Tag Archives: travel

“New Normal” / Back In The Trenches / Sunday Fundays Begin

Here we go again. Weight still hanging right around 200’s. Hoping to keep it there or actually let it creep up a bit. I’m comfortable where I’m at, and I am honestly getting less fixated on the number and more concerned with how I feel. (which is fantastic by the way, so I am not going to add stress over a number anymore….or at least try not to). I am feeling good and comfortable where I’m at, and there is no reason to freak out over a few pounds either way. That’s what I say out loud anyway. When I started all this out, I went into it with the mindset of “I am going to focus less on the number and more on getting physically fit”, so by that measure, I am doing great. I feel better and have more energy than I may have ever before. It’s hard, but I am slowly (but steadily) making progress in the effort to stop being so hyper-focused on the effort “as an effort” and more of just making it a more effortless “new normal”. This “new normal” will even include cheating. I don’t want to call it cheating per se, but I haven’t come up with a better term for it. Maybe just say that I want to be more accepting of the fact that I can actually eat some of those foods that I thought were gone forever and still be fine. I’m not saying that I can go out and get down with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s every day, but once in a while it’s actually ok. I know this sounds like common sense, but when I was in the thick of things, it felt like that kind of thing was gone forever in my mind. Not so! It’s a good feeling.

It’s a lot harder than I thought, this whole “learning how to eat and live a healthy lifestyle from scratch” thing…i’m not sure what I expected, starting over from scratch is supposed to be hard as hell, otherwise everybody would be doing it. But I got this. Getting it, anyway…

As for the workouts, well it’s safe to say that I am back in the trenches. I think I realized this on Tuesday when after work, I went out for my 8 mile run that I had to skip on Sunday. I came in the house after I was done, completely drenched and said to Jenn “yeah, it’s not raining”. Her response was “oh ok, it was pouring then?” No. It was not raining nor pouring at all. I was just that sweaty. So much so that she thought I got caught in a downpour. Gotta love it. The reason for this borderline over-share is to illustrate that even after completing the half, this is still hard work. It’s not like a switch flipped and I am now one of those effortless runners you see sprinting up hills with a smile on my face. Negative. Still a big sweaty guy breathing hard and pushing through. I’m not sure I would want it any other way. The challenge is still there and I love the fact I have to work for it. (I love it after the fact anyway, I might have a different answer if you ask me mid-workout at mile 9 or 10 of a long run). So here I am, back into the schedule of living an already hectic life and working in the runs when I can. I did 8 on Tuesday, I want to get 3 in tonight (most likely late night treadmill miles) and then 9 at some point this weekend. I already have the route mapped out; all I need is the time to get my ass out there and actually run it at this point. Back to the grind, let’s get it on. Philly Half is coming up in 44 days, so I’m back on the clock and working up to 13.1 again…

So in an effort to continue pursuing the previously mentioned “new normal” that I am trying to achieve in my life, I have made the decision to take my one day a month that I don’t log/ think about my food and turn it into one day a week. I am going to keep on keeping on like I always have, but then every Sunday I am just going to open up MyFitnessPal and close out the day immediately. No overthinking, no regrets. I honestly do believe that I will be ok. The hardcore losing is behind me, and now I can afford to make allowances that I would have considered unthinkable before. So my new “Sunday Funday” routine rolls out this weekend. Only time will tell how it works out, but the outlook is overly positive and hopeful. The logic is that I can then in time transition into 2 days a week, and then 3, etc. it’s a long term plan but I’m trying to do this smart and not screw everything up that I worked so hard for. Not that I would, but I am all about taking steps to make sure it happens the way I want it to. So I’ll let you know how it goes. Sunday Funday, here I come.

So it turns out I have a busy little October ahead of me. 2 races, an exceptionally full social calendar, selling a house, buying a new one, and 8,9,and 10 mile long runs to work into my weekends. All while working and spending as much time as humanly possible with Jenn and Tess. Should keep me moving. I am guessing that this will consequently mean that the month will fly by without me even realizing how fast it’s going. As per usual. So once again, expect to see a lot of me this month. I have the monthly picture update due next week, plus pics from both the Runner’s World 10K with Rock and then the Hatboro YMCA Skeleton Skurry 5K with Katie the following week. I also found out that my awesome co-workers and steady running partners Maureen and Lauren are running in the 5K as well. (Looks like it’s time for another update to the obligatory pre-race pic)

Ok, once again it’s time to cut myself off before I start rambling on forever here.

Definitely more to come, but I’ll save something for next time.

Talk to you next week. Till then, take it easy.

