Pick Up the Pace

Spoiler Alert: I may get the feels in this post.

We have an emotional weekend ahead. Tonight we take our beautiful daughter, Shannon, to college. She is heading to Asheville, NC to attend University of North Carolina – Asheville. If you don’t know our family well, you will have to take my word on how close knit we are. We have had a little time to begin getting used to her absence as she had such a wonderful friend group here and they have had an emotional few weeks already as they have been saying goodbye to one another as each departs for the next chapter. I will miss many of her friends as well that have nearly lived in my living room the last few years.

Today, I wanted to pick up the pace for a number of reasons. I wanted to see if there was a faster pace where I might actually find some comfort running and holding that pace. I needed to get done with the run as there is a lot to do today and Ana and I are both working. Plus, I just felt like kicking a little ass.

I went out in what felt comfortable but decidedly faster than my two precious runs that I ran the entire 3 miles. The pace that I settled into was fluctuating slightly but it was under 11 min/mi pace. I decided about the 3/4 mile mark that it wasn’t sustainable for 3 miles yet. I held it to the mile and then began intervals. In my neighborhood I choose to use the streetlights for demarcation. They vary in separation but average maybe 100 yards. I run to the next at about an 8 min/mi pace and then walk to the next at maybe a 14 min/mi pace and kept this up for the second mile before increasing the walk length to two streetlights and eventually three to complete the third mile.

Even with the intervals of walking the entire 5k was completed in over 1′ 30″ per mile faster pace than Tuesday’s continuous run. And based solely on perspiration and hyperventilation, it was much more challenging as well.

For good measure, I knocked out ten push-ups and 10 myotatic crunches (Follow the link for a demonstration)
before hitting the shower.

3.12 mi
12′ 34″ / mi

10 push-ups
10 myotatic crunches

After tonight’s long drive, we will be loading my baby girl into her dorm room tomorrow morning. Not long after that, she will depart for convocation and we will hangout in Asheville hoping against hope that she has another minute to spare or needs anything before we drive home without her.

We are just as unprepared to let go of our kids as we were to have kids in the first place. We have no idea what we are doing and we will just have to figure it out as we go.

The next run on the schedule is for this Saturday. If it goes as planned, I will be running in and around Biltmore Forest.

Stay hydrated and go do something. Geez!

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Home Sweet Home 5k

I am back in Florida and I am on plan in my training. I have not allowed rain, travel, a busy schedule or oppressive heat to deter me from my planned runs. I wrote out my training schedule on monthly calendars from the date that I registered until the date of the race. So far, I have been able to hold myself accountable. Tuesday morning called for 3 more miles to get logged. The road that circles our subdivision, if circumnavigated twice, makes for a nice route of almost exactly 3.1 miles, or 5 kilometers, also known as the 5k.

The weight is not falling off as fast as I might like. Isn’t that the way it always goes? I do, however, notice changes in my body composition. I have not tracked my fat percentage or measured like I should, but I am confident that I am moving in the right direction. I have shared my story often this week. Most people can’t believe that I was ever on the wrong side of 300 pounds. I am amazed at the changes in clothes sizes and comfort during physical activities that being 50 pounds lighter affords.

I am considering adding on some shorter races in preparation for the half marathon to get more participation from family and friends in the training process. I am looking at races like the “UCF 5-miler” and the “Turkey Trot” if anyone has any interest or input.

3.11 mi
14′ 06″ / mi

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In which, I can’t decide if 5am is late night or early morning…

Saturday! I have a full day ahead with AdvoCare National Success School well underway and plans to race from Dallas to Frisco for tonight’s FC Dallas game against the Colorado Rapids. Have I told you how much I love soccer and the MLS? Pay attention.

So with a busy day ahead, I was up putting my run gear on before 5a. I considered taking a different route than Thursday, but being it was very dark out and that way seemed well lit and provided opportunities to see the stadiums at night, I went the way that I knew. I may have made it a little longer as I went through a park and got closet to Cowboy Stadium to see all the lights going off from the stage setup inside and to take more pictures.

