Saturday, December 29, 2012

Checking In on a “New” Trail

It’s not often in the big city that we see new trails. The trail isn’t new as much as “refurbished”. In fact, I ran down here in February when I encountered dead end after dead end after dead end. But, back in the spring, I heard that work had been completed in Buck Gully, so I decided to check it out.

Some then and now photos:









(Three of these bridges were actually dropped in by helicopter)

Of course, some things remain the same:









(Mistletoe in Newport Beach. I waited under the tree, but alas, there were no takers).

Running Buck Gully 12-28-2012, Elevation

There are a couple of days of calories that we need to talk about:


  • Budget: 1780
  • Food: 1990
  • Exercise: 0
  • Too few/(too many): (210)


  • Budget: 1780
  • Food: 2131
  • Exercise: 435
  • Too few/(too many): 84

It’s raining today (Saturday) and since I’m not training for a race, I’m going to stay warm and dry and sack today’s run. I’ll get a few miles in tomorrow.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Turning the Food Monitor Back On

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas weekend. It was a whirlwind weekend. Family dinner on Christmas Eve, followed by family dinner on Christmas Day. Luckily for me, there was no fruitcake and pecan pie.

I missed my run on Monday (my other hobby “required” late nights on Saturday and Sunday), but I got back on track Tuesday and Wednesday. And, I’m turning the food monitor back on today. So, starting tomorrow, I’ll bore you all again with my calorie goals. Thanks for being my accountability group!

In the meantime, I wanted to share this video with all of you. It’s a great explanation on lactate threshold by my old pal Xeno Muller:

Monday, December 24, 2012

Drawing a Week to a Close

So I wrap up another week of my attempt to get in shape and shed a some pounds. I am pleased that I completed the week as planned:

For the week:

  • Total planned miles: 13.5
  • Actual miles: 13.5
  • Calorie deficit/(surplus): 79
  • Weigh in: 255 (0 change)

The last number has me a little bothered. I’m not starving myself for nothing you know! What this really points out is that either my portion sizing is off, or the calorie density of the foods I am eating are much greater than in my food database. It looks like I’m going to be experimenting in the future.

That being said…  it is Holiday Week, so the calorie counter is going to get turned off for a few days. The workout calendar isn’t though:

  • Monday: 2 miles
  • Tuesday: 3 miles
  • Wednesday: 2 miles
  • Thursday: Fly day. But, since I’m not flying, I may sneak in a few easy miles.
  • Friday: SRD
  • Saturday: 3 miles
  • Sunday: 2 miles
  • Total plan: 12 miles

Hope you all have a Merry Christmas/Happy Fesitvus/or whatever it is that you celebrate this time of year!

P.S. – Stay tuned. I *will* have a 2013 goal post up soon.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Welcome Back Old Friends

Yup. They still smell to high heaven….


Where there are trail shoes, there are trails. It was an absolutely pristine day in the foothills of Orange County.



Hey roadrunner, the coyote’s after you!


I took the easy route and stayed along the top of Bommer Ridge

Running Bommer Ridge-El Moro 12-22-2012, Elevation

Then, I got to eat a little more.

Calorie budget:

  • Goal: 1780
  • Food: 2481
  • Exercise: 645
  • Too few/(too many): (56) (Meh. Rounding error)

Weigh in tomorrow!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Two Weeks and Counting

Well, it's been two weeks since falling off the wagon. I guess I got back up though, because the feet are still hitting the pavement. I'm at a pace a tiny bit faster than a Brian walk, but for calorie purposes I'm still going to count things as a brisk walk.
Calorie budget for Friday:
  • Goal: 1780
  • Food: 2069
  • Exercise: (289)
  • Too few/(too many): 52
I did have a bit of a challenge Friday night though. Dinner was at the Cheescake Factory across the street from home. In case you don't know already, the Cheesecake Factory consistently rates near the bottom in terms of healthy fare. So, while I did put in my measly 2 miles (at a brisk walk), I still wanted to be careful and not blow the calorie count out of the water. In California, there is a law that requires restaurants to display calorie counts. But, they only have to be accessible. They don't need to be printed on the menu. Which at the Cheesecake Factory, means asking for nutritional info.

