Archive for December, 2015

2015 Obstacles Continue…

Posted: December 29, 2015 by Roberts in Uncategorized

Be good,
Learn something new,
And be awesome!

After the Vegas Race Weekend, I would love to say I took it easy on myself, but that just isn’t the case. After proving that with careful planning and testing I could push through even a sprain, I decided to complete my 2014 race schedule. Which I did. I played it safe for the last three races of the year – a 5k, a 5 miler and a half marathon. After the last race, I was finally able to see my doctor to have her look at the ankle.

During our appointment she asked me the basic questions. She tested it out, rotated it, poked it, and suggested I get an X-Ray. She asked me how it happened, and how I treated it afterwards. Before the Vegas race I was taking pictures of it daily to compare to see how the swelling and bruising changed. Still in my phone, I was able to share them with her. Looking back at Facebook from November of 2014, the highlights of that conversation were:

Doctor: “I have never seen an ankle bruise that way.”

~

Doctor: “How did you possibly get the swelling down so fast?”

~

Doctor: “You ran a marathon on that foot? How?”

~

Doctor: “Since you are an extreme athlete, I am going to refer you to a specialist.”

All I heard was Extreme Athlete.

After hearing this, one of my running groups dubbed me The Extreme Athlete, ironically.

The ankle had healed and survived five total races since the initial sprain, so she advised me to take it easy. At no point did she say stop running. Or if she did, I didn’t hear it. To be cautious. I would take it nice and easy. Invincible, I decided to take my visiting brother-in-law out for a trail run the day after Christmas.

Apparently, I’m not invincible.

While going along, he wanted to take pictures of the area, and I was focused on logging a couple miles. I explained, I would go up head, and turn back at some point. Being only the day after Christmas, the trail was rather empty. 3 miles in, I stepped on a slick patch of leaves, and the not fully healed ankle gave out. Collapsing into the mud, I knew I had done some damage to my ankle. Conveniently I had already had an appointment the following week with the specialist.

Entering the obviously expensive facility of the ankle specialist, with its hardwood floors and large flat screen TVs, I was kind of curious what he could tell me I didn’t already know. I could hear it now, “What are you, stupid?”

During the appointment, the story was retold with a combination of pride and shame. Not quite sure which would play better, the tale tested the limits of both. His blank disapproving stare reminded me of the look of the referring doctor. Giving the same non-verbal communication, I wondered why they couldn’t share in the excitement of the story. Maybe they discussed it in advance and decided to give a unified front. Referring back to Facebook in December, the highlights from that conversation were:

Doctor: “From the sound of it, the of it, the first sprain may have been a level 2 injury. When did you run on it after that?”
Me: “I ran a marathon that Sunday.”
Doctor: “Of course you did.”

~

Doctor: “It is a level 1 sprain, but given the reoccurrence on the same ankle, I am going to put you in a boot”
Me: (Questioning stare)
Doctor: “No, you cannot run in the boot.”

~

Doctor: “Normally I would tell someone to wear it for 6 weeks, you’re stocky and I think we can have this off in 2 weeks…please no long runs…please.”
Me: “What about short runs without the boot”
Doctor: “You can walk on the treadmill the first week 30 minutes at a time once a day. Then you can do short runs.”
Me: “How short?”
Doctor: “Short.”
Me: (Questioning stare)
Doctor: “Short.”

~

Doctor: “You don’t have to wear the boot all the time, just your normal walking about. Couch to fridge you don’t need it.”

Short runs were permitted. Good to know. Short is a relative term. Now that I would be benched for some time, several races had to be taken off the tour. The first race of 2015 would now be the end of March. Waddling out in my new boot, I knew I would have to let it heal and to take the entire year easy to make sure I stayed injury free for the rest of 2015.

What was you worse running relate injury?