The night sky was beautiful and clear allowing stars and a near full moon to shine. The temperature was comfortable and there was a blessed breeze. Other than a quick photo or a redlight, I didn’t stop. This made the run unique as I have never run for three miles at any pace without stopping. It hurt and my mind and body negotiated many times over what was happening and what should be done, but I ran on.

3.19 mi
14′ 37″ / mi

I can’t help but feel a sense of accomplishment as I overcome the difficulties and potential excuses to continue on with my plan to train toward this half marathon. In the words of James Brown “I Feel Good!”

I had a great day and drank my body weight in water and then enjoyed the evening while FC Dallas completed the day with a win.

I head back home tomorrow to my family that I miss so much. I will never say that Florida is too hot again after these few days in Texas.

Do you have a plan to reach your goals yet? Do you have goals?


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In which, I run in the rain but it’s not too hot…

Full disclosure: I failed to do any cross training on Monday as planned. I was going to ride bike in the evening, but the Florida evening rain had other ideas. I know that I could have done something else, but I wimped out.

As I headed out Tuesday evening to get the planned run done, the weather was gloomy and threatening. I had no sooner started tracking my run with the house extremely close, and dry, when big fat rain drops began pounding the pavement.

I should also point out something that I forgot to mention in the last post about what is slightly different with this training plan. I am running without headphones or music. I have always tried to distract myself from the discomfort of running with motivating music. At the very least, I could interval run/walk with every other song. I have now taken to praying in the beginning of my run, counting out strides and trying to correlate count with pace in the middle, and thinking of all that I need to do toward the end.

The rain stayed consistent but never came down so hard that I was uncomfortable. If given the choice between blazing heat and pouring rain, I’ll take the rain.

I tried to pickup the pace and run longer without stopping. When I eventually stopped to walk, I began run/walk intervals at every streetlight with the run being at a much faster pace than I was maintaining earlier. It was hard but I felt great.

Have you signed up for the OUC Half Marathon yet? Do you have a race or challenge in mind? What are you waiting for? Comment below and we can help each other.

3.15 mi

Next run is scheduled for Thursday. It will be tough as I am traveling to Texas and have an evening event. Stay tuned.

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Early this Sunday morning, Mickey and I were up to join a group for bike ride from Oviedo Aquatic Center out to Fort Christmas and back. Full disclosure, I do not yet keep up or ever make it to the full length as these guys can easily knock out 50 miles in the time it takes me to do half that. I do, however, love being up and out. I secretly hope to make a “brick” of it. A brick is the combination of two sports. I have never been able to transition from the bike to a run as my legs come off the bike feeling like concrete or bricks. I can only assume that’s where the name came from, but I will have to check into that. I hope to add a mile run after a 10 mile bike this morning.

As the group took off and headed East along 419, I jumped into the middle of the pack and enjoyed the first mile or two with the group as they stretched their legs and added speed. I am fine with the consistent building of speed. Where they lose me is when we slow for a stop sign or for some debris in the road and then they take back off with serious acceleration and I am dropped. By mile three, I am off the back. Before mile 4, I can no longer even see them ahead.

After mile 5, I decide that if I have any chance of pulling off this brick, I had better turn back. I make a casual u-turn. Enter wind.

The first 5 miles had some false flats with slight climbs and a couple of long sloping downhills where I was able to pour speed into the bike. I was completely unaware of any breeze at all. After making my turn to head back, I became bluntly aware of what I would later learn was a 14 mph wind that had been at my back all along. I don’t know if you are all aware of what a 14 mph headwind does to the pace of an overweight bicyclist, but take my word that it took longer to get back than it did to go out.

Simultaneous to the wind hitting me in the chest was the epiphany of this metaphor in my brain. I had many thoughts as I lumbered my bike into the wind for the 5 mile slog to the car to transition into my running shoes.

I was unaware of the wind when it was supporting and pushing me in the direction that I wanted to go. I took all the credit for my athleticism and strength as I rode along the highway. I did not consider the wind at all. I certainly was not thankful to have it. I was blissfully ignorant. The birds were singing. The sun was shining. The trees were green. The cars were happy to pass me leaving plenty of room.

