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  1. Week 31

    Dec 29, 2008

    A TRIUMPHant week! Well, almost. Had to figure that my streak of solid losses would cease the week of holiday indulgences. I managed to lose 3.5 pounds the week of Thanksgiving, but Thanksgiving doesn't have as much candy as Christmas. I didn't gain though, and although it's a modest loss, I'm less than a pound away from my goal for next week. I'm comfortable in the spot I'm in currently. Setting realistic goals has gotten me so far. After next week's weigh-in I set my sights on April, my birthday, and the 100 pound mark.

    I'd like to thank my wonderful, encouraging wife here for the great Christmas gifts. Truly an enabler (the good kind) she got me some great new Saucony Triumph 4s, a Brooks NightLife vest and pair of gloves, books on running and hiking, a headlamp, an altimeter/barometer from L.L. Bean, and a load of clothes in new slimmer sizes to encourage me on my way toward better health. I feel so lucky this year for my own wellness, but also that I have such encouraging family to help me in the process of my own betterment.

    Starting weight : 315 lbs. Last week : 242 lbs. This week : 240.8 lbs. Since previous weigh in : -1.2 lbs. Total weight loss : -74.2 lbs.

  2. Week 30

    Dec 21, 2008

    And on the mission goes. I'm 3 pounds closer to my goal, that is if this morning's weigh in can be considered accurate. I'm a little on the fence about this one. Waking up first thing this morning I stepped on the scale. Unfortunately that reading provided woefully little progress from last week. I lost just over a half a pound. That's not enough to attain my year end goal. So I decided to wait it out slightly. Perhaps I could get a little better reading after I gave myself a little time to get things, pardon me, moving.

    In the meantime I went for a run. I wanted to get one in before the snow flew. We're right in the middle of two weather systems here in Maine. One just wrapped up last night, and as I write this, we're getting nailed by a storm that could potentially bring us 20 inches. I managed 3 miles in about 31 minutes. That's a little faster than usual but the wind was also blowing to the point it made it hard to catch my breath. I just wanted it over as quickly as possible.

    So with the run and that, umm, other thing my next weigh in put me at a 3 pound loss for the week. I suppose a pretty good deal of it came from sweat but that's fine by me since I think I was holding some from drinking a LOT of water yesterday and dinner last night was a little salty as well. It's progress anyway.

    Starting weight : 315 lbs. Last week : 245 lbs. This week : 242 lbs. Since previous weigh in : -3 lbs. Total weight loss : -73 lbs.

  3. Meet Me @ Thornton

    Dec 16, 2008

    Last night was a bit of a treat. Eric mentioned wanting to go to the track at Thornton Academy in Saco for some track work. I've never gone through this kind of workout and really had no idea what to expect. I know my running program has lacked any type of formality and structure thus far and that's something I plan to work on in '09. I got my feet wet by playing around on the track last night and found out the hard way that maybe I need to learn more about my pacing and that this type of work could be beneficial in a number of ways.

    I arrived early, as was my intention, and started with a few laps. The sun was going down and I really hoped there would be more light on the field but it was pretty interesting running out here in the dark anyway so I didn't mind. I got in about 5 laps before Eric showed up to commence with the pain.

    We ended up doing 1x300m, 3x200m, and 2x100m. I didn't clock the 300m but my times on the 200m were 46 sec, 43 sec, and 48 sec. My times on the 100m were 21 and 20. Sorry I didn't make note of the fractions of seconds but my watch doesn't actually record the splits as it does heart rate information. Anyway, I ended up burning out. At one point I attempted a 400 but petered at about 150m.

    In doing a bit more research I found my problem. I used The McMillan Running Calculator and, after inputting my best 5K time, found that I had gone out way faster than I was ready to at this point. 43 seconds for 200m? Yeah, I shoulda been doing more like, 56.9 seconds tops. Using this calculator however I have a much clearer idea in mind for what to shoot for next time. The tool is really quite handy. I'll spend more time researching the right information next time around rather than just winging it. I think I've said that before though.

    Average heart rate : 138 bpm Maximum heart rate : 180 bpm Percentage of cals burned from fat : 50% Kcals burned : 584

  4. Kind of an ugly week. I'm sure I could have lost more if I didn't get so indulgent at the beginning of last week. A few more miles on the road or another day in the gym wouldn't have hurt either. Somehow this pattern isn't completely destructive though. I still lost another 1.4 pounds. I'm pretty sure my metabolism doesn't know what to do with itself. As I understand, it's important to keep your body guessing as to what's coming next. I've certainly been doing that. I might go from a very lazy week to a completely ass kicking week. The payoff on those weeks really shows, as in week 28.

    I dunno, just wasn't feelin it this past week I guess. I only got 2 real positive workouts in. I'm off to a better start this week, having done some speed work at the track last night. I'm feeling pretty dumpy about taking today off. I figure though if I can get in 4 solid workouts this week I ought to be ok. I'm in a pretty good place to still hit my goal for the new year. 5 pounds left to go. 3 weeks left to do it. Will I make it?

    Starting weight : 315 lbs. Last week : 246.4 lbs. This week : 245 lbs. Since previous weigh in : -1.4 lbs. Total weight loss : -70 lbs.

  5. Runcasting!

    Dec 12, 2008

    I was recently introduced to the burgeoning online community of vidcasting runners at RuncastTV. I love the concept of user submitted content but have never been one to put any content together myself. Yesterday the state of Maine was declared in a state of emergency, thanks to an ice storm that was part of a system stretching from Maine to Louisiana. 70% of the homes in York county, the hardest hit, were without power. So I decided to share our situation by creating my first Runcast. Give me a holler and let me know what you think.

    Find more videos like this on RuncastTV

  6. Cleaning out Cobwebs

    Dec 11, 2008

    I have been woefully lazy. I mentioned earlier that I was a little indulgent at the beginning of this week too. These things along with a lack of free time have amounted to a setback for the week. If I intend to lose weight this week, or break even for that matter, I need to get to it. Today was back into the gym. I can't squander the good progress I've been making lately.

    It's amazing how I've come to be able to feel these less than healthful foods moving through my system. For the last several days I've experienced an absolutely wretched feeling brought on by the greasy foods I consumed earlier this week. I'm only just now starting to feel as though they've finally run their course through my body, and honestly, I haven't felt much like working out until now.

    So today I knew I had to make it count. I decided to run 5 miles on the treadmill, which I accomplished in about 55 minutes even making it up to an 8 minute/mile pace at one point. My conditioning has gotten to a point where a 12 minute/mile pace is much easier to handle. It doesn't seem like too long ago that I was unable to hold that relatively slow pace without wanting to die. Now I can do it and hold only about a 140 bpm heart rate while doing so. Progress for sure. I can't wait to see what I accomplish in the spring.

    5 miles Treadmill, 0% Incline, Successfully achieved a 8 minute/mile pace!
    30 minutes Cross Trainer, Cross Country setting #1, Resistance level 8, 120 strides per minute

    Average heart rate : 150 bpm Maximum heart rate : 176 Percentage of cals burned from fat : 40% Kcals burned : 979

  7. Thanks very much to Deb for the comment on the previous post. The article is finished and I'm very flattered by the nod to SlimCache she put in. The article is all about the lists we make. Not so much the mundane day to day 'to dos', but the "fun to dos". There are lots of great healthful outdoor pursuits to try out; from major hiking goals such as the Triple Crown (hiking the Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail), to compiling a list of completed marathons and ultra marathons, and a pursuit new to me, highpointing, which is to compile a list of the highest summits of a certain geographical location, as in a county or state, and crossing those off the list as you reach their peaks. Check The Highpointer's Club for more info, as I intend to.

    Hats off to Deb, aka ramkitten, for a great article on so many different adventures you can add to your list of "to dos"! View the article here. Also check out Deb's blog for her amazing adventures as a member of the Coconino, Arizona Search and Rescue Team! Cool stuff!

