Tuesday, November 24, 2009

1 Month Anniversary

A few days ago, I had my 1 month anniversary from not running. It's kinda funny how quickly things can turn for the better or worse... and in my case it has been for the better (I hope). Let me explain....
Cheryl, who is my office administrator, gave me this time article to read a few months back, and the cover read Why Exercise Won't Make You Thin. I remember looking at it, and shrugged it off... actually I think I even said to her, "This article is probably written by a frustrated, overweight person, who is trying to convince themselves and others that it's all pointless (exercise wise)"... I never read the article. Cheryl still tried to press me to read it, and I think I just told her, "When I have time.." Well my oh my...look how things have turned for me.... A little over 1 month ago, I remember trying to purge through all of our magazines at my clinic to find this article, and I finally read it. Due to reading that article, I am proud to say that even though I have gone from my typical 150-180 miles of running/month to a big fat 0, I have not gained one pound....actually, I think I lost 1-2 pounds.
In a nutshell, the article stated that because we exercise, we almost feel entitled to eat whatever we want. Now, I know that there are some people that don't do that, but I was not one of those people. My eating habits were absolutely horrendous. My typical day of eating would consist of
1. Very little to no breakfast
2. A huge lunch (anything from Burritos, burgers, pizza)
3. Lots of candy
4. Maybe a redbull or two...or three... or four
5. Dinner (Wifey cooks pretty healthy, so that wasn't a problem)
6. Ice cream, especially when watching sports before I go to bed
7. Fruit drinks, usually apple juice diluted with water

Couple that with my 35-50 mpw and my weight stayed stable for the most part.

Well, that has changed radically for me. What I realized is that I was running and eating for comfort, and just soothing my cravings at all times. My marathon readers will understand this when I say this, but running changes your mood, makes you feel good...it's a drug, albeit a positive one....but also, when you are running the distances that I was running, I was putting in a 800-1000 calorie cushion to my typical day, so 2,500-3,000 would not create any damage to my weight control. Then if you add my eating habits, I was eating lots of comfort foods...tons of sugar and salty foods, which would again satisfy my cravings...day after day... it made for a really happy, but honestly not the healthiest person (at least on the inside). So now, Greg and food have a different relationship... it's more of a business relationship. I use it to satisfy my needs for energy, not for cravings... it initially was really difficult, but it had to be done...because I couldn't substitute my running for any other exercise without setting myself back again... and it has been extremely successful.. so far. So this is basically my typical day.

1. Morning (I will have cereal with skim milk and usually cut up bananas)
2. I try to take in about 70-85 oz. or water a day. (I'm telling you, water is the key...it fills you up)
3. My lunches are usually pre made from home, or if I do eat fast food, it's a Turkey Breast sandwich on wheat bread from Subway (300 calories for a 6 in.). I will get a foot long, and then have the other half between sometime between 4-6 pm.
4. I use a power juicer (celery, garlic, carrots, broccoli, lettuce, etc.) or make a protein shake every day.
5. No more coffee

I basically have tried to limit my intake to about 1600 calories/day.

I had to mentally change my attitude toward my food and obviously "detox" myself from running. I truly think I am finally on the road to recovery...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Out for the season

I'm done running for the 2009 calendar year... And I might not be
running for a few months beyond that.
If you have read my previous entries, you know that the last few
months have been a rough patch for me with re: to resuming training after I
finished my 4th marathon in San Francisco. A few weeks after the race
I got a very bad flu, and I have struggled to train ever since.
Consecutive weeks of 25+ miles would just suck all the energy out of
me, and my paces for running have slowed down by about 2 min/mile. I'm
basically back to where I was at about 2.5 years ago, when I initially
started to run. Not really knowing what was going on, I continued to
train, but just took it week by week, and got some extensive blood
work done. Finally, and with at least some relief and closure, I have
been diagnosed with the Epstein-Barr virus. It's basically mono, but
it lasts for longer, usually 6-12 months. There is no real treatment
for it... You just have to wait for it to leave your body.... Or should I
say go dormant, because it never actually leaves your system. Rest,
fluids and patience are what I have to live by right now.

My MD basically put it like this..."Greg, you are not getting slower,
but you are certainly getting sicker. Running as much as you do puts a lot of stress on your body, and will prolong your recovery"

So it's been 3 weeks of no running, and I have had to develop a little
different perspective on things.

Being a Type A person, and loving structure in my life (can we say
OCD?), I have had to change my routine drastically. The 5:30-6:00 am
10-12 mile runs are done. I can't stuff my face with whatever I want
because I'm no longer burning 1,000 calories/ day. I'm not exercising
at all, so I have really had to clean up my eating and get very
serious about my nutrition.

I always feel like God always allows good to come out of what seems
like a negative situation. This situation is no different.

Probably the most positive result of my running over the past few
years has been my weight loss... And I have promised myself, that I
will do whatever I need to do to keep myself from not gaining the
weight back.

Over the next few months, that will be my main concern and where my
attention will have to focus. NUTRITION!!

This blog attracts a few runners, but I know that the majority of
people that read this blog are my weight loss clients based out of
Cypress Creek and patients at Renewal Rehab. I hope that by me posting
about my current situation, that it will serve two purposes.

1. Realizing that WE all go through situations that stink, but we have
to deal with the hand that we are dealt. All we can do is to try our
best to deal with it and rehabilitate ourselves to return to whatever
it was that previously made our lives feel complete. That might be something as trivial as what I am currently going through (not being able to run), or it could be walking, being able to eat without assistance, drive a car, or many other things.

2. Having a strong handle on my food intake is new ground for me. Just
like my running exploits, I feel like my best way to stay accountable
with this is to make this open to others that are currently struggling
with the same situation. Using this blog is my best way of
accomplishing that.

Thanks for reading and I will be posting early next week.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I've HADD it!!!

