Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Days like these...

It's been a challenging couple of days. I would have to rate the night before last as one of the worst nights of sleep I've had in a long time. For sure since I started using a c-pap about three-and-a-half years ago (not long before my youngest was born). Said youngest turned up in our bedroom sometime between 1 AM and 3 AM when I noticed him laying down on the floor by my side of the bed. He was wet (we just recently stopped using diapers at night), so I got up, found some clean underwear and jammy pants, had him use the bathroom and put him back to bed, and then couldn't fall back asleep. Until about a half-hour before I was supposed to get up.

I most certainly didn't get into the gym yesterday morning. I had to work out at home tonight after the wee ones were in bed. And it wasn't all that much either.

I did however get into the gym Sunday morning. Being Sunday, it was blissfully empty. I started the Couch to 5k app on my phone. And barely made it through half of the first day. The set up for that was a five minute warm up walking, then alternate running for one minute, walking for 90 seconds for 20 minutes total, and then a five minute cool down. My legs were just hurting too much to keep going at about the 15 minute mark. My shins were just not up to taking the abuse my heavy upper body was driving into them.

I was feeling a little discouraged at that, but my wife made a good point when I told her that later in the morning. She said that I was still lapping those on their couches. Or, in this case, those still in their beds.

Need to work on more cardio to drop some of that weight and then get back into some running. I might start lifting on the machines to make my legs and arms stronger, and some core work to get my stomach stronger as well.

"I learned that if you want to make it bad enough, no matter how bad it is, you can make it." ~ Gale Sayers
I had a coaches meeting last night for the city soccer team that I'll be leading this next month. I think for practices I'll do warm up exercises for the girls. Simple things like jumping jacks and some light jogging. They're only first graders, so they won't stay interested in that for long. They just like to kick the ball around. It'll be a good way to put in a little extra in my routine for the next four or five weeks. The season doesn't last too long, they double up the games per week so the season is done in four weeks instead of eight like the spring season.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Keeping it up...

My wife is amazing. The night before last she went out and basically threw herself into her derby session.



and then some drills.

1200 calories burned in 2.5 hours. I didn't come close to that. I worked out for close to an hour and a half (keep in mind, it was with a couple of different Kinect games, so load times aren't working out times). I have to step up my game.



I worked out yesterday with the Your Shape game I've mentioned before, this game doesn't have the same kind of "downtime" but keeps you moving pretty well. It's also good when you're unable to get out (because the kiddos are in bed). It even gets you running, which I did yesterday. "Running" through the financial district of New York. It's not exactly detailed, but keeps you engaged with interesting tidbits about different buildings you're passing along the way.

After that, it was time to find something for the little ones to do. In July. When it's about 100 degrees outside. Yay. We went to the park. Nobody else was really around.

Kids were getting their wiggles out. Running around the playground equipment. They were having a good workout, for them. I needed one too. Still. Even after their rest time.

I started chasing the kids around playing tag.
"For me, winning isn't something that happens suddenly on the field when the whistle blows and the crowds roar. Winning is something that builds physically and mentally every day that you train and every night that you dream."
 ~ Emmitt Smith
Yesterday also was kind of a "cheat day" with some friends over, we did indulge in some alcohol and poutine. But I think my wife's workout on Thursday and mine combined from that night and yesterday, along with a pretty low-key dinner (chicken, rice, salad) made up for it to prevent us from getting derailed.

Friday, July 26, 2013

You're gonna run...

If you've stuck along with me this far, then you, like me, know that in something like the Spartan Race, you're going to be running, and jumping, climbing, crawling through mud, getting hit. Seriously, go to the site and watch the video. Plus, the Sylvester Stallone voice over is pretty awesome.

Anyway,  it's just that sometimes, you don't really know what you're signing up for. I know all of that above is part of the race, and yet, somehow it still strikes me how OMG! I'm going to have to run. A lot! I don't like to run.

It's intimidating.

It's fuel.

48 weeks to go.

There's basically a set plan:

Start the Couch to 5k - it takes roughly 9 weeks. That leaves 39 weeks left.

Weight training. None of this is going to work without building muscle.

Endurance. I need to go beyond 5k. I have to prepare my body to be ready to run at least a half-marathon. 13 miles. Wow.

I see some of the videos for the Spartan Race, and see these really fit guys (or so they seem) dropping from exhaustion.

