Random Rantings and Ravings from a Slow-Poke Runner in the Heart of the South. (A Weeekly (sort of) Blog about running and just about anything else)

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Technical Question

I have noticed that my side bar has slipped down to the bottom of my blog and I can't for the life of me figure out why. If anyone out there knows how to fix this, please let me know!

All you others, make sure to scroll down and check out my links, which include my own running log. Please feel free to give advide regarding my running routines and how I can improve my training schedule!

There's Goals, Goals, and Goals

Ok, so I completed the Race for the Cure last weekend and, as I said on this blog, met my goal to run the race in under 28 minutes. Now I know some of you "real" runners may be turning your noses up at a time like that but remember, homeboy got winded walking from the couch to the frig about 18 months ago! But I digress.

Goals are great! Goals are what keeps most of us runners dragging out of bed on a cold morning or lacing up the sneaks after a long day at the office. And there is different sets of goals: health goals, time goals, weight loss goals, or even stress-reduction as a goal. But goals are the fuel that often keeps us runners going.

For a while, goals of weight loss kept me running. Now time goals have taken over. But time goals are more public. You run a race and even your non-running friends ask, "So how long did it take you?" And it's not hard for them to do the math - 28 minutes - 3 miles (they never want to give me credit for that 0.13). Having met this goal, I have goals for my next race in March.

I don't know if anyone else out there is like this. Maybe if you are you could comment and tell me. I usually have three sets of goals going into the race:

  1. There is my public goal that I don't mind telling anyone that asks. In fact, I may even volunteer it myself. It's the goal that I am confident in my mind that I will reach. For this last race, under 29 minutes was my public goal. It's the goal I told everyone at church because, hey, you don't want to be embarrassed later and give a time that was MORE than your goal!
  2. Then there is the semi-private goal. You may tell your wife, you may tell a few really close friends, you may even be a dummy like me and publish it in a blog. But this is your REAL goal; the one you know will be a challenge for you to meet. You have trained enough to know the goal is reasonable if you run a good race, but you also know that you may not reach it. This is the feel good goal. The one that, if you reached it, you feel pretty good about things when the race is done.
  3. But then there's the secret, dream goal. You tell no one this goal. Maybe your wife in a moment of weakness, but otherwise you keep it to yourself. This is the goal you sometimes imagine yourself meeting like, "It would be so cool to run it in ...". This is the goal you imagine in the shower when you have nothing better to do; or during the commute to work when the morning show is in commercials. But with the training you've done, you know this goal is a stretch and you would have to really surprise yourself to do this well. This is the comfort goal.

I'm not going to tell anyone what my dream goal was for this last weekend. But maybe you are like me. You hope that your dream goal is one day your semi-private goal, or maybe, just maybe, even a public goal for everyone to share! Drop me a line and let me know about your goals!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Shane Wins North Mississippi Race for Cure!

Well, not really. But I did beat my wife! With all kinds of friends and family rooting against me (some openly and some secretly) I pulled away at the start and never looked back!

It was a great race which drew over 2,900 runners and walkers and raised thousands of dollars for a great cause. On a cold (for this area) and windy day, I started well and ran the first two miles in 17:30. The wind and my low gas tank slowed me down a bit the last mile and a tenth, but I still managed to meet my goal of under 28 minutes. Just barely! I ran it in 27:59 - just under the wire! This gives me a 8:56 minute per mile pace which I am proud of for now. Tricia came in at 31:55. She took almost three minutes off her 5K time from March of this year and I'm proud of her! More about race goals is coming in a new blog to be published soon!!!

Friday, October 14, 2005

Picture for Family and Friends

Ok. I DID say that this blog has a little of everything. Well, here is a picture from the Pumpkin patch for friends and family checking out my blog: (click to enlarge).

P.S. - The North Mississippi Race for the Cure 5K is about a week away now on October 22nd! Actually, it is the Race between the spouses of the Robbins household, which just happens to have another 3,000 runners and raise money for a really good cause. Hey! If you want to sponsor Tricia in the race and make a donation toward breast cancer research, check out the following website: http://tinyurl.com/blzxj

the Dirty "P" Word

  • pla·teau
def - Dictionary.com

n. pl. pla·teaus or pla·teaux (-t z )
1. An elevated, comparatively level expanse of land; a tableland.
2. A relatively stable level, period, or state: Mortgage rates declined, then reached a plateau.

intr.v. pla·teaued, pla·teau·ing, pla·teaus
To reach a stable level; level off:

Plateau. Those of us who have tried to go on a diet for any length of time know the word all too well! Merriam-Webster tells us that plateau comes from a French word meaning "flat". If I could only say that about my stomach! Unfortunately, for those of us trying to make progress in the weight-losing or even in the running department, plateaus are something that we inevitably encounter if we stick to it for any length of time. I've encountered several in the last 18 months and I am currently experiencing one right now! But why do they come and what can we do about them?