  8. Week 28

    Dec 8, 2008

    I'm kicking myself for not getting this posted last night but I was celebrating. I had a few tasty beers to rejoice in my absolutely solid weight loss week. I haven't been this proud in a while. Somehow I lost about 4 and a half pounds this week! Maybe it was all that running I did in. I ran or walked about 24 miles, and now it no longer feel like I'm killing myself while doing it.

    So I "cheated" a little bit with the beer, and the leftover pizza, and the burger for lunch. *Shrug* What is "cheating" anyway? I just call it surviving day to day. If I eat that burger I'm just going to have to run a little harder the next time I go out, but I'm ready for that. Besides, I'm well on my way to my goal. I've got 4 more weigh ins until my 75 pound goal mark. I really want to avoid being too cocky but I think 6.4 pounds in 4 weeks is attainable. Thanks all for your support. With so many people having my back it really does make the effort seem that much easier.

    Starting weight : 315 lbs. Last week : 250.8 lbs. This week : 246.4 lbs. Since previous weigh in : -4.4 lbs. Total weight loss : -68.6 lbs.

  9. A Faster Way to 5K

    Dec 1, 2008

    God was I anxious to get back to things. The notable loss from this past week was still fresh in my mind, and I feel as though it breathed new life once again into my ambitions. I didn't know going into the gym however that I would actually harness that vibe to drive on to a new benchmark.

    So what if it wasn't the open road? I did my fastest 5K ever today on the treadmill. Does that still count as a personal best? I managed a 30:39. I ranged in pace from an 8 min 57 sec mile to just about 10 min 22 sec miles. My speed is improving. Fartleks during my practice runs are paying off. I've been doing a lot of tempo runs lately too. I really need to get into a more organized plan to help further this. I'm doing ok on my own, buy my routine lacks discipline.

    Aside from that it was back to the elliptical as usual. I've been using the cardio settings lately and those have really been taking it out of me, in a good way. I was extremely tired but gratified when all was said and done.

    30:39 5K on Treadmill, 0% incline
    40 minutes Cross Trainer, Cardio setting #4, 90 strides per minute

    Average heart rate : 157 bpm Maximum heart rate : 181 Percentage of cals burned from fat : 35% Kcals burned : 845

  10. A Better Way to 5K

    Nov 30, 2008

    I've previously mentioned that my chosen 5K route in Old Orchard Beach had gotten monotonous. See When the Rain Breaks. I set out yesterday to discover a better 5K here in town. There are areas of town I've still yet to explore. I had never really visited Ocean Park until a few days ago when I took a Nordic walk around town. It seems that the Eastern Trail, a bike trail that goes from Kittery to South Portland and that I've blogged about here in the past also, runs along the streets of Ocean Park. Using that street I found recently I've built a far more interesting route.

    It's amazing what a slightly different route with better sights, in this case an intiguing community, can do to lift your spirits. I felt as though I was running with ease. I'm at the tail end of my cold so I wanted to take it easy. I found that even though I was going at a leisurely pace, I was running at a level that was comparable to my previous race times. I'm anxious to get into a more formal training schedule so I can refine this further.

    I'm happy I decided to pursue a different route yesterday. It's provided enough variation to keep things fresh, and I got to see a new part of the community that I'm unfamiliar with but found inspiring. I mapped the route with MapMyRun and have decided to start embedding the maps to the blog. Any feedback positive or negative on this addition to the page is welcome.

  11. Why is it that the word Thanksgiving has become synonymous with gluttony? It's a day like any other, and going overboard is not an option when trying to lose weight. I held my ground. Although I did go a little nuts on pie I stayed away from potatoes, stuffing, and gravy, the worst offenders. I opted instead for more veg and lean white meat with no skin. Sure it's a holiday but it's also Thursday, same as any other Thursday.

    This attitude led to a benchmark week in my efforts. I managed to lose about three and a half pounds despite all the "temptations". I don't see them as such. Just business as usual.

    Starting weight : 315 lbs. Last week : 254.2 lbs. This week : 250.8 lbs. Progress since previous weigh in : -3.4 lbs. Total weight loss : -64.2 lbs.

  12. My First FTF

    Nov 28, 2008

    GC1JQQ - Cache on the Neck Cliffs

    This is a bit of a milestone for me. I've never been first to find before, but tonight while out on a drive got notification of a new cache posted in my area. I beat feet for the new cache site. It was tricky finding the trail head and while out and about crossed paths with one of the local power cachers. If you're a cacher you probably know the type I'm talking about. He's out on the FTFs and is the owner of some of the better placed caches in the area.

    He broke off early in the hunt as it was getting dark and it would seem the trail head was as well hidden as the cache itself. The trail head turned out to be a barely visible entryway in between sections of private land. Once I did find the trail it was nothing but reward from there on out. I got to sign a virgin logbook while watching the sun set over Prout's Neck in Scarborough. I love the rocky coastline of Maine, and this small community doesn't disappoint.

    The experience of going for a first to find is something I would recommend to all cachers. You are more likely to encounter other cachers and the thrill of the hunt is something that I hadn't quite counted on but enjoyed very much myself. I would chance to say that I'm hooked.

  13. Husky Hiker

    Nov 24, 2008

    One of the greatest things about maintaining a blog on my progress is the other people within the community I encounter. In this case, Jim Bradley found me. He's a blogger, cacher, and a dedicated individual in the throes of a battle with his weight. He resides at Husky Hiker.

    Jim's mission in fact seems quite similar to mine. He's adopted geocaching and hiking as a means to shed pounds and become more involved outdoors. His story is different than mine in that as a younger guy he actually enjoyed being on the trails whereas I failed to take advantage of the vast outdoors when I was a kid.

    To date he has lost 24 pounds and is contemplating starting the Couch to 5K program. Every weigh in is recorded and posted to the blog as a journal of his efforts. I think this page is great and I love to see people using blogs and networking to further their physical health. Especially cool is that he offers up the GPX files of his hike outings in an attractive and easy to use package that also gives you driving directions, terrain profiles, and some info on the geocaches in the area. He's also a New Englander so yet another kindred soul to SlimCache.

    Let's wish Jim the best of luck and visit Husky Hiker, and/or follow him on Twitter.

  14. Illness is the body's way of telling you you've pushed too hard. Slow down. Advice that I should have heeded today. I was feeling pretty down though having not worked out in any regard since last Monday; the run that landed me in this mess. I wasn't really aware that I would barely be able to get the energy to get in a half hour session on the cross trainer.

    I wanted to do more, but halfway through the session I realized I probably shouldn't even be doing this. I'm tired of downtime. With the half hour I had though I think I managed to get a pretty decent burn on. I did the cardio program on level 6. Rough stuff. Cough not completely gone yet and so I kinda had to chuff my way through it best I could while maintaining a heart rate in the 160s.

    Average heart rate : 151 bpm Maximum heart rate : 168 Percentage of cals burned from fat : 40% Kcals burned : 328

  15. Week 26

    Nov 23, 2008

    Apologies for my lack of updates this week. I really hope you haven't had the same cold that has circulated around my home this past week. The beginning of the week brought awful sinus headaches while the end of the week brought debilitating coughs. Not pretty.

    So the workouts were quite lacking this week leading to a similar lack of progress regarding weight loss. I managed a decent run on Monday, the map for which can be found here. Also got a little hike in around Hedgehog Mountain in Freeport while looking for caches on Thursday.

    With that amount of limited activity, I was kind of expecting a gain. Thankfully that didn't occur and I ended up with a loss of .4 pounds. Not much but at least not a gain. Problem is, that it puts me behind a week on the track to lose 75 pounds total come the first weigh in of 2009. I'll have to redouble my efforts.

    Starting weight : 315 lbs. Last week : 254.6 lbs. This week : 254.2 lbs. Progress since previous weigh in : -.4 lbs. Total weight loss : -60.8 lbs.