Luckily, this is the generation of the smartphone. A Google search turned up this website: Menus with calorie counts for 500 restaurants! Turns out the Cobb Salad I was eyeing was a mere 929 calories. The only problem was everything else was more!

Friday, December 21, 2012

I've Lost Count

Yesterday was fly day. I thought it was either my 78th or 80th flight this year. I'd lost count.
I had to go back to my Marriott profile to find out that I have 112 nights in a hotel bed this year. At 3 nights per week, let's see, that's ... 37.3333 weeks. So, it's actually either trip 74 or 76.

Similar on the food front. I got home around 9PM and had a home cooked food dinner. Then I failed to log.  I tried to reconstruct this morning. I *hope* I got it right....

Calorie Budget:
  • Goal: 1780 calories
  • Food: 1840
  • Exercise: 0
  • Too few/(too many): (60) give or take a couple hundred
This really points out the importance of keeping a log and doing it timely. At least if you are an old fart subject to short term memory loss!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

It’s Wintertime

Finally. Winter has found California. We saw something that we’re not used to – ice on the car this morning:


In fact, there’s not a whole lot of difference between West Coast:


And East Coast:


Heck. It’s even cold back home! What’s that about “Frost Warning”?


Three miles indoor on a treadmill was probably a smart idea for this weather wimp!

Calorie budget:

  • Goal: 1780 calories
  • Food: 1854
  • Exercise: (434)
  • Too few/(too many): 360  (I might be even by now)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Oh Snap!

Looking at my post from yesterday I realized I forgot something last Sunday. Weigh in! And now, here in my hotel room I am without scale, so I guess I’ll weight until this weekend.

Calorie budget:

  • Goal: 1780
  • Food: 1819
  • Exercise: (289)
  • Too few/(too many): 250

But before we get too excited about today, we need to look at yesterday:

  • Goal: 1780
  • Food: 2178
  • Exercise: 0
  • Too few/(too many): (398)

But it was a good burger!

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Weekend Off of Blogging

It was a busy weekend, hence the lack of blogging. Between the Christmas lights on the house, social time, Christmas tree, and poker, something had to give. Fortunately it was the blogging, and not the workout. My back is still bothering me, so instead of running, I limited my workouts to a brisk walk (15:00 pace). To tell you the truth, I’m okay with walking at this point. I walk in my neighborhood, where I also have to deal with some small hills. There is indeed huffing and puffing to be had:

Running Big Canyon 12-15-2012, Elevation

On the calorie front:


  • Goal: 1780
  • Food: 1731
  • Exercise: 0
  • Too few/(too many): 49


  • Goal: 1780
  • Food: 2025
  • Exercise: (433)
  • Too few/(too many): 188


  • Goal: 1780
  • Food: 2139
  • Exercise: (289)
  • Too few/(too many): (70)

For the week:

  • Total planned miles: 10.5
  • Actual miles: 12
  • Calorie deficit/(surplus): (77)  (Yikes!)

So it’s Monday. I’m supposed to do a couple of miles, but I am BUSHED! So, I’ll hit the treadmill tomorrow instead, and spend the evening getting some shuteye.

This week’s plan:

  • Monday: USRD
  • Tuesday: 2 miles
  • Wednesday: 3 miles
  • Thursday: Fly day
  • Friday: 2 miles
  • Saturday: 4.5 miles (!!!)
  • Sunday: 2 miles
  • Total: 13.5 miles

I don’t know if I’ll be running or walking, but the miles will get done!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Sore Back and All

My back is still tender. Maybe if I would take my Ibuprofen on a regular schedule I night be able to get rid of the inflammation. I know. Wah wah wah. I still got a two mile walk in though.

