Saturday, September 25, 2010

Race for the Cure

I don't know how it happened, but somehow I was up until 3am when I had to be awake at 6am to go to the Race for the Cure. My 1 mile 'fun run' was not until 10am, but my roommate John Foster was doing the timed and then untimed 5k beforehand, so we all went out to support him (and make fun of his outfit, see pic below for reference.)

Sexy, right? Speaking of sexy, other roommate Kristi was rocking sunglasses... not because it was bright but because she thought she looked like shit.

I don't know why, but the Race for the Cure usually gets me really emotional. Cancer is something that until recently had not affected my family, but being faced with SO many survivors and so many more "In Memory Of" signs, it is hard not to be affected. 

I had a heck of a time watching the first two races (a timed and untimed 5k), but most of the time I just wanted to be running with them. I saw at LEAST 20 people running who clearly did not register, but really, why would you cheat cancer research?! I will run this race next year. :-)

When the time came close for my 1 mile fun run/walk, I changed into the Vibram Five Fingers. Since some of my readers (wow, you guys are growing in number by the day) wanted to know which ones I had, I've attached a photo of them as well (the pair on the left).

The fun run started about 30 minutes late, due to just the massive turnout for the other races. I tried to work my way to the front of the crowd, but I ended up pretty far back into just a MASS of people. I decided to check both the race clock and my stopwatch to see how much disparity there was between race start and MY start.

Normally I am a 12 to 13 minute miler, a nice slow jogger as I like to call it. However, this was my first time ever doing any sort of race (and to be honest, any real running) in my Vibrams. I had been wearing them for everyday use and cycling for the past week to kind of prepare myself, thank goodness I did.

The gun fires.. The fun run has started.

Or has it.

Oh wait, I think someone is moving.

Oh shoot, did I doze off?

Oh we are moving...

And we're off!

Once I cleared the actual starting line I was darting in and out of traffic like a bicycle in NYC. There was never a stretch during the mile that I was 'alone', but the crowd thinned considerably as the runners separated from the walkers.

My goal for this run was to come in under 10 minutes. I know it is a bit of a lofty goal considering my normal pace, but I just 'felt it' today when I was hyping myself up for the race. 

Running in the Vibrams was a lot different than just walking around in them or cycling in them. For starters, it seemed a lot easier to get into a rhythm when running in the Vibrams. In shod-running (ie big normal shoes) I have always felt like I was exerting effort to pull my foot forward on each new stride, but with the Vibrams my steps felt light and somewhat longer. I know for a fact that my cadence naturally increased.

As I turned the first corner in the run I noticed that I was passing some very fit-looking people. One of the things that amazes me is how our society has become very lackadaisical and how unfit we are. I found one statistic that states that only 5% of our nation's adults can run a mile without stopping. Ok, off of the soapbox. 

I continued to pass people pretty steadily as the run continued. At one point I passed a group of kids from a local high school basketball team, I must have been looking pretty intense because they complimented me on my running. I didn't carry any water for the run because it was just a mile, so when I ran through a line of cheerleaders holding out water, well, I was in heaven. I was like, I either died and went to heaven or well, this is just awesome.

I had been running around 7 minutes when I passed a volunteer who was shouting to everyone, "You are halfway there!" I couldn't help but get discouraged, he had me thinking I was on pace to come in at a 14 minute mile. For a split second I wanted to walk, but thankfully they put attractive female volunteers all along the course, and my ego gave me a boost.

I turned the next corner, after the misinformed volunteer, and saw the finish line in the distance. At every race of any sort that I have ever done, I always have what I call, "Finish Line Fodder." When I am approaching the finish line I always attempt to pass someone in that final sprint. Today, however, there was nobody close by. I was around 100 yards from the finish, and the only people ahead of me were a cute college aged couple who had a good 20 yard lead on me. 

I didn't hesitate, I just kicked it into high gear. Sprinting in the Vibrams is a fun fun thing, because it makes yo feel like you are just ZOOMING along. I passed the cute couple with a good 20 yards to spare and gave a mid-sprint thumbs up to the photographer who was grabbing, what I am sure were, unflattering pictures of me midsprint.

I looked at the Race Clock, 11:38. I was afraid to look at the stopwatch on my iPod. It was going to be close... I had hit the stopwatch button the instant I crossed the finish line. I peeked at the stopwatch. 9 minutes and 59 seconds. My first sub-10 minute mile. I felt, alive. 