 

 

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Week Two

Posted: December 28, 2015 by Roberts in General Post, Injuries, Running Log
Tags: , , ,

It seems only fitting that the first obstacle to getting back on the fitness wagon would be a sprained ankle. Another sprain. Wednesday before the sun woke up, the ground was covered by a light rain. The ground was soaked, the streets were glistening, and puddles littered the ground. While crossing a large intersection, I stepped into a small puddle. Hidden under the water was a crack in the road. With a single misstep, my ankle rolled and I tumbled down. During the fall, I had a flashback of my fall the previous year in November. Strangely enough, on the other side of the same intersection was where that fall had occurred. That intersection might just be cursed.

While crawling through the intersection all I could think was, “not again. Please don’t let it be bad.” As this scene played out, the man that lived on the corner was getting into his car. Luckily he offered to give me a lift back to my house. Though it was a short three quarter mile run, it was a long three quarter mile crawl. Not my first injury, and most likely not my last. To console myself, I decided I could take it easy with the Christmas holiday over the weekend.

A holiday plus no running, equals terrible results. Sadly, for my weigh in on Monday, I wiped out all my work from the previous week. I’m currently in a competition with my neighbor, whom ever loses 10% first, the other must babysit. For that whole week, I was well in the lead. Now, however, she’s winning. I can’t let this happen. I really don’t want to watch a total of six children (my own three, plus her three).

What challenges or contests have you used to motivate yourself?

The Beginning of 2015…

Posted: December 27, 2015 by Roberts in 2015 Tour, General Post, Races
Tags: , , ,

Be good,
Learn something new,
And be awesome!

These are the words I recite to my kids every day before they leave for school. Hard words to live up to, yet we keep trying. Having failed on many occasions to live up to this, I went into 2015 with the goal of having an awesome year. Epic even. As with all challenges, it doesn’t start on day one. It starts days, even weeks, before the countdown begins.

During the summer, my kids stay with my parents for a month. It gives them the chance to enjoy swimming every day, rodeos and dude ranches with my parents. It also gives myself and my wife, Lauren, a break from them. We live in Virginia and my parents live in Texas. The past few summers, we’ve done what we jokingly refer to as the “prisoner exchange” in Tennessee. After handing the kids off to my parents in early July 2014, we stayed a night in Knoxville. There in the hotel room, as I surfed the internet on my laptop, the seeds of 2015 began to sprout.

It started with the idea to go after the Rock & Roll Gold Medal Heavy Medal award, which requires you to run ten of their events in a calendar year. The amount of travel involved would be significant, but with some careful planning, it could be possible. I’ve lived in several cities on the East Coast over the years, so many of the races would not only be within a reasonable driving distance, but more than likely I could crash on a friend’s couch in many, if not all, of the cities. Some I would travel to solo, for others Lauren could join me, and for a few the entire family could come. Looking over the tour stops, I plotted out 10.

It looked simple and easy on a computer screen. Four of the races would be full marathons, and the remaining ones would be halves. Right then and there I went online and signed up for their 2015 Tour Pass, then started registering for the races. While on the site, I realized that many of the tour stops hosted multiple races on the same weekend. Since it didn’t cost me anything more, I decided that I might as well sign up for those, too.

2015 was being planned and 2014 wasn’t even finished yet; there were still 5 months to go. I still had the Rock & Roll Las Vegas Marathon ahead of me that November, and I was already plotting out my training plans for 2015. Over the course of the next three months, I added other, non-Rock N Roll series, races to the schedule for 2015, races that I’ve done a couple times, that were local or were fun trips for the family. Over the next few weeks, friends started asking me if I could join them on their first races. Before the Vegas race, 2015 was shaping up to be a busy, epic year, but still doable.

However, nothing goes according to plain. A simple misstep can cause a cascade of issues. And so my first obstacle for 2015 appeared the Tuesday before the race weekend in Vegas, in November 2014. It was my final training run before heading out west, and suddenly, a single crack in the sidewalk had me crumbling to the ground less than a mile from my home. Trying to stand, it was evident that this was more than just a stubbed toe or sore ankle. As I limped home, pushing the fear of what this could mean from my mind, the pain steadily increased.

