Wednesday, January 12, 2011

January 6th - 2 Week Training Schedule

I've got my next two weeks of training planned out and here it is:

January 6th - 20 minutes interval training (30 seconds mile pace/30 seconds half-marathon pace)
January 7th - Strength Training
January 8th - Rest

January 9th - 6 miles easy (10-11 minute pace)
January 10th - Strength Training
January 11th - 45 minute jog (8-9 minute pace)
January 12th - Strength Training
January 13th - 25 minutes interval training
January 14th - Strength Training
January 15th - Magic Mile!

January 16th - Rest
January 17th - Strength Training
January 18th - 45 minute jog (8-9 minute pace)

I did the interval training and it was really hard to keep the pace straight. Interval training is used to teach your body to run fast, so in this particular routine, you're constantly speeding up and then slowing down.

My first go was difficult because I'm still not great at figuring out what a 6 minute mile vs a 7 minute mile feels like. I pretty much have 3 gears - fast, slow, and really slow. My mile pace feels fast, but if a 7 minute mile is around my half marathon pace and that feels "kinda fast." Hopefully next week works out a little better.

Current Weight: 164.4
Current Body Fat Percentage: 18%
Best Mile Time: 6:18
Best 5K Time: 20:43 (6:38 pace)
Best 5 Mile Time: 34:58 (6:59 pace)
Best 10 Mile Time:
Best Half-Marathon Time:
Best Marathon Time:

Goal Weight: 154
Goal Body Fat Percentage: 12%
Goal Mile Time: 5:30
Goal 5K Time: 19:30 (6:17 pace)
Goal 5 Mile Time: 32:15 (6:27 pace)
Goal 10 Mile Time: 1 hr 7 min (6:49 pace)
Goal Half-Marathon Time: 1 hr 29 min (6:49 pace)
Goal Marathon Time: 3 hrs 8 min (7:10 pace)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

January 5th - New Strength Training Workout

I met with my my trainer Aaron today to get my plan for the next two weeks and begin a new strength training regimen. We talked about the 5K and he said he was confident with my time that Boston is within reach (at least by the Portland Marathon).

He went through my food log briefly and he's still holding his tongue about my meal choices, but I do know that if I want to get down in the 10-12% body fat range, I'll have to cut out the beer and only allow one cheat day per week. I currently have Saturday's as an "eat whatever I want" day and that usually sneaks into Friday night and sometimes Sunday if there's something special going on. Stay tuned for some diet changes in the next few weeks...very interesting stuff, be assured!

After our pleasant chat, he promptly decided to destroy me. Everything Aaron has been giving me is circuit training. For those of you who don't know what this is, circuit training is multiple exercises performed back-to-back-to-back without any rest between sets. There's a 30 second rest after each set of 3 exercises, then back at it. I do four sets of each of the following:

One-Legged Box Squats - 10 each leg
Wide Grip Push-up into Regular Grip Push-up into Diamond Push-up - 5 each (15 total)
Lateral Run on Step (3 risers) - 30 seconds

30 seconds rest and then into 4 sets of:

Single Leg Box Hops - 8 each leg
Bicep Curl to press - 15 reps
8-point Burpees - 10 reps (There's no video of this because it's insane)

30 seconds rest and then into 4 sets of core:

Sprinters' Crunch - 10 each side
Leg Lifts - 10 reps
Front Plank - 45 seconds

You should see how crazy I look doing the 8-point burpees at the gym. One thing I've learned about the gym is that everyone goes into the gym to work-out, but you don't want to be caught working too hard, because then you're a sweaty mess. It's kind of funny, at 24 hour fitness I see people with hair product in and looking more put together for a work-out session than I look on any day of the week period. The 8-point burbee goes like this:

Standing position
Touch hands to ground
Kick feet out to push-up position
Kick feet outward into a Y
Kick feet back into push-up position
Do a push-up
Pull feet back in towards hands
Jump as high as you can

When I'm done with 10 of these bad-boys, any thought of looking anything remotely close to human has left my mind as I'm just hoping I can start breathing oxygen again sometime soon.

So, I'm an idiot and I did all of this, then had a basketball double-header. Needless to say, I sucked. I think in both games I had a total of 5 for 30 for 10 points.

Current Weight: 166.2
Current Body Fat Percentage: 19%
Best Mile Time: 6:18
Best 5K Time: 20:43 (6:38 pace)
Best 5 Mile Time: 34:58 (6:59 pace)
Best 10 Mile Time:
Best Half-Marathon Time:
Best Marathon Time:

Goal Weight: 154
Goal Body Fat Percentage: 12%
Goal Mile Time: 5:30
Goal 5K Time: 19:30 (6:17 pace)
Goal 5 Mile Time: 32:15 (6:27 pace)
Goal 10 Mile Time: 1 hr 7 min (6:49 pace)
Goal Half-Marathon Time: 1 hr 29 min (6:49 pace)
Goal Marathon Time: 3 hrs 8 min (7:10 pace)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Ringing in the New Year

January 1st, 2011

I decided that this year I was going to do something healthy to ring in the new year. Although I find hanging out in Sunriver with my friends and drinking to 2am as an extremely fun activity, I thought that might not be the best choice for "Body 2011" or my marathon hopes.