The last few months have not gone as initially planned. The plan was
that the San Francisco marathon was supposed to be a fun race, which
wasn't run too hard, but didn't take much recovery time, so that I
could continue my training that had gone so well up to that point and
throw down some blazing times in all running distances from the 5k to
the marathon. Well, that plan has been scrapped... and that is
putting it lightly. I have struggled with illness and have not been
able to fully recover to get back to the running shape that I was in
during July. My running low point came during September, when my dad
and I ran at the beach and he was able to hold a running pace 2 min/
mile faster than I could. It has been a struggle since then. I would
take off a week, run a few miles and then it didn't seem to help... Or
if it went well, the next run would be terrible. Last Thursday, I
decided to leave the heart rate monitor home, and just run by feel.
What I learned is that although my legs feel fine at the paces I used
to run, my body just couldn't handle it. I nearly had to stop at one
point after clocking back to back 8 minute miles. What???Yessiree.
That's where I was at. So, I have decided that all races that I
planned on signing up for the remainder of 2009 ain't happening.
Luckily for me, the races that I actually paid for allowed me to
transfer my race fees to races that they have scheduled for early
2010....so that's a really good thing. I had 4 goals for 2009 with
re: to running. One has happened (18:54 5k), one is still on schedule
to happen (2009 miles for 2009), and 2 aren't going to happen (sub 40
10k, and sub 1:30 half marathon). I have decided to rebuild my running
base by using the HADD principles and run based on low heart rate
efforts until at least January 1st. It will allow my body to fully
reset itself, and fully get back to where I was before all this crap
happened... Who knows maybe even better??

I tell my patients all the time.... "Sometimes you have to take a step
back in order to take multiple steps forward". Now, I have to live it
out with re: to my running.

Although this process has been a little frustrating, it helps
tremendously that I have the opportunity to work in the field of
orthopedic physical therapy. Every day, I'm dealing with people that
have had many aspects of their lives stripped away from them. In some
cases, it's running or maybe it's strength training or even the
ability to walk and put on clothes without assistance. So it's
actually made me put my silly little setback in proper perspective,
because the fact is I'm still able to run... I just run slow as snails.

Two of the people that I work with (Chris and Julie) are currently in
the same boat I am. They are struggling with various ailments that are
limiting their running and not allowing them to go after goals that we
all previously set earlier in the year. We are all helping each other
get back to previous fitness levels, and I have encouraged them to
start to blog about their ailments. Its good for our patients to know
that although our issues aren't as pressing as theirs, we still deal
with doubts, frustrations, etc., when something unplanned, such as an
injury and/or illness rears its ugly head. So, I guess we'll see if
you all will not be subjected to having to only read my blog, but also
one of theirs... Thanks for reading!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Because I Can….

Some Tuesdays, Kerry and I are able to go out to breakfast together… its kind of our time together; even though we have to bring two of the kiddies along (we just usually hope and pray that the little one sleeps while we are at the restaurant). Anyways, this past Tuesday, on our way to having breakfast we saw a man running on the Suncoast Trail. As some of you runners know, whenever you are driving, you look out for other runners… it's almost as if we are bonded together, through our likeness for the sport. Anyways, this guy was an above knee amputee, and he was just cruising along running on the Suncoast Trail, and I pointed him out to my wife. So, a few minutes went by, and Kerry seemed lost in thought, and I said, "Hey is everything ok?" She says, "Yeah… I was just thinking about that guy… why is it that he has one leg, and feels the need to go out there and run, and I don't even do it, and I have two legs?" So, I said to her, "Because he can." You see, IMO, we take so many things for granted… and the thing we take for granted the most is our health. Maybe I feel so near and dear to this because of the profession that I am in… but I always find it amazing to hear numerous patients of mine, or even runners that have a common story, in that it took a health scare, whether it was a torn up knee, a heart ailment, a bad habit or set of habits, to get them to change their lifestyle. I am one of them as most of you know, and over the past week, I have seen a few stories of individuals that have transformed their lives to do incredible endurance feats after some life changing health event.

Ed Rousseau is a 70 year old man that just ran his 163rd marathon. Former alcoholic.


Or how about this guy?? Kyle Garlett, who is attempting to complete the Ford Ironman Championships in Kona, has battled cancer 4 times… is only 37 years old, and will line up for the race…. With someone else's heart… http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/08/13/heart.transplants.ironman/index.html?iref=newssearch

Don't take your health for granted… savor everything that you do. Enjoy every breath that you take…and do something with what God has blessed you with!!!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

My Funky Week (and my plans for the rest of 2009)

I've been in a week funk. Ever since I came back from my San Francisco trip, the stresses of life have just gotten to me, and it finally caught up to me this past week. Last Sunday, I went out for a 10 mile run, and when I finished, I just felt exhausted. I didn't feel physically exhausted, I just felt mentally exhausted. I knew I had a lot of things going on, but usually I can just press through everything and it will just go away. Well, this time I realized early that I might need to just chill a bit. I took 3 days off of running, and then ran on Thursday. I felt much better than I did on Sunday, but still not like how all my runs usually are. I usually always come back in the house with a big smile on my face, shower up, and feel ready to conquer the world. Well, Friday it was evident why I was feeling the way I felt. I just went into a full downward spiral with my energy all day. By about 2 pm, I had the chills at work, and actually got ill in between seeing patients at around 6 pm. My last 3 hours of work on Friday were more grueling than any marathon I have ever been a part of... that's no exaggeration at all. I just kept telling myself, "You're nearly done... only 6 more...5 more....4 more patients" Chris and Julie finished up my last patient for me, and I got in my car (my body was so achy, I had to lift my legs in the car) and drove home. I was so out of it, when I opened up the garage, I didn't realize that I didn't park the car all the way in, and as the garage door came down, it hit my car.... kinda funny now, but at that time, I didn't give a shiznit... I just walked to my bedroom and collapsed. At least I now know that my body was fighting something... I thought I was just going into an abyss or something.. LOL.

Anyways, I'm still trying to fight this nasty bug, and I can't wait to get back out there and start running again. But with all my downtime, I have had a little chance to come up with a plan for my running for the rest of the year.

I have just started P90x, which is an extreme home workout program. (Thanks Chris for letting me have... I mean borrow the DVDs) There are 12 workouts in the whole program, but I only plan on doing 3-4/week.

Legs and Back
Ab Ripper
Chest and Shoulders

I did my first workout last week, and during the workout there was a series of calf exercises in which it was burning so much that I felt like my calves were going to lock up... now.... the only other time I have felt this is during the marathon... hmmm... maybe I just have some weak calf muscles??? Yup.

