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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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.