Friday, August 29, 2008


Well...I'm on a roll, though it hasn't been a TON of improvement, it's in the right direction!!

Just under 2 lbs in 3 weeks (the graph is a bit off... I'm going to see if I can fix that...)

And all of that with an extended break last weekend!

I need to run the next 3 days to keep on track, so wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

100 Push up challenge

Well... turns out I was doing te 100 pus

I am a bum.

Bah... I'm a lazy bum. After running on Thursday, I didn't do anything on Friday (I was supposed to do the 100 push up challenge). Saturday is my day off... so I took that day off instead of catching up. Then, on Sunday, I was supposed to do my last run of the week... and I didn't do anything.

So, yesterday, I did my last day of the push up challenge from last week and I did my final run from last week today too...

So I'm going to be able to catch up... but I'm going to have to bust it this week. I'm planning on running again tomorrow and doing another set of the push up challenge tonight to try to get caught up.

... This just proves to myself that I'm a creature of habit... I feel like if I'd been walking every day, (instead of not running... and doing nothing) I would be in the habit, and I would have had a much smaller chance of skipping out on a workout...

As far as life goes, I'm starting school tomorrow, still temping, so my job situation still isn't finalized (though I have an interview Saturday and another potential prospect for an interview, possibly next week). Also, the Most Wonderful Woman in the World had a doctor's appointment today... and she has to go on modified bedrest soon, so she'll have to work part time instead of full time. This will enable her to have extra rest in the morning and in the afternoon, which should be good, because she's gotten really, really exhausted of late. Thankfully, her wonderful parents (YES, I love my in-laws!) are coming this weekend, so that should be good to see them... and hopefully we can get everything in tip top shape in our house so that we'll be ready when the babies come (... they've been very obedient.... we told them that they can't come until at least October 15th!)

Gotta go do tonight's workout for the Push up challenge.

This week I've got:

Day 1: 4,4,3,3,max
Day 2: 6,5,3,3,max
Day 3: 5,5,4,4,max

And tomorrow's run:

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:
  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 2-1/2 minutes)
  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
This is going to be a stretch for me... I've struggled with the 3 minute runs, and I've got to add in 5 minute runs! I'm going to do my best!

It's interesting... I think that I'm running the correct distances when I'm doing my runs, but I don't really know, as I've been marking my time, not my distance. Michael has been doing the Couch to 5k for about 5 more weeks than I have and he's almost done with the program, but his 5k isn't until October too... but he's going to start tracking his distance. If I get a chance, I may do that too! I know that my route is 1.5 miles... and if I add up the distance of the workouts (for example this week) It's 200, 200, 400, 400, 200, 200, 400, 400 (all in meters) for a total of a mile and a half. But... I haven't finished right at home, so I think I'm not running the full distances. I may need to go over to the track at my school and do some distance AND time training too!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Today's run

OK, had my run today. It rained earlier today a bit here so my path was wet, which made it a bit more precarious... but other than that, it went pretty well! Why is it, though, that the 3 minutes that I walk always goes so much faster than the 3 minutes when I run...? I mean, I think Einstein's Theory of Relativity states that time goes slower for objects that are moving faster... could I be going faster than I think?!

Hey, stop laughing....!

One good thing is that I was able to run the whole time today again. I also had a couple of revelations while running today (not related to the Theory of Relativity).

First off, my recovery time is getting lots better. Here's a rundown of my workout again:

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following:
  • Jog 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Walk 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 400 yards (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 400 yards (or three minutes)
Now, after the second rep of 3 minutes I walked for another 3 minutes... and I felt like I was ready to run again.

My second revelation came 2 minutes later when, after walking for 2 more mins, I was exhausted and felt ready to stop! So, my endurance, though it's getting better, isn't tremendous yet. Technically, in terms of the Couch to 5K, my workout was over at that point... but I wasn't home yet so I had to keep walking!

I had another weigh in today too:

So, I dropped .2 pounds, which really is negligible... but it's in the right direction, even if just a half a smidgen.

This is going to really spur me on to do the nutrition I was talking about earlier. It's amazing how much better I feel when I eat well versus when I don't!

Push up Challenge, day 2 of week 1

Well, I was reconfirmed that my core is weak last night... my abs are the body part getting the best workout right now!

