A Good Sore – I Think

A sign with my name on it was the last thing I expected at the end of the Oakland Tribune 5K.
A sign with my name on it was the last thing I expected at the end of the Oakland Tribune 5K.

I am trying to give my body a little bit of a break after putting it through the ringer the past few days. I thought I’d write a bit before I get on the recumbent bike as I watch the season-finale of SyFy’s Face Off. I participated in my first competitive race in 29 years this past Sunday – the Oakland Running Festival’s 5K. The operative word in that sentence is “participated.” Oh, I tried to run. I ran about .8 miles to start the race before shin splints in my right leg shut down the running.

I ran a little bit here and there but my walking pace was awful. I was bound and determined to run across the finish line and I did. I sprinted the last 100 yards or so. I finished the race with a time of 49:43. About 27 minutes slower than my last cross-country race in high school. Let’s see 110-pound 15-year-old vs. 220+ 43-year-old…hmmm.

Oh well, it was about participating and being a part of the community. Plus, professional cheerleaders greeted me with cheers and a supportive sign at the finish line. Bet you didn’t have that at your last 5K.

It was also nice to run/walk without the squirrels.

My crazy ass then decided to go back out for a three-mile walk Sunday afternoon, and another three-mile walk at work yesterday afternoon. I am sore in places I didn’t know I had places.

I am proud to report that I have officially lost 15 pounds since I started this mess. I am down to just over 221 pounds. I have a long way to go, but I like progress and I like round numbers. I just don’t like me being round.

No squirrels to speak of yesterday but this high school cross country team I share a path with is a menace. These kids need to put their shirts back on. They’re going to run me over one of these days. Maybe I should worry about not causing a 12-teenager pile up and get off my damn iPhone monkeying with apps and music. Taking pictures of the beautiful San Francisco Bay and posting them to Facebook to piss off my cousin loses it’s sting when said cousin stops reacting. Must be the seasonal depression with spring on permanent vacation and refusing to visit the Northeast.

I once read somewhere that my generation’s cultural contribution to history will not be a great work of art, or great acting performances or music but our television commercials. I tend to agree with that sentiment. I enjoy the Heineken commercials that have that old world Hollywood and Bollywood feel. I love the Most Interesting Man in the World. The new Oreo commercial with the two guys adrift in the life raft cracks me up every time I see it (says the man without a helicopter). The Super Bowl has caused companies to raise the bar when it comes to commercials and I enjoy them.

I’m old school. I watch the commercials even when I am watching a show replayed from the DVR. I haven’t managed to master the art of fast-forwarding through the ads.

The plan is to get my blood drawn tomorrow morning so I can have my cholesterol checked. It’s been two months since I started taking medication and fish oil. Wish me luck that this issue is on the path to rectification.

I know I have said it, written it, thought it…but I need to crank this whole process up and take it to another level. I may have to flip the script and start getting up at the crack of ass to make sure I lift and recumbent bike every day and then walk in the afternoon. It’s something I don’t want to do. I hate mornings, I hate getting up early but if I am going to complete this journey I may have to take even more drastic steps.

Okay party people, Face-Off is on and the recumbent bike is calling.

Staying the Course

I must be doing something right. I am down to 223 pounds. I have lost 13 pounds since I started The Jerry Project. If I hit 221 Tuesday/Wednesday (whenever I get back on the scale) that will be 15 pounds lost.  I am feeling better and I have more energy. One of the reasons I started this journey is because I was tired of feeling like crap. I have fallen off the wagon a bit with alcohol but I think my doctor is the only person who might be chafed by this. I really don’t drink much but I have had whisky and beer as of late. My doctor says a rare four-ounce glass of red wine is okay occasionally.

Many people have been telling me lately that they can see that I have lost weight and they want to know what I’ve been doing. My three-mile walks through the gauntlet of gangster, thug squirrels are well documented but I have yet to detail my diet so here you go.

I start the day with a cup of coffee and a Jimmy Dean Delights breakfast sandwich between 6:45-7:00 a.m. I prefer the whole wheat English muffin with egg whites, cheese and turkey sausage but the Canadian bacon version is pretty good as well. I have an Atkins snack bar between 10-11 a.m. I have lunch between Noon – 1 p.m. Lunch consists of Healthy Choice soup – I prefer chicken noodle, chicken and rice and Mediterranean chicken with orzo. I tried the country vegetable recently and it was awful. If I am able to walk earlier than later then I will have Greek yogurt after my walk. If I have to wait until late afternoon I’ll have a snack bar, walk, then have the yogurt. Sensible dinner at 7:00 p.m. or so is followed by a very minimal snack between 9-10 p.m. Dinner now consists of chicken or whole wheat pasta, fish (okay, salmon once), turkey sausage and vermicelli or whole wheat egg noodles. Angel hair pasta and meat sauce now features whole wheat pasta and ground turkey instead of ground beef. Everything that was probably bad has been replaced entirely or by the healthier equivalent.