  16. Week 25

    Nov 16, 2008

    I'm on course for my 75 pound New Year's goal. 2 pounds a week is a realistic goal and so far I've met it, losing 10.4 pounds since October 12th. Right on track. I'm also excited that I broke through the 60 pound mark. It really feels like an accomplishment.

    I am at the same time a little disappointed in myself. A bit too much beer and a bit too much rest led to posting lower numbers than I had hoped. But no despair. I've just crushed the goal of beating 60 and have set my sights on 75. No slowing down. It has to be done.

    Starting weight : 315 lbs. Last week : 256.4 lbs. This week : 254.6 lbs. Progress since previous weigh in : -1.8 lbs. Total weight loss : -60.4 lbs.

  17. 100 Push Ups - Day 3

    Nov 15, 2008

    I've decided that next week I'm going to repeat week 1. I was a little disappointed that on the last set of the week I only managed to do 4 when I was supposed to do 5 reps. The program does suggest though that if you encounter any difficulty or struggle that you should either repeat the initial test or repeat the first week. I don't see it as starting over from scratch though. I do feel strengthened by my first week and suspect it will be easier next time. It was a minor setback but progress nonetheless.

    4,5,4,4,4 (last set was supposed to consist of 5 reps but fell short) resting 2 minutes between sets

  18. 100 Push Ups - Day 2

    Nov 13, 2008

    Felt pretty good doing this today. Soon I'll be crushin' 'em like this guy.

    3,4,2,3,4 with 90 second rests in between.

  19. Today was a sort of landmark day. I'm all about small victories. If I'm going to accomplish anything it's going to come one step at a time. Recently I've been trying to improve my pace while running. I've been comfortable running about an eleven minute mile recently, but am trying to break out and get going just a little bit faster. I've been applying intervals while running out at places like Crescent Beach a few weeks ago, also on a recent run at Mackworth Island, trying to get a pace going and sustain just that little bit longer.

    I've been clocking my intervals, with the help of the treadmill at work, at 9:22/mile. Up until now the most I've sustained at that pace is for two minutes. Not much of an accomplishment for those who have been running for a while, but to me those two minutes felt like an eternity, and I was extremely proud of myself for pushing that hard for that amount of time albeit short. Today I managed to sustain that pace for 8 minutes and felt great while doing it. My heart rate never climbed above 170. Good considering that during my first race my average heart rate was about 173 and I ran a minute and a half slower per mile then.

    I'm stoked! Like I said, a small victory but goes a long way towards my conditioning and training. I only did cardio today in the gym but am planning on doing day two of the Hundred Push Up Program later this evening. I'll post on that later, but for now, here's my day.

    30 minutes Treadmill, 0% incline, 10:30 pace for most of it, 9:22 for the last 8 minutes!
    40 minutes Cross Trainer, Cross Country setting #1, resistance level 13, 114 strides per minute

    These readings are probably way off. Monitor was all over the place today. The cross trainer registered that my HR was about 157 while my watch was reading in the 120s.

    Average heart rate : 137 bpm Maximum heart rate : 174 Percentage of cals burned from fat : 50% Kcals burned : 681

  20. 100 Push Ups - Day 1

    Nov 11, 2008

    It's all the rage right now, and I totally bought it. I've embarked on the 100 Push Up program. I've been doing a few push ups lately but want to step it up. Ultimately I've only been able to do about 5 in a go, putting me in the lowest bracket of the 100 Push Up training. Day 1 consists of 5 sets with 1 minute rests between. The number of reps is as follows : 2,3,2,2, ending with as many as you're capable of but at least 3. For me it turned out to be 4. I'm looking forward to engaging in this program.

    If you're a fellow cacher you probably already know about Podcacher. Well I gotta give some credit where credit is due because if Sonny and Sandy had never mentioned the 100 Push Up program I may have never found it. There is also a lengthy thread chronicling everyone's progress with the program in the Podcacher Forums. Nik and Dan also mentioned it on their show 4 Feet Running. Please check out both of those shows. They are interesting, entertaining, and well produced. Cache on, run on, and churn out some push ups too!

  21. Occasionally on this page I like to draw your attention to sites that encourage an active lifestyle, have something to do with geocaching, or sites that I just find cool in general. I want to mention Trail Monster Running. Recently I've been seeking out running routes on trails more than pavement. I've incorporated geocaching several times while out on a run. It has become a symbiosis of my two favorite active pursuits that I find extremely rewarding.

    It's a good thing I've been leaning more toward trails lately as in the long run might save my soul. As the tagline on Trail Monster's page reads "The road to hell is paved. Run trails.". I would tend to agree. Running on trails is far more rewarding, allows you to tune in to your body without distraction, and is easier on your joints.

    Trail Monster is Maine's only running club devoted strictly to running on trails. It was started by partners Ian and Emma in October 2007 and has since grown to some local fame. Members include Jamie the Maine Runner, an ultramarathoner in training, Blaine Moore of Run To Win whom I've mentioned before on this page, Cumberland's Stephen Wells @ LiveStrong Maine who is a cancer survivor who adopted running as part of his recovery, and others. I first heard about it from my friendly fitness room advisor, Eric. When I first started with trail running he directed me right over to these guys. I'm glad he did. They are a wealth of knowledge and a great local resource. They meet twice a week for group runs. See the site for schedules.

  22. I needed a trail run. But where to go? Looked on Map My Run and couldn't find anything I was into. I thought back a few months to a race that Eric pitched to me @ a massive recreational facility in New Gloucester. Didn't end up running the race since it was raining like hell that day and didn't want to go mud sliding, but I kept the location in the back of my mind. Having lived in Gray, the next town over, I was surprised that I had never stopped in. Then again I wasn't particularly active then, so maybe not such a shocker after all. I did a little research and found the more than adequate trails might be just what I needed today. So I decided to head to Pineland Farms.
    I felt completely lost and unprepared when I arrived on campus. This place is a huge center of education and recreation. I missed the welcome office somehow so I stopped at a YMCA also on campus to ask about the trails. I didn't catch the guy's name but he was greatly helpful. He steered me over to the trails across the road from the main campus. He warned that the others are a bit of a spider's web and it's easy to get turned around and criss-crossed out there so I decided to stick to the simpler route. Kind of a beginners guide to the trails at Pineland.

    These trails are utilized by runners, hikers, and most frequently in the wintertime by skiers. They are well groomed and highly maintained. I was a little worried with the amount of rain we've been having lately that there would be standing water and slippery muck throughout but the trail system proved to be clean and not lacking in drainage. I've seen some pretty slimy trails recently around here. This one was most definitely not.

    The trail I took consisted of three trails that branch apart and loop back together on the main loop, that main trail being Oak Hill. The two others that link with it are Gloucester Hill and Pownal Trail. I was told that Oak Hill was a fairly easy, rolling trail good for a beginner and that if I was in the mood for some hills than I could also try Gloucester Hill Trail. I wasn't prepared for Gloucester Hill. Having trained on the flat pavement of OOB, I haven't yet conditioned myself to hills especially well. This one brutalized me. I was keeping pretty strong w/ about an 11 minute/mile pace when I ran smack into the wall. I wasn't anticipating taking walk breaks but had to on this section of the trail. Just after however a walk break however I got this sudden rush of energy and started to bang out what I'm guessing was about a 9:30 minute/mile. I've experienced my first brush with the runner's high. I was elated. It kept me going for the almost 4.5 mile run.

    This place was fantastic. I intend to learn more about the Pineland Farms' community programs and spread the word where I can. I strongly urge you to go over to their site or if you're in the area check out the campus firsthand. It's just the type of grassroots style organization that contributes to Maine's backbone, making Maine a place I love to live and run in.

    I have also added today's run as a Map My Run route. View it here.