I guess what that says is sitting in a cubicle all day for the last 2 years and plopping in front of a computer/TV while at home isn't a good way to keep your stomach toned. Who knew?

I think I need to start researching to find a good core program to do in addition to my other new activities. I know that back when I was in shape and HAD a good core, I felt better overall and working out was easier and more enjoyable. But there are more factors than just my weak core that are prohibiting that...

This week shot by... I've got another weigh-in tonight. Hopefully I see some progress, but I haven't done any of the nutritional types of things that I mentioned earlier this week.

Also, I start school next week. My class schedule is Mondays and Wednesdays, but because a week from Monday is Labor day is a holiday, they have those classes on the preceeding Wednesday (so, a week from yesterday). It's taking me a bit to get in the mindset that I'm going to have class and schoolwork. I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm really looking forward to this... it's been a goal of mine for like 5 years and it's finally coming to fruition.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tuesday run

Well, I think I've got a plan now... Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I'm going to do the 100 push up challenge workouts and Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, I'm going to do the Couch to 5k workouts. I started over with the 100 push up challenge last night because I'd only done 1 of the week 1 workouts...!

As I started my run today, I had a talk with myself. When I had set out, I was running fairly fast... but I wasn't able to sustain that speed, not even close. I also (like on Sunday) hadn't been able to finish my run out fully. So, I decided that I would take it a bit easier and try to run the whole time.

Well, this week, this is what my workout looks like:

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following:
  • Jog 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Walk 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 400 yards (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 400 yards (or three minutes)
I also stretched quite a bit before I left and... shockingly! it wasn't as tough on my legs!

Yesterday for the push up challenge, I had 4 sets of 2 (real) push ups with 60 seconds between sets and then maxing out. I still am shocked how weak my core is. I may need to supplement with some additional core exercises.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sunday run

Wow... today was by far the toughest run so far. It was the warmest (82 degrees) with 62% humidity. That's about 10 degrees and quite a bit more humid than it has been too.

This past week, I worked out for 20 minutes... 90 seconds running, 120 seconds walking, and I did that 4 times. Well, today I didn't feel great when I started out and I hadn't stretched as much as I should have. The first half went ok, but I only got though 1 minute of my third and fourth runs. I think I need to get back to activity every day (except for one) instead of taking so many days off. I understand the idea that a day off to recover is good, but it's one thing to take a day all the way off, and another thing to take it off from going hard, but still doing some sort of activity.

I think this is actually a BETTER idea in many respects. One of the things we used to do when I was in high school the day after a Friday night football game, and to some respects with basketball too, was to jog a bit. That warms up your muscles enough to get the lactic acid out of your body that's causing you to be sore.

I've just gotta get pumped up for next week!

Saturday thoughts (well... Sunday)

First off, Michael Phelps is awesome. 8/8 in gold medals, 7 of them world records. Just awesome.

I loved Usain Bolt's 100 meter race too. He shattered the world record and let up before going the whole way. Amazing that this was Jamaica's first gold medal in the Olympics for the 100m... it seems to me that they've been in the hunt before, but maybe that's just been in the last several years.

Also, it is weird seeing Brett Favre in a Jet's uni, but... I can actually cheer for him now! Now that he's not on the Packers, I'm the biggest Brett Favre fan in the country! Just as long as they don't play the Bears.

I have been a bum the last two days. I told myself that I was just going to take my day off yesterday and work out today... and I didn't. Tomorrow is my run, so I can't miss that... but I wanted to do SOMETHING today, even if it was just go for a bike ride. Shoot, just realize I missed my workout with the push up challenge too... better go do that now!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Push up Challenge feedback

So, like I said last night, I started with my first real "workout" with the pushup challenge. I'm amazing at where it makes me sore... I would have thought that my arms and chest would be the most sore... but it's my abs!

I also saved myself some money last night. On a whim, I searched the internet for discounts for Sprint cell phones... and there's SO much out there! I've been a Sprint customer for 8 years and, though I've got an ok plan, I still have paid about $80 for my phone and my wife's. We've also recently (since our move to IL) gone over on our minutes, which has cost us $120!

