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A Runner's Journey

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
User is currently offline
on Sunday, December 01, 2013
in Road Races

I am always inspired by others who have had the courage and will power to change their life. Below is the story of Daryle Lamoureux who transformed his body and lifestyle to become a marathoner and is now a Certified Running Coach. I met Daryle this summer during an RRCA Coaching Course in Salem, Massachusetts and was inspired by his story and I know you will be too.

 Now that my 2013 racing season is over, I can take some time to reflect on the past 18 months. To say that this time has been life-changing would be an understatement.

 The plot of the story will seem familiar to many, but the great part of life is that we live our own version of a “Choose Your Own Adventure Book.” This means that we have the chance to make changes that will greatly alter the outcome. So here’s how my life and running story go.

 Have you ever found yourself in a rut? Have you ever tried to get out of it? It’s not always very easy. In the spring of 2012, at the age of 41, I finally admitted that I was in a rut that was only getting deeper.

 Growing up I was relatively active, but for the most part was not involved in organized sports. And I never was what anyone would describe as a runner. However, I did enjoy running whenever I did. When I was in college, I decided that I would run a 5K. I continued to sign up for the occasional 5K/10k and even ran a few with my wife before we settled down and started our family. Even though we ran these races, we never ran regularly or trained for them.

 Once we had kids and settled into the daily routine of being adults, running, exercise and fitness were all pushed to the side. From 2000 (when our first daughter was born) until the spring of 2012, I was relatively inactive and started to put on more and more weight.

 So now back to that fateful date in the spring of 2012, I found myself weighing almost 280 pounds and realizing that this was not the person that I wanted to be. The Wednesday before Memorial Day my wife and I walked into Seacoast Kettlebells determined that we were going to change our lives. We started eating better and working out regularly, and the weight started to shed away.

 As I started to make this transformation, I knew that I wanted to start running again, to race and to be a runner. I laced up my running shoes during the first week of July, and much to my dismay I wasn’t able to run even a quarter of a mile. But that didn’t stop me.

 I kept going out and working away until I could run longer and longer. By the beginning of August, I was going for a 3-4 mile run (which always involved some amount of walking). Then one day at lunchtime I went to Runner’s Alley to buy a new pair of running shoes, and there was a sign advertising their half marathon training group.

 I read the description and talked about it with someone in the store. The only requirement was being about to run 3-4 miles a few times a week. I was on the edge. I was concerned that I might be the least prepared runner in the group, but I signed up.

 The group started running the following week, and I just settled in. I ended up being a middle of the pack runner and worked my way up closer to the front by the end of the group. Running regularly became addictive, and I immediately started to think about new goals (of course, I would have to run a marathon).

 At the same time, I came across a one page interview with an ultra marathoner named Scott Jurek in Time Magazine. I read it with complete fascination and admiration. He talked about running 135 miles through Death Valley in the summer (the Badwater Ultra marathon) and other feats, all while being a vegan.

 Even though I had always been a very prolific meat eater, I knew that my diet still needed to change more. I read Jurek’s book Eat and Run and then came across Rich Roll’s Finding Ultra (another vegan ultra athlete). After reading their stories, I was convinced that this was right for me too and would make me a better runner.

 So we stopped eating meat and animal products and became plant-powered. My weight continued to drop, and I definitely felt better with this change.

 At the beginning of November, I ran my first half marathon with a 9:37 pace. My goal when I started the group (other than finishing) was to run no slower than a 10:00 minute pace. So this was a success all around. Right after finishing the group, I signed up for my first marathon: Delaware Marathon in May. This was followed by signing up for many other races too (another half marathon, a 20 miler and a bunch of 5Ks and 10Ks).

 

While planning my race schedule, I had started to think about a 50K for the fall. But then I succumbed to the suggestion that that was too long to wait. I signed up for the Pineland Farms 50K in New Gloucester, Maine on Memorial Day weekend … two weeks after my first marathon! People were telling me that I was crazy, but I like a challenge.

 Four weeks before the Delaware Marathon, I had a tendonitis flare up in my ankle. I wasn’t able to run until the day of the marathon, but this didn’t stop me. What it did do, however, was completely change my expected outcome. I was training for a sub-4:00 marathon, but instead ended up with a sub-5:00 marathon. The most important thing was that I finished, and it was an incredible experience.

 Two weeks later I was feeling better and found myself about to run the trails for the Pineland Trails 50K. It was very exciting. The new twist was that it had been very rainy leading up to race day, so the trails were covered with ankle-deep mud for most of the race. Once again, not a great pace, but I finished.

 Having finished these two races confirmed that I am a runner, I love training and I will continue to run as long as I can. Once again, I signed up for a fall marathon (Clarence DeMar in Keene, NH) and another 50K (Big Bad Ultra 50K in Pownal, Maine).

 In the meantime, I switched to running 5Ks and 10Ks to see what I could do. With each race, I was getting faster and faster and every race becoming a PR. I ran my final 5K of the season with a 20:41 time and a 6:40 pace … faster than any 5K that I ran in my 20s.