  23. Health Update

    Nov 9, 2008

    From Some Basics posted June 18, 2008 :

    "Today I got my blood pressure checked so I could have a bit of a reference starting point. When checked today I registered 134/89...My body mass index starting calculation is 40.8 and my percentage of body fat is 34.3."

    I wanted to offer an update to that information. When taken last week my blood pressure was 125/75, a MASSIVE improvement. While my BMI is still high at 35.45 that is substantially less than where I started. Now the daddy of em all. Checking my body fat percentage this morning I found that it read 28% even. That's down 6.3%!

    These numbers are a much better indicator of health than strictly following weight loss. I am extremely proud that I have improved my overall health, more so than the fact that I have lost a bunch of weight.

  24. So at least I bucked the trend of not blogging my progress for one week, last week, but not this one. I didn't even post a picture of last weeks weigh in! Sloppy on my part. But just because I haven't been reporting it here doesn't mean I haven't been hard at work.

    This was a very active week for me. For the first time in a few months I got in 6 days of quality activity. Sunday was rest. Monday, caching. Tuesday in the gym. Wednesday, running with my wife at Crescent Beach; a great spot I found about a week ago that I swore I would come back to and run. It was a great time. Thursday was the gym again. Friday saw a 4 mile run on one of my usual and favorite routes at Mackworth Island. Finally, Saturday found me in the gym again this time with Amanda.

    The frequency of the workouts was greater but the burner was set a little lower during the sessions. Decided to take it a little easier. I registered a fairly decent loss this week though at 1.8 lbs. I've been wanting to see 2 lbs a week and that's pretty close. Besides, if you average my last two weeks the loss comes out to 2.5 lbs. per so I'm not complaining. Things are finally clicking again and I'm feeling good about starting the 100 Push Ups program next week and figure I'm well on my way to having lost 75 pounds total by the first weigh in on 2009.

    Starting weight : 315 lbs. Last week : 258.2 lbs. This week : 256.4 lbs. Progress since previous weigh in : -1.8 lbs. Total weight loss : -58.6 lbs.

  25. Man Without a Plan

    Nov 4, 2008

    I'm getting some great results from some bumped up cardio lately. Last week would appear to me to be proven results of a more intense cardio routine. Having run a bit more than usual and upping the resistance on the machines in the gym seemingly jogged my body in a way it needed. I've decided to try to follow the same formula this week.

    In doing so however I do feel like I've ignored strength training. I want to continue to strengthen and tone but am not sure how to go forth doing so. I'm kind of in between things. I got tired of my old strength training routine but haven't yet defined a new one. I've been kicking around a few ideas. I've definitely enjoyed training using my body weight and would like to further develop that. Just like everyone else I've jumped onto the 100 Push Up program bandwagon. I think next week I'll jump in on that, and if anyone else has any recommendations on a well-rounded routine utilizing body weight, I'm all ears.

    Here's today's workout sans strength training.

    30 mins. Cycle, interval training program, resistance levels 7-9, 60 rpms
    40 mins. Cross Trainer, Cross Country setting 2, resistance level 14, 120 strides per min.

    Average heart rate : 137 bpm Maximum heart rate : 156 Percentage of cals burned from fat : 50% Kcals burned : 713

  26. Week 23

    Nov 2, 2008

    Absolutely stellar week! I got a couple of great runs in, a few good walks and caches, and some good gym time. It all added up in just the right proportions for loss this time. Logging more workouts here helped with the feeling of accomplishment, AND I managed to curtail some of the rampant eating that's plagued me in weeks past. Not that my eating has ever lapsed back to what it was before the lifestyle change effort, just heavier eating for where I'm at now.

    I'm extremely pleased with this week's results. Things are seemingly starting to click again after what seems like a long period of drudgery. I again feel like I'm on the upswing. Another 3 pounds down!

    Starting weight : 315 lbs. Last week : 261.4 lbs. This week : 258.2 lbs. Progress since previous weigh in : -3.2 lbs. Total weight loss : -56.8 lbs.

  27. I mentioned a few days ago that Blaine of Run To Win is giving away copies of Run For Your Life, a documentary on Fred Lebow of the NYC Marathon. Today is the last chance to get in on this by simply commenting to this blog post. 2 winners have already been selected over the last two days to receive a copy of the movie. The other option is to sign up for Run To Win's Running Tips Newsletter. 2 more copies will be given to individuals chosen at random who sign up for the newsletter before tomorrow morning. Blaine still has three copies to give away so try to get in on it somehow. I know I will be.

  28. Crescent Beach Micro
    A Crescent Picnic

    I'm still sometimes wowed by natural areas that I go to. Though sometimes touristy, the Maine coast has plenty of those wows to offer. You just have to know where to look. I had never been to Crescent Beach State Park before today, but I have to say that I'm already I'm hooked on the place. I'm just sorry I didn't bring my running shoes. I did however bring my Nordic poles, enabling me to get just a slightly better burn in the little amount of time I had.

    What most impressed me about the trail I found at Crescent Beach was the diversity. The trail starts with a rocky path through the woods for about a quarter of a mile. It then opens up into a grassy field with magnificent views of the ocean. It's on the border between grass and trees that I found Crescent Beach Micro. It lies directly next to what seems to be a foundation of some sort, long overgrown, in a patch of brush and gnarly little trees. Neat hide and a relatively quick find. What you're looking for is not your typical micro container. Having seen so many 35 mm film canisters I quite appreciate it when a hider uses something more out of the ordinary.

    From there the trail winds down through the fields toward the beach where you walk along a small grassy ridge overlooking the sand and the water. It was here that I decided I absolutely must come back here for a run. The sand is darker than I'm used to seeing and a firmer pack. I feel as though I could really dig in here. Following the beach further you find the buildings housing the snack bar and restrooms. These appear to be ripped straight out of the 60s. They look cold and institutional, like a public pool. For some strange reason I actually like the look.

    Just beyond there are some picnic benches and common areas for beach goers where you'll find A Crescent Picnic. Another way cool hide. Can't give too much away about this one though, aside from that as a cacher with some experience, when you walk up onto the cache site, you'll know exactly where to look. I used to think there was something wrong with this type of hide, maybe not enough challenge. I'm coming more to appreciate the simple ammo can in the woods. You can show some style with this type of hide, as this one shows. Good placement by the cache owner.

    From there it's pretty much just a straight shot back up to the top of the road. I should point out that the park is available year round to foot traffic or skis and snowshoes in the winter, but don't expect to be able to just drive in there this time of year. The gates are closed in the off season. Park at the entrance on Route 77 just before the gate and trek in like I did to the approximately 2 mile loop I made today. I met a runner on the way in and I think he had the right idea. I'll be back, and next time I'll bring my shoes.

    Distance : 2.39 miles Speed : 3.4 mph Average heart rate : 120 bpm Maximum heart rate : 143 Percentage of cals burned from fat : 60% Kcals burned : 361

  29. When the Rain Breaks

    Oct 28, 2008

    I wasn't sure it was gonna happen for me today. It was raining sideways and the wind was scattering my kids' toys, left on the deck, all over the neighbor's lawn. I had pretty much resigned myself to a cozy afternoon in bed watching season 3 of Entourage. Then I peeked outside. The clouds were parting and the road was beckoning. Sometimes it takes an act of God to get me out on the road. When I see the signs though, I try to acknowledge them. I was supposed to go running today. I was reluctant, but I laced up my shoes and got crackin'.

    It's the same route I did for the World Wide Festival of Races, a route I run often. So often I'm actually getting pretty tired of it. It does in a pinch though. I've charted it on Map My Run for your enjoyment. See it here. I'm actually getting much more fond of trail running. There's so much more to see. Since visiting Mackworth Island I find it hard to run on the road. The only real sights there were to see were the businesses, now closed as it's wayyyyy post-season. "Oh, the sushi place closed. That was quick, but I kind expected it. I liked it that one time I tried it though." These were essentially my thoughts along the route. Like I said, hard to take in the scenery when there is none.
    Today's run was pretty much just for fitness and maintenance, not enjoyment. Now I don't have to feel so bad when I go back to watching my man Ari. Here are the stats.