There's a 5K race that takes place at the stroke of midnight in downtown Portland and I thought I'd have a go at it. My trainer Aaron looked at my "Magic Mile" time from November and told me I could shoot for a sub 20 minute time. A 5K is about 3.1 miles so I was looking to run the race at a 6 min 27 sec per mile pace. He told me I this was technically faster than I was supposed to be able to run and I may crash and burn by the end, but go for it anyway. I liked this about him. I love taking on stupid challenges that I shouldn't be able to do (hence the night I ate 5 habanero poppers with habanero jelly at Salvador Molly's).

This was the first 5K I've ever run, so I really didn't know what to expect. Throw in the fact that it was taking place at midnight and I'm usually fast asleep by then and as it turns out it was about 27 degrees and we were in for an amazing experience!

I did a short warm up jog to the Max station by my house and got there just in time to wait 20 minutes. It was freakin' cold. I was in some running tights, shorts a jacket, hat and gloves, but for as cold as it was I might as well have been in a tank top and some boxers (although that probably would have been quite a shock to the two young ladies at the stop on their way to the club). I couldn't take the cold anymore so I started running on one of the side streets near the max stop. I'd jog down the block, walk a little bit, jog back to the stop and check for the train, walk a little bit, on and on. I wondered what any party-goers would think if they happened to look at there window and saw a man in black tights running back and forth like a frozen hamster.

The train finally came and joined a few other racers on the there as well as many others enjoying some new year festivities of a different sort. You can tell a racer by the paper number we all have pinned to our chests or shorts. When I was leaving the house I was debating about whether or not to wear the number on the way downtown. Is it more ridiculous to wear your number in a non-race environment or to be on public transportation in your 5K gear, but with no evidence that you're actually going to run anywhere? "Oh hey're going to the bar eh? Me? I'm just enjoying the 20 degree weather by riding the Yellow Line back and forth in highly reflective spandex." I settled on carrying my racing number in my hand in a fashion made it easily visible to anyone who wondered why I was dressed like an idiot.

When I got downtown I realized coming down to the race by myself without any extra clothing was a mistake. It was about 40 minutes until the race started, the pre-race party was outside, and I was FREEZING! There were about 5 of those propane heat lamps that were surrounded entirely by other racers (that all seemed to be wearing Oregon Duck gear...Gross). I was left to walk around in circles in an attempt to stay slightly warm.

I wasn't quite ready to start my official warm-up, but I really had no choice because I certainly wasn't going to hang out there getting colder by the second. My plan was to do the same routine I do for my "Magic Mile" workout. That's 3 minutes of jog-walk-jog-walk, followed by 800 meters of jogging, then some gliding sprints, then another 400 meters of jogging. Since we were in the middle of downtown Portland on one of the busiest party nights of the year though I basically jogged up and down the block for about half an hour praying to feel my fingers and toes again.

People started heading towards the starting line at about 10 minutes to midnight. The start/finish line was set up in in a narrow fenced in corridor just West of Front Street. It felt an awful lot like being in a cattle shoot, but the body heat generated by this setup was perfect for not dying, so I appreciated it quite a bit. This particular race isn't known for its competitiveness, so folks in costumes were lined up next to 80-year-olds, who were in turn lined up with guys that looked like Olympic 5000 meter hopefuls. This made it difficult for me to figure out who I should follow to try to hit my 20 minute race goal. In the end I hung out next to a couple running the race together and a girl dressed like a cow.

We counted down the last 10 seconds to midnight, gave a big congregational whoop and we were off to the race(s). The race consisted of one out-and-back on Front Street starting on Salmon Ave, heading North past the Broadway Bridge and turning around and coming back. After rounding the corner I tried to find my pace. I'd never run this short of a race before and this whole trying to run "fast" thing is very new to me, so I'm not sure exactly what 6:27 feels like yet. I knew the marker at mile 1 would be the first time I'd really get to check my pacing so I just did my best to pass more people than were passing me. I still couldn't feel my fingers or toes.

Mile 1 came and I was at 7 minutes. That was no good. That left me 13 minutes to get the next 2.1 miles. That's 6 min 11 second mile pace - I vaguely remember running that fast when I was 20 and pretty much not since then. I picked up my feet and tried to do as much as possible by the mile 2 marker. I still couldn't feel my fingers or toes.

Thanks to the non-competitive nature of this race, after the first mile and a half, I was pretty much done having people pass me. This was an unfamiliar experience. If you look at the finish line photo from my first marathon, you see me stumble across the line and right along side me is a 60 year old woman and she looks to be in much better shape than I was at that instance. I decided to focus on a couple running in front of me about 100 meters that looked pretty fit and use them as my pacers. Seemed reasonable that they could be shooting for a 20 minute race.

At mile 2 I was at 13 and-a-half minutes. That means I'd picked up the pace a bit and was at my target of right around 6 and-a-half minute miles, but I knew I surely wasn't going to run the next 1.1 miles by 20 minutes, but I was going back to passing people and see where that left me. I could feel my toes now and I wished I couldn't feel my fingers. They were throbbing so badly as they thawed out.

