Wednesday, November 28, 2007

On our way!!!

Hey to all...hope all is well with everyone. I just finished work, headed home and I have packed the truck with our baggage and we are ready to head down to Ft. Lauderdale. We will catch a flight from Ft. Lauderdale to Montego Bay tommorrow morning. Not too excited yet, because I'm still just trying to remember if I took care of everything at work. I think that once I get on the plane I will be able to let loose and relax. Unfortunatley I haven't run yet today. Planning on running tonight in Ft. Lauderdale or before I leave for the airport tommorrow morning. I will do some speed intervals, so hopefully it will carry over to the race. I don't know how accessible internet access will be for me once I am in Jamaica. My intention is to blog at least every other day, but we will see how it goes once I'm down there. Hopefully I will be able to tell you all the results of the race. You might be able to check out the results at (just don't know how quickly they will get it up on their site). From what I have heard, there will be over 1,000 runners.... should be fun!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

My Personal Trainer

I love my personal trainer. I, like many runners, don't have a human personal trainer. I use a Garmin Forerunner 305 to track my distances, monitor my heart rate and watch my pace of running as I continue to train for these races that are coming up. I can come to my training appointments at any time, and my trainer only yells at me if my heart rate is too high or low!! It's funny that it has probably gotten to an unhealthy level now, in that I probably can't go out for a run, if I don't have my watch on to train. Honestly the true fun begins when I get back home after my runs. I am able to download all types of cool information about my run to my computer and I can analyze how well my run went. I guess I am a data geek when it comes down to it. What a lot of people don't realize about the Forerunner is that you can customize workouts, not only for running, but for indoor workouts also. About 8 months ago, I decided that there was something more that I could do with this watch than just run. I, along with my business partner Mike, decided to bring the idea of doing heart-rate based circuit training programs at home, using this great piece of equipment, by setting up specialized programs using the software that came with the watch and downloading it to the watch every 4-6 weeks for patients. We decided to call this exercise program Therafit, which is fitness based on therapeutic exercises. Therapeutic exercises are the type of exercises that we do in our field of physical therapy to get patients stronger and fitter, when returning from an injury. We have over 50 clients that have signed up for the Therafit program, and we have had tremendous success with people managing and losing weight and improving their overall conditioning. The neat part is that all of our clients download their information to us on a weekly basis, and me being a data geek, analyzes their information and give them tips on how to modify their home exercise program in order for them to achieve their goals.
Well enough about that.... Yesterday I decided to go out for a run after I finished my last patient at around 8 pm. Seven Oaks, which is where our clinic is located, is a beautiful place to run and roads are lighted and not too many cars are around. I planned on running 5-6 miles, but about 10 minutes into the run, I went from feeling tired to having that typical euphoric feeling while running and enjoying my music on the Ipod. I did a little over 7.5 miles, and completed a tempo run. A tempo run is basically when you run fairly slow for the 1st part of your run (usually the 1st mile), pick up the pace for the mid part of your run, and then cool down for the last leg of the run (usually a mile or so). It is quite challenging, so when you finish, you always feel proud of yourself. Here is a peek of the run:
P.S. If you click on view activity, you will be directed to a site where you can see all the neat information that my watch recorded during my run (how fast or slow I ran each mile, my average heart rate for each mile, etc.)

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Perfect Formula

So, I'm sure you are probably wondering about my cholesterol that I talked about initially when creating this blog. My levels were in the high 200's and now are in the mid-low 100's!!! Since 2006, I have gone from hovering around190 lbs to currently in the low 160's (don't weigh myself too often) My body fat percentage is between 16-18%, and I am in the best shape of my life by far!!! But to be honest with you, the numbers don't really matter to me. I know it might seem easy for me to say, but I am not running to maintain a number of any sorts. Obviously there are significant benefits to running, but I must say that now I mainly do it for other reasons. Here are a few of them:
1. Running is my personal time away from everything. Everyone needs some quiet time, and if it takes waking up at 5 am to get it, so be it. No kids, patients, co-workers.... just myself, the course and my Ipod (sometimes)
2. About 10-20 minutes into my run, I get my endorphin high, where I almost feel like I'm floating and sometimes I feel like my legs are moving and I'm not even's the coolest feeling and you truly feel like a well-oiled machine.
3. Running a race is a very exciting feeling. You get butterflies in the stomach before the race....have trouble sleeping the night before, and analyze every move you made during the race, just like being part of a big football, basketball or baseball game. (I can't even imagine how exciting it's gonna be at the start of the Disney Marathon 18,000 people!!!!!)
4. It keeps me accountable to my patients and my fitness clients. I have to set the bar for everyone else. I will never ask someone to do something that I can't do myself. So if I can't set the bar, I don't deserve to work with you.
5. Running gives me great energy throughout the day. My workdays can sometimes be 13-14 hour days. Since I started to run consistently, I don't have the fatigue that I used to have about 7 hours into the day. I used to come home from work and fall asleep on the couch after about 5-10 minutes. Now, I stay up... talk to my wife about her day and my day, play with the kids if they are not sleeping yet, and send out e-mails, do bills, or wash the dishes before I go to bed.
6. It's also quite amazing that people have said to me that I inspire them... my dad recently started running more consistently, because he saw how much weight I lost and was impressed that I ran 14 miles one morning before he even got up. He has started to increase his running to about 15-18 miles/week, and has lost about 15 lbs over the last 2 months. My patients and clients inspire me, and I sometimes inspire them, so I think that's pretty cool.