It's fuel.

Training has to be the key.

"A champion is someone who gets up when he can't." ~ Jack Dempsey
The local recreation center here has an indoor track on the second floor. And a day care center. The cost to use the track without a membership is fifty cents. And hour at the day care for both kids is like $4.00. Hell, if the signs that just scream out "Hey, just get out there and do it!" were any more obvious, it would probably be tattooed on my forehead. Backwards.


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Depending on when...

I was up a little early this morning, and had the idea that I should weigh myself again. I don't know why since I'd just weighed myself a couple of days ago, but I did it anyway. Lost four pounds since Tuesday. That can't be right. Then I realized that it was early morning, I'd just gotten up and last time I had weighed myself toward the middle afternoon. So I might have weighed a little more that time of day then I had earlier that morning.

Still ... progress?

Losing weight early on is always pretty easy. Retained water finds its way out of your body, you're suddenly more aware of how many calories you've eaten during the day, and the technology of today allows us to keep those right in our pocket and countdown until we're done.

It's really only been about a week.

Get. Out.

I walked down to the gym yesterday. From my desk it takes roughly 5-6 minutes. I'm serious, the building is huge. And the gym is pretty much the furthest point away from my desk I can get and still be inside the building. I walk halfway through my wing to get to the stairs, then down the long winding staircase, cross the other half of the building.  Walk through the small hallway that connects the three level building to the one level building, walk past the entrance to the cafe, then past Starbucks (yeah, we have a Starbucks inside our building, it's kind of a giftshop/coffee shop named after the security guard that passed away just before we moved to this building), then past the security desk and hang a right, walk down the hallway that passes the two entrances to the auditorium, turn left, walk by the bathrooms, break room and then about six training rooms (three on each side, roughly the size of a college classroom each). Then the hallway kind of elbows to the right and then you know you're close, because there are figures on the wall doing sporty things, you still walk past the mail room and finally reach the entrance. Another 20 feet and I would have been outside on the receiving platform for the cafe and mailroom.

The on site trainer wasn't there, so I grabbed a flyer for personal training sessions and then headed back to my desk. I wasn't there to workout, not in my jeans, but mainly to find it. Considering the walk to and from, plus time to workout and cleanup, going to the gym on my lunch break is definitely not going to happen (just a half hour). Looks like I'm going to be getting up earlier in the mornings.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Two at a time...

I work on the third floor of a rather large building. Not large as in height, the third floor is actually the top floor, but large as in long. It basically runs from east to west, with a smaller one-level building attached to the east end. The smaller building contains a Starbucks, the eBay Cafe (with a ton of food choices), an auditorium, a bunch of training rooms (reminds of college classrooms), the gym I still haven't been in, but I plan to change that this week. Naturally, I work at the far end (west side) of the main building, top floor, furthest away from... well, everything.

We moved into the building back in April, the parking lot is forever away, as they left a massive dirt lot between the building and the main parking. They're in the process of converting those dirt lots into two full size basketball courts, a volleyball court, and a soccer field. That should make for some fun work events down the road. Right now, though, all we see are tractors pushing dirt around.

Anyway, my point being that when we moved in, I didn't relish the idea of hiking up even just two flights of stairs to head to work. I'd just take the elevator.

That's changed. Now it's all about changing the little things, and using the stairs is a good way to change for the better. I'd like to believe that people will soon see me and not think, "Gee, that guy should really use the stairs," but instead, "Hey, that guy must be running up the stairs every day."

It's a simple mechanic and hey, with the Spartan Race getting closer everyday, you have to figure a couple of flights of stairs is probably going to be the easiest obstacle I'm going to face.

Rundown for yesterday:

Came in well under my calorie budget - the app predicts that I should lost close to 20 pounds in about 5 weeks if I keep that up.

Hit about seven glasses of water.

Played Dance Central and Kinect Sports Season Two on my living room Xbox (where the kinect is) for my workout.

Slept close to seven hours last night (I usually sleep six or less, typically on purpose).

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A Little Sweat...

I really, no listen, REALLY dislike the heat. If there was ever a time I feel most comfortable it's when people around me are complaining that it's freezing. That's about the right temperature for me. The last few days have been pretty hot. About 102, I think. It's made wanting to do the exercise part of this quest the most difficult to kickstart.