I was pushing as hard as I could focusing on passing as many people as possible before I hit the finish line. I made the corner on Salmon and saw the clock at 20 minutes 40 seconds. I hadn't started at the beginning of the pack, so I knew my time was a little lower than that. I clicked my watch as I crossed the line and it read 20 minutes 38 seconds. My new 5K standard.

I looked over at where the post race party was and thought about getting a beer, but it was still 20-some degrees out and I had to catch the train home so I just kept moving to the Max station. People were very curious about what kind of race would be going on in the middle of the night on New Years so I filled them in with a few details. I think some folks were a little envious of what we had decided to do that night. I know most people that were out on the town that night felt better at 11:45pm than I did, and it may have been a wash at 12:20am, but at 8am New Years morning, I guarantee I came out on top this year.

A chubby kid grows up and tries to run the Boston Marathon

I've always been a chubby kid. One of my worst memories ever was during basketball tryouts when I was in the 6th grade and we had to go shirts and skins. This is every fat kids nightmare. As the coach stands there dividing up the teams all us chubbers try to figure out how to cover up our entire bodies with just two arms. I very vividly remember being in the gym at Kellogg Middle School when I was 12 years old and having kids shout from the bleachers that I needed to put a bra on and asking if I was sure I shouldn't have been trying out for the girls team. Unfortunately at that time, I hadn't yet developed quite enough self-loathing to take those remarks and turn them into motivation, determination and will power to lose weight...I liked donuts and pizza way to much.

I was cursed with my Dad's amazingly bad genes and amazingly tasty cooking. On my dad's side of the family, there's a long line of tubby bastards that also happen to be really good cooks. My dad makes a living as a cook and most of the meals we had at home came right off the line...chicken fried steak, breaded pork chops, prime rib...don't get me wrong, these were amazing meals (complete with vegetable of the night covered in butter), but they definitely lead me to developing a taste for the rich and salty.

Genetically, I have the metabolism of a sloth. I do all the cooking in our house, including packing the lunches so I can pretty much guarantee you I know exactly what my wife Brooke and I are each eating every meal of every day. She eats the same amount of calories as I do (if not more), exercises about once a week, and has has the body of a model. I exercise five to six times a week and look like a wimpier version of Kojak. Even standing here today, where I've been exercising religiously for over a year, I'm still overweight. Mind you, when I first began on this trek, I was REALLY overweight (I believe the doctors refer to it as OBESE and the kids refer to it as FATTY FATTY TWO BY FOUR). Thanksgiving 2009 I weighed in at about 205 pounds and over 30% body fat. Today I'm a not-so-svelt 164 and about 17% body fat. I've lost those forty pounds with a combination of things. The first of which was giving up most processed foods.

I now cook almost all of our meals from scratch. After reading Michael Pollan's "Omnivore's Dilemma" and "In Defense of Food", I realized that if you're not cooking what goes into your body, you don't really know what it is that will actually end up in there. I get on my soap box a little bit about this stuff, so you'll have to forgive me.

The second thing was I started using the bodybugg, which is a body sensor you wear on your arm and it calculated how many calories you're burning throughout the day. You plug that into your computer, log all the food you ate and abra-cadabra, it tells you how much weight you should be losing. This has been a great tool for me for a couple of reasons. The first is that boys love toys. If you asked me to write down all my activities for the day and keep a meal journal, there's no way any of that would happen. Give me an electronic gadget that magically calculates my caloric burn though, and I'll play with that forever (it's been 58 weeks and I still love to plug the bodybugg in each day and calculate all the data).

The third thing I did was begin to hit the gym hard. After I'd lost about 20 pounds I hit a plateau and was having a hard time getting past it. I renewed my membership at 24 hour fitness and the membership I chose came with three personal training sessions. My first trainer was Andrew and after my first session I was hooked. I worked with Andrew once a month for about six months and he helped me get over the hump with a lot of great strength training work. I was down to about 170 pounds, but still not feeling quite there yet when Andrew told me he was leaving 24 hour. He knew I really enjoyed running and steered me toward Aaron, another trainer at the gym who was also a long distance runner.

During my first session with Aaron I told him I had a long term goal of running the Boston Marathon someday. He told me I needed to lose ten more pounds and he thought I could qualify this year. That brings me to today. It's a new year and as my cousin from England says, "It's time for Body 2011!" This year, I want to see my abs for the first time in my life and run a marathon in under 3 hours 10 minutes. This means I need to run 7 minute 15 second miles for 26.2 miles in a qualifying race.

I've penciled in three marathons this year to try to make that happen. The first is the Newport Marathon in June. This will likely be a gut-check race and I'm not necessarily shooting to run my qualifying race here. The second is the Portland Marathon in October and I'd love for my hometown run to be the one that sends me to Boston. If I don't qualify in either of those, the Seattle Marathon in November will be my last shot for 2011.

This blog will be my chronicle of Road to Boston. Let's see what this chubby kid from SE Portland can do!