I have about 25 more reasons I could bore you with...but that'll do for now. Ok...gotta go, patients are coming through the door!!!!!!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Doctor Visit

For most people, having your MD tell you that you have high cholesterol might not be a big deal. And at the time, I was more relieved than anything when Dr. Blazejowski told me that, because I thought something else was going on with having diabetes (which runs in my family). For many weeks before my MD appointment, I was feeling extremely tired, urinating frequently (especially at night) and not being able to sleep good. But then Dr. Blaze said to me, "Greg you are only 28, so you might need to think of some lifestyle changes to get this regulated, or I may need to put you on meds....come back in 8 weeks and we will re-check you". At that point, I called my wife and told her what the verdict was and she, like myself, was relieved to know I wasn't dying! When I got off the phone with her, it all set in for me on what the MD said, and at that point I remember feeling embarrassed on what was going on with myself. The fact was that I am a physical therapist, telling people everyday how therapy is a lifestyle change and how fitness needs to play some part in their lives to help prevent injuries from happening on a frequent basis. I basically was not practicing what I preached and I was exposed!!!! I have never really had weight issues, but at that time I was inching to the 190 lb mark and finding it very hard to fit into any of the pants that I owned. Most of my patients couldn't tell that I had a belly, because of the outfits that we wear at work. For the next few days, I started to google everything about cholesterol, and voila!!!! Diet and Exercise continually came up as the best way to manage cholesterol issues. It's amazing that when you are in the medical field, you can't even think when it comes to how to take care of yourself, even though you take care of others every day!!!!! Two days later started the change in my life for the better.

October 2005

I decided to go out for my 1st run on a Saturday morning and run around my neighborhood. My goal was to run for 20 minutes without stopping....which should be a breeze, or so I thought it would've been. I remember winning a 4 mile race in 4th grade at my elementary school, so I just felt as though I could switch back the clock 20 years for this run and we would be ok. Everything went well.... for the first 10 minutes.... and then I slowed down... then I stopped. Brutal.... I realized then that I had a lot of work to do, but I was determined to get going. I started running consistently about 2 days/week working my way up to 30 minutes each time over the next 3 months.

February 2006

My breakthrough with running was when I participated in the Gasparilla 5k in Feb. 2006... It was an awesome experience, as I saw thousands of people run... all ages, sizes and it was cool to see everyone running, no matter how fast or slow they were. It really got me psyched up to take my running to the next level. I finished that race in about 27 minutes, which was about 9 min/mile, and I felt like a truck hit me at the end of the race. I couldn't believe that 3.1 miles would do that to me, but it did, and due to my competitive nature, I started to train up to 35 minutes per run, and sometimes 3x/week. A few months later I signed up for the May Classic 5k and shaved off 2 minutes off my time!!! I was so pleased with myself and the progress I made. On and off through the summer and fall of 2006, I ran sparingly as I was engulfed with opening up our Wesley Chapel clinic.

December 2006

Later on in the year, I decided that I wanted to take my running up a notch and attempt to complete the Gasparilla 1/2 Marathon. I figured that I needed about 2-3 months to get ready for it, but I continuted to procrastinate until the New Year. I started running 3 days/week, running about 4-5 miles each time to get myself ready for the race. I had no clue of what I was doing, just figuring that it would suffice. I was getting excited about the race, as I was treating a good amount of patients that were runners and were trying to get ready for one of the four Gasparilla races for that weekend. As much as I knew that I was planning on doing the race, it was when I started to tell my patients that I was doing the race, that I felt locked into this feat.

Feb. 2007

5 days before the race, I pulled my hamstring while running and 2 days before the race I got food poisoning from eating at a seafood restaurant. I was in bad shape, but my pride and ego couldn't allow me to not show up for the race. I didn't want to look like a joker, so stupidly I went out there and attempted to finish the race. Believe it or not, I actually did, but I was pretty dehydrated at the end, with a sore hamstring and having to walk/run the last 3 miles. It wasn't pretty, but what a sense of accomplishment. I finished the race in 2 hours and 13 minutes. That was the day I felt like I was a "Runner"... beat up and all. I remember talking to Chris (good buddy and co-worker) after the race and telling him I would never do this distance again, because of how awful I felt, and within 5 hours after the race, I remember saying to myself "I'm going to do a marathon". Crazy huh? My competitive nature is maybe unhealthy at times, and I like to challenge myself on things that I don't think I can do.... just to prove that I can do it... so in a nutshell that has been what has gotten me to the point that I am now..... 6 days from my 2nd half marathon, "The Reggae Half-Marathon" in Jamaica, and less than 7 weeks from my 1st marathon, the Walt Disney World marathon on January 13th.