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I haven’t written in a while. I’ve had a lot of computer problems and am currently without one at the moment. I was working on a book and my computer problems have put me far behind on that as well. So I am sorry to my loyal readers.

In the last couple of months of 2013 I had a bout of anxiety and fell in to a bad cycle of sleeping until nearly noon, getting up, going to work, staying up too late…. Until October I was doing quite a bit of yoga and had done well to maintain my weight. Since then I’ve gained a lot of weight and have fallen out of shape. It is a hard thing to write to all of you. Anxiety is a powerful force.

I started a new blog where I’ll write more about that struggle and how I’m overcoming it. That blog is called “Confronting Giants” (http://confrontinggiants.wordpress.com).

I’ve started my yoga practice back up and I’ve also started running. Yesterday was the first day of Couch to 5k for me. This will be the third, and hopefully last, time I’ve done couch to 5k.

So this is where I’m at. It feels good to be back. 2014 will be a much better year for me and I’m excited to blog about it here.

I’ve been doing some research in to running technique.  I’ve decided I want to work smarter in 2013 instead of working harder.  In fact, I’m making it my New Year’s Resolution.  I plan on finding the best ways to make the most of my workout time.  Today I went out for a run and decided to try out a new running technique I saw in some YouTube videos.  In fact, let me pass this video along to you.

In this video you see one runner, two weeks apart.  On the left she is striking down on her heel and on the right you see her striking with her foot coming down flat.  You will also notice that when she lands her foot flat she brings the opposing foot up much higher than she did in the video on the left.  With a slight forward lean and good posture she uses gravity to push her forward.  The technique on the right is more efficient because she limits the time her foot is on the ground.  Also, from what I understand, when you strike with your heel you slow yourself down slightly before you pull yourself forward.  The more efficient way is to land with your foot flat, without stretching it out in front of you so that you push yourself forward instead of pulling.  This also cuts down on risk of injury.

So how did this work out for me?  I improved my distance by about 25% over Tuesday’s run.  In fact, my legs felt as if they could go a lot further but my lungs are not yet acclimated to running this far.  I have no doubt I can improve my performance a lot quicker than I have in the past.  My biggest barrier is waiting for my lungs to build up their capacity.

When I was running before I would use an app to give me cues as to when I should run and when I should walk.  I’ve decided to map all my runs ahead of time and shoot for distance instead.  My favorite website for mapping my runs is RunningMap.com.  I like it mostly because it isn’t overloaded with menus and the need to sign in first.  I keep an eye on the approximate time it takes me to run certain distances and then put the information in to Wolfram|Alpha to calculate my speed.  I seem to be running my first leg at about 6.5 mph.  This is quite an improvement for me.  Less effort (leg wise) is translating in to faster speeds aka traveling further in the same amount of time.  It’s all about efficiency.

I will say, however, this technique doesn’t make running so easy that I don’t have to worry about drinking enough water or eating properly.  Proper hydration and nutrition will always be essential.

Admittedly, I’ve never been a strong runner but thankfully, with proper technique, I can become strong.

What are your New Year’s Resolutions and how are you working to accomplish them?

When something seems to be trying to get my attention in life, I try to answer.  Recently, I feel as if the subject of running has come up quite a bit in my life.  As I mentioned a couple of days ago, a fellow blogger asked if I wanted to do a run with him and Saturday evening my wife told me that her friend had to back out of their scavenger hunt/fun run that was on Sunday.  I told her I’d take her friend’s place.

I should say that this fun run was more scavenger hunt than endurance challenge.  We ended up running about 2 miles but it was over the course of nearly an hour and a half.  The run is called “Orlando Challenge” run by an organization called “Challenge Nation”.  We were given 12 clues and told we would have to find 11 of the 12 and take pictures of ourselves at each stop.  So for instance there was a clue about a large piece of rock that was a gift to the city of Orlando from a sister city in Taiwan.  The rock is in Lake Eola Park.  Since I used to work in Lake Eola Park I knew right where to go.  An hour and a half later we had 11 of 12 pics and walked to the finish line at number 77 of 95.  While it doesn’t sound like it, our time was about middle of the pack.

If you click here you can see a picture of my wife and I in front of a sculpture, we’re acting out the sculpture.

