one down, five to go…

Week one of my “Quick Start” program is in the books. Overall, getting started was not as painful as I thought it would be. And by painful I mean the recording and entering of all the food data, not the physical part.

I purchased a FitBit Flex to assist with tracking of no running calorie usage. I have linked that to my MyFitnessPal where I enter my food intake (either on my ipad or iphone app) and then all of it feeds into my Garmin Connect account.

My routine is to use my Garmin for all running and cycling (spin) activity to get my data on distance and calories burned from those activities. I do not use my FitBit when doing these exercises but do have it on for all other activities including strength training as well as sleeping.

At the beginning of the week I started at 224 lbs and 22.6% body fat. The week ended with me at 23.4% body fat and 224.8 lb. So despite the number being up slightly, I’m not discouraged. I’m not sure how accurate my scales are when it come to the measurements, but all I ask is for consistency. I did have my weight down to 221 for a couple of days. Also, the time of year isn’t helping. Lots of “bad” food at work and around the house, parties and all the associated eating and drinking that comes with it.

I was worried about keeping track of my food intake but that seems to be okay. I have realized that portion size is very important; I don’t really need that plateful, just half of it. My big problem is that time after dinner, sitting around watching tv and more so out of habit and boredom, the need arises to put some food into my body. Do I need it? No. I am trying to meet this challenge by ignoring the urge or being very selective on what I ingest. And I try to find something to do to to take away the “eating due to boredom” syndrome.

So on to week two. I have a better understanding of what I need to do and as we move closer to Christmas, my birthday, and all of the related shenanigans, I will try and keep focused and do the best I can.

my focus is here…

I’ve been going through some of the Matt Fitzgerald books trying to formulate a plan for the future.


One complaint I have about the “Quick Start Guide” is that there are several references to calculators on the website to help you with the program. When you go to the website, there are no calculators! Admitedly, the author says they over promised and under produced on the website and were unable to add the calculators due to their limited resources(?). I think there are several sites that will fill the void of trying to track daily calorie intake and carbs versus protein totals but the inconvenience is noticeable.

A lot of the fitness tracking programs out there function with your phone connected to your heart rate monitor to track your progress. I really do not want to wear something strapped to my arm that has significant added weight. I like my little ipod shuffle with its 400+ songs. I also really don’t want to pay monthly or yearly fees to use a service for something that I should be able to figure out myself. I use a Garmin 220 that I am pleased with and I like the functionality of Garmin Connect in regards to the information it provides me.

Currently I’m 225 lbs with a body fat % of about 23. I have set 205 lbs as my racing weight goal which I hope to achieve, or be very close to after the six week “Quick Start” program.

As part of my training program, yesterday I went out and purchased a FitBit Flex, primarily to track non-running activities and the total number of calories I expend at those times. I have also decided that MyFitnessPal will be the main tracking source of my diet and caloric numbers with it all linking into Garmin Connect.

My “Quick Start” program begins on Monday, that’s three days away.

carbs, diabetes, training and adjustments…

Well, this wasn’t news I wanted to hear. After the usual blood work and testing for my yearly physical I get called back to the doc’s office. Guess what? I’m just over the baseline for being diabetic (7.1). This isn’t something new to me, I’ve always been close to the line and now I’ve gone over, but it’s not something that kept me awake at night worrying about it.

The blame, well it all rests with me. My penchant for sweets and other not good for you foods like cookies, potato chips and ice cream has finally caught up to me. It’s especially hard to grasp as I was just about ready to get started with some serious training. Of course you’re asking; well how serious could he be eating all that crap? I agree. I have been my own worst enemy.

When I asked my doctor what the best way to reduce the blood sugar number was he told me to reduce my carb intake. Since the training system I want to follow is based on carbohydrate intake to not only fuel your body for a marathon, it also works to keep your energy levels up to meet the demands of training, I’m now going to have to reassess my food consumption, dietary habits and make some hard decisions followed by defining actions. Ideally, my first decision is to immediately begin making smarter choices and to improve the quality of food I ingest. I really don’t see myself as being a calorie counter so I think just being aware of quality is a good start and seems that it would make the whole process easier to follow and maintain.

But on a good note, everything else was great with the doc!

first run in the snow…

Winter came to Edmonton this morning, -9c with the windchill and about a half inch of snow on the ground. Went out for about 7km’s that took about 42 minutes.

out for a run and some future running plans…

This is where my running route took me;

Screen Shot 2014-11-02 at 8.28.50 PM

the results are in, and…

On a crisp and cool October 25th morning the MEC Race #5 was held in St Albert. My chip time was 1:57:49 for a distance of 21.46 km’s but my Garmin time was 1:55:44 for the half marathon distance of 21.1 km. I would have liked to have been a bit faster but I’m not disappointed in my finishing time. In terms of total runners, I finished 78th out of 163 half marathon runners. My pace was 5:29/km.