    5K, 33 mins 49 sec, 10:52 pace, Average heart rate : 166 bpm Maximum heart rate : 178 Percentage of cals burned from fat : 30% Kcals burned : 415

  30. Contests @ Run to Win

    Oct 27, 2008

    Blaine Moore over at Run To Win recently reviewed a movie entitled 'Run For Your Life'. You can read the review heah. It tells the story of Fred Lebow, creator of the NY Marathon. When Blaine first published the article he piqued my curiosity on the film. I intend to see it anyway, but he's again upped the ante.

    Run To Win will be giving away 5 copies of the DVD. You can make yourself eligible by going to any of Run To Win's daily contest pages (I heard about it at this one) today through Wednesday. To be eligible you must simply leave a comment on the daily contest posts. While you're there sign up for the Running Tips Newsletter.

    Really, I would already be saying this about Blaine even if I didn't get an extra entry by doing so (you could too if you link there from your blog). Although we've yet to meet, Blaine and I have competed (chuckle, more like he toasts me and I chuff along) in local races. He's a highly professional and refined runner. His advice is spot on, and if I can't really compete with him at least I can learn from him. Please check out Run To Win for his news, advice, and experiences. Thanks.

  31. In trying to reestablish momentum I've decided to blog all of my workout sessions this week, whether they be in the gym, on the trail, with Nordic poles, or with running shoes. Today it was back into the fitness room. Perhaps 'back in' isn't an apt descriptor. I've been going all along, just not logging it here. Maybe part of my problem with motivation comes from the fact that I've lost the sense of accomplishment I get when I reflect on the efforts of the day and write them here.

    Today was a new start (how many is that now?) and I treated it as such when I entered the gym. I decided to push hard and not give up. That meant serious cardio for long stretches. All in all I ended up spending just over two hours engaging my body today. I've never felt better. I've gotten to a point where raising my heart rate and sustaining it isn't as torturous as it once was. If anything my conditioning has gotten to a point of greater comfort, and sometimes the struggle is to raise my heart rate above 145 BPM. Once I pass that threshold it is also much easier for me to maintain a higher heart rate without taxing myself greatly as before.

    My 1.5 pound loss this past week kinda bummed me out. Although a loss, I still can't help but feel I can do better. I've issued a challenge to myself to beat that this week though I haven't determined yet by how much. Somehow I feel that 'how much' isn't nearly as important as just trying harder. Expect big things this week as I will be expecting the same from myself.

    40 mins. Cross Trainer, Cross Country setting 2, resistance level 9, 120 strides per min.
    Treadmill, 3 miles, incline 0%, intervals ranging from 12:00/M to 9:22/M
    5 reps, Push ups, no ball!
    15 reps, 20 lbs Bicep Curl/Shoulder Press single arm on stability ball
    15 reps, body weight, reverse bridge w/ stability ball (video below from
    45 mins Nordic walking

    Average heart rate : 143 bpm Maximum heart rate : 177
    Percentage of cals burned from fat : 45% Kcals burned : 1213

  32. Week 22

    Oct 26, 2008

    Very modest loss this week. I shouldn't feel so bad since any loss is another step in the right direction. I attempted to quit smoking again this week and in doing so released the munchy monsters that I'd managed to lock down before. I also ran a bit more than I have been doing in previous weeks. It just feels great.

    I think part of the reason that I've felt down about my efforts lately is the lack of blogging. Perhaps the journaling is such a motivation for me that when I don't follow through with it I lose focus. I know I haven't been keeping you especially filled in. To try to get myself back on track and feeling better about my effort I will be blogging every workout this week. Count on it. It obviously goes a long way toward my motivation as well so I just gotta do it.

    Starting weight : 315 lbs. Last week : 262.8 lbs. This week : 261.4 lbs. Progress since previous weigh in : -1.4 lbs. Total weight loss : -53.6 lbs.

  33. Me, the Motivator (?)

    Oct 20, 2008

    I do not think of myself as a motivator. I also find it difficult to swallow that I am especially inspirational. I'm just doing what I need to do in order to get healthier, and it honestly comes down to calories in versus calories out, regulating intake while increasing activity or expenditure. I've not really seen what I'm doing as being that useful to anyone except myself. Until today.

    In the last few weeks my wife has gotten active herself citing me as her inspiration, a flattering statement in and of itself. Well, today I got the chance to lend a hand a little. I was excited to have the chance to help her on a walk/jog on a trail that I've mentioned before previously in Get the Cache and Run! I was enamored with this trail from the first time I stepped foot on it and so I wanted to share.

    It wasn't that long ago I was in the same position, walking/jogging and applying interval training to further my efforts toward aerobic conditioning. After a few weeks of applying this type of training I found that what I was doing was essentially Couch 2 5K without the rigor of the training schedule. My wife wanted to do the same, so today we went to Mackworth Island and did the 4 mile route I had done before. We did intervals of 2 minutes walking followed by 1 minute running. That increased to 2 minutes walking followed by 1 minute 30 seconds running, ending with a couple sets of 2 minute 30 second walks and 2 minute runs.

    I felt like a HUGE dweeb. After every running segment I would tell her, beaming, just how proud I was of her. I knew what it was like. What she was going through was not easy, and I applaud her for taking these steps. As proud as I was of her, I suppose I'm also proud of myself. Starting from the same point she is at now, I'm now able to run a few miles readily, and help her in achieving the same. I never thought I would be in the position to instruct someone on the beginning steps of a healthier lifestyle. A true win-win for both of us. Often this blog is about me and my efforts. Today I would like to turn the spotlight over to my wife, Amanda, who I am EXTREMELY proud of today.

  34. Week 21

    Oct 19, 2008

    Not really too much to say this week. I've been woefully lax about updating the blog, and while I haven't been posting it here especially, I have still been working out. I was interviewed this week for an article in L.L. Bean's employee newsletter on health called Healthy Bean. I was extremely flattered. I've never really thought about how much effort I've put into this weight loss but when asked to list all that I've changed and the efforts made I had to admit that I've put a lot of work in. The hard work has proven successful one more week. Another 2 lbs down!

    Starting weight : 315 lbs. Last week : 265 lbs. This week : 262.8 lbs. Progress since previous weigh in : -2.2 lbs. Total weight loss : -52.2 lbs.

  35. Goals

    Oct 13, 2008

    With the success of my previous goal, I've decided it may be in my best interest to set another. Similar to my last strategy, I've decided that 2 pounds per week is healthy and attainable. I've set my eyes on 240 pounds, or 75 pounds total. At two pounds per week that puts me at the first weigh-in of 2009, January 4th. That's a great coincidence and I think it could be a great motivator. Here's to the New Year.

  36. Week 20

    Oct 12, 2008

    There is power in setting goals. There is accountability. I was quite sure when I set a goal for today's weigh in that it was achievable. The goal I set was realistic. I was not aiming for a miracle, just solid healthy weight loss. Today I thought it was a joke or a dream because when I got on the scale it read 265.0 pounds. 50 pounds total weight loss EXACTLY, on the EXACT day I set the goal for. Today is momentous! I really feel as if I've achieved something wonderful today.

    Starting weight : 315 lbs. Last week : 266.6 lbs.
    This week : 265 lbs. Progress since previous weigh in : -1.6 lbs.
    Total weight loss : -50 lbs.

  37. Kick the Couch!

    Oct 11, 2008

    This is the monumental weekend of the Worldwide Festival of Races. At the time of this post, 1,151 entrants from 41 countries had registered to run this weekend. Have you done your chosen race(s) yet? I picked the Kick the Couch 5K and ran it on a course I plotted a few months ago when I was getting ready for my first 5K. The course is super flat as it's right on the beach. Ideal since I've been giving my calves a break having tired them out at the beginning of this week with that long hike.