I took all the needed measures to fight the sprain I knew I had. Ice, compression, elevation, everything in my arsenal was thrown at the injury. The ankle fought back and changed from a light red, to a rose, to a purple. Through consultation of friends and experts it seemed unlikely I could do this run, and if I did, that I might do serious injury to myself. The only person I did not consult was my doctor, for fear she would say, “don’t race.”

The tickets and room were already purchased, so I was going to Vegas either way. There we would meet up with a couple old friends and enjoy the town. Still hoping I could run it, I brought all my gear. To make the flight doable, I wore my compression sock to prevent as much pooling of blood as possible. On the plane, the seat next to me looked like it was going to remain open. As a 6’3” man sitting in the middle seat, this was a present from fate that would give me the gift of room to stretch. As we waited for the door to close, one last man boarded. He wore an air cast and limped to his seat… The aisle seat next to me. Alas, leg room was not my destiny that day.

As you do on a long flight, he and I started talking. We covered the basics. Personal or business. Home or traveling. Looking at the air cast I had to ask. He then began to weave the tale of the sprained ankle he had acquired while completing a Spartan Race. This Spartan had hurt himself, had never gotten his injury looked at, and continued to race other events. The previous Christmas Day, while returning home from a hike with his family, he had reinjured himself. After consulting with the doctor, he had discovered that he needed surgery. Now he was now almost a year into his recovery, still wearing the air cast. Was the universe trying to tell me something? Perhaps, but if it was, it fell on deaf ears.

While visiting the Health Expo, we met up with several friends from college who were in town for the race, as well as a fellow “Runner 5,” a player of the running app Zombies, Run! Walking around the massive event in Sin City, I decided to commit my own sin. I would run the races. All I needed was a plan.

That day it was decided. A decision was only the first step, though, the real question was how to accomplish it. My plan was to prepare the ankle by limiting its movement, and then test it. After using tape, a wrap, and a compression sock, my foot was effectually locked down. What better way to test an injured ankle than in a 5k race? During the race I tested it at various speeds to determine what it could handle. The answer, a 34:30 5k pace. My worst 5k to date, but it was passable. The ankle gave me no issues. After consulting friends, the next stage of the plan was decided. Begin running the marathon, and at mile 10, the half split, if the ankle was angry, turn left and bring it home. If not, continue to go forth and be awesome.

Under the bright lights of Vegas, I ran through the dark. I ran and I pushed myself. At the split, with excitement in my heart, I decided that it was moments like this that define you. So at the split, I turned right. The second half of the race is all desert, wide open space. The only bright lights were on the horizon, and I pushed toward them. At the various switch backs, I could see the sag bus. But it wasn’t going to be for me that day. Keep pushing, I told myself. However, the pain in my ankle was slowly increasing.

With my slower than usual pace, I would be on my feet longer. It was no longer a race for time, but a race against time. One of three things would happen. The sag bus would pick me up and I wouldn’t finish, my ankle would give out and the medics would take me in and I wouldn’t finish, or I would finish.

Passing the 4:45 pacer, I asked her if she was on pace, which would mean that I had caught up. She informed me that no, she had fallen behind her assigned pace as she simply walked along. Still not a single step walked, I pushed myself. Finally, after what seemed like forever, I turned the corner back onto the strip. I had less than a mile to go. I caught up to a woman and in a pained voice she asked me, “Am I too late, will I still get my medal?” I knew we were past the five hour cut off time, but I also knew the sag bus hadn’t caught up to us. Turning to her, all I could muster was, “run with me, and we will make it.” So we ran, or maybe it was more of a waddle… either way, we worked to close the distance.