So, lets take a look at the results.

As I mentioned in my last post, I started to train using the principles laid out by Matt Fitzgerald based on his 80/20 formula. I stepped into this program at week 11, which really only gave me 5 weeks to train before race day. Initially, following the training plan, I had a very hard time adapting to the theory of “slow”. Not that there is much speed in me to begin with, but running at these paces made me want to tip over. I also seemed to pick up little nicks here and there. This, I understand is normal for this process and after about two and a half weeks into the plan I was starting to get the hang of it.

Let’s recap. I ran a half marathon on April 27th which fell into my full marathon training schedule. Although I didn’t run it as a long slow run which would have been the training run that day, I ran the half in 1:56:33 at a pace of 5:33/km. I also weighed somewhere around 222 lbs.  On June 8th I ran the Edge to Edge Marathon, weighing 215 lbs in a time of 4:04:17 at a pace of 5:48. This was after a full training plan leading up to the marathon produced by the Running Room.

Comparing the numbers, they aren’t far off from the three races. Everything was pretty close overall including my weight for the MEC race where I ran at 223 lbs. Was the 80/20 plan successful? To be honest, I don’t think giving it 5 weeks was enough time to form a true opinion since I started in week 11. Did I lose that much endurance from the Edge to Edge at the beginning of June to mid September and starting the 80/20 training? I’m sure my fitness level dropped somewhat in that time frame as I had no goals, but I’m also not willing to throw the plan away. The key points that have emerged from this summer of running are;

- I need to start the 80/20 plan from the beginning to realize it’s full value. Although I had been running sporadically before starting 80/20 on Sept 22nd, it was just running for the sake of running and I had no goals to aim for

- I’m relatively injury free, my hip (osteoarthritis) is becoming more noticeable as I run more, although not painful, it every so often reminds me where we are going to be in the future

- I turn 55 next month, although that older guy who passed me yesterday at about 15 km gives me inspiration (despite the fact it really pissed me off!) that I couldn’t keep up with him

- My body weight needs to be lower. It’s hard dragging 223+ lbs. around for 2 to 4 hours, so I need to work on weight, and getting rid of old eating habits. But I do like bad stuff, beer, chips and cookies. Not so much carrots, apples and green beans

- I think I can recover from the longer runs/races fairly well, as long as injuries don’t creep in

Looking at 2015, my idea is to run the Calgary Marathon on May 31 which would mean serious training would start on February 9th. The Edmonton Marathon is on August 23 (is 3 months enough recovery time enough?) but the Okanagan is run later (more recovery time) on October 11th which is also Thanksgiving weekend. Before these races take place, there are also a couple of half marathons that might fit into my training schedule, but they may be weather dependent here in Edmonton. Ah yes, the weather. In Edmonton, it’s coming, cold and snow for the prime training period!

running again with new focus…

Since I ran the Edge to Edge Marathon in early June, I have not really been out pounding the pavement too much. My distance has been low and I’ve only been getting out once or twice a week.

Finally about two weeks ago I decided I had better get going again. There is a local half marathon coming up near the end of October that I would like to run in before the year ends so I have been starting to put some mileage on.

Part of my encouragement to get back at it again was reading “Keep on Running; The Highs and Lows of a Marathon Addict” by Phil Hewitt. His is a story of multiple marathons, how he became addicted to the run and his adventures at the many marathons he has chosen to run. It’s a good read but after a while each chapter seems the same, just a different location and you can skim through the story to quickly see how Phil made out in his chosen marathon location.

I have also been reading some of Matt Fitzgerald’s books on running,  “The New Rules of Marathon and Half-Marathon Nutrition”, “Racing Weight” and currently “80/20 Running”.  I’m no speedster nor am I anywhere near a serious runner but I do have some goals and I like the way Fitzgerald lays out his plans.  I have lost a bit of weight following some guidelines taken from “Racing Weight” and I am liking what I am reading in “80/20″. It is this book and plan that I hope will guide me to run the two halfs with an increase in performance. I have run a total of two half marathons and both have been sub 2 hour times, around 1:53, 1:55. I’d like to see if I could do something around 1:45 to show that the “80/20″ system works and give me something to build upon. Using the “80/20″ book as a plan for the 1/2, I am going to pick things up in week 11 of the prescribed training program.

The training actually started today and of course the first run was a recovery run…slow, agonizingly slow, so slow people in walkers were passing by me! I feel that if I were to run any slower I’d tip over. My goal is to use the remaining weeks to train using this system and see how my finishing time plays out. If it’s good, I’ll focus on using the “80/20″ system for next seasons races. I’m quite familiar with the course we will run so that is no problem, the only concern is if Mother Nature chooses to drop snow on us before the race date. having already had a big dump of snow the first weekend of September, I’m not encouraged Mother Nature will play nice.