Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Week...what is this? Six? In which our hero realizes that Dr. Pepper's like bad medicine...

...And not the kind of bad medicine he needs.

Howdy, gang.

Week Six. Well, I'd love to tell you that I'm losing a bunch of weight and able to run considerable distances. But I can't, because I'm not.

The whole fit lifestyle gig is a three-sliced pie, according to the Penguin. Those slices are Activity, Sleep, and Diet. Lately, I've been pretty okay on the activity tip--hitting the gym at least 3 times a week, more often 4, plus the last few weeks I've been adding a fifth day for softball. Sleep--well, let's not discuss that. Suffice to say, I don't get enough.

But the diet. See, here's the thing: I've been eating like a fat guy. Not like an athlete. And the needle on the scale (figuratively speaking--it'll be a year or more before a scale with a needle gauge does me any good), she hasn't moved. I've lost a total of about 5 pounds since starting this, according to the scale. This is frustrating, but there are some explanations.

Part of it is that I'm losing fat but gaining muscle, so it balances out weight-wise. But I'm no fool of a Took, so even I realize this is a very small part.

The real issue is that I have been eating like a horse (Clydesdale)--understandably so, since I'm doing a lot more activity, so I need more fuel. However, I haven't exactly been filling up with Supreme Unleaded with Techron, ya dig? And even after my messy public break-up with McDonalds, we still have been seeing each other on the DL. And I've been hitting up the Dr. on a regular basis--it's like, as soon as i started doing something good for myself, this old vice creeps up again.

If I'm gonna get anywhere with this, or have any chance of distance waggling, I need to lose weight, so I'm carrying less around for thirteen-point-one miles. It's well past time to get militant about the diet.

So this week (two days), I have been on point and on plan, like a good little Weight Watching soldier. Have I already dipped into my extra-points bank? Yes. (Post-softball-revelry is hard on a diet.) But I'm sticking with it. Although, I'm ravenous at the moment.

Hopefully, as this becomes comfortable again, I won't be hungry all the time. It usually takes a week or two to get over that initial "shock" to the system.

It's after five, so I've gotta go. Elliptical machines wait for no man.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

"Dear Ron" Letter

My dearest Micki D,

We've been together for...ever, really. As long as I can remember, you've been a part of my life. When I was a child, I used to beg my parents to let me go to your house, because lunch with you made me happy, and you always shared your toys.

As I grew, my appetite for your companionship grew as well. My love for you was super-sized, and your affect on me multiplied. Sometimes, in high school, my busy schedule with work and sports kept us from seeing each other so often, and the lack of companionship was as plain to see.

But with college, and especially in the early part of my post-college career, our relationship was renewed, and it deepened daily. I'd stop by and see you in the mornings on my way to work, and sometimes immediately after work, on my way home. You welcomed me at your window, and bestowed your paper-wrapped presents on me.

This affection we shared grew to a deep love, freely refilled day by day. And it's been great, Micki. Really. Believe me when I say, I'm lovin' it.

But something has happened to me. I've started making changes in my life. And I have to confess--I just don't think we can see each other anymore.

It's not you. You've been great. I just don't know if our relationship has been healthy for me. I know I'm the only one to blame in this; you never claimed to be anything but what you are, and I loved you for that. And lately, as you have emphasized your particular values, I have to confess that loving you has never been cheaper or easier.

However, in the last few months, sneaking off to see you has left me feeling guilty every time. I try to pretend I'm only an acquaintance, and sometimes even lie about our trysts. I can't do that anymore.

You've been great, Micki. Really. But my life is taking me down new roads. And you can't come with me this time.

I'm really sorry. But we're through. If we cross paths in the future, it's okay to wave, or say hi. But we can never be this close again.

Know that you will always have a quarter-pound of my heart.

Your special sauce,

P.S. If you see your sister Wendy, tell her I need to talk to her, okay?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Week 4--in which I start having panicky doubts about this whole process...

It's funny how fragile this whole thing is. As stated, I took Friday off to get ready for the party, and Saturday off to recover from it. Sunday was my usual off-day, and Monday, rather than go work out, I decided to run some errands and get some other things done. By my logic, this would make it easier to get my gym time in.