Well, I found several places that there used to be a discount called a SERO discount that got 500 mins for $30. Unfortunately, not only has it expired as of last month, it can't be used for family plans. I did also find, though, a "customer loyalty discount." So, I called them up last night, and now my cell phone bill costs 10% less! Just like that! Sprint also has corporate discounts available for lots of companies. You can find out more about that HERE. All you need to do is put in your work email address, and if your employer qualifies for discounts, that's extra $$ off your bill!

On another whim, I did a search for a free headset. I don't talk on the phone while I'm driving much, but when I do, I don't like to have to hold my phone. That, and it's likely safer to have both hands on the wheel (10 and 2 and all that...). Well, I found a company that gives away headsets for just the cost of shipping! will send you a free headset! Unfortunately, it doesn't look like they have one for our phones... but I've sent in an email to check. I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Day 8 of 60

Did my second run of the week today. That's 20 minutes of a run walk combo... 90 seconds of running, 120 seconds of walking, rinse and repeat. I even stretched more than I usually do and walked for 5 mins to warm up.

I felt GOOD the first 90 second run, for the most part. Same for the second 90 seconds, which was encouraging, because I was pretty much hurting the whole time on Monday! By the end, though, I was going to slow that I was kind of jogging in place... but I was still a job by my definition. It's amazing how much more tiring it is to jog than to walk, even if you're moving faster walking!

I've gotta be honest, though... there were some tough things about this workout tonight. First off, my legs aren't in great shape, so, though I'm used to stretching out and really reaching with my legs (which I can do, 'cause I'm 6'10"), they're really not strong enough right now to be able to reach like that. That fact gets more and more pronounced as I get more and more tired.

For the first time, I really feel like this:

... an athlete in a fat body.

Also, I'm used to swinging my arms more than I'm currently able to right now. I account that the added mass I have in my upper body. I mean, I've always had big (thick) legs... but my upper body wasn't as big. ... I grew into my upper body in college, and since the end of my basketball career, I've put the majority of the weight on in my gut. This fact has added additional... action (?) to my run. In other words, I've got some jiggle. As I lose weight and get my legs in shape, it should help the entire situation.

On the weight loss front... I have lost a little bit, though I don't really credit my working out for that yet... my weight always fluctuates a few pounds here and there.

I'm also going to do my first day for the Push-up Challenge. Here's my workout (3 days) for this week, with 60 seconds in between:

level 1 2
level 2 2
level 3 2
level 4 2
level 5 max (at least 3)

The reason why I'm doing this is something that I learned while reading the Abs Diet by David Zinczenko, editor of Men's Health. I started that plan in terms of the nutrition last August, but I didn't add any type of exercise with it. In a little over a month, I lost 8 pounds, and my wife Kate, who had already lost about 20 pounds just from working out, and she was doing a lot of calorie counting. When she switched to the Abs diet nutrition plan, she stopped counting calories and lost another 2-3 pounds and she didn't have the guilt that goes along with calorie counting.

The big thing with the Abs Diet is that you pack your diet with certain "ABS DIET POWER" foods and these foods work for you. They're complex carbs and packed with protien and they really boost your metabolism. Also, if you're lifting weights, you're boosting your metabolism there, too. When you weight lift, you break down your muscles... so your body works to build those muscles back up for hours and even days to repair the muscles... and you're burning calories the whole time. And he makes a good point, too... when you're at a health club, look at the people on the treadmills and look at the people doing free-weights. The free-weight studs are ripped. The people doing the treadmill often are on the thicker side. So, that's another reason is why I'm going the 100 Push-Up Challenge!

Here are the ABS DIET POWER foods:

Almonds and other nuts
Beans and legumes
Spinach and other green vegetables

Dairy (fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt, cheese)
Instant oatmeal (unsweetened, unflavored)
Turkey and other lean meats

Peanut butter
Olive oil
Whole-grain breads and cereals
Extra-protien (whey) powder
Raspberries and other berries

The great thing about this is that these foods really taste awesome. It isn't like you're keeping yourself from things that you like... there are plenty of things in here that taste great and are great for you too.

Wednesday off

I decided to take Wed off to let my body recover a bit. I fully understand that there will be some pain... but if I push myself too hard, I won't be able to do as much work later too.