I'm planning on running around 35-45 miles/week for the rest of the year, in combination with the 4 P90x workouts/week. If I do that, I will hit my goal of running 2009 miles for this 2009 calendar year. I truly believe that strength training, especially with emphasis on the core and legs will help me stay injury free, and who knows?? It might even improve my running. I realize that the main reason that I have had such big improvements in running over the past 3 years is because I rarely get injured... and now that I want to put more stress on my body as I gear up for bigger and better things next year, I need to focus on building a strong base, so that my body can handle it. I'm also at the lowest weight since high school, but I only run...I'm slowly looking like a pudgy Kenyan runner...LOL... and I want to get a little more cut in my build.

Friday, August 21, 2009


This is so huge!!! This guy is absolutely amazing!!! Usain Bolt has broken the world record in the 100m and 200m 5 times in less than 12 months. Yesterday, Bolt broke the 200 m record, which he previously held by 11 /100th of a second. That's just absolutely insane!! The great thing about this guy is that he does it on the biggest stages, which says something about his mental fortitude. As a fan of sports, I love it when you see athletes show up and showcase their best on the biggest stages. Most of us would shrink when the lights come on and the pressure is there...but not these people. Jordan, Phelps, Bolt, Tiger, Serena, Federer... they all have this uncanny ability to do this. I just love it!!!

As for him being from Jamaica... it's just icing on the cake. Most of you know that I was born in Jamaica, and although I left at an early age, I spent most of my summers from the age of 5 until I went to college, in Jamaica with extended family and friends. It's such a small country, which has many problems (poverty, crime, etc.)... so when something like this happens, the country is in complete amazement...no crime, no pain... just celebration, and it makes me feel so good for them.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The San Francisco Treat!!!

Wow!!! What an experience that was!!! I just had the most enjoyable 3 hours and 50 minutes of running that I have ever had..... and coming from someone that pretty much enjoys every run he does, that is saying a lot! Let me get you all caught up on the trip. If you don't want to read all the details, just scoll down to Race Day

We left the house at 9:05 am, in order to catch a 10:35 am. flight. The only issue was that dumbo (me) didn't read his emails and find out that the flight got changed to 10:20 am. Oh crap!!! We were so close to missing the flight, and obviously were the last group of people to board. To make matters more complicated, my wife and I brought the 3 kids with us, so it was quite unnervy to say the least. We flew from Tampa to Dallas, with a 1 hour layover, and then a 3 hour and 40 minute flight to San Francisco. Total travel in the air was 6 hours (7 hours with the layover). The kids were wonderful. Kerry and I were pretty nervous that we would have a tough time with Arjay or the baby, but everyone was on their A game!!! Once we got into SF, we got our rental car, and headed towards our condo. Once we got settled in, we went out to a local pizza parlor, and had some of the best pizza I have ever had! Good stuff!!! By this time, we were exhausted... it was 8 pm PST, but our bodies thought it was 11 pm... since we are on the East Coast. We gave the kids a bath, then showered up, and off to bed.

Expo was at the Embarcadero Center. It was nothing spectacular, but it served its purpose. With 3 kiddies, I wanted to get the essentials (Bib, shirt, etc.) and get the heck out of there.... and that's what I did.
We then drove to Sausalito (Marin County), and to go there, we had to go over the Golden Gate bridge. That wowed everybody... but then it was reality for me that I was going to run this bad boy in less than 24 hours...sweet!!!! We had lunch at a restaurant on the water, and the kids loved it... and the view!! But the highlight of the day was when we were walking around Downtown Sausalito and a lady was walking her dog.... Arjay and Adryana thought the dog was "Delgado" from Beverly Hills Chihuahua, so I asked the lady if we could take pics with her dog.... the kids think they just saw a movie star.. I don't want to rain on their parade, so it's all good.
After that we went to Contra Costa County (Richmond, Oakland) and went to the mall, and then took the Bay Bridge that connects Oakland to San Francisco. Once we got back to our pad, we went to a local Italian restaurant, and had a nice dinner. Arjay smooth talked the waitress a bit, and was blowing her kisses... he's such a playa!!! I had Alayna in the baby carrier, strapped to my chest, and she slept the whole time... and stayed asleep for over 4.5 hours... so when we got home, I just slept with her in the carrier for a few hours. Once she woke up, I showered got the running gear out for tomorrow, and went back to bed.

Race Day

I woke at 4 am. Even though we rented a car, I decided to reserve a taxi to pick me up at 4:30 am, because the Downtown area was going to be very crazy with the closure of so many roads. That was a smart move, and I got down there by 4:45 am. I decided that I should run with my long sleeve running shirt, because this was just to darn cold for my liking. I talked to some people before the race, and tried to get my mind focused on what I was about to do.

Miles 1-4: Embarcadero, Fisherman's Wharf, Pier 39.
I started about 2 minutes after the gun went off, and tried to get into a comfortable groove. I was able to successfully do that, and was running at a comfortable pace in which my breathing was very controlled and not labored. These miles were completely flat, and I had a big smile on my face. I knew what was coming ahead.. just didn't know exactly how bad it would be.

Miles 5-10: Crissy Field, Golden Gate Bridge (out and back):
This is where things started to climb... hills, HR, etc. I purposely wanted to hold back here, and many people passed me, but I knew that was the smart thing to do. When I trained, I would do anywhere between a 4%-6% incline on the treadmill for a 1/4-/1/2 mile. The first major climb was 15% (according to a local runner). Holy shiznit!!! So, even though it was for a little less than a 1/4 mile, it would level out for a minute or so, and then climb again. I had slowed to a low 9 min. pace, and still my breathing felt comfortable, but the legs were working quite a bit. This climb was to enable us to get close to the GG bridge, and truthfully the bridge wasn't that bad compared to what we just went through. But the bridge..... absolutely unbelievable!!! It was a bit foggy, and all you could hear was the ferry going under it. At this point, I actually just took a step back (not running, but mentally... the running would come a bit later) and thanked God for allowing me to experience this. Three years ago, I never thought I would be a runner, much less traveling to a state (that I have never been to before) to run a marathon and take vacation with 3 kids (6 and under). It's sometimes so amazing where life takes you, ya know? So after I soaked that in, we came off the bridge made a U-turn about a mile down the road, and ran the thing again.... I love it!!!!

