Monday, January 23, 2012

A final update, a farewell, and a new blog...

For those who are interested: here's what's been happening for me since I was actively blogging here:

I did a pretty keeping my weight off for quite a while, but my work got very stressful and slowly I put weight back on.  I put on about 7 pounds and was at about 190 when I started cycling pretty regularly, including commuting to work regularly.  However, after about a year and a half, I took a job that required significant travel, and the eating I'd been doing as a cyclist did not work as a non-cyclist.  I put on more weight, getting to about 205. :-(

At about this time, my family and I moved to Arizona and I took yet another job that also involved significant travel.  I continued to put on weight until I got to about 210, which was just 10 pounds less than my starting weight on the 20/20 program.  Needless to say, this was very disappointing.

At this point, my wife and I decided to take decisive action: a doctor friend of my brother-in-law runs a medical weight loss center.  We decided to go there as a team.  I knew how to keep the weight off, but getting the weight off slowly was not something I was very good at.  So she and I did a medically supervised fasting program to get a bunch of weight off quickly.  Basically, I went from 211 to 183 in about 10 weeks which is where I am at right now.  I also managed to get off my high blood pressure medicine which is pretty great as well.  My wife dropped over 20 pounds and is looking great.

Now that I live in Arizona, I am doing a significant amount of cycling.  This has become my primary form of excercise, and I really enjoy it.  I am keeping the weight off by riding, and this has been pretty successful so far.  

One of the things that helps me stay exercising is to plan on doing events that I have to train for.  When I was running, it was 5Ks, 10Ks, and half-marathons.  Now that I'm cycling it's half centuries, metric centuries and centuries.  So far this year, I've ridden the 85 mile route of El Tour de Tucson and plan to ride a metric century (62 miles) for the Phoenix Tour de Cure, a full century plus another 50 miles at the Sedona MS Bike 150, and some long ride at the Livestrong Challenge in Davis, CA (with Team Fatty).  These give me something to train for and keep me on the bike, burning calories and improving my fitness all the while.

I am no longer on the 20/20 program, and will no longer be blogging at this site.  If you want to find out what I'm up to now, check out  On this blog, I'm writing about the planning I'm doing to prepare for a trip to the 2012 Tour de France, as well as lots of posts about my cycling exploits.

In closing, I am glad I did the 20/20 program, and felt that it was very successful for me.  Even though I put some of my weight back on, I was able to correct that situation (albeit with a pretty major intervention), but now that the weight off again, I know I have the tools to keep it off.  In addition, I have learned how to eat right, exercise effectively, and the tricks that help me stay training.  While I wish I'd not fallen off the wagon, I am back on and doing all the right things again, and am feeling good.  I really think I might actually end up weighing less than I did when I was on the 20/20 program.

It was a lot of fun doing this blog, and I heartily recommend the 20/20 program to anyone who is looking to lose weight.  Check my current posts out at Tour de France Travellog.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Well, the bug that's been going around finally hit me. At least it is with 9 weeks left in my training program. I've been sick the past two days, and will likely miss at least 2 runs. Hopefully, I'll be back in running shape by Thursday or Friday. If I'm back in shape by Thursday, I'll try to get in 26 miles this week. If it takes until Friday, I'll only get in 19 miles.


Marathon training: week 9 update

Well, I've reached the halfway point of my training program. This week was a back off week, meaning my long run mileage was not an increase over the previous week. I was supposed to run 24 miles this week: 3 miles, 7 miles, 4 miles, and a 10 mile long run.

I'm happy to report, especially after last week's disaster, that this week was a high quality week. I ran all runs as scheduled, and even finished my long run with no walking breaks. My pace on the long run was under 11:00 min/mile, which is pretty quick for a long run (for me).

Next week will be the real test. I've stated that if I can run more than a 14 mile long run, I should be able to finish my training and do the marathon. That run occurs this week. I've got a 15 mile long run on the schedule for this weekend. In addition, I have a 3 miler, a 7 miler, and a 4 miler during the week. This is a total of 29 miles (which makes it the first week I will have actually run a marathon distance in one week).

I'll let you know how it works out...


Skiing update

Well, now that I've skied one black, I've been skiing them regularly now. I tend to be able to get down the groomed blacks without too much trouble, although I would hardly say I look good on them. The bumpy blacks still give me some trouble.