    I'm extra proud to announce a PR from this morning's run. I ran like I meant it. It wasn't another practice run. This is a race after all. My previous best was run at the Cardillo Memorial 5K at 33:43. This morning I shaved a minute and a half from that time! 32:09! Thanks to all of the other runners and podcasters who participated in the WWFR for constant encouragement.

    Regarding encouragement, I would like everyone to go check out SteveRunner's blog and podcast Phedippidations. Steve is a great motivator and originator of the Worldwide Half Marathon and now Worldwide Festival of Races. Most recently on Phedippidations, Steve asked for submissions by listeners and other podcasters as shouts of encouragement to listen to while on your run for the WWFR. As a regular Fdip listener this podcast dropped into my aggregator this past week and I decided to hold off on listening to it until my run this morning. The shouts of encouragement and motivational statements by fellow runners, bloggers, and podcasters were so helpful. If you haven't run your event yet this weekend of if you're just curious about Phedippidations, check out that latest episode here.

    I would encourage everyone to participate in the races this weekend. Be part of something bigger. As a runner I'm starting to feel that much touted connection to the community and to humanity. Join us. You'll even get a cool virtual race bib!

  38. GCGH7R - Mountain Division Trail Cache

    I actually did these two caches a couple of days ago. I've been anxious to get the info up on this. I had a great day! I was looking for a lengthy hike and found it in a place I had stopped by before. As a matter of fact this was my second time attempting to find Mountain Division Cache. The first day it was too cloudy and tree cover as well stopped me from getting a decent signal to my GPSr. Monday I got lucky, not in that I stumbled upon the caches, but that the weather cooperated and I ended up with the perfect conditions to go out for what ended up being a 10.6 mile hike.

    The section of the Mountain Division Trail I visited runs from Johnson Field in Standish to the Gambo Recreational Area and Historic Site in Gorham. Following the trail bed of the Portland and Ogdensburg Railway, the path runs through woods, fields, residential area, and near it's end, crosses the Presumpscot River, a waterway I'm coming to love more and more. Guilford Transportation, the previous owners of the railway, abandoned the line in 1994. It was only three years later that the Maine Dept of Transportation saw an opportunity and bought 50 miles of the railroad in order to preserve it for future use recreationally. I'm glad they did.

    I felt up to the challenge of a longer walk. I've never put down those kind of miles but felt I was ready. For the most part I was right. Now, two days later, I'm still dealing with sore calves and a few blisters that I've had to baby. I never felt overwhelmed out on the trail though.

    Now a little about the caches. There are in fact several throughout the length of the trail. I attempted, with very little background information and no Blackberry of Palm Pilot like other super wired cachers, to find a few micros planted on the bridges of the trail. If you enjoy the feeling of being consternated to the point of wanting to scream, but then finally pulling that tiny cache out, this seems to be the place for you. Difficult micro hides requiring special tools for extraction (which I also didn't have) are what you'll find here.

    The first cache I found was deceptively simple. I never realized how well an ammo can could blend with the brush. GCGH7R - Mountain Division Trail Cache is located just 20 feet off the trail and is actually somewhat visible, IF you know it's there. I would say this was a really decent hide. It's hidden well enough that it stumped me the first time I was out here, thankfully the satellite read was a little better this time. The second cache I found was at the exact opposite end of the trail, on the Gambo Trails in Gorham. This place has interesting history as well, and I've seen this cache on several lists of highly recommended caches in Maine. As the name would suggest, GCGJK9 - Gambo Gunpowder Mill Gambit is on the site of a gunpowder mill built in 1824. Despite the safety measures taken in order to prevent sparking within the mills, there were many explosions , which led to 46 unfortunate deaths between 1828 and 1924. I understand why this cache made it on the list of some of the best in Maine. If you're in the area be sure to check it out. Also recommended that you like tricky hides, as this is a well camoed container.

    I also think this would be a great place for a run in the future. I was glad to have faced up to the challenge of a longer trek today. It felt fantastic to complete something I would never have done just a four or five months ago. Put this on your list of highly recommended trails when vacationing in Maine. Must try!

  39. Week 19

    Oct 5, 2008

    Really great week. I'm feeling really refreshed and renewed, and now on track to my goal of 50 total pounds lost by next week's weigh in. I've never attempted to set up a goal like that and knock it down, but feel gratified now that I'm so close to achieving it. It's in sight and totally achievable. I hit the cardio really hard until the weekend when a punishing cold sidelined me for a few days. Glad to say I still managed to put down 4 lbs!

    Starting weight : 315 lbs. Last week : 270.8 lbs.
    This week : 266.6 lbs. Progress since previous weigh in : -4.2 lbs.
    Total weight loss : -48.4 lbs.

  40. Tapestry of the Times

    Oct 1, 2008

    Normally I don't talk about much on this blog outside of fitness, geocaching, running, etc. This struck me a little differently. I'm not one to rave about things but I've found a fantastic podcast and wanted to share. Please check out Tapestry of the Times. This fantastic show is based out of Baltimore and is a collaborative effort of WYPR 88.1 FM and Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. If you are a true fan of indiginous, historical, roots music it's not going to disappoint. Host Aaron Henkin is authoritative, concise, and thankfully not too dry.

    The show highlights the music of Folkways Records as recorded by Moses Asch. Upon his death the label was bequeathed to the Smithsonian Institution under the instruction of Mr. Asch that all of the music he produced was to remain in production. Smithsonian has done that and continued to add to the catalog.

    I wasn't sure this was going to be my cup of tea, but after just one listen I was hooked. The show is quality. Quality source material and quality production by Aaron and WYPR. Give it a shot. You might just like it.

  41. GC2A46 - We don't need no education

    Awwwwwwwww yeah. Great day today! While I haven't posted in the last few days I've still been working out in that time. My goal is to have lost a total of 50 pounds by October 12th's weigh in, so it's time to hunker down and do it. I've stepped up the intensity of my gym workouts, planned some longer cache outings, putting in longer distances with my runs, and I Nordic walked in some of my downtime from my other activities. Funny thing is, I'm not feeling especially burnt out from all this. I feel great!

    I knew I would have a few hours today in between me getting out of work and my wife getting out and needing to be picked up, so last night I went online in search of a course for today's run. I found Falmouth House to Mackworth on MapMyRun. I just found a cool feature on their page where you can download the GPX file! Convenient. So I loaded that into my Garmin so I didn't get lost on my way to finding the route and while looking at the trail saw that I cache I hadn't found was right there on the trail. Super cool. So as I've done in the past, I set out to incorporate running into geocaching.

    The course took me from the southern edges of Falmouth Foreside over onto the island where I found that the course was not actually a paved road, but a really nice trail that goes around the island. I've not really learned that much about trail running yet, but am excited to get to trying it. Today kind of broke me in. It was very enjoyable. It's amazing that these quiet places are all around in areas that are just a few miles from the bustle. Running on the trail allows you to disconnect that much more. This is sure to become one of my regular runs.

    The cache was approximately half-way through my run and allowed for a nice little breather. The area of the cache's placement is gorgeous. Benches line the trail here and I can understand why. I just stopped for a few minutes to look out at the bay before digging into the cache, which was a standard tupperware container whose placement managed to confuse me, just for a few minutes. Don't get the cache confused with the Letterbox which is fairly close. For more information on letterboxing, see here. Also take a minute to check out the fairy village nearby.

    One of my most enjoyable workouts of recent memory for sure. Check out Mackworth Island yourself and you'll be glad you came. Today's average heart rate during my run was 161 bpm. Maximum heart rate was recorded at 192 bpm. Glitchy much? Anyway, it's another 537 calories down, 35% of which were from fat. Great burn, great views, great run. See you out there.

