Week 97: Life Gets Surreal

Lots of things happened this week in my journey. All of these things together are kind of surreal and it feels like I am walking around in somebody else’s life. Alas it is my life.In the span of just a few days:

My book continues to sell

  • I was asked to autograph my first copy
  • I was interviewed by one of my favorite podcasts
  • I completed a half marathon

It is all a little overwhemling but incredibly rewarding at the same time.

Cap City Half Marathon

Saturday I participated in the Cap City Half Marathon in Columbus. This will be my second organized half marathon in six months and my fifth overall half marathon distance run in nine months.

I had trained for the marathon for a couple of months and was planning a strategy of run two miles, walk a half mile and repeat. This approach would let me hit my speed target but would also give me rest periods so I didn’t completely wear myself out.

On Saturday morning I walked to the marathon starting course and connected with a friend of mine. We hung out together and talked until it was time to get in our corrals and get ready for the race.

Lesson Learned: having a friend to talk to before the race starts is a good way to manage your nerves instead of just dwelling on the race for hours.

Then it was time to go. I got into my corral and waited for things to start. We sang the national anthem and then the race started. They released runners one corral at a time and I was in E so it was probably 15 minutes between the time the race started and I started running but my time came.

I deviated from my strategy right away and ran the first three miles because it was through my neighborhood and I was comfortable there. I tried to manage my pace so I didn’t go too fast and wear myself out. Then I got to my first walking segment right around the 3-mile mark. It was terribly uncomfortable to walk in a pack of runners which may stem from my competition.

Segment #2 of my run was miles 3.5 to 6 which was nearly the halfway mark. I was feeling pretty good at this point and was making good time. I was way ahead of my target time but I also knew that I would slow down as the race went on so I didn’t get too excited.

The next segment wound through he streets of Ohio State University and I really started feeling it at that point. I was starting to get tired and starting to feel soreness but I kept going. Once I got to the 8.5 mile mark I decided to walk again by Ohio Stadium and by the Value City Arena and that was a difficult time to walk because several pacers (people who run the whole race at a specific pace carrying a sign to let you know you are on track) passed me by.

Eventually I hit the 10-mile mark which meant that I just had a 5k left to run. I have run 5ks many times so I was trying to convince myself that the rest of the run was easy. But it wasn’t easy at all. Just before I hit the 11-mile mark as we almost completely out of gas, I was starting to get sore and starting to walk more. I knew I could finish but my time goal was definitely at risk.

For the last mile I kept pushing myself to run as much as I could and to fast walk when I needed to do so. I pushed and pushed and finally crossed the finish line with a time of 2:24 which was 6 minutes faster than my stretch goal.

Lesson Learned: I am getting better! I cut 20 minutes off of my race time since the Columbus Marathon in October. Plus I was able to avoid the cramping issues I faced in the last marathon.

After crossing the finish line I drank water, ate some food and made my way to the after party. I enjoyed my free beer, my free margarita and my free White Claw while listening to the bad perform and hanging out with other friends who finished the race.

Through the rest of the afternoon I celebrated with my wife and a friend who ran with me. I had lots of food and lots of drinks through the afternoon. Then around 8 I started hitting a wall and I retired to the couch where I immediately fell asleep.

Unfortunately I started developing chills and other flu like symptoms through the evening. I ended up throwing up multiple times and just felt terrible. I don’t know what caused it. Did I really catch a bug or get food poisoning? Was it just nerves after completing the marathon? Was my body not reacting well to drinking alcohol after such a long run? I don’t know what caused it but I definitely did not enjoy the results.

On Sunday I woke up and my stomach was still pretty tentative. Plus I had sore muscles throughout my body as I would expect after running 13 miles. So the majority of my Sunday was spent sleeping or otherwise sitting in one place with zero energy.

Lesson Learned: every body has its limits and pushing yourself right to those limits or just past them has an impact. So, after a half marathon, rest is very important.

Thanks for reading and check back next week for details on my podcast interview!