And so, in lieu of runnin info... here's a picture of a llama:

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

More about the Olympics

So, as I've said, I've been watching the Olympics. The time difference is starting to get to me a little bit though. I usually watch in the evenings (which is live, I think), and then I'll also listen to the radio in the morning, and they'll talk about the Olympics then. ... But there's a bit of a disconnect somewhere... I watch and (obviously) see what happens, and I listen and often times hear what I saw... but sometimes they talk about things that I missed. Now, this isn't unnatural... I'm asleep, so I'm not watching.

But the problem comes in when I turn on Olympic coverage that night... They pretty much continue coverage from the LAST night... and don't assume that anything that happened after I went to sleep has happened yet! So, if they watch some tape-delayed coverage, it's like it happened live... but really it happened 18 hours ago!

So, that brings me to Michael Phelps. According to the radio this morning, he's 5/5 in gold medals, but I think I've only seen 3 of them... so did I miss 2, or will I see those tonight? Arg!?!

Speaking of records... especially in swimming, it seems like EVERY gold medal winner is breaking the record for that particular race. In the relay I watched last night (800 meter freestyle), the American's shattered it and then blew up the shards into tiny pieces. They beat the previous record by 4.5 seconds! And in the 4x100 freestyle (the one where the French were running their mouths) the Americans beat the previous record by 3.99 seconds. That previous record was beaten by the Americans (#1), French (#2), Australians (#3), Italians (#4), and Swedish (#5). That means that the Italians and Swedish swam faster than anyone had ever swam before... and didn't even get a medal!

Mental Floss talked about the fact that records are falling faster than Bohemian elites from a second story window.

They list 6 reasons why the records are being broken so relatively easily.

In terms of training... I'm trying to decide what I am going to do today. My legs are telling me that I need a day off. I'm still aching from my run on Monday. Today was supposed to be another run/walk day, but I may take it off to try to recover, so it won't ruin the rest of my workouts this week.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

More than just a running plan

Well, in addition to my running plan and my training for a 5k, I'm also going to be doing a couple of other things to get in shape.

First off, I'm going to also do the 100 push up challenge. This plan will help me develop my upper body as well, which will help me with my metabolism (more in a later post about that) and with my core, so I don't lose the momentum of my arms in my gut.

I just did the initial test. First off... it's lots tougher than push ups when I was in shape... I wasn't "pushing up" as much, and my body didn't touch the ground quite as early on the way down!

I also am tracking my weight loss at . They've got graphs so you can track it really easily, like below, with my baseline:

Get your own graph at skinnyr

It's impossible to follow a trend with one point... but it makes it easy to set goals!

Time to watch more of the Olympics! Michael Phelps won his 3rd gold medal and set his third World record (his 10th medal - the most all time, and his 25th world record, one less than the most of all time for world records). Have I mentioned yet that he's awesome?

That's it... I'm heading to the Couch!

... the "Couch-to-5k" plan, that is!

Michael is training for a 5k too, and he's doing the "Couch-to-5k" plan, and, even though he's at week 6, and I'm at week 2, it appears that there are at least certain aspects of that plan that thought out better than mine.

On my plan, today was supposed to be a "run 10 minutes" day. Yeah... that's not happening. Like I said yesterday, I don't have the endurance for a longer run like this... and the Couch-to-5k has longer activity than I was planning on my "hard" days, if you will. So, today I walked (swapped my running and walking days this week), so tomorrow I will run again.

Then, tomorrow, I'm going to do workout #2 on week 2 of Couch-to-5k:

Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

Thursday, I'll walk again, then on Friday I'll do workout #3 on week 2, etc (which in this case is the same).

I like this plan because it's realistic. It doesn't tell me to go run for 10 minutes. It understands that, darn it, I can't run 10 mins straight right now... so let me run 90 seconds and walk 120.

So, this is basically a meld of my old plan , the Couch-to-5k, a little bit of the Beginning marathon training plan, and the Beginning 5k plan from Runner's World.

In general, M,W, F will be a walk -> run/walk day; T,Th, Su will be a run/walk -> run day.

This is a much more realistic plan for me.

