Today I ran 3 miles at a park. For many of you reading, this might be your warm up. Now, I’d like you to take a refrigerator, then duck tape it to your back. Then run 3 miles. OK, so you get the picture. For those of you out there with a spare refrigerator on you, please read on. For those of you who 3 miles is a warm up for you, I envy you (and am working to be you) – but most of what is below is geared towards my brethren who need some assistance getting to this point. At the same time I was posting about my 3 mile run, one of my fraternity brothers I pledged with was posting about his tuna run…which apparently has a team of people running 200 miles in 24 hours. He posted 3 runs within like 12 hours, one was a 10 miler, another 3 miler, then maybe 5. His pace was 7.8 mph. Fuck. Good for him, but I’m nowhere near that. But….it’s how I want to live my 40’s. I want to do these races. I want to be a better version of me in my teens. I want to be in far better shape at 41 than I ever was in my life. And….I’m on the path to doing it.
I used to do a lot of running while mildly overweight, some while dramatically overweight, so this is not a new concept to me. My best mile ever I think was around 9:30 when I was the heavyweight wrestler for my school team. So, no land speed records being broken here. But to be 41 and maybe running sub-8 min miles? I can dig that.
A little factoid here is that some of my closest friends were on the cross country team in high school. I live in Pennsylvania (5th largest populated state in the United States out of 50 for you international readers I get on here) so there were a LOT of schools in our state. Our state has about 12 million people, so put that into perspective with the size of your country. Our cross country team won 4 out of 6 state championships during the time I was there, so they were the pride of our school. I think most of them went on to run at big schools. Anyway, I went running with some of them a few times. Well….kinda sorta. I was maybe 240 pounds or so and running my 9:30 mile, and I went to ocean city, New Jersey with a few of them for a retreat of sorts. We went out on the boardwalk and all started at the same place. They were off to the races. I got to see their back sides disappear in the distance rather quickly. Around 2 miles in on the boardwalk, I see them coming back, and they were surprised to see me there. I turned around with them then, and put in a solid 4 mile run for me. I was sooooooo proud of myself!
My personal record was maybe around 7 miles when I was about 340 pounds at age 23, to put my distance running into perspective. Most of my runs have been around 2 miles. However, with my recent training and proper eating…2 miles just isn’t enough!!
So I told some of my closest friends I ran 3 miles yesterday. Again, soooo proud of myself. I have a terrible, terrible, terrible support structure around me. Basically, lots of mild ridicule. I don’t know why I bother – but it’s funny, when we have these types of accomplishments, we just want to shout them from the rooftops. I just ran 3 miles!! Instead, to many, it’s still not good enough.
“Meh. I could walk that fast!! hahahahha”.
Maybe we have this need for acceptance with peers that is all-powerful or something. It’s why we post on facebook, right? We want others to share in our joy. So…instead of telling all of them and getting some ridicule, I’m going to stick with this forum. For me, this was a big deal to me because I wanted to run a 5k for the past 10 years or so. Yesterday, at 3 miles straight with no stopping, I demonstrated I can complete it.
Side note. I wasn’t planning to go here, but I’ll take a min on it. When I transferred high schools, I was pretty shy and reserved. One guy, which I won’t name, was nice to me and offered me a ride to school for a year or so. He was always kind to me. He was one of my closest friends. When we all went off to college, we sort of lost touch because this was before the whole email thing. I learned a few years later, that he had taken his own life. I still have no idea why, and I didn’t learn of the passing until months later. Maybe each of us who knew him felt if we just reached out maybe we could have prevented it? By this time I had lost touch with him, but the news hit me like a bag of bricks. I think there were people at school he was closer to than me, but I wasn’t terribly close with a lot of people in high school due to the transfer and he went out of his way to be nice to me. It meant a lot to me in high school and I’ll never forget that kindness towards someone new. He was on that cross country team, and there’s a 5k every year in his name at my old school. I’ve been wanting to run it forever – but I have been embarrassed that I’ve been not in the greatest condition to run it. So…hitting the 3 mile mark for me yesterday was sort of a big deal to me because I feel come July, I’ll be in pretty good shape to run it finally. End of side note.