Well, I don't know much, but I do know this because I did read it somewhere: Our body likes to be in a state of homeostasis. What does this mean? Well...it means our bodies are not too smart! If we are trying to do something good for it, like building muscle or losing fat, it thinks that something is wrong and slows things down for a while. Well, really it's not that our bodies are dumb, they just like to survive! I like that about them! And it is because of this instinct of survival that they slow things down like weight loss.

So what can we do about these plateaus we encounter? Well, let me tell you - if you need to know something about losing weight - ask a fat person! We are usually well read on the subject! In all my reading I have come across a few different things to consider if that scale of yours seems stuck in the same place:

  1. Take a closer look at what you are eating. My wife recently bought those little candy pumpkin balls and kept them in a bowl on the counter. It became habit, anytime I walked by, to grab a few of them and munch away. Then my wife asks the ouch question, "Are you the one that ate all this candy?" If you find yourself in a plateau, take a harder look at all the food you are eating. You may be doing okay at mealtime but take in more calories than you think with snacks. Do you know all the numbers on what you are eating? (Calories and fat content) Sometimes I have eaten food I thought was fairly healthy and went back and checked and actually ate a lot more than I realized!
  2. Are you living famine to feast? I recently went through a cycle where I was eating very little during the day, but was starving by dinner and I would overeat. My body couldn't take all the calories at one time and I gained weight. Make sure you spread the food throughout the day and actually eat less during the evening if possible.
  3. Have you gotten into a metabolism rut? I am not sure about the science on this, but it sure seems to me that if I eat the same thing all the time the weight seems to come off slower. I believe the body's metabolism can adjust to those same ol' foods. Use variety in your eating and have at least one planned splurge meal a week. That way you can rev up your metabolism and you won't feel as deprived.
  4. Change up your workout routine. It is important to burn some of the calories you are eating through exercise but your body can adapt in this area too. Walking 30 minutes now does not burn off near as many calories for me as it did 18 months ago because it doesn't take near as much effort. If you find yourself in a plateau rut, rev up the workout routine and add more minutes or higher intensity to your cardio workout. If you have been walking 30 minutes every day for the last several weeks, add another 10 minutes or mix in some jogging. It won't take long for you to notice a difference!
  5. Finally, make sure your expectations are not too unrealistic. I would sure like to lose four pounds of weight a week but it is just not possible to maintain that kind of progress and stay healthy. Make sure you are not being too hard on yourself. Whatever program you have decided on, make sure you are in it for the long haul! For me, I am not really on a diet at all. I have made a lifestyle change. Sure it is frustrating at times when the scale doesn't move; but I am getting faster, healthier, and dog gone it - I feel better about myself too!

(Shane's disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor, nutritionist, or a dietician. This blog is "laymen's advice" and should not be considered without consultation from your own personal health professional.)

Monday, October 10, 2005

and this is me...

Here's me in the backyard in my favorite running shirt. Posted by Picasa

How I got started...

I thought it would sure be nice to start a journal to keep track of my progress from a beginning runner to an intermediate-beginning runner and decided on the form of a blog. Maybe some of the more mature runners out there will have some advice for me as I progress slowly through the miles.

Don't get me wrong, I was a "real" runner at one time. When I met my wife 14 years ago, I was running a few miles everyday and had a PR of 21:38 in a 5k. However, something about this marriage thing packed the pounds on! :-) Last year at 270 pounds I realized I had to do something! I remembered my brief time as a runner in the days of my youth and strapped on the new balance shoes. 1/8 mile later my legs ached, my side was splitting, and my breathing sounded like a freight train. Not exactly the start I was hoping for!

I knew I still had to do something. I had developed atrial fibrilation, sleep apnea, frequent headaches, backaches, and GI problems out the wazoo! (uh, yeah, literally). Plus I just felt miserable half the time. Christmas has nothing on the slowness of my metabolism so I knew exercise had to be a part of whatever I did to take off the weight. So, I pulled out the Galloway book again and started walking and runni....no...let's say jogging.

It's been about 18 months since and I have lost over 70 pounds and now run between 2 - 5 miles a day five or six days a week. I've added some weight training in the last couple of months and no longer have headaches, GI problems, and have been to the sleep clinic and no longer have sleep apnea. The atrial fib is more manageable and I feel a 100 times better!

But we cannot ever rest on our laurels. I still have about 20 more pounds I need to lose and would love to get faster and go longer. Two weeks ago, I ran my first race since beginning running 18 months ago. It was a hilly 5k I ran in 29:52. I will run the Race for the Cure 5K on October 22nd and have a secret hope for a time under 28 minutes.

I have several goals besides the 20 pounds of weight I want to lose. They are as follows:

  • Run the Gum Tree 10K in May of next year in under 54 minutes.
  • Run a 5K next year in under 25 minutes
  • Complete a sprint triathlon within the next 2 years
  • Run a 6:30 mile

If anyone out there finds this blog and has a question, advice, or just wants to say hello, please send me a comment. And please, feel free to follow along in my journey!