I rented some longer skis last weekend (178cm Salomon X Wing Tornados), and I learned something very valuable: while I like how fast I can go on these skis, I could not maneuver them well enough. I'd like to be able to ski moguls well, and I think these skis were just too long and heavy to get them turned around as quickly as I would have liked.

One final update: it looks like Nathan and I are going to go to Whistler for a ski weekend before the season ends. We were planning to go this weekend, but it looks like something is going on up there that is making all the rooms extra expensive. We will try to go sometime in the next few weeks, before the snow starts to melt.


Marathon training: week 8 update

This week was not good. TechReady 4 was in town, and I spent most of the week downtown. Not only did I not get any runs in during the week, I also didn't eat right while I was there.

Anyway, I went out for my long run on Sunday, which was scheduled for 13 miles. I figured I'd extend it by a little and make it into a half marathon.

Things started out okay, but by mile 5 I was starting to really get tired. I hit the turnaround at 6.5 miles and was really struggling. By the time I hit 7 miles, I was absolutely out of gas. I basically walked most of the way back. When I tried to get started running again, I could only go for a few hundred yards before my legs just refused to go.

I'm not sure what it was: the lack of running, the poor diet, the food I ate before the run, etc., but it really worried me that I could have such trouble at a distance I've done before and was only a mile longer than the distance I ran the week before. In addition, it was especially troubling given that I started having trouble so early in my run...

Anyway, I posting this message over a week late and can say that things have worked out (check my next post).


Monday, February 05, 2007

Marathon training: week 7 update

Yesterday I completed the 7th week of my training program. I was scheduled to run 24 miles, but cut short one run by a mile (I think I ate really bad that day and competely ran out of gas after just 2 miles). That means I ran 23 miles last week, including a 12 mile long run.

Here's a recap:

I talked to a guy at work who has run a couple marathons about pace during his training runs. He ran one run per week at planned marathon pace (PMP), typical training runs at about 30 seconds below PMP, and long runs at 60-90 seconds below PMP. I think I will try to follow this approach.

Next week adds one mile to the plan for a total of 25 miles. My long run next Sunday will be 13 miles, or basically a half marathon. The sad part is I still haven't run the distance in a week that I will (hopefully) be running in a day!


Sunday, January 28, 2007

Marathon training: week 6 update

This was a back off week, and I managed to get all my training runs in. Tuesday I did a faster pace 3 miler. I will continue to take my short runs at a faster pace to help work on a little extra speed. Wednesday I was supposed to do a 5 miler at planned marathon pace (for me, 10:18 min/mile), but I had to cut it short because I had to pick up Jordan. I cut that to a 3 miler, and then did Thursday's run on Friday, making up the distance by extending to a 5 miler. Saturday was another ski day, then today (Sunday) was my 7 mile long run. After doing a 10 miler, it is really nice to step back a bit and do a shorter long run: you have something to look forward to every few weeks instead of always increasing in mileage.

So far, I've run 92.5 miles as part of my marathon training. According to the program, I should have run 104 miles. I'm off by a bit, but I've never skimped on the long runs, and am back on schedule this week.

Next week is going to be a hard week: I jump up to 24 miles. I'll keep you posted...

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Marathon training: week 5 update

Wow, this week was a mess... Monday was a scheduled rest day, which I took. Tuesday, it snowed at early in the morning, and we were basically stuck in our house, so I couldn't run. Wednesday was our team's ski day at Crystal Mountain, so I didn't run that day. Thursday and Friday, I was killing myself trying to get my project shipped, and wasn't able to get away for my runs on either day. Saturday was another ski day, and while I thought it might be possible to run afterwards, that was a crazy idea.

That left today, Sunday, and my long run. I ran 10 miles today, running the railroad trail out and back. As I've said before, running after skiing the day before is pretty difficult. I was beat after about 5 miles, and walked a few times for about 10 minutes of the run. I also had a really slow pace: 11:28. This included the walking, so I guess it wasn't that bad.

I will have to wait until the Saturday skiing is over to see how I really do. That will be in 5 weeks. Then we'll see just how good/bad it really is.

Next week is a step back week: the long run is only 7 miles. I am supposed to do 3 miles, 5 miles, then 3 miles on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. After this past week, I really need to get back into it.