Back to the run…
So I used my fitbit with my run yesterday, and it was able to then track my speed and course with GPS. Pretty cool. What’s interesting was I showed up at the park planning to walk 3 laps. Each lap was 1 and 3/8 miles, so 3 laps is 4 and 1/8 miles if my math is correct. The northeast USA is starting to get cooler (WINTER IS COMING!), and my shorts and hoodie weren’t doing the trick with the high winds. About a half mile into my walk, I felt a LOT of energy in me, it was cold as balls, so I just started running. And I kept running. 2.4 miles in, I am passing my car and decided to then just go for 3 miles. Then, I did about a half lap cool down.
What you see above is my dreadful time for a completed 3 mile run. The good news, is that in 8 weeks, I’ve taken about 4 mins off of my mile time. I’m hoping 8 weeks from now that number is even lower. I’m hoping with interval training, losing weight, etc that I continue to do better with my times. After I got done running, I had some recovery food – a banana with 2 TBSP of low sodium peanut butter and 1 TBSP of honey. I then decided to take a bath with Epsom salts to try and minimize the aches that were soon to follow. This morning I woke up to some achy muscles and joints, and will be taking it easy today, perhaps with a slow 3 mile walk and a chest/triceps workout later today.
So, I ran three miles yesterday, and this was what my MyFitnessPal looked like before I went to sleep.
So I did all of that exercise…and gained TWO POUNDS! Obviously I was under my calories. This is the frustration many of us deal with in weight loss, and years ago this would demoralize me. Today, I realize there are a LOT of things at play – and I must continue to TRUST THE PROCESS. Last night, I decided to have my “cheat meal” for the week with my wife. We went to Carrabba’s. Never been there before. Never will eat there again. I don’t do chain restaurants, but left the pick of restaurants up to my wife. I love Italian food, so I think she was trying to accommodate me. The food was pretty terrible. It started off good with some bread and oil, but the only taste I got in anything was SALT. Like, an Italian restaurant may want to try and highlight some herbs like oregano and basil. Maybe use some garlic. My chicken parm didn’t come with a pasta, it was sort of a la carte, and the side was garlic mashed potatoes. The minestrone wasn’t bad on the calorie count, but again…SALT. So what I took from the meal last night was a ridiculous amount of sodium. And water weight. And…after two days of rest, then running that hard, my guess is my body is trying to repair tissue and is holding water because of that.
And you know what? I’m 110% ok with that. Because I KNOW I burned fat yesterday.
So – my warmup before my run, my cool down, and a lot of time afterwards (some of this missing was during the bath/shower), I was still chugging down the calories.
TRUST THE PROCESS. DO NOT GET DISCOURAGED WITH THE SCALE.
If you watch the scale daily, and are really hard core into this, you can get discouraged. I did 300 times previous to this. This time, it’s different. I’m sciencing the shit out of this, as our friends on Breaking Bad might say.
Speaking of science….
I love the book store. Maybe it’s my nerd at heart. I love to learn. Sometimes, the shit that’s out there just confuses you. As I brought up yesterday, I want you to use the way-back machine and take a look at all of the studies on eggs…and even butter. It’s good for you. No, it’s not. Yes it is. Then you have dueling banjos of PhDs on each side of the argument. MSN health is the worst for this. I like a lot of their articles, and got some decent information there – but there is so much information that is conflicting with itself in different articles.
