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Monday, August 22, 2016

From mountains to beach...

Last weekend we were in Lynchburg, VA hiking Liberty University Mountain, and this weekend we found ourselves in Sanibel Island, Florida for our annual vacation.  Vacation is so much more enjoyable when one is fit.  

On a couple of the days, we took the first part of the day to run the beach from our resort to the end of the island and the Sanibel lighthouse. It's an even 2-miles one-way and makes for a challenging 4-mile round trip.  

On a few of the days, we walked 6-miles (Bailey's Market and back).

It's always a pleasure when Dad joins us. The beautiful sunrise is a nice distraction from the difficulty of running on the beach sand. 

Jogging in Florida can be hazardous to your health.  This "little" (8-foot) guy was right next to the walking path that we were on.  Thankfully Debra made notice of him (and increased her pace to 5mm) as I would have been knee deep in gator-mouth before I was aware.

Between beach and pool, morning jogs and evening strolls, our fitness facilitated the rest we needed from this vacation.  Ironic, huh?

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Climbing Mountains

Since jogging/running is my primary vehicle for weight-loss, this blog often highlights my running adventures.  However, I made a conscience decision this summer to experience some activities which provide great exercise benefit while giving the family some (free) variety. Hiking is something we have enjoyed this summer and something that will continue to provide benefit well into the Fall season and seasons to follow.  Georgia is replete of wonderful structured and semi-strictured hiking trails, and the same can be said of destinations that we travel.

While visiting Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia for my wife's graduate degree comprehensive exam, we took advantage of some of the hiking trails on Candlers Mountain.  Candlers Moutain (aka. Liberty Mountain) is owned by Liberty University and showcases the LU monogram that can be seen throughout the campus.  It's also the location of the world famous Snow Flex facility (a year around ski slope).

Do you ever venture out somewhere but not quite sure if you're going the right direction, and it takes a while before you realize that things just don't look right?  I had hiked to the monogram during my last visit, so I knew we were in the wrong part of town; besides the fact that we were headed downward on the other side of the mountain.  Consulting with navigation, I could see that we were above Snowflex instead of heading towards the monogram.  We corrected our direction and eventually found the goal we were after.

It's hard to tell from this photo but this is the monogram, and these rocks are a good 5 foot or bigger in circumference.

Evident by this photo, hiking is a tremendous fitness activity.  I am thrilled that our fitness is at such a level as to enjoy a hike of this nature.

LU Hiking site: https://www.liberty.edu/snowflex/trails-maps/
Trail Map: https://www.liberty.edu/media/7706/pdfs/TrailMap.pdf
Snowflex: http://www.liberty.edu/snowflex/
LU Main Page: https://www.liberty.edu

Monday, August 1, 2016

[Week 30] A surprise in the woods

The scale often lays a facade over the less obvious achievements of health through exercise. As much as I stand in opposition to a negative self-image, the whispers of doubt often prevail. Along comes an occasion beyond the regular that actualizes progress. Last weekend, I went for a Geocaching hike through a Georgia mountain forest with my son and daughter, and we inadvertently hiked for over two and half hours before finding the cache.  Surprisingly, I hiked over 4 miles of trails with much of it involving serious vertical climbs, and I did so without very much trouble. Finishing this hike, I felt a tremendous sense of achievement, not only in the hike itself but in having a great time with my son and daughter without the burden of poor fitness.  Frankly, I just enjoyed this activity with my children, and "unfit" was furthest from my mind.

Stats for the Month of July:
Overall, this was a successful month.  My jogging mileage is back up to the 80s, my weight is down by 11 lbs, and I'm feeling healthy in my core.  We've got one last push before vacation hits.
  • Current weight: 265 lbs
  • 1-Month weight-loss: -11 lbs
  • Total weight-loss to date: 52 lbs 
  • Continuous run: 10K
  • Total Miles: 85 (glad to see my mileage back up) 

(Debra and I after one of our 10K long runs this month -- I'm swimming in sweat -- Besides Debra looking fantastic, she looks good for someone who just completed 8 miles)

Monday, July 11, 2016

We the Runners - 5K and 10K - 2016

It seems appropriate to run a road race on July 4th.  What a pleasure it was to have Joshua and Gabrielle join us for this activity.  Joshua and Gabrielle ran the 5K while Debra and I took on the 10K.  Alexis, Gabrielle and I ran this race back in 2013 and it was nice to revisit this well organized race; along with participation from Debra and Joshua.  Gabrielle and Joshua ran together and kept each other motivated through the run.

Joshua's 5K Race Results:
Joshua's field was highly competitive as these numbers indicate.  I think he did very well for a young man who doesn't run on a regular basis.

Gabrielle's 5K Race Results:
Gabrielle missed the podium by one place.  Like Joshua, I am impressed with her showing given that she doesn't run regularly.

Debra's 10K Race Results:
This was Debra's first 10K race.  I am continually impressed by Debra's drive for road races and impressed at her showing at this race given our slack in training leading up to this race.

Jason's (my) 10K Race Results:
I achieved a PR!  This is the first race that I got dead last in my age division.  In all honesty, I ran poorly because of my weight gain and poor training leading up to the race.  The hot and humid condition on the course didn't help.