Yesterday, I actually got home early, and worked from home for a couple of hours. As the clock approached five, I knew I had to get up, get dressed, and go. But I didn't want to.

Then I heard it. That soft voice that pulled at me like a siren's call. The voice of Fat Dave. Quitter Dave. Weak Dave. That voice said, "Stay home. You're too tired. Lie down on the couch and nap. You don't want to go outside in the heat."

I nearly fell for it. I even lay down on the couch for a few moments. I thought, "I'm hungry, I'm sleepy, I'm stressed out. I don't need this. I can stay home and vege out."

But then I heard another voice. A new voice, one I'm still not familiar with. Fit Dave. Finisher Dave. Strong Dave. That voice said, "You need to get up and go. You'll hate yourself if you don't. You've got a goal to reach, and you won't get there by laying around day after day. Get up. You'll feel better afterward."

I still wasn't sure if I could trust that second voice, but I got up and went to the gym. I did another elliptical session, 33 minutes, 2 miles. Felt like a lighter workout somehow. Worked up a good lather, though, so I felt good about that.

Here's the crazy thing. As I stumbled out the doors of the gym, across the parking lot toward my truck, under the fading dusk and the halogen glow, I felt like an athlete. I ignored the reality of my bouncing gut, my wobbly arms, my cankles, my bulbous and fatty knees, my double-wide backside. I was exhausted but I actually felt like I did back in high school, walking off a football field or basketball court. Winded, weary, but satisfied.

Turns out Fit Dave was right. I did feel good.


This week, I've started second-guessing myself. I've started wondering what madness I experienced, signing up for a half-marathon. It seems like my walks are getting shorter, not longer. And I'm not losing any weight, which is frustrating as can be. (I'm pretty sure this has everything to do with diet, and that's an area I'm still really lazy in. I haven't "pointed" anything in a week or two.)

But the doubts are now creeping in. This is usually the time in any new fad of mine where my interest flags and I give up. Actually, for diet and fitness things, this is approaching one of the longest streaks of my post-collegiate life. The best I ever did was six months of militant Weight Watchers adherence, which got me a net loss of 60 pounds (lasting about 6 months after that point).

Don't get nervous, I'm not giving up. I'm in this for the long haul, and I hope by the grace of God to be typing here at this very site, a year from now, two, three even, and rejoice in the fact that I was able to accomplish so much.

I'm just documenting this first wave of self-doubt. Hopefully, in order to get it out of my system and move on.


I'm going to set a doctor appointment soon, to get a quick mid-year check-up before really ramping up the training. Not looking forward to that. See, I promised him that the next time I saw him, I'd have lost 100 pounds, and if I hadn't, we'd seriously talk about weight-loss surgery. I shook on it with him. I don't want to go back, six months later, with only 20 (...16) pounds lost, talking all this noise about half-marathons. I want to be able to show him results. But on the other hand, I know I need to get his sign-off, to make myself feel better if nothing else. That would give me all the reassurance I need to press on into this, to get more intense about training, so that I can reach the very high but not out of reach goals I've set for myself.


I'm starving. Seriously hungry. Time to grab some grub and then hit the track.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Why I want to do this.

Below is a documentary about marathons. I'm watching it right now, and it just reinforces my desire to complete this.

Take 100 minutes and check it out.

"The Spirit of the Marathon"

Love/Hate Relationship.


Friday night was "Guys Night," and six friends came over to my place. We watched movies, we played cards, we talked about chicks. Good times.

Unfortunate results of Guys Night:

1) I didn't go work out on Friday because I had to clean-ish my apartment in about an hour. (Clean-ish meaning, everything that didn't have an easily-accessible "place" went into the bedroom. Much of it is still there.)

2) Pizza. Breadsticks. Ice cream. Full-calorie soda. Leftover cookies the next day.

3) Guys Night didn't end until about 4:30 a.m. I woke up just before noon, and didn't go to the gym on Saturday either.

So, yeah. Stink.

Today is my optional cross-training day, but I may take this day to run some errands so they don't get underfoot when I get back to my normal schedule tomorrow.

