Thursday, January 01, 2009

Taking it from the top

Well, it's January 1, and that sound you hear is thousands of people either starting new weight loss blogs or returning to old ones. Why should I be any different?

It's been a difficult 9 months on the weight loss front. I did manage to complete the 5K at the end of May, in a time of 40:16.7. I even managed it with shoes that were a half size too small for me, which I didn't find out until after the race when I compared them to my older running shoes. After that, though, it was a steady downhill -- I injured my knee in May while golfing, then hurt my hip while compensating for the sore knee. As a result, I had to stop exercising right at the time when I most wanted to be outside doing things, because things just hurt too much. This resulted in a bout of depression that lasted through the entire summer and well into the fall. At my worst, I'd gained back every single pound I'd lost in the past year.

In the end, I got an X-ray and an MRI that told me there was nothing structurally wrong with me, and had some physiotherapy that alleviated some of the pain in my joints. That got me in a better mood, to the point where I was able to start exercising again a little less than a month ago. I'm working on the treadmill 3 times a week (restarting the Couch-to-5K program -- I'm currently in week 3) and the stationary bike 2-3 times a week. I've also managed to clear out our spare bedroom enough that I can put a mat down and do some strength training as well. My goal is to do something every day for 30 minutes or so. I've managed to lose 9 pounds doing this so far.

I've set some longer-term goals for myself this time around. I signed up for the 5K race on Ottawa Marathon weekend again, but I also signed up for a 10K race at the beginning of August, and a try-a-tri triathlon near the end of September. This should hopefully give me enough incentive to keep at it this time around (as well as to relearn how to swim!)

Happy New Year, and may everyone have a prosperous and enjoyable 2009.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Once more, with feeling

I have returned. Returned from ten weeks of relative inactivity and mediocre nutrition. Returned to the land of accountability. Don't worry, I didn't go completely crazy and balloon up again, but I have made zero progress in the last two and a half months -- negative progress, actually -- and that is going to change.

Yesterday, I ran a mile outside for the first time since my cruise. (Incidentally, do you know how hard it is to run on a moving ship? It's not fun, not in the least.) It's only the sixth run of any kind I've done since mid-January. Today, I'm going to attempt to do the same, and Sunday I'm hoping to make it two. I have motivation -- my 5k run is in less than two months. Was that smart of me, or what? Start working out again, or forfeit thirty dollars and have to tell everyone who asks how I did that I never went. That's powerful.

On the plus side, my doctor told me last week that I only need to lose about twenty more pounds for me to be at what he would consider a manageable weight. And my blood pressure is excellent, which surprised me. He also said my cholesterol was just borderline, instead of being very bad, as I imagined it would. Apparently, I'm pretty healthy for being fairly overweight. That makes me pretty optimistic that I can become very healthy in a reasonable amount of time.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Results you can wear

Is there any nicer feeling than comfortably fitting into a pair of pants you haven't worn in four years? I think not.

When I started this little expedition, I wore a size 46. I probably could have worn a 48 without them feeling baggy, too. Right now, I have on a pair of size 40 khakis that I haven't even thought of being able to fit into since before I was married. In a couple of weeks, I can probably also start wearing the size 40 jeans I bought last month (the size-42 incentive jeans are now starting to get a little loose). And at this rate, in a couple of months, I'll be able to leave the 40s altogether. Which means I can actually buy off the rack at the Haggar outlet store.

I punished myself quite a bit this weekend. Friday, I did 5k on the ergometer and a 40-minute hill program on the stationary bike. Saturday, I went outside and ran this 5k route in just under 40 minutes. (Check out how far uphill that is for the last mile -- it was a killer!) Sunday, I rowed another 5k and did 25 minutes of hill intervals on the stationary bike before deciding that was enough. I think I'll take today off.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

45 pounds to go?

I was poking around online on the weekend, looking for a way to measure body fat percentage. I found one site where, if you input your height, waist size, neck size and weight, will give you a reasonable estimate of body fat percentage. My body fat % is between 27 and 28, which seemed to me to be making some progress. However, I was more intrigued by another line of the output:

Your ideal weight: 225 lbs.

Isn't that interesting -- something that actually comes close to what I think I should really weigh!

Now, anyone who knows me knows that I absolutely detest BMI as a measurement of how "fat" or "thin" a person is. I believe it's a too-simplistic measurement tool designed to artifically inflate the "overweight" population, and doesn't even begin to take into account the number of factors that actually go into whether a person has a healthy weight or not.

According to BMI, since I'm 6' 2 1/2", my ideal weight range should be between 158 and 197 pounds. Now look to the right and see what my goal weight is. Now, let me tell you that even that target is about 10-15 pounds lower than the weight I would be happy with! The reason for that is that I was blessed with my dad's genetics, and he's built like a fullback. (He actually played fullback in semipro ball in the 60s.) My bone structure does not allow me to weigh 175 pounds...and yet BMI would tell you that that's what I should be shooting for.