Mile 11-15: Presidio, Golden Gate Park

Once we got off the bridge, my legs were starting to feel a bit fatigued... but I was holding up fine. Presidio is absolutely beautiful, and I felt as though this area had more downhills than uphills. This was really good, because I was just cruising and at one point, I looked down at my watch and saw my lap pace in the low 7's... I kinda got concerned, because I didn't want to go that fast, but I couldn't help it.. and was such a steep decline. I think I hit the split in 1:42:xx, but I didn't know that because my Garmin watch got water on the bezel and it wouldn't let me change screens.... oh well, I was just running on feel anyway. Golden Gate Park was beautiful also... but this is where the legs were starting to weaken a bit. We would climb up a hill, and then level off, and then climb again, level off.. you get the picture!! Again, the heart was behaving but now I think that my legs were starting to misbehave... but just a little bit. I tried to spark conversations with a few people, and they would talk to me, but they were working quite hard, and were labored in their breathing... so I just left them alone, after awhile.

Miles 16-20: Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury
So this is where the fun began for me today. I was at mile 16 and I'm climbing another hill and bam!!!!! I cramp in my (L) hamstring. I had two GU's in my back pocket and I took out both of them, and ate them... I had passed a water stop about a 1/4 mile back, but I sure as hell wasn't about to go back. So that was fun... 2 GUs and no water. Good times. Well, the good news is that the cramping went away... for about 2.5 miles, but by mile 19, the cramping onslaught was well in force. Oh boy... my calves, hamstrings and quads were just seizing up like crazy!!! If you have ever been through that, it is nearly impossible to run, because not only is it painful (I can deal with that part), but if you keep going, it just gets worse, and it can bring you to your knees or make you fall over... no joke!!

Miles 21-26.2: Franklin Square, Third Street Bridge, AT&T Park, Finish
At this point, the race starts to get ugly for me, because there are no more uphills or downhills... it's just flat. Unfortunately when I tried to run, I could get to around 1-2 minutes before I had to stop. The cramping started to travel down into my toes and that really hurts bad... running on your toes after you have run 20+ miles is... well, let's just say I would rather have a foot rub...not running on my damn toes!!! LOL! Believe or not, I probably had the most fun during this span... because I really used the people to my advantage... I told them, "if you cheer, I will run fast!!!", so they did, and I would do a sprint for like 20 seconds, until I would nearly fall over... it was so funny!!! At mile 24, I met a local who I ran with in the first part of the race, and he had the same thing happen to him with the cramps, so we ran together for the rest of the race. I pushed him, he pushed me.. it was groovy. The last mile of the race was so cool... we ran right next to AT&T park, and I got to see the whole field, as it has an open back. We ran on the Boardwalk, and looked at the beautiful views again. At this point the crowds were getting bigger, and I got people to laugh quite a bit, when I saw the Marathon photographer, and had him take a picture of me posing for the Heisman... you would've had to had been there... funny thing is that as I got into the position, I cramped violently again... LOL!! The last .2, I tried my best to pick it up, and I high fived the crowds as I ran in. It never gets old to finish a marathon... it's the only running distance that makes you feel warm and fuzzy when you finish.
Finish time: 3:50:50

After I finished the race, I got my medal (huge and beautiful) some water and a banana. I went to pick up my bag that had my cell phone in it, and while I was waiting in line, I started to feel lightheaded...like I was going to pass out. I came out of line, and sat down next to a pole. A Medical Volunteer came by me, and gave me some electrolytes and salt... I felt better within a few minutes and got back in line. Called Kerry and the kids (who sang on the phone.... Go Daddy!!! Go Daddy!!!! you know??? the way black people say it!!!I hopped into a cab, and....

Post race recap: I have 99% positive emotions about this race. I will sort out the positives and the negatives.


1.I have earned a PR (personal record) at the marathon distance by 46 minutes from my previous effort in Chicago.

2. This was by far, the most beautiful, scenic and challenging course I have faced so far... at any distance.

3. The crowd support was better than I expected... obviously it ain't no Chicago, but Chicago ain't no San Fran when it comes to scenery, etc. The least scenic aspect of the race was probably still better than the most scenic aspect of the Chicago Marathon (sorry Walter and Paul, you know I got love for ya'll!!) BTW, Tampa is a joke compared to this!!!

4. This was by far the most enjoyable training season I have had. I am much faster, and 4 months ago, I was extremely concerned about what role running would have in my life... not even considering that I would be running 4-5 days/week, and completing my 4th marathon.


1. I know I could do a better time in the marathon. I'm glad for the 46 minute PR on a challenging course, but I know I had a lot more left in me today, if my body would not have had a hissy fit during the last 6-7 miles.

2. I need to figure out my nutrition. As I look back at my previous marathons, nutrition has played a negative impact on my racing times. I never have a problem during training, but I noticed today that the cups were very small, and not filled up even halfway. I think that played a role in my cramping today, because I was pretty dehydrated, even though I have been training in much tougher conditions than this.

Where do I go from here??

Do another marathon of course!!! I plan on doing a few half marathons first, because I want to see how much I have improved on my time since last November. I think I would like to do a local "practice" marathon this fall 1st; maybe just simulate it as a long run and see if I could get this perfected. Once I do that, I think there's gonna be another big PR waiting for me.

I also think I can still go for a BQ race later this year. But this will be the first time, that I am running specifically for a time... meaning I get that "time" or it's a bust... I don't dig that too much... I like to stop and smell the roses a bit.... but I do want to eventually run the Boston Marathon, and next year would be nice because I know a few of my peeps that are going, and would love to hang with them... but if it doesn't happen, no sleep lost on my end.... but it probably will ;)

I just wanted to say thanks to a few groups of people. First, my wife... who has gone from "Greg, why don't you just run less and run only 5ks around the area" to... "Where is the next marathon WE are going to, sweetie?" Homegirl loves her vacations!!!! LOL! She is absolutely wonderful and so understanding of my training, and she completely gets it. She realizes how much I love this, and I realize how much she loves me for letting me do this!

