8 Week Weight Loss Challenge

I’m too heavy. Or at least I’ve got too much dead weight (fat).

I’m not way overweight but could stand to lose 10 pounds or so. It would help my running, my self-image, and just be healthier.

This realization didn’t come overnight, although I literally popped a button off my shorts last night. For over two years, I have tracked my weight on a near-daily basis so I have been aware of the need to shed pounds. (Plus I have this handy tool called a mirror that gives real-time feedback).

As a side note, I use an android app called WeightTracker (by pigdogbay). What I like about it compared to other apps I tried is it uses linear regression to give you trends over the last 7, 30, and all time, of your progress and uses those to predict when you will hit your target weight.

The mystery is, how am I going to do this?

Just like a detective, I’m going to present my intended means, motivation, and opportunity.

Means

How am I going to shift the calories in to calories used equation to my favor?

First, taking a look at my current diet, the biggest problem is eating too much in general with splurging on junk food an contributing factor.

On a day-to-day basis, I just eat too much. The typical workday pattern is I slurp down a bowl of cereal in the morning, eat a fruit or two as a non-lunch, eat essentially a meal when I get home from work, and eat supper later in the evening. The “meal” I eat when I get home is the most problematic. Because I am pretty hungry at that point, I eat with great enthuaism and minimal concern about the quality.

In an effort to avoid this post-work binging, I am going to eat more. But eat it sooner so I do not feel the compulsion to overeat. Adding a fruit to my breakfast and eating a more substantial, healthy lunch consisting of various fruits and vegetables should allow me to arrive home without feeling very hungry and wanting to eat, eat, eat.
The other addition I intend to make is start each meal with a serving of fruit/vegetable and glass of water. The intent again is to front load my consumption with healthy food. I’m also hoping to slow down and give myself time to feel full sooner.

Motivation

I’ve been trying to lose these stubborn 5-10 pounds and, other than 2012 when I ran multiple marathons, have consistently failed.

On some podcast I heard about an app that “motivates” you to meet your goals by automatically making a donation to an organization you despise if you fail to meet the goal. Unfortunately I remember neither which podcast nor the app name.

I thought about committing to either the Clinton or Trump campaigns or even both. But that seems too severe. So I decided to use my “hatred” for the minnysota vikings and tie failure to them. A former viking player, Jared Allen, does some very good work building homes for wounded veterans. I vow to make a donation to his charity, Jared Allen’s Homes for Wounded Warriors if I fail.

But because that lacks real bite–the money would still be going to a good cause–I will also pledge to run a race in Wisconsin in viking gear if I lose. That makes the challenge a lot more visceral.

Opportunity

I have been trying to lose 5-10 pounds for over a decade and other than 2012 when I ran two marathons, have not been able to sustain that.

This morning, I weighed in at 162.6 pounds, had an average morning weight of 161.457 the last seven days (median of 161.8), and gut circumference of 36 inches.


But really, this one photo shows the problem in horrifying detail.

The Challenge

So my eight week challenge is to get under 155 pounds in eight weeks. If my average weight for week #8 is 155 or less, I win. If it is over, I lose.

Ouch! 2016 Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon

Grandma’s Marathon is one of my favorite race events. I grew up in the Northland, so it is part of my running heritage.

Other than a couple of occassions, though, I’ve bypassed the main attraction and run the Garry Bjorklund half marathon. I think I’ve run it four times now.

Because the emphasis is on the full marathon, the logistics for the half are a bit more challenging–I come over from Wisconsin and catch the busses at Race central, the DECC. The problem is with less bussing options and the earlier start time, traffic in the area is chaotic. Every time, I end up stressing that I’m going to miss the busses while in traffic. This year, I jumped out and let my father-chaffeur worry about parking while I rushed to get into line and wait. I was in the last group of busses to leave and got to the starting area 15 minutes prior to kickoff.