What I really enjoyed was hearing the stories of people who had been in other runs.  There were people in funny costumes and everyone was having a great time.  I think I’m going to have to do more runs.

Today I went out for a run.  I put an app on my phone called “Endomondo” which track me and gives me all kinds of great information.  Unfortunately, the app got paused for nearly my whole first mile but I got a little information out of it.  I plan to keep using the app.

I’m going to use the app to track my runs, share with you all and hopefully get myself back in shape for distance runs.  My goal might be to get to a half marathon.  I’m a little apprehensive about it but given enough time I know I can do it.

Here is my first day’s run.  Please note that I didn’t run through the woods and over ponds, that’s where the app paused on me.

Tim’s Day 1 of training.

So as I’ve said numerous times in the past, one of the reasons I love Word Press is because of the social aspect of it.  One of the bloggers I’ve come to admire and also interact with is L-Jay from L-Jay Health.  Like me, L-Jay was overweight and out of shape he’s come a long way.  His blog is a narrative of his progress as well as health tips and challenges.  We chat once in a while on twitter.  Did I mention that L-Jay also lives in Florida?

Last night he informed me that he’d be running a half marathon in Orlando in a couple of weeks.  He asked if I’d like to join.  I thought it was cool that he would invite me but since I haven’t been running lately I figured the possibility of being ready was quite slim.  Ok, so what to do?  I could simply decline or I could propose a later date.  So that’s what I did.  I asked him if January might work better.

So here I am.  I’m going to run in January (depending on whether or not there’s a run for us at that time).  How far will I run?  That’s the question.  I’m fairly skeptical that I can run a half marathon.  I do feel confident that I can do a 5k.  I probably can do more.  How much more? Well I’m going to see.  So I have a new challenge.

Tomorrow I’m going to be participating in a 4 mile scavenger hunt/foot race.  It should be fun but I’m not sure I’ll be able to do that and start training for my run tomorrow.  I think Monday will be the target start date.  I will be keeping you updated here.

I got back on the treadmill yesterday and did week 6, day 1 of couch to 5k.  While my legs are quite strong and my lungs felt great for the duration of the run, my torso cramped up pretty bad and I didn’t know if I could finish.  I was listening to an audio book which has become a great tool because it provides a distraction.  With that said, the cramps were pretty bad and required a lot of stretching and deep breathing during the walking intervals.  I ended up pushing through it and finishing, but this morning my legs are quite tired.

After running yesterday I should have taken an ice bath.  I would have felt a lot better today.  I have no doubt I’ll feel better tomorrow but for today I understand the importance of my ice baths and the more and more I work out, the more and more I believe in the power of ice to heal.

If you are doing Couch to 5K, please do not take two weeks off because it’ll come back to bite you in the end.  Believe me, from here on out I’m running 3 days per week.  This is a goal I’m setting.  I want to do 3 days per week for the next 4 weeks.  I need to create some system of reward for accomplishing this.

Speaking of goals, I set a goal to do 130 reps of each exercise, each day, for the next week.  Yesterday I did 130 push ups.  I got a little lazy and could have done more but goals are there to be reached and I reached my goal yesterday.  Next week I’ll set my goal higher.  Instead of focusing on what I could have done, I want to celebrate what I have done.  It is important for people to focus on positive, rather than the negative.

Today I’m doing sit ups.  40 sit ups at a time.  My hope is to do 4 sets of 40 but the goal is 130 reps.

Admittedly, I’ve been slacking a little on the couch to 5k.  I have some personal reasons for it and on top of that I’ve had a very busy week with work.  This week will be just as busy and I’m going to try to work running in to my schedule.  With that said, I decided to write about something I’ve written before but maybe go in to a little more detail.  From time to time I check the keywords that people used to search for and find this blog.  I wish I knew who the people were but alas I do not.

Someone this week searched for “couch to 5k with plantar fasciitis”.  My heart sank when I read this.  Two summers ago I was near crippled by plantar fasciitis.  I spent my days sitting and got more out of shape than I already was.  I felt as if I would never be the same again.  Even going to the doctor was disheartening because he told me he would need to do surgery.  The surgery to heal plantar fasciitis is horrific.  See the below video if you have a strong stomach.