Btw, walked a mile and a half today and my legs are feeling it... gotta stretch those calves!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Day 5 tougher than I thought

Well... I officially had my first run. This is going to be harder than I thought.

I don't know why I figured it would be easy... after nearly 3 years of doing nothing, I guess I believed my lie that I could just pick it up from scratch and have that be that. Oh well, I've got some work ahead of me!

I figured out that my route is about 3/4 of a mile each way (so, 1.5 miles total). That will help me figure out my distances for future runs.

Today, I was going to make up my run from yesterday and walk too. I realized that I pretty much wasted Thursday and Friday from last week... I need to be working up to running, not just doing activity. It will be better for me to do a run/walk like I did today, expanding the amount that I'm running, than just walking. I broke a sweat today (early, early on!) and really got a workout. I didn't get a workout last week.

One thing I did realize is how much easier it is to run when you have goals. Like I posted last week, along this route are these plastic ties along the way advising that the area contains wetlands, and if I gave myself a goal of running to that point, it was much easier than just saying "I'm going to run for 15 seconds or 30 seconds." or whatever the time would be.

I also caught myself slowing down when I would get to markers where I decided I was going to run again. Instead of keeping the same pace, I'd stop running and go into a brisk walk... to a semi-leisurely walk... to a sllllowwww walk. I need to keep moving so that I get used to going for that whole time and make the entire time, whether I'm running or walking, be worth while.

Though this, though, I found that I have several different speeds. These are from fastest to slowest:

Sprint- The Bear's after you...
Run- My "distance" pace. Yes, you're faster than me, but I have more endurance, so you just sprinted away... but I'll get there. May just take me a bit right now!
Jog- Feet are leaving the ground, but I'm not moving very fast. I'm also not covering very much ground. I need to work on RUNNING, not jogging!
Racewalking (aka Power-walking) - Both feet DON'T both leave the ground at the same time. I know I'm not working very hard in my "jog" when I start walking... and I'm walking faster than I was jogging! Exaggerated arm movements optional. But keep in mind... we will laugh at you.
Walking - Not as fast as Racewalking, more leisurely and "easy," often done in a park. Thus the term "Walk in the park."
Stumble- Still moving forward. Both feet usually on the ground. Not moving very fast, probably avoiding getting someplace (i.e. me right before I get to one of my "run" markers).

My legs are really feeling it right now... especially my hips and my calves.

Btw, as I've said, I've been running on a path. Unfortunately, Google Maps (my preferred mapping software) doesn't allow any trips off of roads (despite their new "walk there" feature).

But... there is another website that uses Google Maps that DOES let you create trips that aren't on roads. It also will track your distance and makes an approximation for how many calories you've burned. This website is: . This is VERY helpful for planning trips and tracking distances.

The Mole finale is tonight... gotta find out who the Mole is! Also, Men's gymnastics are on right now in the Olympics. The US is second (12) to host China (14) in total medals and third in Golds with 3, behind China (9) and Korea (4). Michael Phelps is 2/2 in gold metals and world records so far... going for 8!


This is a test. If it was a real blog post, then it would have useful information of some sort. It doesn't, so it isn't a real post.

This is only a test.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Day 4... not so much

Well... I didn't et my run in today... Kate and I went to te zoo, so I did et some activity in but it wasn't much... I'm oin to try to do both my walk and my run tomorrow to make up. This was supposed to be my first official run, and I really don't want to miss it...!

Did you see the Olympics? The French 400 meter freestyle relay team came in favored and they were talking all kinds of trash about how they were oin to beat the Americans... and the US came from behind and beat the French by .08 for old. It was an awesome race!

And while were hatin on the French... this is my favorite anti-French site... This is the result if you type in French military victories in Google and click I feel lucky. Click the resultin link for a very interestin list...

And yes, it is (mostly) a joke... I just hate when they run their mouths, because they never back it up!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Here's another interesting bit I found on Mental_floss. It's a commencement speech by Steve Jobs from Apple and it's both entertaining and good advice!

... Now there wasn't anything wrong with my commencement speech... but the only thing that I really remember from it is that I rented my tuxedo for my wedding from him

and he's now the Mayor of Stevens Point, WI. Couldn't tell you a thing he said though...

Day 3 with a bonus link!