Look, I realize the diet isn’t perfect. I’m sure my doctor will bristle at some of the things I continue to consume. I still can’t get my head or lips around eight glasses of water per day, or five prunes per day. I still have to have blood work done to follow up on my cholesterol issue. I have been able to work out in the evenings thanks to the recumbent bike or the weight set on the days I haven’t been able to walk.

My walking pace has improved by three minutes since I started. I was barely able to stay under 20 minutes per mile – I am now consistently under 17 minutes per mile. I tried to jog today. Big mistake. This 223-pound body is not ready for that. Too many things moving and too much impact on the joints made it very uncomfortable.

I think the excruciating pain of the shin splints is in my rear view mirror but I am still aware of the possibility of a flare up.

The squirrels knew I was back from Texas last week. They had a lookout. I think there is a hierarchy, an org chart if you will. The fat ones are the bosses, the long skinny ones are the lookouts and the young, undernourished ones are the soldiers. I’m telling you now, if you see me on the back of a milk carton, send someone for me.

When I go for my weekend walks I am thankful for the lack of varmints in my neighborhood. It’s pleasant getting your exercise without being taunted and stalked by the rodent equivalent of the Jets and the Sharks.

If I continue to lose two pounds per week (my current pace) I’ll be less than 200 pounds by my birthday in late June. That brings a smile to my face.

Making Progress

Nike+ Running
I’ve been using the Nike+ Running app to track my walks.

I’ve been dropping the new science and kicking the new knowledge, an MC to a degree that you can’t get in college. – The Beastie Boys, “The Sounds of Science,” Paul’s Boutique

When I started this blog I weighed 236.6 pounds. My eating habits and daily menu have been overhauled, I’m walking a minimum of three miles per day and I am making a concerted effort to not overdo it when it comes to lapses in willpower. I have long maintained that I will not starve myself during this journey.

I have documented my inability to stay off the scale because I need to see progress in order for me to maintain my motivation. I’m using Nike products such as a Fuel Band and the Nike+ app and online tools to help.

About 10 days ago I weighed in at 227.8. My normal weigh-in day is Wednesday and I was out of town this past Wednesday. So, I weighed myself Tuesday and checked in at 225.6. That is an even 11 pounds. I was in Austin, Texas, for work and I was afraid I’d misbehave. I went to the hotel fitness center only once. I got in a really good lift and 20 minutes on the treadmill. Since I was worried I slipped I got on the scale yesterday morning and weighed in at 225 even.

The recumbent bike is in the house and assembled and I have resumed my walks. During my three-mile walk yesterday I had some dull pain in my left leg but the excruciating pain of the shin splints is gone.  Resting it for a few days has done wonders. With the recumbent in the house I now have another option for some cardio if the weather is bad or the shin splints come back.

When I started this my man Tom B. told me to take before pictures (which you will never see) and find the photo of my ideal and put them side-by-side. It has taken me a long time to figure out who or what I could find as the ideal. I watched Skyfall recently with Daniel Craig. He is almost a year older than me and is the same height. He is 10 pounds lighter than my first goal. Craig is 180 pounds. The goal I set when I started is 190 pounds. I found his workout and diet online. It involves quite a bit of weight lifting. His eating habits are not far off from mine.

I know that I am no movie star. I have the perfect face for radio. However, if I can come close to that physique, level of strength and fitness I’ll be doing something. I realize there are other factors such as genetics that are in play here. But I’m going to make an attempt to go all 007.

Daniel Craig in Skyfall
Daniel Craig’s physique and fitness level are my ideal. Nice of him to deliver my car.

To that end, I’ve made a decision that pains me a little bit.

During various stages of my adult life I have enjoyed the sanctity of a home office. It has been a workspace, a refuge and a place for reflection. My current home office is a bit of a shrine to my late parents who died in 2006 and 2007, respectively. The things I inherited from them that hold the most value to me are in there. My father’s vinyl record collection, some of my mom’s collectibles, books, CDs, mementos and keepsakes are in a 360° swivel chair viewI also have a giant desk. Perched on this desk is a 30-inch Dell computer monitor. Yes, 30 inches of screen. My Dell XPS 700 is known as the Enterprise – it’s that big. It seems like I only ever turn on this electricity suck when I want to run virus scans and install Windows updates, and file my taxes with TurboTax. It has surround sound with amazing THX-certified speakers and an eight-inch sub that would put some movie theaters to shame. Thump, thump, thump. This thing generates heat and it becomes very uncomfortable to stay in my office for any length of time.