Chris and Julie... yesterday, as I was getting nervous about the race, you both texted me very calming words, because you know what makes me tick.. and you said the right things to me yesterday. I thank you both for your friendship and being my running pals.

3:20 crew: Gang, thanks for following me today!!! You all say the right things, and always tell me to do the right things, even if I don't want to listen... much appreciated, and I hope I get to meet you all in Beantown. P.S. For those of you doing, Boston 2 Big Sur... bring the treadmill grade past 4-6%, ok???

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Courage to Try

This is a blog post from Dean Karnazes, who is an ultramarathoner. He has completed 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days. Whether you like him or not, he is a very accomplished runner, who has done many extremely impressive feats during his running career.

"For those of you who followed the Gabby Awards last week, I was fortunate to win. It was a glorious victory shared with my family, in a spectacular theater, during a grand white tie event telecast live. I was on top of the world.
Today, I am on the bottom. In an attempt to complete my 12th Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run, I failed spectacularly. Surrounded by family and friends, I completely blew up and dropped out at mile 62. I had sacrificed so much, as had my family, and here I now sit in defeated ruin, wrecked and destroyed.
What constitutes a life worth living? Is it high achievement? What I’ve come to believe is that more than anything, it’s having the courage to try. Perhaps no one has stated this more eloquently than Theodore Roosevelt when he wrote:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
May you strive for greatness, may you set your sights on the stars, but more than anything, may you always have the courage to try.
Battered but not beaten,Dean
P.S. If you have any stories of great victories, or stupendous failures, please do share by leaving your comments below. Right now, I could definitely use some consoling to lift my spirits."

We all have bad days..... Not sure what will happen on Sunday, but one thing is for sure... I will try, and no matter what the results are, I will continue to have the courage to try harder as long as God gives me the strength to do so.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Taper time

Ahh!! I have 2 weeks until my race in San Francisco....and I'm getting excited. I feel good about everything leading up to this race. The only bad thing is that because I was trying to pack in all of my runs in last week so I could have the whole weekend off, I aggravated my right booty!! More specifically, my right ischial tuberosity is a little inflamed at the hamstring insertion. So this week, I tested it out a bit, and never had any problems with my runs, but I still felt it after every run. Wednesday, an orthopedic surgeon that works next to one of our clinics, examined my hip during our lunch breaks, and said that everything is fine..just a little tendonitis and I tested out fine.
So Thursday, I had a kick ass run, with no pain, but still a little soreness after the run. I ran faster than I ever have in less than ideal conditions, so my confidence is pretty high going into this race. So high, that I decided to skip my weekend run since we left for Georgia this morning, and felt like it would be safer to rest up instead of pushing it. So a measley 30 miles for the week, and I probably won't have any time to run at all until Tuesday...but its all good. No worries on my end...just can't eat too much chicken and ribs, ya know??

But obviously, there are still a lot of unpredictable things about the race. I don't know how bad those San Francisco hills are gonna beat me up and slow me down...not sure how much better I'm gonna feel running in weather 20 degrees cooler than what I am used to. Just wait and see, right?
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Friday, July 3, 2009

Work Hard.... Pray Hard.... Play Hard.... Train Hard

Sometimes, you have to make your training work for you. It's not just about training... you gotta let loose and have fun sometimes, ya know? My plan this week was to keep my same volume (~ 50 mpw), but condense it into 5 days... never done that before. I knew I was coming down to Ft. Lauderdale, and I didn't want to be under the pressure of having to wake up and run when I'm down here for the weekend. So this is what I did.

Monday: 7 miles on the treadmill before work (5 am start)
Tuesday: 11.25 miles outside (Hot as hell!)
Wednesday: 9.5 miles on the treadmill before work (4:30 am start)

By Wednesday night after work, I was absolutely exhausted. My schedule is 7 am to 7:30 pm, and I usually get home by 8 pm. I knew that I was working my long shift again on Thursday, since I was taking off Friday to come down to S. Fla., so I decided to "sleep in" and just wake up at 6 am, go to work, and run after work if my body felt up to it. So this is how it ended up.

Thursday: 10 miles at 7:15 pm... finished by 8:40 pm. Got home, went out to get a bite to eat with Kerry and the baby, and got to my bed by 11:30.

Friday: Woke up at 5:15 am, and ran a little over 15 miles... so over the last 10 hours, I ran a little over 25 miles.
53 miles over 5 days... that's enough for me!!!

I'm done. Satisfied. Sore. Done!!!

So, since then, I drove down to Ft. Lauderdale (did my legs hurt when I got out the car!!), watched Andy Roddick win his Wimbledon semifinal, took a nap with my son Arjay, and now just chillin' with the family a bit. I will not put on the running shoes again until Monday morning, and I am embracing the little break. I'm sure I will feel strange tomorrow when it's like 10 am, and I haven't gotten "my sweat on". But I will surely embrace a late sleep and get my body recharged.

Ok, enough about my training... I have found some good websites for you re: calories you burn during exercise, along with calories consumed with certain foods.

http://www.healthstatus.com/calculate/cbc : Calculates calories burned with different types of exercise.

http://www.caloriecontrol.org/calcalcs.html : Put in your weight, and it will tell you how many calories you can consume to maintain your weight.

http://www.calorieking.com/ : The biggest food database. Before you pound down a "Big Mouth Burger" at Chili's, check out the calorie intake of that bad boy!!!

Ok, that's good for now... Enjoy your 4th of July!!!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The numbers don't lie....

Today I finished my week with an 18.5 mile run, which has given me 58.5 miles for the week, and 229 miles of running for the month. I feel a little sore, but overall everything is pretty groovy for me right now. I absolutely love not having to follow a plan. With my current life responsibilities, it is just a completely useless stress that really isn't worth it. The funny thing is that I am running more than I have ever run... I just have no idea how I plan to pull it off from week to week. But, it seems to be working just fine, and I don't feel mentally or physically worn down by it.