On a positive note, I wasn't last for the entire field:

Sunday, July 3, 2016

[Week 25] Stuck in a rut

Plateaus often imply that one has achieved a certain level before flattening out.  The rut is a place that one slips into and finds it hard to break free.  I've hit a low on fitness, nutrition and motivation.  It's now clear that I am past the point where I'm going to hit my vacation goal of 250 lbs., and the first goal missed for 2016.  There's something familiar about this place. My hardest grind right now is running.  I've got a 10K on July 4th and behind in my running routine, and the extra weight is making running quite the labor.  On a positive note, I'm still fit enough to enjoy various activities like Geocaching, assisting in the home moving of friends and other physical activities with family which I had previously found difficult at 317 lbs.

Stats for the Month of June:
  • Current weight: 276 lbs
  • 1-Month weight-loss: -6 lbs
  • Total weight-loss to date: 43 lbs 
  • Continuous run: It's hard to say -- we're doing 4-mile runs during the week and 5 to 6 on the weekend but we're not consistent enough to demonstrate achievement.
  • Total Miles: 57 (down again for this month and the lowest amount so far -- it's clear that this number will have to go up to meet the fitness goals of longer miles.)

Monday, June 6, 2016

[Week 21] My Andrea Gail

The perfect storm involves the rare confluence of critical factors that result in predictably negative outcomes. In my case, my weight-loss hits the perfect storm during the confluence of exercise fatigue, marginless calories, and lethargy.  I enjoy running, but the battle involves the elements, unpredictable personal schedules, and regular physical challenges; namely injury. As I loose weight, I loose latitude for poor eating and drinking; my current elixir is sweet tea. And finally, it all becomes tiring around this same time, same weight and same schedule. (I even stop updating my blog as often)  If I'm being honest, I cower in fear at this giant and loose myself in his shadow. Now, where did I leave my slingshot, five smooth stones and courage?

Stats for the Month of May:
Tough month - between Mother's Day and Memorial Day weekend camping, there was a whole lot of poor eating and no exercise.
  • Current weight: 270 lbs
  • 1-Month weight-loss: 4 lbs
  • Total weight-loss to date: 47 lbs 
  • Continuous run: 5-miles -- a setback in distance from the 10K but we did boost ourselves to 4-miles during the weekday runs
  • Total Miles: 65 (down for this month -- just a rough month altogether)

Monday, May 2, 2016

[Week 16] Fiesta 5K

My breathing was labored from heavy lungs congested with enough phlegm to fill a gallon jug.  My every muscle ached as each stride hit the ground and my mind could hardly compose the effort under the weight of sinus pressure.  I was running a race for ALS fundraising and awareness, and this provided the extra measure of motivation to push past the discomfort.  Let's be honest; I was only experiencing minor difficulty as compared with the people that struggle with this debilitating disease.

Over the years, I have been fortunate never to have to run a race while sick but on this past Saturday it was my turn to draw the ticket on this misfortune.  I thoroughly enjoy how running pushes me past my normal mental capacities and this weekend proved once again that I can push my body to achieve what my mind will believe (#awinktomynavysealbuds). Did I mention that I got a PR?

Debra smashed it again by achieving another PR at almost a full minute better than her last race.  She's close to breaking the 30 minute 5K.  I suspect she'll do it by the next race.  Way to go, Debra!!!

Stats for the Month of April:

We did a Disney and diet vacation which are reflected in the weight-loss numbers but over all I'm encouraged.
  • Current weight: 274 lbs
  • 1-Month weight loss: 6 lbs
  • Total weight-loss to date: 43 lbs 
  • Continuous run: 10K
  • Total Miles: 75 (down for this month -- I did less recorded walking but the Disney parks numbers are not in here either )

Saturday, April 30, 2016

[Week 15] Metabolic Tomfoolery

He said it with such genuine conviction that I didn't have the heart to tell him how unflattering was his attempted compliment.  I don't blame folks.  On impulse, they want to encourage and uplift, and they're only saying the first thing that comes to mind as I approached.  After all, I did, in fact, lose quite a bit of weight in my face.  Sadly, my face has a high metabolism from active eating while my belly ponders the deeper questions of life. No matter how often I try to encourage my face to share his secrets with my gut, they're both content to keep the status quo. The next time I smile and say thank you, please know that moments after, my every contemplation includes a wrestling match between goodwill and hostility.  Guess who wins?

  • Weight: 276 lbs
  • 1-week Weight Loss: -3 lbs in one week

Monday, April 18, 2016

[Week 14] Georgia Peach Jam - 5K

The highlight of my week was joining my beloved, Debra, on her first ever 5K race.  I'm thoroughly impressed with Debra's performance.  She laid down a solid PR at 10:45 mm and missed the podium for her age group by only one position (4th place).  It's not hard to understand why I enjoy running so much when I get to participate in lasting memories with the love of my life.

The Peach Jam was held here at our local Fowler Park in Cumming, Georgia.  It started at the fire-station, ran through the greenway and ended on the running track.

 This was the last time that I saw Debra until the turn-around...

Debra missed the podium by one place... bummer!

I had a PR (since starting back up) and was pleased with not coming in last in my age group.