The success rate for this surgery is 85% according to my doctor.  According to what I read on the internet, if you are in the 15% that this surgery is unsuccessful for the problems that result are much worse than if you had never had the surgery at all.  After spending hundreds of dollars on treatment from a podiatrist and telling him I was not going to chance the surgery I went to the internet for treatment advice.

Here’s a tip, if you’re a doctor, give people the correct advice and don’t make them go to the internet for it.  In my case, I was given 6 cortisone shots and then told I’d need surgery.  While I’m not a doctor and therefore not authorized to give advice on plantar fasciitis, this is how I healed my own foot without surgery.

The day I was told I’d need surgery and declined I went home and did a lot of research.  One thing that came up time and time again was to get fitted for a good pair of running shoes at a running specialty store.  A couple of hours later I was in a runner’s specialty store in Orlando called Track Shack.  I told the person at the counter about my condition and he asked me to walk as best as I could.  This is called gait testing.  The salesman, named Chris, told me that I overpronate.  This means that I walk with my feet tilted to the inside.  Chris told me that they see half a dozen people a day with plantar fasciitis and asked me to try on and walk in three different pairs of shoes from three different makers.  The pair of shoes I decided on were Adidas.  They held my heel in nice and tight and had a lot of arch support.  It was instant relief.  Within a month I was feeling so much better.  I was walking again but could not sustain long walks without some pain.

While at Track Shack, Chris has suggested that I try this sock that would hold my toes in an upright position while I sleep.  He told me that the tendon that was causing all my problems would be stretched out while I sleep which is when our body heals itself.  In the morning I could take off the sock and walk without pulling the tendon and causing tears and inflammation.  I passed that day but a few months later I finally got the sock, called The Strassburg Sock.  Within a month I was pain-free and able to walk long distances.

I wish my doctor had suggested these treatments.  I was desperate when I went to see him and would have tried anything that I felt would work.  I truly believe there are doctors out there who want to keep you sick in order to make more money off of you.  There are many good doctors, however.  I am now pain-free and on my way to running a 5k, if I quit slacking so much.

Yesterday was squats day and I did 120 in sets of 30.  My knee was bothering me a little.  I have good days and a bad day here and there with my knees.  Yesterday wasn’t so good but 120 is still a great number right?

I dont stop when im tired I stop when I'm done

In the spirit of minimalism, Tim is taking a little break from writing today.  This is his wife, Lavonne.  I offered to write his post today because he didn’t get a lot of sleep last night, and so he’s feeling tired right now.  He also hasn’t eaten yet today, so he’s trying to cook and eat and get ready for work in the next hour, and he was worried he wouldn’t get a post written.  So you get me today, I hope you don’t mind.

Tim has been really focused on getting himself into great shape the past few months.  It’s so common for him to just hop up off the couch periodically and drop down to knock out 30 push ups or sit ups.  Our daughters are really encouraging, and often our littlest girl will drop and do some sit ups alongside him.

He didn’t get a post up yesterday,  but on Tuesday he did 130 squats.  Yesterday he says he “only got in 100 push ups”, but for the rest of us, “Holy cow, he did 100 push ups!  That’s fantastic!”.  He puts a lot of pressure on himself to do more and more, so he sometimes overlooks how awesome it is to be able to even do 100.

He hasn’t been able to get in a Couch to 5k run in a few days, it has been a busy week around here because it’s the first week back to school for our two oldest daughters.  He planned to go running today, but with as tired as he was, he just didn’t think he could make it.

Seeing him do so well has really been motivating me to want to get on board with some exercise and dieting myself.  He switched over to Weight Watchers this week so that we could do the same diet together, and tomorrow I’m going to make the menu plan and go shopping for the items needed for me to start the diet with him.  Starting Sunday, we’ll be doing it together.  I also want to get back into running again, I started C25K before he did a few weeks ago, but fell off the wagon when I wasn’t feeling well.  I had a love/hate relationship with it while I was doing it, but I always felt proud and accomplished about getting it done, and that’s the feeling I’ll be looking forward to getting back when I re-commit to doing it.  I struggle a lot with keeping things up, but seeing Tim’s success and determination helps motivate me to keep going, too.