Today was a good day overall. I stuck to my calorie budget. My app says that I only had 1270 calories. But I'm thinking the dinner that Erin made was a little more than just 209 calories (chicken fried rice), but I didn't eat that much of it, either. Portion control, you know.

I also worked out after the kids went to bed (to bed, not to sleep, still working on getting the youngest to go to bed without having to go to the bathroom 5 times a night). Now, the workout wasn't a lot, just about 20 min for some cardio. So it credits me back about 218 calories. The app shows that I still have 968 calories remaining for the day, but I'm betting is somewhere between 600-700.

All in all, I can't really complain, I made sure I had several healthy snacks like carrot sticks and the nature valley oats and honey granola bars that nobody ever wants but are sure tasty when they're pretty much the only option you have.

I also have to say that my little snack bag of cheez-its (with 29 crackers) was probably my best friend today. Gave me a little bit of that salty snack fulfillment without going overboard.

Finally, one of the biggest problems I have is staying hydrated. I've NEVER been a fan of just drinking water. Boring. I did find some flavor enhancers at the store the other day, so I took one of those with me to work. Similar to the powder stuff, but you just give a squeeze or two of this stuff in your water to basically make it kool-aid. I did well today, easily hitting my 8 glasses of water requirement.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Building habits...

Yesterday I mentioned some of the tools I'd use to help keep on track. I've been carefully inserting the foods I've eaten in the MyFitnessPal app I have on my phone. 

I also weighed myself yesterday morning coming in at a depressing 288 lbs. It's not the highest I've ever come in at, but it's pretty high. I'm only 5'10" so you can imagine what that looks like.

I watched everything I ate yesterday, not so much to limit, but so I could keep an accurate record. 4 starbursts are 80 calories.

I did pretty good overall, coming in at 33 calories OVER my daily goal of 2020 (to lose two pounds a week according to my app). I'm feeling pretty good over that. The kicker that pushed it over was the rum I had last night. So, not all bad.

So far today I'm still at 1337 calories to go for the day, but we still haven't had dinner, so I'm expecting that to use between 600 - 800 calories tonight.

We're supposed to weed the yard tonight, too. And I plan to put in some exercise as well which gives me some calories "back."

Friday, July 19, 2013

Talk is Cheap...

So, for the last couple of days I've laid out a bunch of information about me and what I want to do in getting to the Utah Spartan Super Race. While this is nice and all, talking about it is not going to make it happen. People (in general) spend an inordinate amount of time talking about things they're going to do and rarely execute it.

So, today it's time to lay out a plan:


MyFitnessPal - An app for my Windows Phone (I know, not an iPhone or Android - I'm a regular pariah in society) that I can use to track food, exercise, and how much water I've consumed on a daily basis. It also connects to my Facebook and allows me to build a support group of others using the same app. I think the hardest part about this is getting into the habit of recording everything.

Couch to 5K - another app for my phone that builds you up over a nine week period to get from being a lump on the couch to running a 5K race. Let's face it, to be in the Spartan Race, there's going to be some running involved.

My Kinect- Yeah, the Kinect isn't the greatest thing since sliced bread, by any means, but some of the games I play on there can really make you sweat. It's not like I'm doing serious cross training with it, but for some good cardio, it works for me. At least for now.

Gym - my work has a free on-site gym to use. Since we recently moved to a brand new building in Draper this past April, the gym is supposed to be pretty state-of-the-art. I need to get in there. I have no excuse to let a an opportunity to use a free gym go by. At least I don't have to join a rip-off gym.


Finding a good way to balance busy lifestyle and nutrition might be one of the biggest obstacles I'm going to face. I'm checking around with various websites and might consider joining the Jillian Michaels site for exercise and dietary info, but I'd like to spend as little money as possible. So, I'll come back to that.

Meeting with a nutritionist might be in the plans also. Erin has spoken about meeting up with one, at least once, to get some sense of direction. I'm also sure there are probably a billion e-books out there to download from any number of places.


Here we have the biggest challenge for just about anybody. Exercise. It sucks, makes you sweaty, and overall isn't the most enjoyable experience, right? I always see how great some people look and feel, and all that stuff. I want to be there. I'm just not exactly excited about the journey to get there. But, there are some ways to get there without totally hating it I suppose.

