Week 86: Back on Track

I mentioned last week (Week 85) and the week prior (Week 84) that the deep freeze in Columbus drove me to basically hibernate and to not be as active as I should be. I am happy to say, after 2 weeks of less than stellar performance, I started getting back on track this week.

Weather Makes a Difference

There were 2 mornings this week when I woke up at 5:15 and discovered that the temperature outside was nearly 50 degrees. This 50-degree weather follows a week where we had single-digit high temperatures in Columbus. As a result I continue to learn how much the weather makes a difference in a fitness lifestyle.

Instead of last week’s hibernation and hiding from the weather I actually was able to have early morning outdoor runs twice this week. One of the runs was in the rain but that didn’t bother me at all. I just put on a rain jacket and went out in the rain.

The result was 2 great runs on Wednesday and Thursday and an amazing view of the rain soaked and densely foggy Schiller Park – have I mentioned that I love fog? The decision to go out and run despite conditions not being perfect was even the inspiration for this weeks Reflections on Leadership article.

Foggy morning run at Schiller Park

Unfortunately this means that I ran on consecutive days which I try very hard not to do because my body needs time to recover. Remember the “aging athlete” comment (http://www.operationmelt.com/2018/09/23/week-66-i-dont-give-myself-enough-credit/) from my doctor? But it seemed to work out ok this week with pretty much zero pain.

Me killing it on my morning run!

Though I usually only report my metrics a week behind I am going to pause to brag about running 17 total miles this week. That is way more than my 10 miles per week goal!

Music Makes a Difference

During my Thursday morning run I rediscovered that music makes a big impact on my performance.

I was nearing the end of my run and was in the final leg of my run around the park. Just then shuffle found some of my favorite running songs. The music pushed me to run another full lap around the park which added about another three-quarters of a mile to my total run. I ended up running over a 5k and being a little late for work – totally worth it!

This was just one of several instances this week when music made a big impact on me and my mood, my performance, my focus or my emotions. I am an incredibly music driven and its impact on me amazes me every time!

Killing it in the Gym

Not only did I get back to running this week I also killed it in the gym on Saturday morning for almost 2 hours.

My #Sweaturday workout this week … torched about 1500 calories in 2 hours!

I did a short, light warm-up run on the treadmill. Then I spent 40 minutes doing a weight lifting circuit that started with some body weight exercises including push-ups on a Bosu ball, deadlifts, bench press, cable chest presses and more. Then, just when the average person would have said “I’m done,” I got back on the treadmill for a 5-mile run.

I ran for an hour and hit a distance of more than 5 miles. I had planned to stop at 45 minutes but then, yet again, a string of great music played on my running playlist and pushed me further.

Almost Here: Operation Melt the Book!

My book is essentially done!

I have a couple of more edits to fold in and then we will call the first edition ready to sell. It has been an exciting 2 weeks of finishing the cover design, finishing my acknowledgements, adding a final chapter about bringing the weight loss journey to a close. Plus ever edit results in a new export to ePub format and it is a real book! I have thoroughly enjoyed watching this book come to life and am excited to share it soon.

Here is something that a lot of authors would never do – I am going to give you a semi-real-time view into my plans and thoughts. I have spent some time working on my rollout plan and have the basics figured out. My plan is to publish the first edition within the next 4-6 weeks in eBook format only. I am planning to start selling through OperationMelt.com for a short period of time first and then to expand to iTunes and Amazon and maybe more. I am going to let the eBook sell for a while and learn from the reviews. Then, after 2-3 months of eBook sales, I am planning to release the second edition in both eBook and paperback.

Hopefully by this time next week I can announce a target release date and maybe even start taking pre-orders. But that may be a little ambitious because there are still some mechanical and other aspects that I need to try to figure out this week.

Thanks for reading!

Last week’s stats (1/28-2/3):

Maintain avg. weight of 189-199 pounds: 198.3 lbs average
Run 10+ miles per week: 4 miles
Total walk/run miles: 26.8 miles
Weight training 2-3 times per week: 1 workout
Yoga 1+ times per week: skipped due to weather
One race per month: January 5k complete on 1/1, no February race scheduled
Continue to track & manage calories: 3,121 calories under budget

Week 85: Deeper Freeze & More Hibernation

I talked last week about how the super cold weather led to me choosing to essentially hibernate instead of staying active with my exercise goals. Guess what? The temperatures in Columbus fell even further this week and this wasn’t the turnaround week I had hoped it would be.

Fortunately I did manage to get into the gym on Friday and Saturday so that is something. Plus the temperatures in Columbus are forecasted for a big turnaround today and will be near 50. I am going to celebrate the glimpse of warmth with an outside run. I just have to avoid the melting snow, slush and remaining ice and stay safe.

While I didn’t have many meaningful fitness updates this week I did have a couple of interesting experiences this week.

I Look Good!