Well, I guess that’s all for today.  Tomorrow Tim will be back to fill you in on how he’s going, in his own words.  🙂

 

For the past couple of months I have been on Tim Ferriss’ “Slow Carb Diet” from the book “4-Hour Body”.  To me, this diet and others like it (Paleo) are great diets because they are more about controlling your insulin levels and giving you fuel than calories in, calories out.  While I have been able to stick with it and get through the first couple weeks where I experienced carb withdrawal, my wife struggled with it and was not really able to work the plan.  Last week she asked me if I would be willing to go on weight watchers with her.  I agreed to it but wanted to finish out this past week because I didn’t want all my slow carb food to go to waste.

New Day, New Diet

Today I’m switching to weight watchers.  I’m a little nervous about it because my body has not had to deal with sugar and bad carbs in a while.  I’m also worried about getting addicted to carbs again.  While I do plan on eating with my family for dinner, I’m going to stick to a carb restricted breakfast and lunch (which due to my work schedule comes at the end of the day).

I’m also a little worried about gaining weight initially on weight watchers.  I believe running will help me quite a but in that department.  I’m at a good point in couch to 5k where I’m burning a lot of fat with longer runs and before too long I’ll be running 3.1 miles three times per week.

Weight Watchers has been very good to me in the past.  I lost 50 lbs on WW in 2010.  This was the weight loss that set me up for what I am doing now.  In fact, my wife and I were watching some old family videos and I cannot believe how big I was back then.  I was over 260 lbs, I had sleep apnea, acid reflux and high cholesterol.  Right now I feel healthy as a horse.  I ran 20 minutes straight yesterday for crying out loud (my grandma used to say for crying out loud all the time).

Taking A Day Off

Today, in addition to starting weight watchers, I am taking a day to rest.  I have struggled a little lately with certain exercises.  Some of the struggle was to be expected but I feel as if I’m a little too worn out and therefore am taking today off.  Yesterday I did Week 5, Day 3 of couch to 5k.  Up until this point, all c25k runs have been intervals.  W5D3, however, is a 20 minute run with no walking.  To me, this is the run that makes people realize they are runners.  I believe you are a runner the day you first put on your shoes and start running but that 20 minute run gives people a lot of confidence because they have proven to themselves that they can do something they never knew they could do.

Couch To 5K Week 5 Complete

At 5.6 miles per hour I ran less than 2 miles which is behind the normal pace of the program.  Most people do not run the 10 minute mile pace that is laid out in the original couch to 5k program.  I had been running at a pace of 5.5 until this point but am trying to slowly build up my speed.  If I increase my speed to 5.7 in week 6 and 5.8 in week 7 I will be close to the 6 mph point by the time I finish my program.  I plan to go on to work on my speed.  When I ran the program in 2008 I always wanted to get to the 10 minute mile point but I ran closer to a 13 minute mile.  This time around I started the program running faster on week 1 to set me up for that 10 minute mile target.   At 5.6 mph I would only get 2.8 miles in 30 minutes.  While I intend on running the entire 3.1 miles I would like to do so in the shortest amount of time.

If you have been planning on starting the couch to 5k program I recommend you don’t worry about speed or even distance really.  Work on completing the program and becoming a 30 minute runner.  You are supposed to run at a pace where you could have a conversation with someone.  A lot of people go very slow but they are running.  At the end of the program, if you wish, you can work on speed or simply increasing your distance at the speed you are running.

A Couple Tips On Running

I’ll give you a couple of tips I discovered on speed.  While I’m not a running coach, I discovered that once you get to 3 miles, 1 mile is so much easier.  You could run 1 mile much faster than you’d be able to run 3 miles.  If you want to run 3 miles faster than you should train at a greater distance.  Also, running isn’t completely about how fast you move your legs.  It is how much pressure you apply to the ground.  This is why Usain Bolt has such big leg muscles and a marathon runner doesn’t.  He is built for speed, not distance.  Distance runners have to have a certain amount of muscles but are built for endurance.  Simply because someone can run 26 miles doesn’t mean they can run 100 meters very fast.  There is a balance between the two.  I looked it up and in 2009 Usain Bolt ran an average of 23.37 mph (see comments on reference page) with a top speed of 27.45 mph.  By comparison, the world record time for a marathon is roughly 2 hour 3, minutes.  That is an average of about 12.7 mph.  Why couldn’t the world record marathon runner beat Usain Bolt in a measly 100 meter dash?  Because his legs are too skinny.