Games - I already mentioned the Kinect. Some of the games I've found that have been pretty awesome to play on there. Dance Centralis a favorite to just get some sweat on. Various difficulties make this game a perfect way to ease up in skill. Plus there are many sequels already. Other workout games like Your Shape Fitness Evolved are popular and really get you going.

These, of course, are mainly good cardio games. Lifting weights on a machine or free weights are better to build strength. Endurance will come from running and extending cardio sessions over time.

I'd also like to get into cross training with something like P90X but yeah, that's some expensive workout. Saving money from going to a gym will help, clearly.


So, at this point, talk is cheap, it's time to put it all together and get working.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

In a nutshell...

So, earlier I mentioned that I'm 37. Birthday is coming up fairly soon in October.

I've been fat nearly all of my life. Husky as a kid, chubby as a pre-teen, and then, well, pretty much fat since then. Back in 2004 my then-girlfriend (now my wife) and I started working out and eating a lot less. Grilled (foreman grill) chicken, broccoli, and white rice was a pretty constant staple in our diet back then.

I was working from home and didn't have the constant access to the free soda machines at work, ate a lot of yogurt, slim fast for lunch. Stuff like that. For about eight months, things were going really well. Erin and I were engaged in May of 2005 and married in October later that same year. After our engagement pictures, when we both probably looked our best in our respective adult lives (she's about seven years younger than me, almost), things began to slide a little bit. We went on a cruise for our honeymoon, and really enjoyed the constant food there. All the while we had the intention of getting back into our healthy eating and work out habits when we returned home.

We didn't. Then came along our daughter (and a few years later, my youngest). Lack of sleep (I still hear the low tones of Hexic HD in my head from late night playing on the Xbox, while holding her, because she wouldn't sleep when we tried to put her down), and unhealthy food that was super cheap sort of led me to bulking (not in a good way) back up. I'd dropped down from about 290 lbs to 240 (where I kind of plateaued for a while) when we were being healthy back up to just over 300 pounds. (I'm more in the range of about 285 now).

I like Doritos and peanut butter M&Ms and cherry coke/pepsi/anything and the list goes on forever. Recently, things have gotten to the point where long hours at work, getting the kids situated with either dinner (for them), homework, baths, bedtime, etc. basically put my wife an I on a pattern of getting fast food to eat after the kids went down.

Back in January my wife set foot on a dream to play in roller derby. She accomplished that dream on June 20th when she actually played in her first exhibition bout - you know, not a scrimmage, but an event they made flyers for, and she was on a team, and we paid actual money to go in and watch.

She's not satisfied with just that, though. She's giving serious thought into joining the pro league in Utah. Sadly it's not the kind of pro league where they pay her crazy amounts of money to play, but you pay to participate. Sort of an exclusive club. I'm very proud of her for running (well, skating) after a dream and capturing it. She doesn't want to let go until her body won't let her do it anymore. I fully support that.

I've never really had a dream. Not like that anyway. Fantasy of playing football when I was young, but I'm not the most athletically gifted person. Could bowl pretty well. But bowling and golf are kind of fat guy sports a lot of cases, and the really good players are still fit.

Then I caught an ad online, it might have been one of my "friends I've never actually met in real life" on Facebook that might have put something up on his feed. The ad was for the Spartan Run. Now, here in Utah, they run the Super. It's like the second level. Eight to nine miles over natural terrain (not a flat track) and 20+ obstacles. I can't imagine what the "Ultra Beast" (26 miles w/ 50+ obstacles) must do to a body.

It piqued my interest. It looks HARD. It looks like something that'll take DAYS to recover from. And for some reason, I. WANT. TO. BEAT. IT.

"The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a man's determination." ~ Tommy Lasorda

So, here we are, looking at my story. Just at the beginning. The road is long, and time is running short.

Let's go.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

It's time...

Have you heard of this race?

The Spartan race is regarded as one of the most difficult terrain races around, similar to the Dirty Dash and the Tough Mudder.

I want to be in this race.

And finish it.

I'm not looking to win the race. That would be silly. I'm 37, and by the time this race rolls around to Utah again (June 28, 2014), I, like most people, will be a year older. I'm not realistically going to keep up with people in their early 20s, or those that are my age or even older that have been doing races like this for any serious amount of time.

The goal: enter, run, and finish.

346 days.

49 weeks.

11 months.

It's time to get to work.