  42. Week 18

    Sep 28, 2008

    It seems we have a hurricane grazing our coast here in Maine. I've really got no reason to gripe considering what so many have gone through in the U.S. during this hurricane season. However the incessant rain has made it difficult to get outside during the last couple of days. It's had a bit of an impact on my weight. That coupled with draining a six pack of Dogfish Indian Brown the other night. Unfortunately there's not much to report during this weigh in. Thankfully I didn't gain, but I don't really feel like I made any ground either.

    Starting weight - 315 lbs. Last week - 271.4 lbs.
    This week - 270.8 lbs. Progress since previous weigh in - .6 lbs.
    Total weight loss - 44.2 lbs.

  43. Condensed Vacation

    Sep 23, 2008

    It really doesn't do my vacation weekend any justice to have to condense it down to one blog post, but alas I have to. Last week I went to my hometown of Orland and it's neighbor, Bucksport to visit family, staying from Thursday through Monday. I was a little apprehensive about the idea of trying to adhere to a weight loss plan while on vacation. I really didn't need to be though. I've learned enough in the past few months about balance and lifestyle that things really weren't that different after all. As I said in my last post, I wasn't concerned about finding workouts since I have feet and there's pavement in Bucksport too, just like here. So this is how I managed to get a solid workout in on a trip over the long weekend.

    I've gotten to a point where I know I can afford to take 1-2 days of rest a week. It's actually advised. So Thursday itself went down as a rest day. I was going to have plenty to do over the weekend anyway. I was planning to go caching, and to focus on the more physically challenging and beautiful caches of the area. But what to do Friday morning? I figured a run would suffice and plotted this route as I had stayed at my grandmother's house that night. It's an interesting run. While mild, there are some hills and it never really seemed all that flat at any one point. The terrain seemed to constantly change. It proved good for the resistance as I had only for the most part run on flat terrain. Quiet road too. Oh yeah, I'm also doing longer routes now. Where 3 miles was a challenge a few months ago, I'm now running 4 - 4.5 miles regularly. This run would set the tone for the weekend.

    That brings us to Saturday, the grandest day of my trip, and a day that totally changed my perspective. A little history : I was a lazy kid. I would much rather have chatted on the phone, eaten, or watched satellite tv than climb a mountain. As it so happens there is a decent sized mountain only 2 miles from where I grew up. Of course I never took advantage of this mountain as a child. I was too busy doing absolutely nothing. Saturday was my chance to prove to myself that I had changed. I'm no longer the lethargic oaf I once was.

    There are 2 geocaches on Great Pond Mountain in East Orland and Saturday I summited the peak and found both. It's one of the two proudest achievements of my weight loss effort so far, the other being last weekend's 5K. GCJXV3 - Salmon 'R Us is located along a trail just off of the main route to the Great Pond summit. It lies along a trail called Mossy Rocks Trail that's appropriately named. There is something about the lush green color of mosses first thing in the morning. I don't think that color is present anywhere else and shouldn't be replicated anyway. The cache was a simple hide and not really the main focus of this trek so I had to get on my way. Bigger fish needed frying and so I got back on the main trail promptly.

    GCGD3V - I'm Fond of Great Pond is at the summit. Unreal. That's really the only way to describe it. I was so proud of having climbed what is a relatively steep trail and at no time did I really feel taxed. I was certainly getting a workout, but it was never more than I could handle. Now I know why Eric has had me doing squats for the last 3 months. I decided to head for the top before making my way to the cache. I summited the mountain at 7:49 AM feeling immensely satisfied by my effort. I took in the sights of fog on the surrounding ponds, the new Penobscot Narrows Crossing in the distance, and hawks practicing aerials just overhead. After savoring the sights I pressed on to the cache, finding it not so different from others. It's a regular sized container with the ordinary swag and pencil. Somehow it felt more special than that. Maybe it's because in 5 years this cache has only seen a few dozen visitors. Only a few put in the effort to come up here to this one. Maybe it's too much effort for some, but I feel that the effort itself is just as much the reward.

    While Saturday provided the greatest sense of personal achievement, Sunday was a great day of personal growth as well. Fitness and wellness has much to do with your mental health as well as your physiology. I spent a portion of my day Sunday connecting with my father. He's a long time outdoorsman and as long as I remember he's been involved in hunting, fishing, boating, and ATV riding. He tried to share all these things with me as a kid, but again, I was too lazy to take advantage of the things he knew. I decided to reconnect on Sunday by taking him out for his first geocaching outing. He's super familiar with the area and knew of the remote pond where I told him there was a geocache stashed. GC13QYB - Hothole Pond Cache is a traditional cache that has seen only a little action in the year it's been there, likely due to the difficulty of the terrain and accessibility issues. Again, the effort proved to be the reward. A rough haul, we had to portage over several beaver dams that my dad didn't remember being there. It should be said that the last time he was in here was 20 years ago. We paddled just over 3 miles round trip and saw probably one of the most majestic things I've ever seen. A gaggle of 18 Canadian geese came into Hothole to rest for the night as we were paddling out. They were only 20 feet overhead and the impact of the sheer size of the birds was only surpassed by the impressive sound their wings made so closely above. We got soaked and bonds were made. I love my father very much and was happy to finally spend this time with him I should have been spending all the while.

    I returned on Monday feeling refreshed, and satisfied that even though I was away from home, I managed to adhere to a plan that allowed me to challenge myself physically. I feel rested even though I worked hard. My father said it's the best time he's had in years. I was overjoyed, and felt exactly the same way.

  44. Back once again and feeling fresh as a daisy due to a few days respite amongst family in Bucksport and Orland. I think I learned something too. Your health doesn't pause for your vacations. It's important to be just as vigilant while away from your normal environs as when you're at home. Temptation is everywhere. For example I took tabbouleh and turkey burger to a family bbq where I knew the normal burger and dog fare would be. I exercised just as I would at home, maybe a little harder. I'm finally starting to catch my stride and understand the real lifestyle change involved in getting healthier and staying that way in the "real world". Plus anywhere you go, if you've got feet you've got a workout.

    Down another 2.4 pounds this week. Finally broke past the point where I got tripped up two weeks ago. I didn't let it psyche me out and just plowed through it. I feel gratified right now. Check it out :

    Starting weight - 315 lbs. Last week - 273.8 lbs.

    This week - 271.4 lbs. Progress since previous weigh in - 2.4 lbs.

    Total weight loss - 43.6 lbs.

  45. Long Pond Bound

    Sep 17, 2008

    I've been trying to be pretty active in posting to this blog. There have been periods where I've gone a few days without posting but I think I've been pretty good. I'm actually heading out of town for the next few days, and in an effort to unplug (as much as anyone can nowadays), I won't be bringing the laptop. I'm visiting my family in beautiful Bucksport, Maine and plan to spend the next few days relaxing on the pond where my family has a generations old camp.

    That's not to say that I'll be ditching my efforts though. It's important to still visualize your goals even though you're on vacation. There is a cache that's just a few miles from camp. This cache has gotten rave reviews from those who visit. It's at a site I remember from my youth accompanying my father partridge hunting and I plan to revisit it when in the area. I'll be posting pictures here too when I get back since it's such a beautiful, scenic, relaxing place.

    It's likely I'll also get a run in, nay, HAVE to get a run in while there. Maybe some swimming too although it's been years for me and some childhood traumas still haunt me making it almost impossible to simply relax and swim. Oh well, have to face your fears sometime I guess. Weigh in will also be done out to camp. That will be interesting. I look forward to trying to find level enough ground to try to get a decent read on the scale.

    So you'll hear from me as soon as I get back from my respite. It's important to take care of your mental health as well as your physical, and I think this is just what I need. Expect pics and stories, caches and runs, when I get back Sunday. Have a great weekend everyone.