Work on the overall package.  Distance runners have to have strength to get to 12 mph.  My minimalist workout is very complementary to running.  By doing sit ups your work your core, by doing push ups you work your arms which are very important to running.  Squats will give your legs the strength to run faster.  The complete package will take you farther and faster so do yourself a favor and don’t just run, build muscle.

I’m Tired

Yesterday I did 150 push ups.  Today, it is my Week 5, Day 3 of C25K 20 minute run.  I also need to do some back work with my free weights.  It is also my slow carb diet binge day which means a lot of squats and wall push ups.  Needless to day I’m feeling a little tired.  Let me say this before anything else, I hate taking a day off.  I also really dislike talking about taking a day off before that day arrives but I work out nearly every single day, pretty much all day.  It isn’t that hard really, the workouts are quick and fit in between everything else that I’m doing in life.  Sometimes I just need a day off.  In the past I have benefited from the extra day off but generally I do not like to take them.  Tomorrow I’m planning a day of rest.

Slow Carb Binge Day Rundown 

So here is what happens today.  I’m down a good amount of weight this week.  As with most Saturdays this is my binge day.  I woke up early.  Too early.  I woke up at 8am and tossed and turned until 9am before finally getting up.  For those that don’t know me, I’m a night owl due to the fact that I work late.  Getting up at 8am is way too early for me.  Today I made the most of it.  I caught Mitt Romney’s VP announcement which is always a good chance to pick up some twitter followers.

How I Spent My Early Morning 

I ran out to Publix to grab some grapefruit juice, donuts and biscuits and then head home for some time with my kids and Mexico vs Brazil in Olympics soccer.  Not a bad way to spend my time so early.  I made myself some bacon and eggs on biscuits and gave the kids some donuts.  I drank my grapefruit juice (a small can of 100% grapefruit juice with nothing extra or any other fruit juices added), did my squats and wall push ups and then enjoyed.  Oh and I did enjoy.

My Weight Loss 

I skipped my binge day last week.  The budget was tight last weekend and my stepdaughter wanted to go visit her friends who live about an hour and a half away.  Due to high gas prices and the need for my wife and stepdaughter to eat I gave up my binge day.  A couple of things happened in that time.  I lost a lot of weight.  This is a good thing due to the fact that I’ve been losing pretty slowly lately.  I’ve been putting on a lot of muscle but I still have some areas where the fat needs to come off.

Plunging The Plumbing

The second thing that happened, well, how to I put this tactfully?  My bowels were failing to move.  So Thursday night I took two laxatives.  When nothing happened I drank two different types of teas that work as laxatives.  It wasn’t until about midnight last night when things started happening.  I don’t mean to be crude but the bowels didn’t just move, they ran 5 miles.  The result was a 2 lb loss of weight in one day.  It also got me to my lowest weight thus far and about 5 lbs less than my weigh-in two weeks ago.

I feel much better now.  I’ve had some bad carbs and coffee and will probably have more later.  In fact, I probably wont go running for a couple more hours.  I plan on spending some time with the kids and I also need to pick up some ice.  Yes, I’m planning to take another ice bath.  Today is a long run and as I’ve said before I feel worn out.  I will be working out pretty hard today and the ice bath will be a good way to recover faster.

Why I’m In Need Of Rest

Normally today would be my sit ups day.  I don’t like to neglect my sit ups but I’m going to skip them today to get in my other work outs.  After my day of rest tomorrow I plan to do my sit ups on Monday.  I feel that doing longer runs is working my body in ways that hinder the rest of my workout.  This is not to say I am sorry I’m doing it or that the running isn’t a benefit overall.  When I run I work my legs and glutes.  I also feel it in my arms and shoulders.  Holding my arms up and swinging them for 20 minutes is a good workout.  It is no wonder my arms feel tired the next day when I go to do push ups.  After my 20 minute run and ice bath for quick recovery I will rest tomorrow and resume my working out Monday.

Well there’s 800 words and I’m not going to proof read.  Work hard, go inspire and I’ll see ya tomorrow.

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