I hobbled over to the curb (hobbling due to blisters that formed somehow during the sprint) and gracefully fell into the grass. When I got up again I realized how much more work I am going to need to get used to being in the Vibrams. BOTH of my calves locked up with Charlie Horses.

In the end, it was an amazing race and amazing day. I didn't take too many pics since I only had my cell phone, but here is one for you faithful readers (beware, I look bloated).

Oh yeah, and I have pink polka-dotted hair and a boa. The things I do for Boobs.


Friday, September 24, 2010

Exploring my inner Tarahumara

To say I was sore when I awoke this morning would be a massive understatement. That is the funny thing about being sore though, you kind of get used to it. You grow numb to the lactic acid buildup. You learn the difference between feeling exhausted physically or mentally, and when you can distinguish, you can push through.

Judging by the above paragraph you would think today would have been a workout of epic proportions, you'd be wrong. Today was a rest day. :-) However, the above is still relevant here. I was both physically and mentally exhausted, and rest was needed.

In an effort to stay on track, I decided today would be the day to start experimenting with my Running Food Chia Seed. Excerpt time!

  • Chia is high in fiber, omega 3,’s 6’s and 9’s (in the correct ratio your body needs), antioxidants, and vitamin C. Running food has 16% of your daily value of calcium, plus boron and magnesium, which help your bones absorb the calcium. It can help lower cholesterol, increase energy levels, level blood sugar, induce weight loss and aid intestinal regularity. Best of all Running Food is not a manufactured supplement, it is completely natural.
  • Chia forms a gel when added to water or the digestive fluids in your stomach, slowing the digestive process, and allowing the nutrients to be slowly absorbed in your small intestine for a more efficient absorption of the nutrients. With more of the nutrition used by your body, rather than passing through, you keep your high level of energy in tact. And it helps you feel fuller longer. Bottom line: you have better nutrition, more energy, and are hungry less often.
I will be talking more about Chia seeds as time goes on, but I wanted to just briefly introduce them for the time being. 

So today I decided to try three different Chia recipes.

The first is pretty basic, Chia and water. I used 20 ounces of cold water and 2 tbsp Running Food Chia Seed in a Polar Water Bottle. I noticed a slight nutty taste, but the consistency was pretty easy to deal with. I expected more like a Gu Energy Gel, but I would say it was halfway between that and water.

The other two recipes both come from the "Born To Run" novel. The first is called Iskiate, or Chia Fresca. 

  • about 10 oz of water
  • 1 Tbsp dry chia seeds
  • a few teaspoons lemon or lime juice
  • honey or agave nectar, to taste (optional)
Stir the chia seeds into the water; let them sit for about five minutes.  Stir again, and let sit for as long as you like.  The more it sits, the more gel-like the seeds and water become.  Add citrus juice and sweetener to taste.

I made two big mistakes with this recipe. First off, I thought I read a few TABLESPOONS of lemon juice, and for some reason I added way too much honey as well. In addition, I put this in a nice tall clear glass, so I was able to SEE all of what I was drinking. The combination of those errors made this sickeningly sweet drink impossible to get down. I will be trying it again with just the lemon juice, and hold the honey in cast I need just a tad to cover up the nutty taste.

The last recipe I tried was also from the Born to Run book, called Pinole. 

  • 1/2 cup cornmeal, ground as fine as possible
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar, honey, or agave nectar
  • chia seeds (optional)
Toast the cornmeal in a skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until it turns light brown, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl, mix in cinnamon, and sweetener or other spices, and desired amount of water to reach a paste-like consistency. Place paste on a flat cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes.

The only thing I did to alter the recipe here was to add 1/2 of a teaspoon of vanilla extract. I was hoping this would help sweeten up the mixture before baking. The result turned out to be like a flatbread/cornbread consistency, but VERY bland in taste. I will be making this again very soon, and using some brown sugar instead of honey and possibly some splenda.

The moral of the story here is that while NONE of the recipes I made worked as well as I had hoped, I felt accomplished for trying. In some ways I felt like I was connecting with a culture that I will likely never experience in person. 

I did do SOME exercise today, in the form of a 50 yard footrace/sprint against my roommate's daughter. She is 7. I won. Booya.

Tomorrow morning I am doing the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure with the roommates. I am just doing the 1 mile fun run, because the other races cost a bit too much to enter when you are a broke guy. I will be wearing the Vibram FiveFingers tomorrow for the first time during a race.