Holding Steady For Real / Long Runs Done – Got My Peeps Lined Up / Bittersweet Goodbye To My Lake

So I have said this before, but this time, there is actual truth and some time behind it.
I am holding steady at my current weight. Whereas before I had a little consistency and I thought it was lasting, every time I proclaimed to be steady in the weight department, I would drop down a little more. I’m happy to report that I have been within one pound of 208 (120 pounds lost) now for close to a month, and I think I may have finally found the balance required to keep it there. Of course, I may have just given myself the kiss of death and doomed my scale to show a different number again as well…
It’s taken a lot of getting used to, but I am getting more comfortable with eating more. I take one day off a month where I just let myself just really go for it… I use race day since it’s a day where I know I’m burning a ton of calories and it’s kind of a way to reward myself. Not as much with the actual food per se, moreso with the mental day off and not having to think/ (over)analyze any food choices / and just relax and enjoy myself. I also use that day to treat myself to some things that I would not want to go for any other day because the calories would just not be worth it. Case in point, after my Half Marathon, I really want to go to lunch at one of my two favorite places to eat in Philly. I will either be at The Famous 4th Street Deli eating a literal mountain of corned beef and eggs, or at Tommy DiNic’s in the Reading Terminal eating one of the best things you will ever put in your mouth, their (recently voted “best sandwich in America) famous Italian Roast Pork sandwich. Seriously, it’s insane how good it is. Easily over a thousand calories just for the sandwich alone but worth every single one of them… But I digress… back to the weight. I know come the xmas holiday season (once my second half marathon is over on nov. 18th) that it will take some re-adjusting again, as I will not be running my long training runs and burning 1000-2000 calories at a shot anymore., but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. I plan on keeping up on my own little “maintence” routine to keep me active and sane. That schedule should provide some burn and balance to help keep me in check. But again, that is then, this is now. Here’s hoping that I can maintain the 208 for another month, and then another…

I am entering what is known to the avid runner community as “taper week”. Basically what it means is you are tapering off your training the week before a big race to rest up for the race day push. Another way to say this is that all of my long training runs are finished for the first half marathon. I’m as ready as I’m going to be, both physically and mentally. I am looking forward to some decent weekly runs, a lighter (in comparison to recent weeks) weekend long run, and then some easy runs next week to keep loose and get ready to go for my first Half Marathon. I am excited and very slowly getting less nervous and more confident. Still around 50/50, and I am so happy it’s almost go time. Let’s do this bitch. I have a great group of people to run with, and ironically (it’s actually pretty awesome, actually), the group is the same as my very first 5K back in February (well, plus one extra friend (Donna) I hope to bump into during the race). First and foremost I will be running with my co-workers Maureen and Lauren. We have all been going at this since jumpstreet and have been support for each other the whole way, so getting to reunite the group to tackle this 13.1 is going to be great. Looking forward to re-creating this picture, only without the snow, winter gear, some extra pounds, and Lauren’s closed eyes… In addition to the work crew, I have a (previously mentioned) friend Donna who I met years ago through visiting my wife (then girlfriend) up at her college where they played rugby together. Donna is another one of those friends who I kind of always viewed as already in shape, so when she reached out to me to let me know that she started running again and was planning on doing the Rock and Roll, I got excited. To be able to hang with the likes of those who were out running miles even years back while all I was doing was running to McDonalds for quarter pounders is still a little bit humbling to me. And lastly, and most importantly to me, I get the chance again to run side by side with my Uncle Mario. Uncle Mario is a more experienced runner who whose first race after completing the Philadelphia Marathon last year was to take several steps back and very graciously run my first 5k with me. He has been a sounding board and one of my biggest and most vocal supporters literally step of the way. From before I even started any of this, he’s been there for me, so to be honest it only makes sense (and really means a lot) for me to be able to come full circle and run my first Half with him as well. Really looking forward to it. 11 days and counting.

So the big move is coming up this weekend, and with it, I say a very fond farewell to my lake. Yes, I know it’s not mine. Don’t break my stones, you know what I mean. Sure, I can still drive up there, only difference is that instead of being 15 minutes away it’ll be a 45+ minute drive each way. So it’s do-able but just not convenient anymore. Especially when I have my choice of multiple options within 5 minutes of my new place (and a treadmill in the basement), one of which being a just shy of 3 mile (each direction) paved running path that is literally minutes from my house. It’s just like the lake, except there is no view except trees and the backs of houses, and it’s out and back and instead of a big loop. It fits the bill perfectly, but I have come into my own running at Peace Valley Park/ Lake Galena, both physically and emotionally, and I’m really going to miss it. I understand they run a 10K there every year, maybe I’ll look into running in that race, just for nostalgia’s sake. Something to look into for the future, at least. The Horsham Power Line Trail will be my new primary training spot and I’m looking forward to it. As much as I have grown at the lake, I’m hoping I can equal and surpass it on the Power Line Trail. Look for me if you’re ever out there. Here’s to moving on to bigger and better…

Anyway, that’s enough for now, but I will be back soon. I have this month’s photo update coming up, as well as another product review for some badass running gear from http://www.inknburn.com!