As we closed in on the finish line, they were already starting the dismantling process. Finally, we crossed the finish and I reached for the medal. Clasping the cold metal between my fingers, I stumbled through the finish corral looking for my friends and my wife. I had done it. It wasn’t my first marathon, but it was the hardest I had run up to that point. My ankle had survived. If it could survive that weekend, I would survive 2015. Or so I thought. Three races still remained for 2014, let alone the impending 2015 tour.

Week One…the second time.

Posted: December 26, 2015 by Roberts in Running Log
Tags: ,

My first week back on the fitness wagon is over. First, the goal setting. What is a reasonable goal in a reasonable timeframe? Let’s start with one of the key elements of my plan, training for a marathon. I’ve chosen to train for the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati, Ohio. As with all things, we should work to make things a little more awesome. To ratchet up the challenge, the plan is to complete the 4 Way Challenge with extra cheese. It’s four races over the course of three days: a 1 miler, 10k, 5k, and full marathon. That means I need to be race weight by the challenge weekend. That means it needs to be accomplished by May 1st. Time to break that down.

The start date is December 14th and the race is May 1st. That’s 140 days. 140 Days of focused energy on determination. More than feasible. The goal is to lose 82.3 lbs. Seems reasonable. Time to get started.

The first week of weight loss is always the most encouraging. Of course, having gone through this several times before, I know it’s just water weight. That being said, dropping from 288.5 lbs. down to 279.9 lbs. feels pretty good. It won’t always be at the pace, but even half of that should be a decent pace.

I successfully ran three times this week, five miles each, Monday, Tuesday, Friday. To top it off, Saturday was my last race of the year, The Santa 5 Miler. It was a fun race, and I’ll share my thoughts on the event at a later time. There was only one day this week when I did not hit my step goal of 12,000 steps. Next week I’ll get the job done.

Now, next week is Christmas. That means cookies, pies, candy, great food and low willpower. It’s going to be a hard week. This year we’ve started the tradition, one that my family had growing up, where the kids each take a turn picking the Christmas Eve dinner. This year my oldest got to pick. She decided on chicken fried steak. Chicken fried steak? First, where did she even have chicken fried steak? She’s eight and we’ve never served it. Come to find out, she’s had it while visiting my parents. This will be hard to stay on my diet and not derail myself in my second week of weight loss.

How do you endure through the holidays?

I’m Back!

Posted: December 24, 2015 by Roberts in General Post, Uncategorized
Tags:

I’m back!

It’s been some time since I’ve posted.  Like with all things in life, life got in the way.  During my original journey to lose weight, this blog kept me honest with myself.  It provided a way for me to log and catalog my journey from a non-runner to a guy who pretends to be a runner.  Over the course of 2015, I’ve gained quite a bit of the weight back that I had initially lost.  This past week has been a week of soul searching and self-reflection to figure out why, and how to reverse this trend and get back on the path to success.  
 
To put it in perspective, when I started this journey I was over 330 lbs.  At my best I was down to 235 lbs. in March of 2013 – almost a full 100 lbs.  I was happy with my success and tried to maintain it. However, my lack of true maintenance allowed my weight to creep back up to 255 lbs. at the beginning of this year. Now here we are in December and I’m back up to 288.5 lbs.  At this point a normal person might think, maybe he gave up running.  Maybe he ate pure garbage ever since that low.  So let’s take a look at 2015.
 
Though I started the year injured, I managed to finish 31 races including four full marathons, 12 half marathons four 10ks, six 5ks, and five other miscellaneous distances.  I raced in 18 cities and 2 countries this year.  So my weight gain was not from a lack of training and exercise.  What was it then?  Over the next few weeks while I train for the next marathon, I will explore what happened, what I learned, and what I’m doing to fix things going forward. 

My initial plan for 2016 has a couple simple parts.

  • Count Calories
  • Train for a marathon
  • Drink two liters of water a day
  • A weekly increasing minimum step goal
  • Have mini challenges with other people

Over the course of the next year, I’ll explore the lessons and experiences of 2015, and those of 2016.

What have you done to regain your focus?