Hopefully you'll all tune in tomorrow for more fun times.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Introductions are in order

Hi, my name is Josh. You may know me already, you may not. I was on a VH1 television show called "Money Hungry", which was essentially the bastard child of Biggest Loser, I Love Money, and some would say the Real World. That is about the extent of which we'll be talking about the show, because this is the story of what happens after, this is the story of me reaching my goal weight.

We pick up in the middle of my journey, but don't worry we still have a long way to go. To date I have went from nearly 450 pounds to 313 pounds when I left the show. Due to contractual issues I cannot reveal my current weight, but I will posting weekly losses. My goal, however, is to reach 200 pounds at a sub-15% bodyfat. I figure having come from 450 pounds at over 60% bodyfat, this is a good goal. :-)

I've recently moved back to Tulsa, Oklahoma, after having been gone for over 10 years. I spent a week or so rediscovering all of the places I used to love eating. Now I'm back on track and ready to kick some butt and take some names. I decided a few days ago to start blogging again, but I wanted to make sure I was really back on point before putting myself back out there for the world to see.

So, having rejoined a gym and been back on track nutritionally, I decided today was the day. I talked to my roommate John Foster (I tend to always call him by his first and last name, don't know why, but I do) into going on a bike ride with me. My normal ride is to the gym (7.5 miles), lift weights, and ride back. However, today for some reason we were thinking of a 20ish miler.

The problem with the route that I had plotted was threefold.

1 - I have chosen a route that was supposed to go TO the river, and then we were to turn around. However, when we got to the river I was all about trying out the river trails. You see, Tulsa has invested a LOT of money into the river trails, and so I couldn't resist.

2 - I need to learn to look at elevation when planning a bike route. I thought Tulsa was flat until we got going. The first 7-ish miles were on the road, so we stuck to back roads. The first few miles were pretty level, but after that we ran into steady rolling hills all the way until we hit the trail. I would say a few of the hills were a pretty steady 5-6% incline for a quarter mile at a time. The downhills seemed to be shorter. We would learn on the way back that this was NOT the case. This route turned out to literally be 'uphill both ways', thank god there was no snow (haha, get it?). My bottom run was not working right for some reason so I was stuck in the middle cog and forced to grind out the hills. I think I bottomed out at around 5 mph on one of the brutal hills.

3 - The wind. When I lived in Arizona the wind seemed to always be dead, and it was so hot you were praying for wind. However, in Oklahoma, the wind truly does come 'sweeping across the plains'. The wind was pretty steady at around 20 miles per hour from the south. So if you look at the map below you can see that we were running right into it, and at times had a nasty crosswind. The gusts were up to 35 miles per hour, and I swear they hit on the uphills every time.

Aside form those three things, the ride was pretty epic! When we hit the turnaround I ran into QuikTrip (best gas station in the WORLD) and grabbed a Gatorade G2 and a little Andes mint. The combination of the little bit of sugar in the Andes mint and the electrolytes in the G2 gave me the energy I needed to grind the way back.

Our split was much faster on the way back, mainly due to the wind and wanting to make it back in time to get some lunch. John Foster and I both guessed what time we would arrive back home, I guessed 1:11pm and he guessed 1:16pm. We pulled into the driveway at 1:13pm, talk about us both knowing our limits and pacing pretty well.

I knew I was under a bit on hydration, but didn't realize how much until I finally managed to go pee. I'll spare you the details, but let's just say I need to work on the on-cycle hydration. I am going to start using my Running Food Chia Seeds to help with this, but I didn't want to test things out on a 30 mile bike ride.

Final Distance: 30.6 miles
Final Time: 2 Hours, 40(ish) Minutes
Average Speed: Somewhere between 11 and 12mph
Elevation: Low (607), High (774), Ascent (377), Descent (-374) *
Perceived Rate of Exertion: 8/10
Total Calories Burned: 3,389 **

* As you can see by the Ascent/Descent numbers, it really was uphill both ways.
** Total calories burned estimated by averaging the results of 5 calories burned calculators**

After the ride we rode over to Bogey's Hamburgers, which was another place I had not been in over 10 years, and we had a nice post-ride meal. While having a cheeseburger and fries is not the BEST post-workout meal, when you drop over 3,000 calories in a single workout I think it is 'ok'.

I will be posting pics next time we take a ride, but with today being my first ride with John Foster, I wanted to ensure we were focused on safe and efficient riding. Tomorrow will be a bodyweight exercise day as it is supposed to storm all day here in Tulsa. I'm hoping I'm able to walk without looking like the old man from "Up".

Hide your friends, Hide your mom, Hide your wife, Hide your husband, cause we working out all over!