In my rush to get to the starting corral, I missed the bag drop. Ended up going back against traffic to drop my bag. One benefit was I did see, almost ran into, my arch-nemesis, Scott, from a nearby town who runs at very similar paces as I do.

I was just entering the corrals as the race started and crossed the starting line about six minutes after the official start. The first three miles were spent weaving traffic and jumping on/off the left shoulder to pass. I knew I was probably wasting effort but I was way back from where I wanted to be.

My training had been consistent, albeit, at a lower level than I would have liked. I was consistent with my weekly long runs-ran a 13.1+ miler on 20 of 22 weekends before tapering the last two weekends. But my weekday running was at a low level, running only 1 or 2 other days a week. So, just like last year, I went in with low expectations. I ran a 1:39 last year so I was hoping for a 1:40 this year.

After the course thinned out a bit, I settled into a decent rythem. I was clocking most of my miles in the 7:45 to 8:00 range, a little off 1:40 pace but it feel tight. It was getting warm and I wanted to run easy early. 

One thing I like to do in the warm races is take a glass of water and hold it on top of my head then pull it down to the back of my neck. I then grab a cup of ice, pinch the wax paper cup closed and carry it with me. I suck on the ice cubes one by one.

Going into a race without high expectations lets me spend more time people-watching. As the race moves into town, there are more spectators to see and interact with. When I’m not race-racing a race, they can be a ton of fun.

Things were going well as I entered town. I had feared an emergency pit stop was going to be required passed and felt good going up Lemon Drop Hill around mile nine.

Not sure if it was the warming temperature, the under-training, or the hill, but my right calf started to tighten around mile ten. The next two miles, it was consistently tight. Just after finishing mile twelve, it full-on cramped and brought me to a stop. I actually cried out, “Ouch!” I tried to stretch it a bit (which I should have done earlier) and tried to gently finish. It severely cramped one more time, eliciting another, “Ouch!”.

I shortened my stride and shuffled the last bit and rumbled in in 3:45-something. Overall, not too bad, felt like I ran a solid effort. The finish was a little disappointing, although it probably only cost me a minute to ninety seconds so really doesn’t define how my race went, just how it ended.

One of the happy side-effects of getting my bag in so late at the start was it was on the last truck to leave and ended up getting stuck in traffic.  I ended up waiting around in the finish area for much longer than normal and got to absorb more of the atmosphere. It was fun sitting and runner-watch for awhile.

After an hour wait, got my bag and we started slowly heading back to the car. We followed the race course backwards and got to cheer for the final halfers and saw the first three marathoners. The runners finishing off the half make me want to cry out of inspiration. They were out there for three hours or more and pushed to the end. Their determination is just moving.

Anyhow, the final numbers:

Time: 1:44:28.

Age Group Place: 37th

Number of places I moved up after the start: 4,202

Potty Breaks: 0

Bacon stations spotted: 2

Amount of bacon consumed: None

Times I heard “Another One Bites The Dust”: 1

“May The Course Be With You” signs spotted: 2

Times I spit: 4

Number of High-5s given/received: 8

Number of “Go Packers” I yelled to other runners/spectators: 7

Number of brats purchased at Superior Meats: 11 

2016, a New Year!

Turning the page on 2015 which was a down year for my running. Only had 500-some miles, breaking a 4-year streak of 1,000+ miles. Only raced three times, missing the final two races in the Salomon Autumn Trail Series–the only races I’ve missed in the 5 or 6 years of the series. I had some other priorities in 2015–I changed jobs, started grad school, sold & bought homes, have a 1-year-old, and had a blood clot that stuck me in the hospital twice and required the installation of a stent.

So I choose not to emphasize my running as much in 2015.

Some of those priorities from 2015 should be less of a factor in 2016 so I’m hoping to increase my running this year. I’m registered for the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon in June and am looking for some other filler races. I’m not setting any crazy goals for this year, just run 1,000+ miles, lose 7-8 pounds, and stay injury-free.

Happy New Year to everyone, hope 2016 is great for you.