Calorie budget:

  • Goal: 1780
  • Food: 2207
  • Exercise: (289)
  • Too few/(too many): (148)
Dang! And I didn't even have dessert!


Thursday, December 13, 2012

I Beat The Storm

Winter must be in full swing here in Southern California. It actually rained yesterday. Like half an inch. I managed to get out before the deluge for a brisk walk (three miles at 15:00). My lumbar region is a little tender this morning, so I'm going to take it easy and walk a couple miles this afternoon at a comfortable pace. As Uncle Si would say, "Hey. It ain't runnin. But it's movin." If you need to ask:

Calorie budget:

  • Goal: 1780
  • Food: 2199
  • Exercise: (433)
  • Too few/(too many): 14

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Tweaked Back and All

I took my back out for a spin yesterday. I never knew that a brisk two mile walk would result in copious sweat on my brow! The good news is that, except for stepping up and down the curbs, my back seemed to fare well. I'm hoping another day of ibuprofen and a goos task chair will have me back to normal by the weekend.

Calorie budget:

  • Goal: 1780
  • Food: 2020
  • Exercise: (289)
  • Too few/(too many): (49)
On a completely unrelated note, anyone having trouble with shared playlists between a PC and an iPad2 running iOS6? If you've solved it, leave your contact info so we can talk.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

255?!?! What happened?!?!?!

I have decided to bare all with my weekly weigh in. And yes, the number is pretty staggering. It’s going to take some work to bare back down to the less than svelte 220 I was at 2 1/2 years ago, but it looks like I’ve got the weight going the right direction again. Unfortunately at 1800 calories a day. And 1800 calories a day without having an extra 200 to 300 calories from exercise is tough! But I’m managing.

This little exercise is reintroducing me to the concept of eating when hungry as opposed to eating out of habit. I think the one thing that I was able to get away with two years ago was I could eat almost at will. I was burning a few thousand extra calories a week, so a snack here or dessert there didn’t hurt.

Then it hit. Knee tendonitis and burn out. And it hit hard. Especially the latter. Check it out:

Total distance

There were a couple of false starts in 2011, but it was so disheartening to huff and puff knowing what I used to be able to do that I just couldn’t get motivated. I threw in the towel.

All of a sudden I had a lot of time on my hands. And I had no trouble finding something to replace my running time with. It was a cool hobby that I actually had in college days. Poker. It was mentally stimulating. When you were successful, you actually got to put money in your pocket. And the best part was that the places that you played at knew that delicious, free food was one way to keep you in the place as opposed to go down the street. To say I took advantage of this perk would be a bit of an understatement. It took two years to do it, but I added a few pounds to my frame. Like 48 few pounds. In short, I ate like I used to. But throwing chips into the middle of a table I guess isn’t the same calorie burn as a 5 mile run. Hmm. Who would’ve thought?

I’m going to do a little celebrating. I’m down 13 pounds from my high. And this 1800 calorie a day budget seems to be working. Now if I can only find the motivation to put in 3 or 4 miles a day for some dessert…..

Monday, December 10, 2012

Another Week Bites the Dust

So I didn’t quite make the running plan last week, but was able to stick to the food plan, which is, frankly, more important at this point in time. Even on Sunday, when I spent the majority of my day in a casino playing poker, I was able to maintain my calorie budget:

Calorie budget:

  • Goal: 1780
  • Food: 1651
  • Exercise: 0
  • Too few/(too many): 129


  • Plan: 13 miles
  • Actual: 7 miles
  • Sunday weigh in: 255
  • Gain/(loss): (1 pound)

This week’s plan:

  • Monday: Rest – back is still tweaked
  • Tuesday: 3 miles (tentative)
  • Wednesday: 2.5 miles
  • Thursday: Fly day
  • Friday: SRD
  • Saturday: 3 miles
  • Sunday: 2 miles
  • Total plan: 10.5 miles

Wish me luck!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

All Good Things Come to an End

My back has flared up again. This time I think I know what’s causing it. I was fine all week, and then all of a sudden Thursday, bam! So, I started thinking through what I may have done to cause this flare up. And I think I know what’s up:


Friday and Saturday were pretty bad as pain goes. I decided against running yesterday, since lateral movement was sending pain into my hips. I’m still a little tender this morning (Sunday), so I’m thinking that, since I’m not really training for anything in particular, I’m going to play it safe and take one more day off and ramp up the Motrin (again).