More on that soon, and until next time, take it easy.

Andy

***ROAD ID PRODUCT REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY***/ Thoughts on my changing body

Having lost all the weight that I have I am faced with a few undeniable truths that have admittedly taken some getting used to, specifically in regards to my new body (in comparison to the way I used to be and was VERY accustomed to) I have discussed all these before, but I have a point to make and it all bears repeating:

1)     First, I used to be hot all the time. Desk fan in February hot. Fog car windows up in the wintertime hot. No more. Now I am frickin freezing all the time. I actually caught myself thinking out loud yesterday that I should bring a sweater into work to keep for when they really crank the Air Conditioning and it gets too damn cold to think.

2)     Second, My ass is gone. It mysteriously disappeared. Now it’s not totally a shocker, I did set out to lose the weight. I guess I was just hoped it would be more belly and less ass to go though. My butt falls asleep all the time now when I’m sitting too long…and I have a desk job, so I’m generally dealing with a tingling backside come the afternoon.

3)     And Third, and most importantly, I used to be a rather imposing figure. I never had to worry about much in terms of physical harm. In the words of one of my closest friends (which is why he could get away with saying this) when we were talking about me forgetting to lock the deadbolt on the apartment door I lived in at the time one night: “seriously, who’s going to steal the 300 pound man?” He knew as well as I did that if I was up and looked angry, odds are most people looking to break in would pick a different target. This too, sadly, is no more. I love my new body, I love the energy I have, the way my clothes fit me and the way I generally feel now. But I still have to wrap my head around the fact I am not the giant people mover that I used to be. In the words of my brother Chris from just this past weekend when we were talking about it; rather than being the big guy in the crowd, now I’m “just another dude in a v-neck t shirt”.

This third point is where I want to settle and discuss, because while it thrills me that I am no longer easily distinguishable by my girth alone, it does present a new set of worries that honestly never crossed my mind before. I am very in tune with my body now and very aware of just how big I am (or should I say “how big I am not anymore”). This is especially prevalent in terms of when I am running; which is typically done alone and in off the beaten path areas, like the jogging path around a lake. If something were to happen to me, while I am much healthier, I simply do not have the sheer size I used to which could much more easily fend things and/or people off; especially for instance if you catch me on mile 8 or 9 of a long run. This is a concern, and while the odds are nothing is ever going to happen, the chance that something might does warrant at least some consideration.

For this reason I became interested in a company called Road ID. They make products that, as the name would imply, serve as a wearable ID that you can incorporate as part of your workout gear and have on you to speak for you, even (or especially) in the event something happens and you can’t speak for yourself. I was given the opportunity to order one for myself and then review it for you, and I am happy to do so.

So let me hit you with the basics first off: what exactly is a Road ID and why specifically do I like it? Like I mentioned, in its most boiled down explanation, Road ID is a wearable form of identification that you incorporate into your everyday workout gear. It is intended for runners, cyclists, swimmers, or basically anybody whose workout takes them outdoors. There are various different styles to choose from, a few different bracelet models, one for your ankle, one that attaches to your shoe, and even a dog tag looking necklace version. It consists of an engraved metal plate that has your info permanently etched into it (for longevity and durability’s sake) and then some form of strap to attach it to yourself. The dog tags are obviously on a chain, the bracelets, ankle strap, and shoe model are all attached to an adjustable strap to wear.

I ordered the smallest of the three various sized bracelets, the Wrist ID Slim. It comes on a rubber bracelet, much like the standard issue “Livestrong” or other “Cause” style rubber bracelet. So it’s the rubber bracelet with a tiny metal cuff on it, maybe an inch long and the same width as the bracelet itself that has all my ID info on it. In the 5 lines of text that is allowable I was able to fit: my full name, my nickname, what town I am from, my home phone number, my wife’s name and her phone number, my date of birth, some medical info, and still had enough room to throw in a little motivational saying: “Running My Ass Off”.

If god forbid something should ever happen where someone had to read this, in this wireless Internet information age what’s engraved on that metal cuff can get you access to most of my important info, especially if you are a medical personnel who has the tools to access that kind of info quickly.

To me this seems like a no brainer. Much like insurance, it’s something that you don’t ever want to use but it can be a life saver (literally) if you ever do need it. I’m not going to belabor the intent or function of this anymore; it’s a wearable form of ID that is there to protect you in the event you need it. Simple, functional, important.