Skiing update

I've been out 3 times so far this season. Twice I've gone to The Summit at Snoqualmie as an Issaquah Ski School chaperone, and last Wednesday we went on a Microsoft team event to Crystal Mountain. I think that I'm really improving, especially now that I'm skiing much more regularly. I can really carve on the blues, and have figured out how to use my poles to help stay out over my skis.

My big update is that yesterday at The Summit, I skied my first black run: Triple 60 face. I had one fall on the way down, but it was one of the fall sideways into the face of the mountain type falls, rather than the fall face first down the mountain falls. It was actually really easy to recover: I just pushed myself up with one arm and I was back on the move. The main issue was getting over the fear factor when standing at the top of the run. You know inside that once you commit by going over the edge, you can't change your mind! That first move was the hardest...

Next week, I have to chaperone at lunch time while the kids eat, but I'm free in the afternoon. I'm going to take a lesson from one of the ski school instructors. I really think that I may be capable of more than I'm doing now, but I need someone to push me more.

Marathon training: week 4 recap

The wierd weather has continued in Seattle, and I was only able to get out and run 3 times this week. I did get my long run in though, and did 9 miles on Sunday. This was after skiing all day on Saturday. For the week, I did 15 miles.

We had a lot of snow (for Seattle) last week, and I did my first long run (or any run) on snow. It was about 24 degrees, and once I was bundled up, it was fine. I did notice that I was extremely tired toward the end of the run. I had to walk 3 times for a total of about 6 minutes or so. I attribute this tiredness to the fact that I'd gone skiing less than 24 hours prior to my run.

Speaking of skiing, it was great to be out after a year off. I got to use my new boots, and they were really good. They still need a bit of tweaking just under the ankle, but in generally they really fit well. I'm renting skis every time I go, so I'll be able to try out a lot of different styles. I hope to be able to buy a pair of skis at the end of the season when everything goes on sale.

Next week is another step up in distance for my long run: 10 miles. This will be the longest I've ever run when it wasn't a race.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Weird knee issue

No, I'm not injured (I don't think), but I have been having some weirdness in my knees for quite some time. Basically, whenever I do something like a deep knee bend, I feel a lot of muscular weakness centered around my knees. This is especially pronounced after running. For example, if I have done a longer run (on the treadmill at the gym, for example), the simple process of walking up the stairs to leave the locker room at the Pro Club causes pain around my knees.

The pain is not in the joints, which is positive (I think), but more in the tendons or muscles around the area. It does tend to go away after a while. I am wondering if, because I am almost exclusively running and have been neglecting my strength training, I am neglecting certain muscles that don't get exercised during running but do get used when doing squats and other leg press type motions. I have decided that I will start doing basic squats and ball squats regularly to see if working on this motion will help the problem to go away. One good thing is that this does not seem to impact my running at all.

If you've experienced something like this, please leave a comment and let me know a) what it was, and b) what you did about it.

Hard(er) run

Yesterday, I ran a bit of a faster run than I've been doing recently. I ran a (gasp!) 9:30 pace for 3 miles. I think that I need to push myself on the shorter runs, use my Wednesday semi-long run for running my planned marathon pace, and not worry about pace on my weekend long runs. This will help me improve my cardio capacity and speed (faster runs), get used to marathon pace (semi-long runs), and build a base of mileage (long runs). This seems like a reasonable approach to me...

Monday, January 08, 2007

Woohoo! I've hit the 10% mark!

To date, I've run 46 miles for my marathon training program, which totals 456 miles. That means I've hit the 10% mark!

No skiing after all

I was unable to ski on Saturday after all. It turned out that there was a big storm on Friday night, and the power at Snoqualmie was knocked out.

Oh well, I guess it will be one more week before I can break in my new boots.

Marathon training: week 3 recap

I finished my third week of marathon training successfully. I felt like I might have a bit of a cold coming on toward the end of the week, and I was kind of run down for my long run, but I got through it. Fortunately, week 3 is a back off week where the long run is shorter than the previous 2 weeks, so that made the long doable.

I ran 15 miles last week, with a 5 mile long run. I did this yesterday at the Pro Club on the treadmill. I really hate running long runs inside, but I had to send my Garmin ForeRunner in for repair and have not received it back yet. As soon as it is back from Garmin, I will be outside for next weekend's long run.

This coming week is where things get much more difficult. My long run next weekend is 9 miles. This is equal to the longest non-half marathon run I've ever done. From here on in I will be in uncharted territory. This is where it gets interesting...

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