Earlier in the week, a patient started to tell me her struggles with weight loss, and how she doesn't understand why she is unable to take off weight. She seemed genuine in her frustration, so I started to ask her a few questions... and after about 10 minutes of talking with her, she realized why her goals weren't being met with re: to weight loss.... so what did I tell her?

Let's say that "Sally" is currently at 170 lbs. and wants to lose 40 lbs. Where would you start? How do you going about tackling this? So the first thing I always tell my clients is take your current weight, and multiply by 10 (females) or 11 (males). So in Sally's case:
170 x 10 = 1700 calories.
The second thing is that approx. 3000 calories = 1 pound. So, in order for you to lose weight, you have to go into a calorie deficit of 3,000 calories to lose at least a pound.

There are two ways to go into a calorie deficit: Eat less and/or exercise more... take your pick.

If "Sally" was to take in 1300 calories per day, that means she would go into a 400 calorie deficit per day, which means that if she did this consistently for 7 1/2 days, she would be at a 3,000 calorie deficit, which is..... 1 pound.

If "Sally" was to stay at 1700 calories/day of intake, and she decided to exercise every day for 30 minutes, she would burn (depending on the type and intensity of exercise) around 250-300 calories a day, which means that she would lose 1 pound in about 10-11 days.

Now, what sucks about this, is that as "Sally" loses weight, her caloric intake will have to decrease in order to maintain the weight. If she now weighs 160 lbs., 1700 calories would put her in a 100 calorie surplus every day...not good.. that means weight will come back on.

In a nutshell, that is how it works.... This patient that was talking to me said, "Well Greg, you are so lucky that you have good genes, and you are skinny... because it's so hard for us folks with the bad genes"

Most of the time, I don't say anything, but since I didn't have any more patients coming in for another 10-15 minutes, I gave her a breakdown of my workout schedule, and why I can continually lose weight... because I exercise a lot (compared to the average American that is). So figure it this way... if I run on average 50 miles/week, and each mile of running allows me to burn around 90 calories, that means that I am in a 4500 calorie deficit every week due to exercise alone. So if I wanted to stay at 160 lbs, I can eat up to 2300 calories a day, and still maintain my weight... sounds good to me.... but that's a lot of running!!!

I completely understand and respect the struggles of weight loss for people. The first thing is that it can get a lot more complicated for those that have hormonal imbalances, and other medical issues, along with those that have been on many different types of diets before, which have affected their metabolism in a negative way. Also, our society is set up for all of us to be overweight...

Did you know????

......... that a slice of cheesecake at Cheescake Factory is 1300 calories?

........ a Big Mac and Large fries is 1230 calories

....... 2 slices of Papa John's pizza is 670 calories

....... a Whopper contains 670 calories

So to put it in perspective, last night I had Chinese takeout (General Tso chicken, Sweet & Sour chicken, fried rice, lo mein and an egg roll). It was approx. 1500 calories. It took me about 20 minutes to have dinner, as I was watching the Rays vs. Marlins game. This morning I burned a little over 1600 calories, by running 18.5 miles in the stinkin' heat which took me over 2 1/2 hours... that SUCKS!!!!! Weight loss is not easy, but it's doable... you just have to watch what you eat, and start moving!!!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

When will I learn?

This morning I ran 20 miles, starting at 4:30 am. I finished this week with 58 miles of running, and I only have 4.5 weeks left before the San Francisco Marathon. I'm starting to get excited!!!
If you want to see any of my outdoor runs this week, just click on any of the runs in the right hand corner of the screen, and you can see what I did. All of my treadmill runs won't show up on here.

So anyways, I have a group of online training buddies (RWOL 3:20 thread) that have helped me tremendously with my running over the last year, and I am forever grateful to all of them for their input on how to make me a better runner...particularly at the marathon distance...cuz Lord knows, I need the help. One of the frequent posters, Paul from Chicago has a blog, similar to mine, and had a great post that he wrote the other day. Let me quote what he said:

"I always chuckle when I hear someone refer to something like the baseball season being a marathon. So is marathon training the real marathon? I understand the analogy, but the baseball season or things of that ilk are much more forgiving the a marathon. If you don't feel 100% on the day of the marathon, you're pretty much screwed. It's very unusual to be able to suddenly turn things on if things aren't going your way for the first 10 or 15 miles of a marathon. If you don't feel 100% on game day in baseball, you still can piece things together and if things don't work out, you still have 161 other games spread across 6 months."

Boy... ain't that the truth. I have done 3 marathons, and have been unsuccessful in all of them. The good thing is that I completed all of them...but unfortunately I crashed in all 3. This is probably why I am so enamored with attempting to run this distance... because it has made a complete ass out of me every time I have tried. Without these 3 poor performances, I probably wouldn't be 1/2 the runner that I am today... you know what they say... you never learn off of good things..only bad.

Someone once told me that for the marathon distance everything has to go right in the race...so what is "everything"? Here it is...

1. Nutrition- You have to fuel your body perfectly with the proper carbohydrates before the race and during the race, because it is pretty certain that you will run out of them at some point in the race. And when you run out them, it starts to get ugly... it is one of the worst episodes of pain I have ever felt. During the race you have to properly hydrate your body with fluids because you lose so much running so hard for so long. For all 3 of my marathons, I have failed to do this properly... one marathon I overhydrated and my body went into a cramping fit only 8 miles into the race, and the other two races I underhydrated, which made my body cramp at mile 14 and 18, which unfortunately never let up until I finished... ugh!

2. Weather- The cooler the weather, the more lax you can be with executing your hydration. You can "mess" up a little, because your body is not losing electrolytes and minerals as quickly. Unfortunately, being in Florida, we get stuck with a lot of warm races, so weather is not usually on my side.

3. Execution of the race - The excitement of the marathon is very great, and the tendency is to want to start fast... and you usually feel ok in the beginning, but you pay dearly for it later in the race. Your body is like your car.... make your whip go at 30 mph, and the fuel will burn much more economically than if you are cruising at 70 mph. You have to show restraint, along with understanding what type of course you are running on (hills, etc.)

4. Taper/Rest - A few weeks before the race, you have to decrease your training to allow your body to recover from the beating that you have put on it throughout the training cycle. It will allow you to recover and regenerate your body in order to be fully prepared to handle running 26.2 miles. Also, the week before the race, you need to get adequate sleep, so your mind and body are prepared to tackle the grueling distance.