Off day today. Well, it's planned to be off... I might go for a walk today because I'm actually enjoying getting outside and exercising... imagine that!

The MWWITW and I talked it over... we're going to go to Brookfield Zoo tomorrow instead 'cause it's open later.

I'm going to spend some more time going through stuff that still doesn't have a place yet... I really don't like moving because things don't have places... I'm a "collector" as it is, so when things DO have places... I manage to find things that don't have a place.

So, I've got a whole bunch of things sitting in our living room that probably need to be thrown away... but I have this whole discussion with myself... am I ever going to need/want this again? I don't know... so I can't throw it away!

Here's something neat to look at to pass the time...:

Dinner in the sky

This is super expensive... but it would be an awesome experience!

Friday, August 8, 2008


So... maybe you're wondering about the name of this blog... Abelfarei. I really don't know, to be honest... About 5 (?) years ago, I was playing chess on Yahoo, and I played someone with this as their name. I thought it was cool... it kind of sounded like a country name to me, so I wrote it down and now it's the name of the blog!

Does anybody have any great ideas about what it it could mean...?

Oh, btw, GO CUBS! Won in 11 innings today. Who would have thought they would be this good this year...? 70-46! And I love Jim Edmonds in a Cubs uniform!!!

Day 2 of 60

Workout #2... Fin!

1/30 of the way to my 5k!

It really feels good... It's nice to stretch out my legs and walk... my legs are feeling a bit tired, which kind of shows me how out of shape I've become...

It was a beautiful day in the low to mid 70's today... Perfect weather to be outside! I went on the same route today and I got a little farther, I think. I didn't think I had a stop watch... but it's amazing the things you find in your cell phone these days!

So, I set out, this time with my iPod in one hand and my cell phone in the other. This isn't going to work when I'm running... I may need to get a fanny pack.
Yeah, that's just gross... EDIT: NO that's not me!

... OK, dumbest idea ever. I just need to run in shorts that have pockets I think, or get a watch with a stopwatch on it.

I noticed one negative of my exercising... I saw this spot on my right arm... it was a HUGE mosquito bite. Thankfully it didn't itch... until I noticed it, and then it wouldn't STOP itching. Until I forgot about it. And now it's fine... really weird!

Speaking of mosquito bites... this really odd thing happened to me today. I reached my halfway point, and as I was turning, I noticed there were two mosquitoes on my left shoulder. I smacked 'em, made 'em suffer for sucking my blood.

Not 30 seconds later, I left something on my left shoulder. I looked, and there were two mosquitoes there. Smack, dead vampire bugs. 30 seconds later, rinse and repeat. No fewer than 14 mosquitoes fell upon me for an afternoon snack. I sent all of them wherever mosquitoes go when they shuffle off this mortal coil, but the most interesting thing was that they all landed on my left shoulder. Maybe they saw the big old bite on my right arm and figured that arm was sucked dry, I dunno...

But I had about 1/3 of my walk to go, and my mind started running (Hmm... there's gotta be some joke there about my mind going faster than my physical self, but...).

I thought that I should probably put on bug spray before I go out (especially when I go on this route). The way I go takes me between two golf courses, but there are these ties right next to the trail that say "wetland mitigation." Now, you may not know what that is (unless you followed the last link), but I've learned that it's a plan to keep the same amount of wetlands in a general area. When one wetland area is changed to a form more usable by humans, another area, usually one that used to be a wetland, needs to be reclaimed. It makes sense from an ecological standpoint... wetland areas absorb runoff and additional rain and can store the extra moisture and prevent flooding. In light of the flooding that occurred in Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri earlier this year, areas like this can help to prevent situations like that from happening. You'll notice that the devastation all happened in urban areas. That's a bit of a Catch-22... There is additional run-off from the extra paved areas (sidewalks, roads, parking lots, etc), so it all runs off to the streams and rivers much faster and doesn't have an opportunity to seep into the ground... and the areas that are flooded were higher populated areas. Now, we heard about it because it was populated. But, the argument can be made that it flooded because it was populated. I know certain places in Lake and McHenry County flooded for the second or third time in the last few years. Part of that is due to the fact that people have moved to historical flood zones. Whether it be a 100 year flood zone or a 1000 year flood zone... it's still a flood zone! That means that one flood in 100 years or 1000 years floods that area... but it still floods that area! Of course, though, when levies are constructed and dams are in place, it's assumed that those structures will be able to hold against potential floods. Unfortunately, as has happened more frequently of late, these structures can still fail.