Last week’s stats (4/15-4/21):

Maintain avg. weight of 189-199 pounds: 200.1 lbs average
Run 10+ miles per week: 13 miles
Total walk/run miles: 34.2
Weight training 2-3 times per week: 1 workout
One race per month: January, March and April races complete, half marathon 4/27
Continue to track & manage calories: 2,298 calories under budget

Life Can Be Amazing

Life can be truly amazing sometimes.

The picture on the left was me just 2 summers ago. I was 325 pounds, I had terrible self confidence, bad health and a poor view of my own self-worth. On the right is me picking up my The Capital City Half Marathon packet for my second half marathon in 6 months and of me signing my first ever autograph on my book.

If you will allow me one moment of bragging: holy shit I have accomplished so much in less than 2 years! I am so proud of what I have done and have such an improved view of my purpose, my calling and my power.

I sincerely hope that me sharing my journey helps other people discover the feeling of accomplishment and happiness with life that I have found.

Now…. let’s crush this race!

Reflections on Leadership: Leaders Seek Feedback

Weekly Inspiration

Leaders Seek Feedback

We have all heard the phrase: feedback is a gift. But do you really believe that?

I was in a training class once and I was being taught a particular leadership model used in a very well-known retail company. The leadership model was called CLIMB. The L in the CLIMB model stood for “let the customer drive the organization.” Essentially that the voice of the customer should be the key driver for how to lead your team.

True leaders seek input and feedback from their customers. It is only when you listen to your customer that you can make the best decision for the direction of your organization. Or your team. Or even your writing.

It is with this concept in mind that I ask you for your help. I am interested in your feedback about my Reflections on Leadership article series.

Are you reading these articles?

Is this series helpful to you?

Are you getting value from this series?

Is there a specific topic that you would like me to address in an upcoming article?

Is there something else you would like me to do with this series?

Would you prefer that I stop posting?

What is it about this series that is interesting to you?

Call to Action: help me improve my Reflections on Leadership and make them more impactful to you be sending me feedback. Comment here or email me directly and let me know what you think. Send me your suggestions.

Thank you in advance for your feedback.

About Reflections on Leadership

Reflections on Leadership is my weekly article series reflecting on what it means to be a great leader. I hope that these thoughts can help you with your own leadership development journey.

My mission for Operation Melt is to help you melt away all of the obstacles to achieving your goals, not just your fitness goals. So, helping us all become better leaders is fully aligned with that mission. Maybe this will help achieve the Operation Melt vision

To create a world where goals never die of loneliness.

Thank you for reading and please feel free to share your perspective on this topic, my Reflections on Leadership series or anything else via a share on social media or message me directly.

Learn more about why I share what I share at https://OperationMelt.com/why/

Learn more about my book at https://OperationMelt.com/book/

Join my email list at https://OperationMelt.com/mail/

Week 96: “Big Weeks” and Marathon Week

It is kind of funny when you think about how your definition of a “big” week changes over time.

I used to think it was a big week if I had some important meetings or solving a big technical issue at work. During my weight loss journey I thought it was a big week if I lost five pounds. Now the weight loss is done and my weight is holding pretty steady minus the day-to-day fluctuations (which can be as much as five pounds sometimes) and “big” weeks are taking on a new meaning.

At first I was going to say that this was a relatively average week without anything major to talk about. But, it turns out, I am not giving myself enough credit. I am doing things on my “average” week that are phenomenal by any rational person’s standards. I am just not necessarily seeing it that way because my perspective is a little skewed since I am in it.

In some ways my inability to distinguish my “big” weeks from just “average” weeks reminds me of my weight loss. I was about forty or fifty pounds down, my clothes were falling off of me and people were commenting on my weight loss daily. But I didn’t see it. When I looked in the mirror all I saw was how much I have left to go and not the progress. I still saw the same guy looking back at me. It happened so gradually and I was deep in it the whole time so it was hard for me to see that I was making incredible progress.

I need to take a minute, pull myself up out of the details and look at weeks like this one with the proper perspective. This was NOT an “average” week and next week will not be an “average” week. I have started something big and I need to remember that I am making huge strides in my own journey while helping others. This was a “big” week”!