I have a small roll-top writing desk that I inherited from my folks that will be replacing the giant Ikea monstrosity (it may find a home in the garage). The Enterprise will be retired. I use my MacBook Pro when work at home anyway. The parental shrine will remain but I will be clearing space to convert my home office into a weight room. I hope to get out today and pick up the weight bench and weights. I do like the resistance bands and those will serve me well as a portable way to work out when I don’t have free weights at my disposal. It’ll hurt to give up my office in its current configuration but sacrifices must be made.

Looking at the Daniel Craig workout, I need free weights to do this. I will not get a gym membership. I’m just not going to leave the house for an hour at night, and I value sleep too much as an apnea sufferer to get up early enough in the morning to go.

I’m looking forward to walking near my office tomorrow. Six days will have passed since the squirrels have seen me. I wonder what they have in store for me. They’ve had way too many hours to plot and scheme like Mario C. Come at me squirrel. When you see my mug on the back of a milk carton you’ll know why. You just don’t invite that kind of varmint danger without suffering the consequences.

So, I’ve lost almost 12 pounds since I started this mess. Now it’s time to accelerate this and kick it up a notch. I have to train for the inevitable showdown with the squirrels.

A few friends I reconnected with in Austin have become new readers of The Jerry Project and I thank you. I hope you keep reading.

No Pain No Gain

I wonder how many articles on the topic of exercise have born that title. It has to be the “It was a dark and stormy night” of fitness mantras.

In my last entry I discussed a severe pain that I have been experiencing in my lower left leg. I found out Monday that I am suffering from shin splints. I have been fighting it and trying to power through to get my three-mile walks in every day. My pace has suffered and I take about three breaks along the way. I usually stop to take a photo at the 1 1/2 –mile mark and I post it to Facebook to piss off my snowbound cousin Heather in New York.

Today I crushed a 3.13-mile walk without any pit stops. There was some pain but no debilitating cramp-like knots in the muscles. My hips and lower back started to tighten up with about a quarter mile to go. But, I was cruising and happy to be trucking along so nothing was going to stop me at that point.

I know three-mile walks probably don’t sound like much to you. I lead a sedentary lifestyle so this start to losing weight and getting in shape is good for me.

The elliptical for the house was an epic fail. Do not buy anything with Gold’s Gym’s logo on it. I had high hopes for this thing. It took forever to assemble, it wobbled and it developed a terrible squeak during the second use. It has been returned.  Maybe we’ll have more luck with a recumbent exercise bike.

A week ago today I weighed in at 230. I know, I know…stay off the scale except for weigh-in day.  Well, Wednesday was weigh-in day and I was back down to 227.8. Another 1.2 pounds gives me a total of 10 pounds lost since my surgery. I’ll post something Wednesday if the weight-loss gods smile upon me.

I bought resistance bands of some variety and worked out with them Thursday evening. Not bad. I need to develop a routine for all of my exercise. I need to add to it. Core strengthening exercises will be next.

I am officially a Nike whore. I wear Nike shoes, Nike Dri-Fit clothing, I am the proud owner of a Nike Fuel Band, I am using Nike+ and the Nike+ running app (even though I am only walking). I still like RunKeeper and I would recommend it. I do like the idea of accumulating Nike Fuel (whatever that is). Earning these “points” is a great motivational tool even if all you do is move boxes around in your garage (I earned a lot of “fuel” doing this today). During a 20-minute elliptical workout Thursday I did not reach my Nike Fuel goal for the day so I pushed through an extra few minutes to hit that goal. Nike did not compensate me for writing glowing reviews of their products. I just felt the need.

Am I going to run a Marathon or ride the Tour de France? That’s a negative Ghost Rider. But these tools from Nike are helping me track what I am doing all in one place. If they help me lose the 40 pounds or so I am trying to lose, then so be it. I’m okay with being a whore.

I am conflicted about my walking paths. I love walking near work because of the weather and the scenery. I can see San Francisco. I enjoy walking near my house for one simple reason – NO SQUIRRELS.

I am determined to reach my weight-loss goal and conquer a more near-term challenge – make shin splints my bitch.

Until next time party people…

“Tick tock, what’s the condition, I’m a man that’s on a mission.”Beastie Boys