to do.

So here I am like a kid waiting for Christmas. Is it Christmas yet? Except in my case it's Tuesday... I think. Tuesday is the "Estimated" day of arrival.

Once I get this I'm hoping this little toy will help me to vastly improve my pace. Being able to see my pace drop immediately instead of being told by the endomondo voice at the 1k mark.

I've been reading the reviews and am pretty sure I'll be happy with this purchase. Considering it's a refurbished one, I'm hoping it'll last at least 2 years. *crosses fingers*

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Couch to 20+k in 6 months

On January first my life changed for the better. My son Lincoln was born, and my priorities changed completely. I no longer cared about what I was eating or if I was exercising... I just wanted to make sure that my son was well taken care for.

Fast forward to February, I had gained some weight. No big deal, I still hadn't stepped on the scale. I did however on March 8th. 230 lbs. I'm 5'11" and it doesn't take a doctor to tell me that that isn't healthy.

My diet consisted of junk food, microwave dishes and whatever quick and easy concoction I could eat in between work and taking care of my son. Obviously something had to change.

I immediately started calorie counting, and the scale really liked that. The lbs started to come off pretty quick. In mid April I went out for my first run in over a year. I stopped running as a result of Achilles tendonitis... I still had it but it wasn't as bad. My first run was 5k in about 31 minutes... since then I've been running 2-3 times a week and have watched my weight drop dramatically in the process.
I'm fully committed to living a healthier lifestyle. I want to be able to live as long as I can and watch my kid grow up. The way I was earlier in the year was a path to self destruction... I've fixed that and am now have all my priorities in order.

I'm creating this blog to chronicle my fitness, health and running. I'll be doing my best to update it on a regular basis.