5. Training - If you don't train right, you don't stand a chance... at least at the marathon. This is the most important of all. Many people don't train enough, and many others overtrain. It is such a fine line to manage, but it is extremely important to do as much as you can, without overdoing it... if that makes any sense.

As I look back at my PRs (personal records) at all the common running distances, I start to think about those races and my lead up to them.
1. When I PR'd for my 5k, slept about 2-3 hours the night before, along with having some of the greasiest take out Chinese food with 2 egg rolls at about 11 pm that night. The race was at 7 am, and I ran an 18:54...

2. When I PR'd for my 10k, I came down with the flu a day before the race, had #2 stomach problems the night before, was pretty dehydrated going into the race (only did it, because my dad was here, and he really wanted to run the race with me) and I tore it up and ran a 40:38 on a fairly challenging course

3. When I PR'd for my half marathon, I was in S. FL for my our baby shower for our 3rd child, and was all over the place all day.... drove from Tampa at 6 am Saturday morning, spent the day with family and friends, and went to my bed around 12:45 am. Woke up at 5 am, and ran the race in 1 hr and 33 min with temperatures starting at 70 deg. before the race.

But the damn marathon... if I try any of that nonsense that I did in my other races, I'll get burned.... badly... again. I have yet to crack the 4 hr and 30 min. mark, and this time around I am hoping that I will make major improvements.... but I better make sure I have all 5 of those things in order, or it's gonna be a long day...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

That was then... this is now

This morning, Chris (fellow co-worker and good friend) and I ran this morning and did a 12 miler on the Suncoast Trail. Chris just got notified that he received entry into the New York City Marathon on Nov. 1st, so he is trying to get the ball rolling and get himself back into marathon shape.

When Chris and I run together, we talk about everything, because so many aspects of our lives have similarities. We are both married, have children, are in the same profession, and started running at the same time. I give Chris a lot of credit with getting me to start running and continuing to run. We both were overweight and had health issues approx. 3 years, and finally said "screw this" and started to run.. and the rest is history. During the run this morning, Chris and I talked about when we first started to run and how hard it was to even jog for more than 10 min. Anyways, to sum it up, we have decided that there is no way in hell that we ever want to go back to where we were... no matter how hard it is to continue to do this. It was so much harder to start than it is to maintain at this point. So anyways, I was looking at some pictures that I had, and wanted to show you all some pics of me about 3 years ago. You can click on them to see my former roundish shape. LOL.

Here are some pics of me over the past few months:

I wish I could tell you that I did this over 8 weeks, and it was so easy...yadda yadda yadda, but... it was not easy. Today, I was able to sleep in till 5:40 am before I started. I can't believe I call 5:40 sleeping in, but that is what has happened to my life. Losing weight is hard... actually very hard initially..but it is now not an option for me to do this. I actually enjoy most of it, but I'm not going to lie... it's still hard to get up some mornings... it's still hard to stay away from the 2 for $4 Big Mac specials... but nothing good comes easy, right?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

My week

This week might have been the easiest week of my training cycle. My family went to south Florida from Thursday to help my mother in law prepare for her 50th birthday bash. I was able to run without worrying about getting the kids off to school, or waking the kids up, etc. Which was nice...but I missed them.
So my week looked like this:
Monday: 9 miles after work, once the kids went to bed. Started around 9:30 and finished around 10:45 PM. Then I picked up Julie from the airport (late flight from san Diego).

Tuesday: 8 miles on the treadmill. Kerry and I talked for about half the time. Went to work after that.

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: got the family on the road to South Fla., then went to the gym and ran 13.1 miles at my pace I want to run the marathon in, simulating the hills I will encounter in san Francisco. People looked at my like I was some freak since I was on the treadmill for 1 hour and 40 min ...maybe I am.

Friday: Ran 1 hour after work on the treadmill. Started around 9 and finished at 10. Watched the "Obama White House" on NBC. Good stuff. Started to pack for my short Ft. Lauderdale trip, and then started watching tennis. Didn't get to my bed until 12 am. Damn.

Saturday: Woke up at 4:50 am, put on my running clothes, and it starts lightning...damn.!! Rain is no problem...but lightning??? Hell na. Everything calms down by 5:30, so I set out and ended up running 18.6 miles. I wanted to do 20, but my cousin was on her way to my house from gainesville for us to drive together down south.

57 miles this week. I feel good...just a little tired in my legs, cuz I ran 25 miles within a 10 hour period, and 38 miles within a 40 hour period...but its all good. I'm ready for some good curry chicken, jerk chicken, and rice and peas at the party tonight.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Saturday, May 30, 2009

It's been so long...

I probably don't have anyone following the blog anymore, because I haven't written in such a long time.. life gets in the way sometimes. Over the last hour or so, I came to the website and read an entry that I had at the end of last year. It basically stated all the goals that I had for this year, and how I wanted to approach my running for this year. At the time, my wife was 8 1/2 months pregnant, and I didn't know how much would change in my life with re: to running, work, etc. Well, it's been 5 months since that post, and I'm still here plugging on.... so in a nutshell this is what has happened over the last 5 months with my life:

1. Alayna, our 3rd child has entered into our lives. She will be 3 months old next week.

2. I am working quite a bit, which actually is a good thing in these tough economic times.

3. Adryana, my oldest daugther, is finishing her first year of elementary school.

4. I have run 1010 miles for the year

January: 179 miles

February: 162 miles

March: 180 miles

April: 219 miles

May: 239 miles

5. I have signed up for the San Francisco Marathon, which is July 26.

6. I have run a few races since the beginning of the year:

Wiregrass 5k: 19:30

Clearwater Half-Marathon: 1:39:45 (with a friend)

Chasco Challenge 10k: 41:27

May Classic 5k: 18:54

There you have it...
I have improved my running quite a bit, and I am training more than I thought I would have been able to at the beginning of this year. We have adjusted with our new family, and life is good... hectic... but good.

I want to continue to become a better runner, because I am realizing that I enjoy running all distances, (not just the marathon). I have gone from being one of the slower runners in the race, to usually at the top 10% of finishers in the races....and I love that feeling!!! I love coming home with medals to give my kids!!!!

