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 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.
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