I feel really bad for people who have lost so much with the floods. But living in those types of areas means there's always a chance.

Wow... that ended up lots longer than I thought it would!

Anyway... I was walking through a wetlands area and a dozen mosquitoes wanted to feed off of me, and I thought of West Nile Virus. I dunno why... may have been the story I read in the Chicago Tribune, but I almost started to get a bit scared... I didn't know what the symptoms were, but I wondered if they were achy legs, shortness of breath, dry mouth... Then I realized I really was more out of shape than I thought I was!

Opening ceremonies of the Olympics tonight. Too long, I couldn't watch the whole thing... but there were some pretty cool spectacles! Amazing that 15,000 people were involved with the show! If you missed it, check out this sideshow on the Tribune website.

Saturday is my day off... not that I really need it, physically, but it will get me in the habit. And the MWWITW and I are probably going to go to Brookfield Zoo this weekend... maybe even tomorow. It won't be at the "workout speed," but it will be better than sitting in front of a desk, like I do all day!

Hope you have a great weekend! Feel free to comment to let me know who is reading this!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

More about the Olympics!

Mental_Floss is an awesome site. I can only imagine that the magazine that goes with it is amazing too... I have yet to pick up a copy, but that's probably going on the Christmas list (not too much disposable income with twins on the way!).

Here's their take on 7 Medal-Worthy Stories.

One down, Fifty-nine to go!

I have officially begun! Tonight I did my first training for my 5k. I walked for 20 minutes. I'm not quite sure the best way to do this... so I timed myself for 10 minutes (well... listened to 10 minutes on my iPod), then I turned around and went home. Now, this isn't your normal stroll in the park (... though I did walk down a path... in a park-like setting...). This was much closer, though not exactly racewalking. Now, what is racewalking? Well, among other things, it's an Olympic event...

But for those inquiring minds that want to know... Here's Mental_Floss's take on Racewalking vs. Jogging.

Speaking of the Olympics... they start tomorrow! It should be fun and entertaining to watch... though it officially is going to begin getting depressing starting this year, I think. I'm 27. The great majority of the athletes are going to be younger than I am. I may have missed my window of opportunity to compete in the Olympics. Darn!

Maybe I'll still have a chance if they bring back some of these Weird Olympic Events.

But I digress.

My workout!

It started off well. I didn't warm up or stretch first (no warm up because my workout was walking... which is how I'd warm up!), and no stretching because it isn't good to stretch cold muscles. ... Well, about 1/3 of the way through, my legs were starting to feel it a little bit, and I wished I'd stretched!

Interestingly, 10 minutes on the "out" of my out-and-back walk wasn't as far as 10 minutes on the "back." (I was going to write 10 minutes on my back... but that sounded like I couldn't handle my workout!) And I think my 10 out was a bit longer than 10 mins, too. I was listening to a recording of a live Victor Wooten solo that was about 9:36, but I restarted it twice, so it wasn't fully accurate. On the way back, it was 8:00 minutes of a different live recording of a Bela Fleck & the Flecktones... but I got back at the end of the song! So I walked down the block for another minute or so and turned around and went home

It was a beautiful day here today, didn't even reach 80, I think... but I was definitely sweating and my legs were feeling it a bit. I got down to stretch and I discovered... that it's tough to stretch with this belly o' mine! I never used to have that problem in high school or college!

For however more difficult stretching was than it used to be, it made my legs feel better!

Until tomorrow... happy running!


I want to be able to keep track of my progress. Now, I don't have a specific weight loss goal, because it's not important to me. I just want to get back in good shape so I can be around for my kiddos down the road. And though it is not a goal, per say, I do want to see how much weight I do lose. I mean, I always said that I could lose the weight if I wanted to... I want to make sure I wasn't a liar!