I will try my best to update my blog on a weekly or 2x/month basis as I lead up to the San Francisco Marathon. This race will not be my goal marathon race for the year, because it will be a vacation for me and the family, and I don't want to feel like crap for my vacation. But, depending on how it goes, I will decide later on in the year, if I want to attempt to qualify for the Boston Marathon, which requires me to run a 3:10 marathon..... yup... 3:10, that's 7:15 seconds per mile for 26.2 miles. It sounds completely out of my league right now, but we will see how it goes.
Even though I won't be blogging minute by minute about my running endeavors, you can track every run that I do at the upper right corner of the blog. You can see all of my weekly runs, that are updated every 24 hours, and track how my runs go. That pretty much explains it all.

Oh yeah!!! One more thing... the purpose of the blog is changing. I used to blog about how all of my paces and training runs went (which can still be followed by looking at my runs)... well, now I think I want to blog about how I manage to do my training and stay active with my family life, spiritual life and work life... because that is what we all struggle with. How do you maintain a sense of balance with all aspects of life? I struggle with this on a daily basis, but I hope that some followers of the blog can find that we all struggle with the same things in so many different ways. It's hard to think that some folks actually get inspired by some of the things you do... but I get inspired by people that don't even realize that they inspire me.
1. My clients at the weight loss facility that I work at inspire me on a daily basis. Them walking 1 mile is more impressive at this point than me running 10 miles.
2. My patients at Renewal Rehab inspire me because of their determination to recover from various injuries to return to normal life.
3. My RWOL forumite friends (3:20 thread) help get my butt out of bed when I hear of their insane training schedules that they have with the same or more amount of responsibilites that I have. One of them literally got me out of bed, as she was down in my area, and ran 18 miles with me yesterday.
4. FB friends that are very active such as "K" who goes to the gym every single day and crushes out her workout sessions, and "A" who has completed 2 half-marathons despite having lupus... very impressive.
Most importantly, my family, particularly my wife who allows me to do this crazy stuff. She is my biggest fan and supporter of all.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Julie!!! Way to represent Team Renewal!!!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Why Runners make good employees....

Something I found on wordpress.com

My good friend and super personal trainer Holly DiGiovine sent out an email over the weekend that struck a chord with me. Here’s some of what she had to share:
When you have a goal that is as huge as the marathon-it will “keep you honest.” It’s not like a smaller goal that you can announce and then put off or fake your way through. Once you sign up, commit months to training, and take your first step on race day-you better have done your homework.
The beauty of this is that it goes against 99% of the natural tendencies of our culture that favors gratification without effort or devotion. But is that kind of achievement ever as satisfying? Linda Hill once told me she loved the quote, “There is no glory in training, but there is no glory without training.” In no way is this more true than in running.
And business.
One thing I’ve found over the years is that many of the folks I train with (and race against) are for the most part as devoted to their jobs (if not more) as they are to running or cycling or triathlon.
Unlike participation in say, golf or softball or basketball - no offense to club/league sports - the type of determination, discipline and emotional focus that comes with training day in, day out for extremely challenging endurance events (often by yourself) tends to bleed over into people’s 9-5’s.
Whether you’re training for a marathon, a century or the Ironman triathlon, one thing you quickly find out is that there’s no room for bullshit out there on the pavement. You either do the work or you’re screwed. Politics won’t get you to the finish line. It doesn’t matter who you know or how well you can work the system. When you’re out there, every weakness bubbles up to the surface and stares you in the eye. Lack of preparation, lack of motivation, lack of dedication will all come back to bite you in the ass. there’s nowhere to hide. They will all find you and jump up on your back to stop you dead in your tracks. The choice becomes this: Do you let them stop you, or do you accept them and keep going?
You learn a lot about yourself, training for that type of event.
You learn a lot about how to break thresholds and get past your own little ego, training for events like these. When you’re tired and sore and hungry but you still have four miles to go, guess what? You still have four miles to go. How you get through these last four miles is entirely up to you. Nobody cares whether you walk those last four miles or run, or hail a cab. Nobody made you set 26.2 miles as a goal. Or 100 miles. Or 144+.
Once you’ve broken past your lack of will and learned to keep going, you are transformed. A similar thing happens to Marines during training. At some point, who you used to be before you went beyond what you thought your limitations were, before you kissed excuses goodbye, before you left all of the bullshit that stood in your mind’s way ceases to exist. You become someone else.
That someone else, the marathoner, the long distance cyclist, the triathlete, the Ironman, he or she walks into your place of work with you every morning.
We all work with two types of people: Partisans of the least amount of effort, and dedicated professionals.
The latter aren’t all marathoners or triathletes, but I have yet to meet an Ironman or marathoner who didn’t take his or her intensity and dedication to their job.
Not that there’s anything wrong with drinking a case of beer and watching sports on TV all weekend, but who you are outside of your work does have parallels with who you are when you are at work.
Something to think about.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Keep on keepin' on...

Sorry for not posting for awhile... I'm trying to get caught up with everything, and with the baby on the way soon... everything has gotten side tracked. Anyways, everything is all good, and I am keeping up with my running fairly consistently. I have done two races for the year so far... a half marathon in Clearwater and a 5k in Wesley Chapel. The half marathon might have been my most enjoyable race ever, because everything came so easy to me and I was pacing someone else... so I wasn't giving it full effort, but it is something that I said I wanted to do at the end of last year... just run to run.... not always have to race. The 5k brought me a new PR, 19:30, and that was cool. I placed 2nd in my age group. The good thing about this is that I haven't been focusing on my speed at all. I have just been running easy for the most part, and I was able to still pull out a great time. So, basically that's it.... I am running at least 40 miles a week, and my goal is to maintain that mileage consistently..even when the baby comes ( I might be changing my tune in a few weeks tho :). As for upcoming races??? I don't know... I really, really want to do Gasparilla 1/2 marathon, but that is next Sunday, and if the baby hasn't come yet, I'm not doing it... Also, if the baby does come this week, I just don't know if I'm gonna be so tired that I will have a crummy race... I guess I will play it by ear. Thanks for reading.