When the wind literally hit me in the face, my bike slowed. I immediately felt as though I was much too far from my car. Where had this wind come from? Why is it just appearing now? The smallest uphill became mountainous. The birds fell quiet. The sun was beating down on me. The trees were swaying. The cars were impatient and dangerously close.

The ride back was harder, but I enjoyed it for what it was. The resistance of the wind made me work harder. I became immediately grateful for the tailwind I had received for the first 5 miles. Now here is the part, you need to get your head around. I was also grateful for the headwind on the way back as a chance to grow. The resistance would reward my efforts with added strength in the future. I was not the victim of some evil force. I was the benefactor of an empowering force. I had an opportunity to face the wind with grace or to quit and curse it.

I can’t see wind, but I can surely feel it. I can’t see wind, but I can surely see the impact it has on people and the world. I don’t know the word for wind in every language, but I am sure that they are describing the same thing. I can’t see wind, but I know that whether everyone believes in it or not, it’s there.

Remember that I said it was a metaphor?

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Lifeguard vs Swim Instructor

Last night, Ana and I went out to our first Winter Springs Wednesday Night Mixer.  It happens every Wednesday night.  We should have been before but life keeps us busy.  We would not have made it to this one either if it had not been that Mark McCoy was going to be there.  We even got our kids to go and listen.  We had seen and shared many of Mark’s videos.  You can see them on Tomorrow’s Champion website.  I learned so much that I should have known.  So much of what we think we know about health and fitness is wrong.

Before Mark got up to talk, Ted Jones shared his story of body and financial transformation that is so powerful.  He then called on Ana to come up and share her product, body transformation and opportunity story.  If you have not talked to or heard my wife talk in the last 6 months, you may not know how accomplished she has become at sharing and inspiring and helping others.  If you have only just met her in the last 6 months, you may not appreciate how much of a change she has made in the last 6 months in giving of her time and energy to help so many others achieve their goals.  She is truly an inspiration.

Then Mark McCoy was onstage.  One of the very first things that he shared that I cannot get out of my head over 24 hours later is:

Feed the body you want. Hydrate the body you have.”

Mark gave me a new goal.  I can be as efficient as an 18 year old regardless of age.

We all know that our metabolism slows with age. What we don’t do is take that to its logical conclusion. Our metabolism slows. Our body is less efficient.  So we give the body less food, or “diet” and the body shuts down our metabolism even further to store more fat because it thinks that we are starving.  Diet = accelerated aging.  Everyone says “weight loss” and what is meant is “fat loss”.

Health and Fitness requires three steps in a process in order to reach your potential.  Health has step 1 “Balance” and step 2 “Feed”.  While Fitness is step 3 “Move”.

Homework assignment: Google and gain understanding of the history of USDA Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA).

Balance starts with oxygen and moving it through your body.  This requires vitamin B.  Next, is water.  Drink half your body weight in ounces every day and increase twenty percent based on activity and/or weather conditions. Finally, balance includes micronutrients.  This means enzymes, vitamins and minerals. In 90 days, you can have the metabolism of an 18 year old.

Food includes proteins, carbohydrates and fats.  There are good and bad of each.  Learn more about the food that you put in your body.  Eat within one hour of waking and until one hour of going to bed.  Feed the body that you want.  Mark has created some sample plans for various goals from strength to endurance or just fat loss.

Move. You know that you need to do more.  Let’s go.

Mark opened a lot of eyes and left us with a bit of wisdom.  He said that doctors were serving as lifeguards at the pool, ready to help in an emergency.  With the knowledge of balance, food and move, we can serve as swim coaches and stop the emergency from ever happening.

He shared that 71% of every healthcare dollar in the US is spent to treat a preventable issue while only 3% is spent on prevention.

Mark hung around and answered lots of specific questions.  It changed the way that I ate today.  It changed the way that I packed lunches and snacks for the kids.  I ordered some more supplements to achieve our various goals.  Let me share with you what we are doing.


Screenshot 2014-03-27 23.37.08

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Let’s Get It Started

Where have you been?  I have not written anything in some time.  If you look at my last post, you will see, like I just did, that it was posted on September 1, 2012.  What happened back in the first week of September?  I changed my life.  I lost 30 pounds in a little more than 30 days.  I made money while losing the weight and changing my life.