Of course, this doesn’t come without cost. Please note the numbers below:

Friday Calorie Goal:

  • Goal: 1780
  • Food: 1886
  • Exercise: 0
  • Too few/(too many): (186)

Saturday Calorie Goal:

  • Goal: 1780
  • Food: 2068
  • Exercise: 0
  • Too few/(too many): (288) (Happy Hanukkah!)

I’m looking to get the show back on the road on Monday!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Almost a Week…

And I’ve managed to stick to plan on both the exercise and nutrition front. I’m trying to figure out whether I have more trouble sticking to the nutrition plan on the road (eating at restaurants) or at home (snacking).

One of the big challenges while on the road is sticking to my calorie budget. In 2008, California enacted a law that requires restaurants to post food energy (calories) and nutritional information on menus. The caveat is that this information is required only in restaurants with over 20 units. So, unless I’m eating at a restaurant that is part of a chain, this information isn’t readily available.

I suppose it’s entirely possible to eat at chain restaurants 100% (okay – 90%) of the time. Not real exciting in my book. Part of the fun of travelling is searching out local cuisine. Now, Sacramento isn’t exactly the gourmet spot of the world, but there are some restaurants that can cook up an excellent dinner (let me know if you want to know of some).

So, the challenge becomes figuring out what I *should* eat when I look at a menu. And before you say “That’s pretty easy – stick with salads.” let me say “BOOOOORRRRRRRINGGGGG!”

Here are some things I do to stick to the plan while travelling:

  1. Log log log: Immediately. After each meal. I use the myfitnesspal app on my smartphone. Knowing what I have left in the calorie department for dinner allows me to make an informed menu choice at dinner.
  2. Plan ahead: Know that we’re going to to burgers in the evening? Don’t pig out at lunch. And if I logged lunch, then I’ll know whether you can have those onion rings with dinner. Especially if I use my logging app and know how many calories in those rings *before* I’m tempted to order them.
  3. Serving size: Get good at approximating serving size. Know what two tablespoons of ranch dressing on a salad looks like. I’m not into counting the number of fries I’m stuffing into my pie hole.
  4. Search for healthy alternatives: Side salad instead of fries with the burger or garlic bread with the spaghetti. (Boring with a little “b”).

The most important thing to remember is that calories are approximations. There is no way to know (outside of some pretty detailed and expensive testing) my exact BMR. Nor is there anyway to know exactly the number of calories in the (approximately) 4 ounce braised short rib on my plate. But, if I’m close, then statistically, it will all work itself out in the end. If not, I gain a pound or two (not a disaster), and adjust my daily goal.

The way I look at it is this – I’m away from the comforts of home. I’m not going to kick horse turds down the road over a few calories….

Calorie budget:

  • Goal: 1780
  • Food: 1831
  • Exercise: 0
  • Too few/(too many): (51)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Three in a Row

What’s wrong with me? Today is three days in a row on the treadmill here at the hotel. Not a lot of miles and not very fast (in fact stinking slow), but it’s a level of consistency that I haven’t seen in a while. If we add in my runs over the weekend, this makes five days in a row. Why are my clothes are still tight?