  • I launched the paperback version of my book
  • People are buying the book albeit slowly
  • Somebody I didn’t know excitedly approached me and told me she just bought my book
  • The stranger who bought my book got there from my social media posts and tagging a local wine bar so I got some validation that my social posting is having an impact
  • My Instagram followers got to 400
  • I learned that I am going to get some press about my journey and book
  • My bench press goal got fully within reach
  • I had my last few runs before going into rest mode for next weekend
  • Plus my wife and I lived a week full of love and fun and it was her birthday

Just an “average” week? I guess I need to get the hell over myself and open my eyes to the fact that I really am kind of killing it. I just need to do a better job of seeing that!

This is marathon week

This coming Saturday will be the Cap City Half Marathon in Columbus. This will be my second organized half marathon in six months and my fifth overall half marathon distance run in nine months. I think I am ready though I am going to be on edge all week thinking about the race.

My last half marathon (see my post from 10/28) was an amazingly rewarding and an amazingly tough experience for me. I struggled and almost gave up twice during the race. But I didn’t give up and I finished with a time of 2:44 which isn’t terrible for a first run. I embraced a run/walk strategy of alternating miles of each.

For the Cap City my goal is to achieve a time of 2:30. My plan is to continue my run/walk strategy but to alternate between two miles running and a half mile walk. I tried this a few weeks ago (see my post from 3/24) and hit my 2:30 time on a course that wasn’t closed and while stopping to take some pictures along the way. But it was really hard at the end and I felt pretty sore and out of it for a couple of days. So my fingers are crossed but I have a fair amount of anxiety about the race.

In preparation for the race this week is going to be a rest week with no significant running and only low impact exercise. So this past week was the end of my pre-race running. Fortunately it was, mostly, a beautiful spring week and I got out several times to enjoy the weather with a run. I ended with my final run of any distance this morning when I did 4.5 miles, practicing my run/walk strategy, on a chilly morning by the lake.

The rest of this week is going to be walking, resting and taking care of proper nutrition. It will culminate with Thursday and Friday being all about getting into the zone mentally and cleansing my body of “bad” foods to focus on being ready for Saturday.

Lesson Learned: nerves are a natural part of building up to something big. Just take care of the things in your control, trust your training and expect the best.

I have a real book

My book, Operation Melt: How I Used Life-Changing Project Management to Lose Over 100 Pounds in Under a Year, launched in paperback this week. The paperback is available exclusively on Amazon right now and is starting to sell.

While I have had the eBook in the market for a while now there is something different about a paperback. You can pick it up and it is something tangible. It just feels like even more of a “real” book though an eBook is absolutely real.

People are starting to read the book and even people I don’t know. That is amazing! I have been approach about some media coverage in one of my favorite podcasts which is super exciting. People are very interested in my story and have ideas about how to help it impact even more people. So this journey is really starting to build momentum.

Lesson Learned: keep focused on your goal even when things seem to be going slowly. If you do what is in your control to prepare a good product and help it get visibility you will build the momentum needed to get you there. Patience grasshopper!

Thanks for reading and happy Easter!

Last week’s stats (4/8-4/14):

Maintain avg. weight of 189-199 pounds: 200.6 lbs average
Run 10+ miles per week: 10.86 miles
Total walk/run miles: 42.7 miles
Weight training 2-3 times per week: 1 workout
One race per month: January, March and April races complete, half marathon 4/27
Continue to track & manage calories: 3,122 calories under budget

Week 95: Finding Little Bits of Progress in a Week of Normalcy

This was a pretty average week for my Operation Melt journey so not a lot to share.

We did reopen our lake house this week which gives me some more variety in scenery when it comes to running. Unfortunately it also gives me a new set of challenges on the food side and I tend to snack more and eat less healthy meals at the lake. But I know how to manage that!

Adjusting to Maintaining

As you know I am in weight maintenance mode now and stopped the weight loss at the end of 2018. When I stopped I was, and still am, likely at my lowest healthy weight. That means that my body is more prone to daily weight fluctuations driven primarily by my daily balance of water and sodium.