At any rate, I felt I needed to confess it here. End of Week 3: first blown-off gym sessions. Won't be the last, I'm sure, but they won't be common either. As fun as Guys Night was, I felt uneasy with the lack of workouts. I honestly felt guilty about it, but not toward anyone else, just myself. Like I let myself down.

And I felt pretty ill the next day from all the pizza.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Fatigue--bad. Sleeping--good.

This week has been tough. I went in Tuesday, feeling pretty good, ready to go. Finished the first mile well enough, under 20 minutes. However, once again, that second mile was instantly difficult. I was losing pace, and had to slow to a stop a few times. It was as if, while I was getting a quick drink of water between laps, someone had tied sandbags around my ankles. Every step became a labor. Ever lap felt like a mile. I knew that I'd hate myself if I didn't finish, so I struggled through, pace-be-cursed, and finished 2.25 miles. I felt like I had been jogging through a bog, and staggered downstairs and home.

Wednesday was a different problem. I held off from eating anything more than a protein bar (lesson learned, thanks), and waited for the gym to open back up after church. (We heathens who don't go to Wednesday service have to wait while the gym is closed from 6:15-8:00p.m.) Once I got up there and worked through my warm-up stretches (as normal, I thought), I started my brisk walk. About 1/4 mile in, I felt a weird twinge in the back of my left ankle. Not a muscle pull, but a ligament/tendon pain. Not good. I stopped almost immediately, walked a few light steps on it, and tried to get on a stationery bike, determined to get some kind of workout. Unsatisfied with how the bike was working out, I switched to an elliptical machine and set it to a "fat-burning" workout.

Holy. Moses. That was the most exhausting workout I've had in the last three weeks. I think I was even more tired than after the 3.5 mile day. It ended up being a cardio workout, with an avg heartrate of 140 or so. 33+ minutes, 550+ calories burned, and one very exhausted Dave later, I stumbled back to my car and headed home, stopping only to grab a 6-inch ham sub (what I call a "half-sandwich"), apples, and a drink for dinner. I was too tired to cook.

Yesterday, I was...wrecked. Not sore, though. Just weary. So I skipped church last night (shock!) just did a few loads of laundry before going to bed before 10 p.m. (amazement!)

Turns out, there's something to this whole "sleeping enough" thing. Got 7 hours or so, and felt pretty good this morning. I oughtta do this more often (sleep, not miss church).

No workouts tonight--gotta clean my house before hosting a party. Tomorrow, I haven't decided if I want to do a distance woggle again, or give the elliptical another go. Either way, I think I've decided what my "cross-training" option will be from here on, and may actually alternate between track-nights and cross-nights for a month or so, to try to shed some poundage a little more quickly.

I'm still struggling with the diet choices, though. It's like, as one area improves, another gets worse. And they kinda work together, which makes it inconvenient.

Pressing on. The end of Week 3 approaches. I'm starting to feel better, overall. Got a little more spring in my step, and my coworkers are starting to notice. Just wait until February, kids. You'll be amazed.

Monday, August 3, 2009


Saturday's Mental Victory

Week 2 was rocky. Tuesday night was fine; Wednesday, I worked in a noontime session at the gym. During this session, I shaved about 25 seconds off my 2-mile pace (still over 39 minutes). I got passed by a few grey-headed saints, which gave me a laugh and a dose of humility. I later passed a gentleman in his sixties, who was overweight and breathing heavily, walking hand-in-hand with his wife. I gave him a respectful nod as I passed.

The next two days were difficult. Rest on Thursday, and an attempted gym session Friday. However, I didn't give myself enough time to eat and digest on Friday, so after about 1/4 mile, I felt like I was going to be sick and had to stop. It was incredibly frustrating to miss a training day for something as stupid as not timing my dinner better.

Saturday morning came. I had planned to get up at 8... which became 9... which became 10. I didn't get to the gym until about 11:30, and didn't get checked in, stretched out, and on the track until almost noon.

I hit a good pace from the start, and kept it going for the first mile. I finished the mile in 19:10, which is huge for me. This is the fastest I've ever woggled (waddle-walk-jogged) a mile, and I was feeling really good about myself.