Calorie budget:

  • Goal: 1780
  • Food: 1879
  • Exercise: –372
  • Too few/(too many): (273)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tuesday Tuesday

Is it really only Tuesday? Good news on a number of fronts today. I got three miles in this evening. Only on the treadmill, but better than the alternative (thank goodness I‘ve already seen the episodes of Storage Wars that ran tonight). The really good news is that AT&T released Jelly Bean for my Samsung Galaxy S3 phone today. The internet speed at my hotel really blows, but I was able to download and finish the upgrade about half an hour ago (after starting before I hit the treadmill). So…..

Calorie budget:

  • Goal: 1780
  • Food: 1755
  • Exercise: –577   (3 miles at Running Fat Guy weight)
  • Net: 1198
  • Too few/(too many): 582  (Where’s the ice cream tonight?)

… off to play with Google Now.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Monday Monday

Sorry for being so terse. It’s late (11:15PM). I’m tired.

Calorie budget:

  • Goal: 1780
  • Food: 2130
  • Exercise: (374)  (2 miles)
  • Net: 1756
  • Too few/(too many): 24

I hope to have some writing energy tomorrow night.

Damn You Vanilla Ice Cream!

One of the nice things about being away from home so much is that when I get home, who knows what surprises await me? Such was the case yesterday when I opened the freezer for the first time since getting home last Thursday. Right there staring me in the face was a container of vanilla ice cream. Damn you!

Calorie budget:
  • Goal: 1780
  • Food: 2234
  • Exercise: 438 (Three miles)
  • Too few/(too many): (16)
In related news, it looks like the reduction in calorie intake may have started something:
  • Exercise plan: 12 miles
  • Exercise actual: 10 miles
  • Sunday weigh in: 256
  • Gain/(loss): (2 pounds)
This week's plan:
  • Monday: 2 miles
  • Tuesday: 3 miles
  • Wednesday: 2 miles
  • Thursday: Fly day
  • Friday: SRD
  • Saturday: 4 miles
  • Sunday: 2 miles
  • Total plan: 13 miles

A Day or Two Behind

Well, now That I'm stuck in seat 8A, it's time to catch up on important stuff....

Saturday marked the third anniversary of my Father In Law's passing. He lived to the ripe age of 101. Please note that I didn't use the words "ripe old age", because in his mind, he wasn't old! I will always have memories of him dragging me out of bed (figuratively of course) at 4:30 AM to hit the gym. When he was 95. He started his fourth business when he was 80! I guess there's some truth to the adage that you are as old as you think you are. Something about that and living a healthy life.

Calorie budget:

  • Goal: 1780
  • Food: 2309
  • Exercise: 374 (two miles)
  • Too many/(too few): (155)
Speaking of healthy lifestyles - any Quiet Riot fans out there?

Yes. I'm being sarcastic.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Scheduled Rest Day

Yes. In addition to travel days, I also have scheduled rest days. Why? Because rest days are necessary. Right?

When I was seriously training trying to become a less fat guy, I fell into the trap that most of us recreational runners do. We look at a training plan as a goal. Not as a plan. What do I mean? I can't tell you how many blogs I have read where someone invariably says "I got really busy on Wednesday, so I'm going to swap my Friday rest day for my Wednesday." What they don't tell us is that Saturday is LSD day (Let's get our minds out of the gutter. *Those* LSD days were back in college.). They might as well be saying "I'm writing off the benefits of my LSD run this week."

My point is that a plan is put together with purpose. If we have an LSD run on a Saturday, sneaking in four miles on Friday will mean that your body is *not* in a fully rested and recovered state for Saturday when we are going to extend our aerobic engine! Not to mention, the four miles on Wednesdaynwas really designed as a recovery run anyways, so an extra rest day is actually not defeating the purpose of the recovery run.

It took me a long time and a lot of hours with guys who are a lot more athletic than me to understand the importance of rest and recovery. This time I'm sticking to the plan. Remember, spilled milk can't be put back in the bottle. At least not with a little dirt from the floor.

Calorie budget:

  • Goal: 1780 calories
  • Food: 2012
  • Exercise: 0
  • Too few/(too many): (232)