So, as a baseline before I start, my weight is 325.8 lbs. That's about 25 pounds more than when I got married a little over two years ago, 65 pounds more than my heaviest playing weight during college, 115 pounds more than my senior year of high school, and 150 pounds more than my drivers license after my freshman year of high school.

...Now, I do have to be honest... I was really skinny in high school and I filled out in college. But I ballooned after I stopped playing basketball.

So, I've got a baseline before I start training for my 5k!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

And so it begins...

Well, here goes nothing...

Starting tomorrow, I'm going to begin training for my first 5k in about 10 years.

Lots has changed between then and now.

I graduated high school.

I graduated college.

I moved to two new states (Michigan and Wisconsin) and BACK to the homeland of Illinois.

I was on back-to-back National Championship basketball teams and won 3 conference titles.

I met the most wonderful woman in the world (MWWITW).

I informed the MWWITW that we were dating (one week later).

I married the MWWITW.

I became an uncle (x4, soon to be x5)

I'm soon to be a daddy (x2!).

I gained about 115 pounds.


Ya know, it's amazing how easy it is to gain weight when you replace college athletics with sitting on the couch.

I had all kinds of excuses...

My favorite was "I'm used to competing at such a high level, it's not worth it to do anything if I'm not competing at that high level."

... Yeah, ok.

So, now that the MWWITW is expecting twins, it's time for me to get back in shape. Goodness knows that I'm going to need to be in shape in a about 8 or 9 months when the kiddo's start crawling around!

To get in shape, I'm going to be realistic... I will need a goal. So, a goal I have found! I am going to begin getting in shape by training for a 5k at Morton Arboretum on October 5th. It gives me a goal... and the Aboretum will be so beautiful that time of year!

Technically, I'm not a beginner as a runner. I ran cross county (very poorly) in middle school, and I ran track in high school. I've even run a couple of 5k's and a 10k before, when I was in high school (my best time was just over 20 mins).

Actually, I just checked... my FIRST 5k was 10 years ago, when I was 17, and in the best shape of my life. I ran 20.41 (1999). It was relatively easy for me, because I was just coming off of a good track season. The next year, I decided to push myself... so I ran the 10k. Big mistake... I ran 50.16 and barely finished (2000). I was so exhausted because I hadn't trained for that type of distance. The next year was after my first year of college. I was in OK shape, but not great... and I ran 23.45 (2001). I would love to be able to try to match the latest one... but I'm starting from scratch. I'm treating this experience like I've never done anything like it before. I'm declaring myself as a beginner.

I'm going to start training tomorrow, 60 days before the race. So, here's my plan:

Week Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Sunday
1 X X X Walk 20 mins Walk 20 mins Run .5 miles
2 Walk 20 mins Run 10 mins Walk 20 mins Run 10 mins Walk 20 mins Run .5 miles
3 Walk 20 mins Run 10 mins Walk 20 mins Run 10 mins Walk 20 mins Run 1 mile
4 Walk 20 mins Run 10 mins Walk 20 mins Run 10 mins Walk 20 mins Run 1.5 miles
5 Walk 20 mins Run 10 mins Walk 20 mins Run 15 mins Walk 20 mins Run 2 miles
6 Walk 20 mins Run 15 mins Walk 20 mins Run 20 mins Walk 20 mins Run 2.5 miles
7 Walk 30 mins Run 20 mins Walk 30 mins Run 25 mins Walk 30 mins Run 3 miles
8 Walk 30 mins Run 25 mins Walk 30 mins Run 30 mins Walk 30 mins Run 3.5 miles
9 Walk 30 mins Run 30 mins Walk 30 mins Run 30 mins Walk 30 mins RACE

I formulated it from a combination of a 5 week plan for 5k's from Runners World and a beginner's guide for marathon training from Marathon Rookie.

The Marathon Rookie is a 26 week plan, with 4 days on, 3 days off. That's great for marathoners... and they certainly need the rest to let their bodies recoup. But I'm running 3.1 miles. Compared to what I'm doing now, that's much more... but, though I'm out of shape, getting back to some semblance of shape shouldn't take too long... so I'm going to stick to the 6 on 1 off plan. Half the on days are walking anyway, so it isn't like going out and running 15 miles!

I'd love to hear about other people getting ready for runs this fall and possibly some tips for a beginner!