You know what. I decided at the book store that I would look at the science of food. I wasn’t great with chemistry and biology in school, but today I have two master’s degrees and feel I can learn pretty much anything if I sit down and give it a read. I may not want to memorize all of the bones in the body, but if I can understand how iron carries oxygen, maybe that would be cool to me. What I noticed at this HUGE book store, was there was literally one shelf for the health/exercise stuff. Take a look at what I was faced with when looking:
If you look REALLY closely….REALLLLLLLLY closely…
Pretty much all of these books are what is wrong with us today in the United States. I did the juicing. The cleansing. The atkins. Body for life. I’m looking at these books as the graveyard of bad ideas. Systems that are introduced – to get you to buy more goods and products they are promoting. Plant-based whole foods. Vegan. Vegetarian. No carbs. Low carbs. Zone. Paleo. I see all of these as a temporary means of losing some weight, only to see it come back on when you leave the diet.
To their credit, I have lost weight on most of them. I am an “expert” on diets. What I am not, is an expert on living the rest of my life under their systems. After 3 months of no carbs and eating 1200 calories a day….you crash…and burn…and all of the weight comes back and more. Dr. Atkins died at a relatively young 72 – and it was revealed he had heart issues for a long time. Check that here. Every last one of them, temporary plans. Because you are telling people you can’t have X, Y, or Z. It then makes them want X, Y, or Z that much more, and will power only goes for so long.
When I ate Carrabba’s last night, my stomach waged civil war against me on the way home. GI was like….”fuck you jobu”. The grease from the deep fried chicken…the amount of butter in the potatoes. The white bread. I just felt disgusting. I choose to not eat this stuff because of how it makes me feel. It’s funny, the more I stay away from this stuff, the less I crave it. There’s a lot I can say on this, but between MSGs, chemicals, and gut flora – many in this country are literally addicted to types of food like someone is addicted to heroin.
But I digress…With my cheat meal once a week (twice if I absolutely must), I can have anything I want. I just try to still stick within my daily calories. I think this is how most fit people eat. They eat the healthy meals during the week…go out on a date and maybe get the spaghetti and meatballs, then head back to the gym the next day. I never really had this structure or discipline in my life, and it’s really helped. I can literally eat anything I want 1-2 meals a week…I just don’t over do it. Like, I can go order two slices of pizza, but I’m not going to order a pizza and eat half of it, eat a side of wings and wash it down with coke. This is a lifestyle change.
Yes…you can lose weight on a lot of those systems on the book shelf. But many are temporary and are not fixing the root cause issues.
So, I looked, and looked…and I found some items that might help me learn more about the body’s physiology. I want to know how nutrients are transported to cells. I want to know how you burn fat. I want to learn more about omega 3, 6, and 9. Why? It’s been explained to us that you should use resistance training as well as cardio with a well-balanced diet to lose weight. Cool . Got that. Then you have others saying…wait – you cannot build muscle while you are cutting. Other say do HIIT workouts and don’t do as much cardio. Others say do mostly cardio until you drop a lot of weight. Again…it’s very, very confusing. The more people you listen to, the more shit is being slung at you. Why? Because a lot of these ways might all work, none better than the other. Or, one might work.
Get me the source material, please. Let me understand this from the ground up.
My goal here is to read through a lot of this. Take notes. Understand how my peanut butter/banana/honey post-workout meal is fueling my body at a cellular level. Maybe I need to go back and get another master’s degree. You know what? If I drop all the weight I want and someday earn myself a six pack, I just might do it. I’m hoping the books give me some solid information, and well….the magazines are more for tips on slight improvements and gear, not so much good for foundation information.
When I finish these books, I’ll do a nice write up on some interesting tidbits and something that may have blown my mind.
For example, one time in health class in like 8th grade they were talking about aerobic and anaerobic ATP. Ever since I’ve been running, at the end of my run I try to do an all-out run for the last 1/2 to 1 lap. The thought was the anaerobic ATP is going to help me for my next run. It had something to do with building muscle in the absence of oxygen was more than with oxygen. Truth is, it seems to have worked. Some how. But I’m not sure why. I want to read up on that. My interval trainer app has sprints at the end of each running phase, and I think it’s the same reason. I want to learn the science of this shit. I want to do this, for me, and try and share this journey along the way. Not only will this hold me accountable, but I think at the end of this I might have a decent story to be told and great information to give out.