  46. At the time of this post there are currently 845 entrants from 38 countries signed up to participate in the Worldwide Festival of Races, of which I am one. You should be too. This is the third year for the Worldwide Half but the first year of it's new incarnation as part of the Festival of Races which includes a 10K and 5K. I'll be doing the latter. It's a celebration of our humanity and commonality. I really do believe that we in the running community are all one, so go out and show your support. Keep some time free on the weekend of October 11th and 12th to fit in your run.

  47. The Biggest Loser

    Sep 16, 2008

    Not that NBC really needs my plug, but I just thought I would let it be known that I love The Biggest Loser. I've been watching for the last few seasons and have found the stories inspiring. I even mentioned trainer Bob Harper in earlier blog posts here.

    I haven't really gotten a look at the contestants yet but it's another season of couples. That is 4 husband and wife teams and 4 parent and child teams. I'll be glued to this season more than any other before as I feel now that their struggle is also my own. The new season kicks off tonight at 8 PM EST.

  48. Going out to the race today my primary goal was really to not die. I was pretty sure I could achieve that. In practice runs I had managed to run 5Ks and even 4.4 miles the other day so I was pretty sure I could survive. Next goal, to finish. I was pretty sure that wasn't going to be a problem either. So next, to possibly improve my time. I had been running 5Ks in about 36 minutes in practice. Since I'm just starting I've really only got two paces, stop and go. The idea was to try to get about 36 minutes again today. I set a goal to crack into the 35 minute mark. So how did I do? Read on.

    I've never run in the rain before so today was a change. I really can't say as I even noticed the rain until after I stopped. The course was nice. Fairly flat and through an area lush with greenery. I've been running in Old Orchard Beach so it's flatter than flat down here with no trees. It was a welcome change of pace. I didn't really mingle too much as I was running a little late with little more time than to park the car and get to the starting line.

    I could not have expected this in a million years. I was actually performing. That big bowl of oatmeal Eric recommended really did the trick. I felt great going in, and found that I could regulate my breathing easily and my heart rate, although high, was manageable. I actually pulled a 10 minute mile for mile 1! In the end I placed 248th overall with a time of 33:43! 2m 17 sec better than any time I had gotten in practice.

    Nothing can bring me down today. I even enjoyed a somewhat indulgent lunch today, complete with french fries. That's the first bit of junk in a while. This could become an addiction. Not the eating, the racing. Look out for me at the next race.

  49. Yo - Yo. Not like the greeting, but like the childhood toy. That's how I feel today. I've essentially broken even. Last week got me down a little but I swore not to make it break me. I worked extra hard this week so as to not have a repeat. I'm pretty sure the body fat percentage is coming down right now though so that's a plus, and I think muscle development might be what's making the difference on the scale. Oh well, the scale says I'm down 4 pounds this week so I'll take it. Nothing could kill my buzz right now anyway. More in the next post.

    Starting weight - 315 lbs.
    Last week - 278.2 lbs.
    This week - 273.8 lbs.
    Progress since previous weigh in - 4.4 lbs.
    Total weight loss - 41.2 lbs.

  50. Beach Bocce

    Sep 13, 2008

    This is to be an condensed update for the last 2 days. Been unable to post due to connection issues so I figured I would post both now while I had the chance. I've been keeping to a pretty rigorous schedule in order to make up for past transgressions. I've decided to keep with the concept of outlining a schedule for the upcoming week and then keeping to it religiously.

    Thursday was a gym day. I may have mentioned that I've gone to a more time compressed circuit training schedule. It's more focused though and I think it's pretty much doing the trick. I love the chest presses on the ball and have actually enjoyed going back to the machines for my rows and lat pulls. In addition I did 28 minutes on the cycle at weight loss level eight, and 40 minutes on the elliptical at weight loss level 10. I ended up spending about 2 hours in the gym all told. I felt fantastic afterward! Average heart rate was 134 bpm and maximum heart rate was 165 bpm. I burned 938 calories! That day's good workout really helped exorcise any bad feelings I had about the previous weigh in.

    In preparation for this weekend's race, I've fit another run in on the beach this week. I've decided that running is not that much unlike geocaching in that the goal of both is to get you outdoors, and now that I'm using, to be able to see new places I may not have gone before. It made my day to see some straggling visitors to our now relatively quiet town playing bocce out on the beach during my run. The sandpipers are constant company as well. I've really been feelin' the beach lately if you can't tell. It's good therapy.

    I extended my run on Thursday to 4.4 miles just to see if I could do it. It was great. I plotted my run, again on mapmyrun, to determine just how far I had gone after I got home. I impressed myself. Average heart rate was 161 bpm. This number is possibly skewed since my monitor also told me my maximum was 219 bpm. Anyway, another 727 calories down and the gratification of knowing I can actually run four and a half miles! A great day! Next post is race results!

  51. I've been waiting all summer for this. The time when this small destination town in Maine would finally lose the interest of travelers and I could finally get out on that beach and run. That happened yesterday. It's been a few months since I started out on my mission, and a few months ago I attempted the same thing. Please refer back to GC9DB8 - Norge Troll, posted early June. I can't help but think back to how much that run beat the hell out of me. Now I'm out there running with ease.

    I basically did the same run as I've done down here before. Previously it was on the pavement but since I have a race later this week and I didn't want to beat my feet up, I figured the sand would be more forgiving. Right way to go. I felt great afterward with no pain on my tootsies. I ran a course previously plotted on Grand Avenue in Old Orchard. That street runs parallel to the beach and is only separated by 100 yards, so from my starting point on the beach I could see my previous starting point on the road. The turnaround point likewise. The curve of the beach might have forced me to run a little further than 5k, but the difference was slight, and I think a good practice run for this weekend.

    Time was 37:24:68. Not bad as I consider the sand slowed me down slightly. Average heart rate was 168 bpm and the maximum was 182 bpm. Quite high but still felt manageable. According to my monitor I burned 468 cals along the way, 30% of which were from fat.

  52. Holiday Cardio

    Sep 8, 2008

    It's important not to get discouraged by minor setbacks. It would have been easy to have been derailed by yesterday's weigh in, and yes, I did some emotional eating. However, I think my self-image has improved to the point that even though I experienced a gain this week, I'm not questioning my worth because of it. Plus I've worked too hard and come too far to give up over something so piddly. It would be an insult to my efforts thus far.

    So with that in mind, I'm back at it. I'm visiting my brother-in-law and his wife who just had their first child. I'm an uncle! To give the new parents and baby some much needed space, we're staying in a nearby motel (the one mentioned in the title of this post). I was excited to discover their on-site fitness room for the use of the guests. Have they always had these? Maybe I overlooked them because I was too busy watching free cable and ordering Chinese food in, the latter of which was a repeat offense last night.

    My point is that I could have let this beat me, and give up on it just like everything else I've ever done in my life. Instead I turned all that frustrated and resentful energy into an hour long cardio exorcism of that angst. I'm glad I did. Here are the results.

    30 mins Elliptical, Hill interval setting level 8
    30 mins Cycle, Weight loss setting level 14

    Average heart rate : 143 bpm Maximum heart rate : 159 bpm
    Percentage cals burned from fat : 45 % Total cals burned : 613

  53. Week 15

    Sep 7, 2008

    I haven't prepared myself for this. I was quite sure when I started that I was ready to take the good with the bad and roll with the punches. After having seen 3 straight months of loss I hadn't really readied myself for a gain.

    I've been using The Daily Plate to calculate my needed intake and I've been trying hard to get my calorie counts up. There has been change to my program. I need to assess if that was the correct change to make. It's my understanding that the body needs more calories to burn in order to lose weight, or if too few, the body goes into starvation and will hold onto anything you give it. I was honestly getting better results when I had less calories. So maybe a little research and a new game plan is in order.

    This isn't bound to break me, but it's not exactly the best news.

    Starting weight - 315 lbs.
    Last week - 273.2 lbs.
    This week - 278.2 lbs.
    Progress since previous weigh in - +5 lbs.
    Total weight loss - 36.8 lbs.