Throughout this journey people have told me that I look good and have frequently given me compliments – no that is not a #HumbleBrag. But there has never been a time where I thought “yeah, I am looking good” because that is just not how my brain works. In fact I don’t believe there has ever been I time when I looked in the mirror and thought that.

On Friday I caught a glimpse of myself in a full-length mirror and everything was just working. I was wearing good fitting jeans, a slim fit shirt and a nice sweater. It all just came together and I really liked what I saw.

I looked good!

So I tried to get a good picture of myself to share and I just couldn’t replicate the lighting and perspective I had. I even tried taking a picture in a restaurant bathroom where the lighting was good and had an embarrassing moment when somebody walked in. But the following pic is the best I came up with from all of my tries.

Don’t I look good? You don’t need to answer that because I know the answer!

Before & After & After

During the last week of January a year ago my wife and I worked to create some good before & after pictures from my journey. I was really starting to show physical changes from my weight loss and I thought it would be a good time to show some side-by-side photos. You know, like ya do in a journey like this.

In my weekly blog on 1/28/2018 (Week 32: I am killing it!) I included the following side-by-side / before & after picture. This was taken at Barcelona Restaurant before I started my journey and then 32 weeks into it.

This week was exactly one year later and we happened to be sitting in the same seats – creatures of habit I guess. So I thought it would be a good time to share an updated version.

One year can make a big difference and I couldn’t be happier with my progress.

Some added fun in this pic is the progress of my posture. I think it looks like those evolution of man photos that show the progress from caveman to modern man. Or is that just the way my broken brain works?

Book Progress

Finally I am pretty excited because I made lots of progress with my book this week. I have fixed some layout things and created at least a working draft of my cover art. I added some additional visual elements in the book and have the eBook version close to ready for a launch. I just need to figure out a solution for how to prepare the print version too.

Stay tuned as I expect some big news here soon!

Thanks for reading!

Last week’s stats (1/21-1/27):

Maintain avg. weight of 189-199 pounds: 197.7 lbs average
Run 10+ miles per week: 3 miles
Total walk/run miles: 23.6 miles (one of my lowest ever!)
Weight training 2-3 times per week: 1 workout
Yoga 1+ times per week: class cancelled due to weather
One race per month: January complete, no February race scheduled
Continue to track & manage calories: 851 calories under budget

Week 84: Winter Hibernation

Winter has hit Columbus and this was a cold snowy week. There were snow emergencies which delayed the gym opening and cancelled yoga my class. But the biggest impact of the weather on my fitness journey was a little bit different and less legitimate.

Finding an Excuse

Yes this week was cold (mostly morning lows) but not that cold. Yes this week was snowy but not that snowy. Yes there was ice on the roads but they weren’t that bad.

Unfortunately I used this weather as an excuse to stay in the house and essentially to hibernate.

I didn’t go to the gym or do my yoga class on Sunday though it was cancelled and I also didn’t do yoga at home which I could have done. I didn’t go to the gym on Monday, a holiday and day off where I could have had unlimited time for a workout. I didn’t have any exercise on Tuesday either and just went to work early.

On Wednesday I got back into the game a bit with my weekly training session and it was a pretty good one. I did a moderately long and stupid cold walk on Thursday. Then I did an after work workout on Friday. So I thought I was getting myself back on track.

Then I had an early meeting on Saturday so I did no workout at all and didn’t do my long run. I didn’t do yoga on Sunday (2 weeks straight) and didn’t leave the couch Sunday morning at all. So the result was a weekend without exercise and a week without a long run.

Making the lack of exercise worse I paired it with not being very diligent about tracking my Saturday night calorie consumption. I know I went past my daily calorie target I just don’t know much. So it was a double whammy of bad decision making.

I know it isn’t the right choice but I found an excuse to give myself permission to take my foot off the gas this week. Looking ahead at the upcoming week it is going to be very cold which means there is a risk of a repeat of last week.

The only thing I can do is to do my best to do better during the upcoming week. I absolutely forgive myself for this week’s bad decisions (which I enjoyed by the way) and am looking forward!

Thanks for reading!

Last week’s stats (1/14-1/20):
Maintain avg. weight of 189-199 pounds: 198.4 lbs average
Run 10+ miles per week: 11.4 miles
Total walk/run miles: 32.9 miles
Weight training 2-3 times per week: 2 workouts
Yoga 1+ times per week: class cancelled due to weather
One race per month: January 5k complete on 1/1
Continue to track & manage calories: 4,734calories under budget

Week 83: Slowing Down to Go Faster

This was another week in a post-weight-loss world for me.

I have already deviated from the “new normal” routine I talked about last week because I needed a few extra recovery days from my long run last week. I also skipped yoga this weekend because of a big winter storm that dropped tons of snow on Columbus. So it wasn’t the best week for my new routine.