A weight loss journey is physically and mentally tough but so is maintenance mode. Maintenance is just tough in different ways that mostly exist in my head.

For 18 months I stepped on the scale nearly every morning and saw my weight decreasing. I had set a goal, I was measuring progress every day and was rewarded with a daily dose of measurable success. This is like a powerful drug to my high competition, high achiever, goals focused brain.

Daily measurable success is not a permanent dependable staple in life.

In real life, or maintenance mode as the case may be, our days are filled with ups and downs. It is possible that you will go many days without a measurable “win” in your life. For somebody who spent 18 months with daily wins this could feel very uncomfortable. It could feel like you are sitting still or that you are failing – both are very similar in my achiever/competition brain!

Fortunately I have been able to see some wins in other areas. I have even taken my own advice from this week’s Reflections on Leadership and created some wins. But I am also working on being ok with days that really are just maintenance as uncomfortable as that is.

Lesson Learned: if you are going through a major transformation where you get to see wins daily, enjoy it. There will be a time when you return to “normal” life and the wins come less frequently. During the journey it is important to remind yourself that this is a project so that means it is a temporary endeavor and will have an end date.

Continuing My Book Journey

My book, Operation Melt: How I Used Life-Changing Project Management to Lose Over 100 Pounds in Under a Year, slowly continued selling this week. I tested my first ad campaign (a tiny one) but it really didn’t do anything but teach me how it works. I also got my first Amazon product review and I created my author page.

One area of notable book success came on Friday. I unexpectedly discovered that Amazon had listed me as their #1 new release book in the project management category. That felt like a big win to me and was very exciting.

Also my first “proof” of my paperback has arrived and I will get to look through that on Sunday evening. I am considering releasing my first paperback through Amazon’s print on demand service this week. I just need to see if I think it loses any of its impact if the interior pages are printed in black and white. There is a significant cost difference and printing in color may price it out of a convenient range for readers. Short story: I am expecting to release the paperback very soon!

Lesson Learned: keep your eyes on why you started the journey. I was getting frustrated because my book wasn’t selling faster when somebody asked me a big question. “Did you really write this book to make money?” No, no I didn’t. I wrote it to tell my story and to prove to myself that I could write a book. Most of all, I wrote it to help other people. That doesn’t require selling a million copies.

Spring Fitness

In last week’s post I talked about how it is spring time and that means fitness is easier. Well this week was even nicer and I was even more active. Every day I tried to run or at least go for a long walk. It was amazing! I covered some serious distance and, if it wasn’t for the rain this morning, I would be on track to meet or exceed last week’s totals and I ran a 10k last week!

I am very happy it is spring and that I am able to ramp back up the outdoor activities. I really missed the sun and the warmth and not having to dress in layers to go for a run! Plus spring time means it is lake time and I get views like this when running.

Lesson Learned: it is easier to enjoy the exercise when you have great weather, warmth and nature is in full bloom!

Save the Date: Operation Melt 5k

As many of you remember from last year my first ever 5k was one that I hosted. Last June I hosted the Operation Melt First Time 5k at the Scioto Audubon Park. This was an informal race of just a small group of close supporters which benefitted a nonprofit. It was no frills, no medals, no shirts, no closed course, etc. It was just a group of Operation Melt supporters getting together for a 5k run.

Big news: I am going to host my Operation Melt 5k again this year! I plan to host the race on 6/15 – which is the anniversary date of my decision to change my life. It will be at the Audubon park again and it will be an informal 5k again. I really like these small, informal races!

More information will follow soon. If you want to be kept in the loop, please make sure that you are a member of my email list.

Thanks for reading and have a great week!

Last week’s stats (4/1-4/7): 

Maintain avg. weight of 189-199 pounds: 201.6 lbs average
Run 10+ miles per week: 10 miles
Total walk/run miles: 45 miles
Weight training 2-3 times per week: 1 workout
One race per month: January, March and April races complete, half marathon 4/27
Continue to track & manage calories: 2,933 calories under budget