Don't get me wrong, I'm still shooting for 200 pounds. But, if I happen to plateau around 215 -- or now even 225 -- I'm certainly not going to panic about it.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

New toy / tough sledding

My Forerunner is here! I was home again yesterday, so I was here when the UPS guy knocked on my door and presented it to me. It was like it was still Christmas.

Its first test was to take it out running this morning. Last I checked, the paths along the canal were well-plowed. But, last I checked was Monday. This morning...not so much. It was a lot harder than I was expecting, because of the packed-down snow/slush combination. It was almost like running on the beach. But I ran two miles anyway, and I was able to keep an eye on my mile pace, which was pretty much all I wanted for the first run. I was managing 13-minute miles while keeping my HR around 150 for the most part, which I thought was decent for the conditions.

If they don't plow a little better, though, I'll have a lot of time to read up on how to use the more advanced features, because I'm not running on that again. But then, there's three days of rain in the forecast, and that might clear off the sidewalks a bit.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Stupid sinuses.

So I'm at home sick with what may or may not be a cold. I have a sneaking suspicion that it's actually a sinus flare-up. In any event, my head feels like it weighs about 50 pounds. I missed my run last night, but if this clears up any, I'm going to try to get one in this evening.

On the up side, the weather's going to be improving enough this weekend that I'm going to be able to get outside to run. I found out that the pedestrian paths along the Rideau Canal, where I did a couple of weekend runs in November, are the only trails in the whole city that get plowed, so I can run there if I feel like it. I had originally planned to do it Monday or Tuesday, but it was snowing both days, and I didn't feel like running through two inches or more of snow on the sidewalks.

Two more pounds down this week. It's looking like I'm going to need a new scale, since I've somehow reached a weight where the display will no longer lock in on one number, but instead flickers within a 10-15 pound interval, and shuts itself off while it's still thinking about how much I weigh.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Looking back, and looking forward

So, 2007 has come to a close. Honestly, if anyone had told me last January that I would lose over 33 pounds in 2007, I would've been ecstatic. The fact that I did it in only three months is absolutely mind-blowing to me.

That said, it's a time to look forward, not back. I still have about 68 pounds to go, and a full year to do it. I have the 5K to run at the end of May, so I still have something to train for in the short term. I'll probably schedule two or three events -- either runs, duathlons or triathlons -- for the summer and early fall, for more incentive. I've proven to myself that I can train for training's sake, but it's still nice to have a goal in mind besides a weight target.

I was very happy with how the Christmas holidays went for me. I had two Christmas dinners, but the only time I went back for seconds of anything was for another roll. I didn't have a lot in the way of sweets -- a couple of sticky buns and a small oatmeal chocolate chip muffin for breakfast Christmas morning, three or four small cherry shortbread cookies, and a divine piece of grasshopper cheesecake on Christmas Eve. Over the past week, I've only eaten out three times, with the worst meal being last night, when I had a filet mignon and baked potato, a couple of pieces of sourdough bread, a ginger ale, and an incredible brownie sundae. It was very satisfying, and a meal like that every once in a while keeps me sane.

As for exercise, I'll wager that I was the only person I know working out on Christmas morning! The plan all along was to get in a workout on my parents' elliptical machine, and despite not getting a lot of sleep, I woke up enough to do a good hill routine for 45 minutes. I did get to a spinning class on Sunday morning, and reaffirmed how much I hate morning workouts, as I got my ass kicked from beginning to end (figuratively AND literally -- those seats are just brutal, even with bike shorts). And I've started a new running plan, the beginner's 5K program from Cool Running. It says that you should be able to run comfortably on this schedule for 4-6 weeks before starting the main program:

Sunday - 3 miles
Monday - off
Tuesday - 3 miles
Wednesday - 3 miles
Thursday - 3 miles
Friday - off
Saturday - 2 miles

So I'm planning to run on that schedule from now until either the middle or the end of February, then starting on the main program. If I start the program at the beginning of March, it should end right at the time I run my 5K at the end of May.

And, as a reward for being so good, I bought myself the Garmin Forerunner 305 from I was trying to find it at a relatively cheap price, but the only places I could find it were in the States. Then I found a discussion on saying people were getting it at a big discount at Costco, so I looked there. It wasn't the $180 in saw it for at in the US, or even the $212 at, but $259 was pretty good considering I could only find it here in Canada for $349 minimum. I should have it in a week or two, and get to use it in earnest for a couple of weeks for before the cruise if the weather cooperates.

Happy New Year! May you achieve all the goals you set for yourself in 2008.