Tag Archives: fitness

harder. better. faster. stronger.

harder. better. faster. stronger.

today i ran 10 miles faster than i ever have before. i averaged 8.5 minute miles and on the last 5 i was running 8 minute mile pace. i could have easily run the entire 10 miles at a 8 minute mile pace. this means i shaved 10 minutes off my 10 mile run time compared to 1 year ago and about 20 minutes off my time from 2 years ago.

originally i was going to only run 8 miles but it felt so good i tacked on 2 miles. maybe there’s something to being trolled by an ice cream truck :-)

it seems reasonable to project out the performance and gains and predict that i’ll hit 7 minute pace sometime over the next year for half marathon and under distances.

two years ago i honestly thought that was impossible goal for my 6’4″ former clydesdale frame and now it’s almost a reality.

big question is what’s the upper limit? could i hit 6 minute miles. seems impossible now…

current status:

10 mile run with 10 mph winds and +5°F degree wind chill. in. a. snow storm.

10 mile run with 10 mph winds and +5°F degree wind chill. in. a. snow storm. I.

i guess at least it was above zero and no snow blindness!

10 mile run with 10 mph winds and +5°F degree wind chill. in. a. snow storm. II.

it didn’t sustain snowing at this intensity for long but the wind whipping around the steady snow fall was, um, fun? there’s a road there somewhere!

when i’m out in weather like this, i get looks from drivers that i think means something along the of, “you poor, poor, deranged soul.”

after a year of keeping 110 pounds off, finally trimming the wardrobe.

after a year of keeping 110 pounds off, finally trimming the wardrobe. I.

it’s coming up on a year since i lost 110 pounds by running over 2,400 miles and i’ve managed to keep the weight off by continuing to watch what i eat, weighing myself every day, and continuing to run even in crazy cold weather.

i’m cautiously optimistic that i’ve found the weight loss recipe that works for me, though i know i will still take constant vigilance to keep it off for another year and every year after that. i told myself i’d keep my big clothes for a year on the chance i’d need them again, and now i think it’s time to donate them to someone who might find they fit a little better.

it’s a little hard to tell from this picture but i went down about 12 inches on my pants waist size and can now fit in 32″ “regular fit” pants which i think was the same size i wore in 9th grade :-)

after a year of keeping 110 pounds off, finally trimming the wardrobe. II.

i’m happy to get rid of all the clown clothes but, ummmmmm, i think i need to go shopping.

The 4-Minute Workout

that seven minute workout plan is so last month. the the 4-minute workout is the new hotness for people who don’t need to lose weight and are looking to answer the question, “how little exercise can i get away with while maximizing my fitness gains?” fitness gurus and gyms with fancy equipment will be disappointed. according to the researchers, “…the workout can effectively be practiced anywhere, Dr. Tjonna says. Sprint uphill for four minutes or race up multiple flights of steps. Bicycle, swim or even walk briskly, as long as you raise your heart rate sufficiently for four minutes.”

on still kicking 30 year old me’s ass.

on still kicking 30 year old me’s ass.

in addition to getting me some clams to celebrate my first birthday after running over 2,400 miles and losing 110 pounds ( i lost 4 more since writing that post ), kris organized a surprise trip to madison so i could run in the 10K “bratfest” which is the first race i’ve ran since running in the chicago marathon last october.

i’ve slowed down running over the past few months and have “only” been averaging 10-20 miles a week so i thought i’d take it easy and enjoy myself. the way i see it, it’s a “personal best” just to get up at 6:30a.m. on my birthday to make sure i register for the race on time and i didn’t need to go and try to break any personal records. but, hey, the best laid plans and all that. i felt so good running that it almost didn’t feel like i was pushing very hard to run a faster 10K than i’ve ever run before.

i ran the first 5K at around 9 minute miles which is, in and of itself, a record setting pace for my former clydesdale self. but when it became clear that i was going to have plenty of gas in the tank i picked up the pace and ran the second 5K at an 8’30″ pace to finish with an 8’45″ average time per mile. i probably could have even pushed it a bit and harder if i paced myself better over the entire race and hit just over 8 minute miles. and the great part? i felt awesome at the end. i’m pretty sure i could have kept an 8’30″ pace through a half marathon.

i couldn’t be happier that after a year i’m still kicking 30 year old me’s ass ( and running almost 2 minutes per mile faster than i was just a year ago when i wrote that post ).

it’ll be interesting a year from now to see if i can shave another minute off my times and get close to a 7’30″ per mile pace which is about a 3 hour and 16 minute marathon pace and close to what i’d need to run for a boston marathon qualifying time. i’m not saying i’m going to be able to keep that pace through a marathon but who knows!