Fortunately I did stick to some of my new routine this week. I had a good training session on Wednesday. I did a short run on Friday. Plus I had a killer workout for over 2 hours on Saturday including weights and running over 7 miles. So it wasn’t a lazy week by any means just not the week I had planned.

So far maintenance mode has been a mixed bag for me. In some ways it is uncomfortable because I am no longer pursuing a goal and it feels like I am in neutral. It just feels strange to not be focused on my weight after the journey I have just finished. But I am only 20 days into the new phase of my fitness journey so it will get easier.

On the other hand not focusing on my weight has enabled me to focus more on other goals. While working on these other goals I am learning some valuable lessons along the way.

Slow Down to Go Fast

A few years ago an executive I worked with said “we have to slow down to go faster.” It was an interesting point of view on focus and prioritization. If we focus our energy on the highest priority work and avoid the distractions we get deliver faster.

I learned this week that the slow down to go faster concept applies to running as well.

On my longer runs, greater than a 5k distance, I tend to stick to a pace of 9-10 minutes per mile. At this pace I end up getting tired after 2 miles or so and need to slow to a walk for a bit to recover. The net result is a total pace of mid 12-minute miles and a fair amount of pain after a 10k, quarter marathon or a half marathon.

This weekend I tried a slightly different approach to my long runs by slowing down to go fast. I ran over a quarter marathon on the treadmill this weekend just like last weekend. But this weekend I slowed my running pace down a bit to 11-minute miles. The result was that I was able to keep running longer without having to slow to walk as frequently.

Because I slowed my running pace my total average pace was 11:23 which is 1 minute and 10 seconds faster than my half marathon! It was also about 35 seconds faster than a nearly identical run just one week earlier.

I have learned this week that the pursuit of a faster distance running pace, like many other goals, can benefit from slowing down to go faster.

Thanks for reading!

Last week’s stats (1/7-1/13):

Maintain avg. weight of 189-199 pounds: 196.8 lbs average
Run 10+ miles per week: 12.4 miles
Total walk/run miles: 41.2 miles
Weight training 2-3 times per week: 2 workouts
Yoga 1+ times per week: 1 Sunday yoga class
One race per month: January 5k complete on 1/1
Continue to track & manage calories: 4019 calories under budget

Week 82: New Normal Takes Shape

This was the first full week of 2019 and my new post-weight-loss normal is starting to take shape this week. I am working to establish a more structured fitness routine to ensure that I am pursuing all of my goals but doing so in a healthy way instead of risking overdoing it. But in general this was a thoroughly uneventful week

New Weekly Routine

As I mentioned I am working on building a new weekly routine for my fitness goals. Some of the main goals of this new routine include:

  • Run 10+ miles each week but never run on consecutive days.
  • Get into the gym and lift weights 2-3 times per week but don’t target lower body workouts the day before a long run.
  • Include at least 1 active rest day per week.
  • Focus on flexibility and joint health through yoga and stretching.
  • Give myself freedom to adjust the routine based on how I feel and other things happening in my life like early days at work or races.

With those goals in mind I have sketched out the following routine. I have built it around one long run each week on Saturday and a personal training session every Wednesday. Then I pieced in everything else around that.

  • Monday: gym or active rest day
  • Tuesday: short run or long walk
  • Wednesday: personal training day
  • Thursday: short run or long walk
  • Friday: gym or active rest day
  • Saturday: long run of 3+ miles or more as I prep for half marathons
  • Sunday: yoga

So that is the routine as it stands now. I am sure it will continue to evolve as I live with it. For example I am already thinking about taking a break from running for most of this coming week due to so pain I have from my long run. So we will see how it changes over time.

Treadmill Long Runs

On Saturday I did my long run of the week – 7 miles. Unfortunately snow hit Columbus and this is what I woke up to on the morning of my long run.

So running outside was not in the cards. This meant that I needed to take my long run into the gym and do it on the treadmill.

What I relearned this week is that long runs on the treadmill aren’t great. It is more boring on the treadmill and harder to adjust speed up and down in a natural way. I was slow, I was sluggish and I had more pain after the run than I usually do. But I did the run and continued to make progress towards my next half marathon.

Unfortunately I will probably have to keep doing treadmill long runs because winter has arrived.

Stats Tracking

Starting this week I am tracking a different set of stats at the end of my weekly blog posts.

My previous stats of calories in, calories out, etc. were all focused on losing weight. Now that I am done with that I need to update the stats to focus on the things that I am focused on now. I have included an initial stab in this week’s update but I am planning for them to change over time.

Thanks for reading!

Last week’s stats (12/31-1/6):
Maintain avg. weight of 189-199 pounds: 198.3 lbs average
Run 10+ miles per week: 12.36 miles
Total walk/run miles: 33.5 miles
Weight training 2-3 times per week: 1 workout
Yoga 1+ times per week: 1 Sunday yoga class
One race per month:
January 5k complete
Continue to track & manage calories: 2626 calories under budget