As I started into the second, however, I was hit with a wave of fatigue. The first Mile 2 lap around the 1/8 mile track was brutal. I just ran out of gas. I crossed the "line" (I use the overhead digital clock as my start/finish) with a 2:30+ lap pace, which would put me over a 20-minute mile. I started thinking of reasons to just stop. As I walked Lap 10 (Lap 2, Mile 2), I was feeling just beaten down. I wanted to just chalk it up to a bad day and finish early. It'd been a rough week, and I wanted to rest.

Oddly, as if to counter all this negative thinking, I began thinking about things The Penguin wrote in "No Need for Speed," a beginning running book I just finished. About how you should focus on being YOUR best, rather than THE best. At that point, common sense hit me like a volleyball to the face. "What do I care about speed right now? I'm not a racer. I don't need to worry about pace, I just need to finish!"

It was as if weights had been lifted off me. I don't have to set paces or win races. My goal, every time I work out, and down the road when I start participating in races, is just to finish. I'll save the pacing worries for the fleet of foot, and focus my flat-footed self on placing one in front of the other for as long or far as I have to.

So I kept at it. Finished 2 miles, dropped my chrome clicker-counter (what are they actually called?) in the basket, and decided to add a half-mile walk as a cool-down, to extend my distance. Then, at the end of Lap 3, I got a crazy idea: after 2.5 miles (20 laps), it's only another 5 laps to finish a 5K distance (longer, technically). I thought, "Why not give it a try?"

So once I hit that fourth lap...I kept going. Five. Six. Seven. Eight. That's three miles. On the "last" lap, I started questioning my mental count, and really wished I had hung on to the clicker. So to be safe, I tacked on one more lap.

After just over an hour of woggling, I finished 26 laps, out of breath, parched, dead-legged. And proud.

I slowly walked downstairs, checked out, and staggered to my truck. Sitting there in the seat, waiting for the air conditioning to kick-in, I had a startling but pleasant realisation:

"Holy crap, I think I can actually DO this."


Last season, on "The Biggest Loser," the contestants were asked to run a half-marathon. Almost all of them finished. Later, the four finalists were tasked with running a full marathon. All four of them finished. Even the older man with a host of medical problems finished.

I saw the pride in their faces, on the faces of their families. I saw the sense of accomplishment. I teared up when the middle-aged woman (who won the game) started crying when she said, "I can't believe it--I'm a marathon runner."

And as I sat on my couch watching these moments of victory, the seed was planted.

It seemed impossible to even consider, but deep down I knew I wanted that moment for myself.

Fast-forward to last month. My recent trip to the UK included a few days of touristy adventures, which included upwards of 10 miles of walking each day. I battled through it, and my legs were pretty much wrecked for nearly a week. But I survived. I got better. And it hit me--I can do more than I thought I was capable of doing.

Two weeks ago, as I listened to coworkers talk about signing up for the Chevron Houston Marathon, I thought, "why can't I do something like that sometime?" I began researching, and learned that while the Houston Marathon registration was closed, there was another marathon on the coast in February.

Before the doubts could creep in and talk me out of it, I signed up for the half-marathon.

Now I'm on the clock. February 13, 2010 is less than 7 months away. I have to go from essentially zero to half-marathon capability.

When I told coworkers, they were thrilled. When I told friends, they were encouraging. When I told my family, they were incredulous. Even now, their words of encouragement are glazed with a tone of "I still don't think you'll stick with this."

I can't blame them. I'm the king of the big-talkers and no-walkers. But this isn't tell, it's show. And what I'm gonna show will prove that my heart is in this.

Because for the first time since high school, I'm ready to push myself to my physical limits and really see what I can accomplish.

This is not another failed start.

I've started and stopped exercise and diet regimens a dozen times over the life of this blog.

That's all changing.

I'm tired of starting and stopping, trying and failing.

That's over.

This is the new dave. The new day.

I'm still not 100% on my diet. I'm getting there.

I'm still on track with my exercise. I'm getting better.

In six months, I'm going to participate in a half-marathon. Barring injury, I'll be doing a full marathon a year after that.

Welcome to the new blog. The Waddling Bison blog.

Who's ready to waddle with me?