Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Who is that fat guy? / Training week 11/24-11/31

Last week I wrote about my weight problem before Anne and I changed our diet in 2003 and I took up long-distance running in the spring of 2004. The photo below, taken in 2000 only a month after I wrapped up a 6-month tour of duty as communications director for a U.S. congressional campaign in Indiana, perfectly illustrates what a poor diet, lack of exercise, long commute and stressful job had done to me (unless you've worked on a campaign as a full-time staffer, you could never fully appreciate what that life and its 80+ hour weeks do to you):

In case you can’t find me, that’s yours truly in the back row to the far left--the fat guy holding the beer bottle. I’m now 52 pounds lighter--from a hefty 220 pound to 168 pounds (I weighed myself on Friday). Oddly, even at 220 I could still run pretty well--up to 5 miles without much of a problem. People who haven’t seen me since the weight loss don’t even recognize me. Sharing this photo is pretty embarrassing, actually.

While running has certainly helped shed the pounds, diet has played the biggest role. When I took up long-distance running in the spring of 2003, I had gotten down to about 185 pounds, having lost 35 pound through responsible, sustainable changes to our diet and moderate exercise. The remaining weight came off as I made even more changes to my diet while my mileage increased with every new challenge I took on (e.g., 100 milers).

I write this not to toot my own horn, but to show that losing weight and keeping it off are possible! There are so many people out there who are unhappy with their weight and yet don’t know how to lose the excess pounds and keep them off. They feel helpless. I know there’s a way to do it because I’ve done it. My good friend and trusted pacer, Kenny, has done it too. Many others have done it. It doesn’t take running 100 miles a week. It just takes diet changes and moderate exercise.

With that said, I’ll now get off my soapbox.


The name of the game this past week (11/24-11/31) was continuing to run conservatively while my hamstring heals. I wound up with 74.8 miles. Although I haven’t felt any pain in the muscle in a few weeks, I know from first-hand experience that hamstring injuries take time to heal. Before re-injuring my leg a few weeks ago, I thought I was in the clear, when in fact I wasn’t. I think the key to lifelong running is applying lessons learned and not making the same mistakes twice. That’s why I’m not going to stress my hamstring for the time being, save the occasional surge here or there to see how I’m feeling.

Here’s how the week went:


AM: 8 miles at 7:28 pace

AM: 8 miles at 7:32 pace

AM: 12 miles at 7:41 pace in and around Chagrin Falls
Jeff U. and I met at South Chagrin Reservation at 7:30 a.m. for a trail run. But the trails in South Chagrin weren’t the best and so we headed back to our cars and switched into road shoes. We then headed into Chagrin Falls and ran the Blossom Time course, heading back to South Chagrin for a total of 12 miles. I then went home, where we began cooking a delicious Thanksgiving dinner, complete with southern-style cornbread dressing (of the whole-wheat variety).
PM: 4.25 miles at 8:00 pace on my treadmill
Total miles for day: 16.25

AM: 9.1 miles at 7:30 pace
PM: 4.3 miles at 7:42 pace on my treadmill
Total miles for day: 13.4

AM: 13 miles with the Southeast Running Club in South Chagrin Reservation
I ran the first 7 miles with Tim C. and John K., and finished off with Tim. The trails were snowy but, unlike Thursday, very runnable.

AM: 16.05 miles in Solon with the Southeast Running Club
Fighting a nasty head cold, I struggled through these 16 miles and felt very achy the last 4 or 5 miles. Afterward, I joined the club at the bagel shop for breakfast and banter, and was on my way home by 10:45 feeling pretty bad. By the time I got home, I had the chills and a nasty stomach ache. I spent most of the rest of the day on the sofa, reading, watching TV and hanging out with Anne and Noah. When I wasn’t sprawled out on the sofa, I was expending what little energy I had left re-caulking our shower, painting a book shelf and finishing my laundry. No matter how bad I feel, I just can’t stay do nothing all day.

Total miles for week: 74.8
Total miles for month: 313.91
Total miles for year: 3,635.17

Short of a very high-mileage December, the odds of reaching 4,000 miles for the year are now pretty slim. With no race on my schedule until March of 2009, there’s just need to run 90-100 miles a week right now, and so 4,000 miles is going to have to wait for another year. That said, if a lot of time opens up toward the end of the month--like around the week of Christmas and New Year's--and if the weather is ideal, maybe I'll make a run at 4,000.

My goal for this week (12/1-12/8) is 70+ miles, and I may incorporate a short tempo run on Friday to see how the leg is feeeling.

Onward and upward!

1 comment:

  1. You're right...I could not spot you in the photo. Amazing transformation.
    I've never worked on a campaign, but I have worked a solid year of 80 hour weeks on a DOD (Do Or Die) systems implementation, and I do know what that does to you. It ruined the health of several co-workers, and motivated me to take better care of myself.