i do think running a race on or very close to my birthday is going to be a new tradition. next year i might give the spring madison half marathon a whirl.

the super bestest part was having kris and odin standing right by the finish line so odin could give me a high-five before i crossed the line :-)

the seven minute scientific fitness program.

i’m still working on meeting my 100 consecutive push-up and 200 consecutive sit-up goal. it’s hard to believe i’ve done almost 4,000 push-ups and 7,000 sit-ups over the past 12 weeks! it might be a few more weeks before i actually hit the goal, but then i’ll definitely be looking for a “maintenance” fitness routine that fits my original requirements:

“i’m looking for something that doesn’t require a lot of expensive equipment ( maybe a few dumb bells), that can be done a few times a week for relatively short periods of time ( 30-60 minutes ) that will play well with running ( i.e. not looking to bulk up )”

with perfect timing, this new york times article, “the scientific 7-minute workout”, caught my eye. the article covers new research published in the american college of sports medicine (acsm) health and fitness journal , high intensity circuit training using body weight: maximum results with minimal investment, which claims to whittle down the benefits of a long run and a gym routine into a 7 minute workout with “…12 exercises deploying only body weight, a chair and a wall.”:

“The following is an example of a 12-station HICT program. All exercises can be done with body weight and implements easily acquired in almost any setting (e.g., home, office, hotel room, etc.). The exercise order allows for a total body exercise to significantly increase the heart rate while the lower, upper, and core exercises function to maintain the increased heart rate while developing strength.

Exercises are performed for 30 seconds, with 10 seconds of transition time between bouts. Total time for the entire circuit workout is approximately 7 minutes. The circuit can be repeated 2 to 3 times.

1. Jumping jacks Total body
2. Wall sit Lower body
3. Push-up Upper body
4. Abdominal crunch Core
5. Step-up onto chair Total body
6. Squat Lower body
7. Triceps dip on chair Upper body
8. Plank Core
9. High knees/running in place Total body
10. Lunge Lower body
11. Push-up and rotation Upper body
12. Side plank Core

while it’s only 7 minutes, as the nyt article points out, intensity is the key:

“The exercises should be performed in rapid succession, allowing 30 seconds for each, while, throughout, the intensity hovers at about an 8 on a discomfort scale of 1 to 10, Mr. Jordan says. Those seven minutes should be, in a word, unpleasant. The upside is, after seven minutes, you’re done.”

( via kottke )

an update on phase II fitness – stage I. 100 push-ups and 200 sit-ups.

i’ve been continuing with my phase II fitness program attempting to get to 100 consecutive push-ups and 200 consecutive sit-ups and it’s hard – especially the push-ups.

the push-up program i’m following is a 6 week program and i’ve been repeating the last week for a couple of weeks and can’t seem to get past 60-70 consecutive push-ups. i thought maybe i wasn’t giving myself enough time to rest before taking the test, so this week i took a whole week off before the test and i still max out at 70 push-ups. my overall strength is increasing because i can relatively easily do 250 push-ups with reps of 20-40 which would have been impossible before starting the program but i’ve hit a plateau on the total number of consecutive push-ups.

i’m sure some fitness nerds out there will tell me what i’m doing wrong. should i just keep repeating the last week of program until i break through the 70 push-up wall?

80 weeks later – I LOST 106 POUNDS!

4 weeks after hitting the hundred pounds lost mark, i’ve lost 6 more pounds which means, through the magic of math, i’ve lost 106 pounds!

according to the BMI calculators, at 189 pounds i have a body mass index of 23 which puts me in the the 23rd weight percentile for my 6’4″ frame and also means i weigh what most other people my height wish they weighed. it also means i’ve erased 23 years of weight gains and now weigh what i did in high school.

truth be told, i haven’t really been trying to lose any more weight. in fact, i’ve been trying to not lose any more! i guess i’ll have to try a little harder. after running clear across the country i’ve been gradually cutting back my miles and have been averaging 25 miles a week, down from 45 a week. alas, it’s going to be tough but i’ll just have to eat a little more :-)

and, yes, i’m still working on phase II fitness towards the goal of doing 100 consecutive push-ups and 200 consecutive sit-ups and am making steady progress.

after 5 weeks, i’m heading into the last week of the training and did 175 push-ups today, 480 for the week and 1,308 total. and i did 261 sit-ups today, 698 for the week and 1,970 total which is all a little mind-blowing since i could barely do 10 push-ups and 30 sit-ups when i started. progress! just one week until the test to see if i can do 100 consecutive push-ups and 200 consecutive sit-ups!

i guess it’s probably time for a before and after picture :-)