Let me explain.  And I will continue to explain in the coming weeks and months and may invite some guest bloggers to share their stories.

For more than a year, my beautiful and patient wife, Ana, had been telling me stories of all the success that a few of her peers had been having with weight loss.  In all that time, I steadfastly poopooed her stories of weight loss as I was quite confident that if I enjoyed fewer beers and burgers that I too could lose weight.  As I am sure that you are an avid reader of my “Lose 100 Pounds in One Year” blog, you know that I have spent the last 15 years floating between 50 and 100 pounds overweight.  I have lost nearly 50 pounds in a weight bet among friends and then gained 70 in the next year.  I have lost 20 pounds before the holidays, just to make room to gain them back over that very same holiday season.  Need I say more than that I started the blog “Lose 100 Pounds in One Year” about three years ago?  

Got it? So, what happened in September?  Well, I heard a conversation between my beautiful and  patient wife, Ana, and one Meghan Kelly Jones.  I was driving while Ana had Meghan on the phone via bluetooth in her car allowing me to hear the whole conversation.  Meghan was telling her story and had my attention.  I may tell her story to you someday, if I can’t get her to do it, but not today.  She got my attention with a compelling and moving story of her family and their last couple years.  Meghan is the wife of one of Ana’s former peers at work.

Meghan’s story hit so close to home that I got excited.  While excited, I wanted to get through what must be a candy coating and see what was in the middle.  I hit the internet to find the naysayers and get the other side of the story.  I searched like a skeptic seeking any signs of scam or fraud.  I watched You Tube videos taken from every perspective and sought out competitors.  I reviewed the corporate material and small print.  I weighed my options and considered the risks and rewards.  Then I started talking to my friends and family to see if they had heard anything like this.  When the dust cleared and my reviews were complete, I took decisive action.

Meghan’s story involved AdvoCare.  I had heard the word and vaguely thought that it either had to do with with Health Care or First Aid, and as wrong as I was, I wasn’t too far off.  While AdvoCare is an industry leading health and wellness company with products that support energy, weigh-loss, nutrition and sports performance, they can also be just the “first aid” and/or “health care” that so many neglect to give themselves.

The first week of September 2012, Ana and I joined AdvoCare as distributors and took the 24-Day Challenge together.  We bought in completely to the products and followed the cleanse, supplement and meal plan completely.  We supported each other and got immediate results.  We scoured the web for more information on how others were using the products.  Our energy level was great.  Our clothes were fitting better.  We felt really good.

As we have a million times before with the newest restaurants, movies or television shows, we started telling everybody about what we had found.

Before starting the Challenge last summer, I weighed 310 pounds.  After the Challenge, I got under 280.  I lost over 22 total inches in body measurements including 4 inches in my waist alone.      I have not been given permission to tell my Ana’s stats, but I can say that she had similar results and was just as excited as I am about them.  I know that I just lost some of you reading this, because you don’t believe me. But, if you don’t believe that, you are never going to believe this.  We finished our Challenge over 3 months ago.  Since then, Ana has eaten very well and only “cheated” for a couple meals at special events or holidays.  She still uses a few of her favorite supplements, has continued to lose weight and is wearing clothes smaller than she ever remembers wearing.  I know the jeans she just bought are a size smaller than what she was buying when we were dating 20 years ago and she was 18!  I have “cheated” a lot and binged on holiday food like the world was really going to end.  I drank beer and ate cookies.  I used a few of the supplements that Ana was using and my weight moved a pound or two up and down.  I continued drinking a lot of water and as I sit here writing this, I weigh 280.

Did I spend money on these products? Yes, but no more than we were already spending on so many self-defeating products like lattes and fast food.  So, take note.  We saved more money on items that we eliminated than we spent to add the new.  That alone would be enough, but by sharing our results and excitement, we made money that paid bills, reduced debt and bought refills of supplements or other products we tried.  Again, that really should be enough for anyone, but we also got to truly help people.  We inspired friends, family, coworkers and acquaintances to make a change and feel better.  See the attached comparison photo of my father-in-law, Sergio Padron, that lost a lot of weight and total inches. The numbers that I want to share is what he did to his blood sugar with daily measurements over 150 before the Challenge and now an average of 80.  He changed his life and may have fought off adult onset, Type II Diabetes.  That gets me excited.  Now my mother-in-law and sister-in-law are ready to get started.