Just as important as the function is the form of the product. Or in other words, even though it’s clearly an important piece of equipment,  if it either impedes your training in any way, if it’s inconvenient, or if it’s ugly as hell, people are not going to buy it/ wear it. Say what you will about the principle of the matter, it’s the truth. So let me address that as well.

The model I got (the Wrist ID Slim), as the name implies is very small, not intrusive at all, and comes on a very discrete, nondescript rubber bracelet. I actually took it off of the bracelet it came on and put it on my Livestrong bracelet that I wear when I’m running. It fits perfect and you honestly would never know it was there. After wearing it on an 11 mile run, I can say that it didn’t rub or cause any distraction on any way. It weighs next to nothing so I am very pleased in that respects.

The engraved plate is your standard dull silver stainless steel color, not remarkable or flashy, but modern enough to look current and sporty. It kind of blends in with the bracelet and did not affect my run in any way, which I suspect is entirely the point. I chose the slim because I didn’t want anything big and in your face, although what I sacrificed in size with the slim as opposed to the larger “sport” or “elite” versions is an even more obvious ID and an extra line of engraveable text. I was ok with it because I was able to stay low key and still pack in all the info I wanted to on the slim, otherwise I would have been happy with either of the other 2 bracelet options, both are cool/sporty enough that I would not mind wearing them.

Most importantly, with this Road ID, it gives my wife peace of mind.  When I’m out running she always knows roughly where I’m at, but for example, the 6 mile trail around the lake is a pretty damn big place, so pinpointing me exactly is tough to do. That peace of mind to me is worth the price tag in and of itself.

Speaking of price, this is not a “luxury item” or “break the bank” piece of gear, The price tag for my bracelet? $17.48. Seventeen bucks and change for peace of mind seems like a pretty good deal to me. Even if you go for the most expensive model they offer (the Wrist ID Elite at $29.99) you’re not talking big bucks here.

So it’s safe to say I’m a fan of the Road ID and readily recommend it. It really is an ingenious thing, so simple but very powerful all at the same time. I have already decided it’s going to be a part of my running gear from today on.

***HERE”S THE GIVEAWAY PART***

I am actually so impressed with my Road ID that I worked with the account representative and secured one (actually, a gift card big enough to cover the cost of any of their products) to give away to one reader who agrees with me and would want one of their very own.

So all I have to do is run the giveaway, and that’s exactly what I plan on doing. So here’s how it’s going to work:

To enter, answer one of the following two questions in the comments section of this blog post, or answer one of the questions in the form of a comment in the posting on the Bigandysrunning facebook page.

Since this blog is based around both weight loss and running, I’ll hit you with a question intended for each group:

                       Weight Loss Readers:

  • Since you are most likely just beginning your training and looking at longer and longer runs/workouts in your future, what kind of safety concerns might you have?  

                  And for the more established runners:

  • Have you ever had a close call on the road?

**you don’t have to answer both, just pick one**

You can also “like” Road ID on facebook or “follow” them on twitter for an additional entry. You have to like them, and then come back here and let me know in the comments though in order to get your extra entry.

And that’s it. The deadline to enter is 12:00 noon, EST on Wed, Sept. 12th. So there it is: my first official product review is in the books, I hope you like it.

**I also included some pics so you can see what I’m talking about. I have blacked out most of my personal info because….well, it’s my personal info.

 ______________________________________________________

I am approaching this review from my standard viewpoint of what I believe the core interest of this blog really gets at: that is to say I am presenting my review by looking at this product from the perspective of a person who is relatively new to the running world, has some weight to lose and wants go about losing the weight by starting to incorporate a more active lifestyle and want to know how sift through the volumes of available gear/ equipment out there.

One of the great benefits to running a blog like this one is that it puts me in a position from time to time to receive various products to use and review for you. Oftentimes, these items are provided to me free of charge. This is the only type of compensation I have ever received, and my acceptance of these items in no way constitutes any obligation to provide an unwarranted positive review. My opinions on the products are unfiltered and 100% my own.

**This product was provided to me free of charge, but again, this does not influence my review or views on the product in any way**

Also please note that these are the personal opinions and experiences of one individual (me) on my personal blog, and intended to be taken as such. I personally, and The Running My Ass Off Blog do not accept any liability from the purchase or use of any products reviewed on this blog.

**Sorry, just have to cover my ass here. These are unbiased reviews, intended only to help. I’m not going to try and sell you anything, nor do I want you to take my opinions as the final word on any product. Let me help you figure out what you should check out, and then check the stuff out for yourself to see if you like it.**