AdvoCare has launched new products and limited time price savings for the New Year’s Resolution crowd that end on January 15th.  There’s the Can You 24 DVD and a bundle of the 24-Day Challenge and Beyond that will get you through 72 days of becoming a Champion.  I weighed in today because I am excited to be starting my second 24-Day Challenge and may go Beyond and use my DVD to see what exercise will do to affect my results.  Did you think that we were working out to get our results?  Last fall, Ana and I worked out 2 or 3 times during the challenge and my father-in-law incorporated a daily walking routine to his plan.

What’s it going to be for you?  Change your life?  I’ll keep you updated on mine.  Are you competitive?  There is a Transformation Contest with $40,000 in prizes.  I signed up for that today.  Deadline is January 15.  I am confident that whether or not I can impress the judges, I will feel great and look better another 30 or more pounds lighter.

Left photo taken Thanksgiving Day and right photo just a couple days before Christmas (27 days).

Left photo taken Thanksgiving Day and right photo just a couple days before Christmas (27 days).

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Football Football Football

Summer does not really end for another three weeks at the solstice, but, for most, Labor Day weekend, returning to school and/or the beginning of football are more than enough to begin pulling out of the Summer spirit and transition toward Fall.

Kids back to school? Fine. Three day weekend? Sign me up.  Football? Yes, please and keep it coming.  Football means Fall is here as much as leaves turning, temperatures dropping and gourds being harvested.  Do not get me started on pumpkins.  I will save that for another time.

The NFL preseason has wrapped up and the regular season kicks off next week. Last night, high school football was in full swing with some of them playing their second game. This morning I saw the local high school stadium playing host to the youngest Pop Warner youth football teams in full pads and game gear. This Labor Day weekend has the first Saturday of college football in full swing after kicking off Thursday night.  Football is all around.  As I have discussed at length before, not all football is American football. But, unlike the USA and our Major League Soccer, most of the world begins playing football at the end of August or first of September just when our American football is getting underway.  Football can be seen in nearly every corner of the world.  The excitement, community pride and money spent is nearly boundless.  This is true whether you are in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, or Manchester, England.  College or NCAA football is the closest thing we have in America to the passion that is international football or soccer, but they are still so very different.

Football in America, whether NCAA or NFL, is much more than a game.  There is game planning and strategy.  Offense and defense.  Scoring and turnovers. Rivalries and rebuilding. Plays and schemes. Mascots and cheerleaders. Cheering and jeering. Alumni and fanatics. Marching bands and halftime shows. Stats and awards. Fantasy and collectibles. Camaraderie and trash talking.  Genius and stupidity. History and face painting. Hope and desperation. Money and more money. Tradition and coaching combine these things and more to try to put together a winning combination.

As a fan, my winning game plan always includes the “tailgate”. This means that you arrive many hours before kickoff and have a meal plan that includes grilling and ice cold beverages at the very minimum.  There can be tents and comfortable seating.  You can have a television and a satellite dish.  If you have an RV, bring it.  I don’t care whether it’s football or soccer, that is not a bad way to spend an afternoon before watching your team.  I like having craft beer and brats if left to my own means.  When traveling to games, I like to walk through the parking/tailgating area and meet people and see the cuisine in all its many flavors that is being cooked and served.  In Green Bay, this can include some squeaky cheese or a brat sharing grill space with a pheasant.  In Barcelona, you might have some fire roasted corn or a paella.  South Florida raises the bar on fresh seafood you may have caught yourself, while from the Deep South to Central Texas barbecue battles are waged daily.  Food and Football Flavor Fall.  Say that five times fast.

Sorry about the alliteration, but it was either that or metaphor, so consider yourself lucky.

Let me hear about your game and what it means to you.  If you have a recipe, share it with me. If you have an extra ticket and want to show me how it’s done, I may have a weekend or two open this fall.  Until then, I have to go fire up the grill and grab a drink from the cooler.

See ya, bye.

Living room setup for football.

Dialed in.

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