 I then had a chance to redeem myself at the Clarence DeMar Marathon. I went into the race trained and injury free. I crossed the finish line with a 3:41 time. I ran this marathon at a faster pace than I ran the half marathon less than a year prior.

 

The 50K, however, was a much bigger challenge, and I knew that when I registered. The course had a fair amount of technical single track trails together with 4,500 feet of elevation gain. But I ran through it and finished strong (just not a PR).

 My 2013 racing season ended with the Seacoast Half Marathon (the same race that I was training for the previous year). This time the race was very different. My legs were still not fully recovered from the marathon and 50K in the previous weeks, but I felt good overall. I went out and gave what I could. At the end of the day, I crossed the finished line at 1:44:50. This mean that I had shaved 1:37 off my pace and more than 20 minutes off my overall time!

 More than anything else, this previous 18 months has made me part of the running community. People ask me for advice: How did I go from where I was to where I am now? I found myself drawn to trying to help people achieve similar things in their lives. Therefore, I decided that I wanted to become a running coach.

 I started coaching training groups for Runner’s Alley (an intermediate 10K group and a beginner’s 5K group), and I became a certified running coach. I have both RRCA and USATF running coach certifications, and now I am working with small groups and individuals to help people achieve their running goals.

 Daryle Lamoureux is an RRCA and USATF certified running coach and serves on the Board of Directors of the Coastal Athletic Association. You can get in touch with Daryle through his coaching business Zosha Training (www.zoshatraining.com).

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Runners Can Eat Anything They Want, Right?

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
User is currently offline
on Saturday, March 02, 2013
in Weight Loss

Today is the eighth update of my goal to to return to race weight by April 13th. I am in a "sort of" competition with my brother-in-law Mike to reach our mutual goal of 169 pounds. See my first blog for details on where we started. I think you will see we both tackle weight loss in a completely different way. The goal of this series of posts is to show how a couple of average guys get back to their goal race weight.

 

 

  I have learned over the years that unfortunately just because you exercise a lot doesn't mean you can eat anything you want. Does exercise allow you to take certain liberties with food and drink? Absolutely...I am the perfect example of someone who if they stopped exercising would immediately gain 20 lbs. The thing about exercise is that burning a ton of calories makes you hungry. In addition in order to keep up a big exercise schedule you need to continuously fuel your body to get it done. What happens (at least with me) is that since you are hungry all of the time you inevitably end up eating more than you are burning.

I have several examples over the years where I have trained for a marathon and ended up gaining weight. The most frustrating part is that after all of the training I ended up running the marathon at my heaviest weight of the season.

In 2010 I started training for the Disney Marathon in August and weighed 174. Over the next few months I had some great training, never missed a workout, and ended up weighing 185 on race day. Ouch! I ran an average of 160 miles a month September-December and gained 11 pounds! How does this happen? I am not a doctor but I truly believe there are a couple of factors.

1) If you eat more than you burn you will gain weight. It doesn't matter if you burn 5000 calories a day. If you eat 6000 then you will not lose weight.

2) I think after running for almost 25 years my body is so used to the exercise of running it just doesn't take many calories to get it done. It is almost like I don't burn any calories when I run. That doesn't mean I am fast...it just means I have to find other ways to lose weight.


My Results 

Since our last update I have not lost any weight. The goods news is that I didn't gain any weight. I could definitely try harder in the eating/drinking department but I am averaging about 26 miles a week of running and cycling for 30-60 minutes a week which I thought would be enough to continue losing. The beat goes on....6 weeks to go...it's not easy.

 Starting weight: 189   Mar 1st weigh-in: 182   YTD loss (2 months): 7 lbs

Mike's Results

Two Months...Melancholy success. Losing weight in the winter in New England is exhausting.  Everything about it is terrible. Cold dark mornings, snowy freezing evenings, snow covered roads and sidewalks, freezing buildings, your body just craving the warmth the extra 5 pounds brings. Weight loss is possible though, with hard work, perseverance, and a plan. With April right around the corner, it is now possible to see the clearing through the weeds.

Exercise season is right around the corner (the time when normal people decide to lose weight).  I think the work Dave and I have done over the past two months puts us in a good position for running, which was the goal all along.  Any weight loss is the right direction in these months and even staying the same weight could be considered progress. So the last two weeks I really only practiced yoga and mostly plateaued with my weight loss. With only one week until spring ahead, I think I should be more focused on the positive direction of my success, but winter is long in Massachusetts. Over 20 pounds in two months and I am tired. I am looking forward to the renewed energy running outside brings. Time to lace up and start running, only six weeks until my first 5k.

 Starting weight: 192.5   Mar 1st weigh-in: 172.4   YTD loss (2 months): 20.1 lbs

 

Next update March 16th!

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Week One on the Road to Weight Loss

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
User is currently offline
on Saturday, January 05, 2013
in Weight Loss

 

Starting a weight loss program can be exciting. Setting a goal and creating a plan can be motivating as you dream about what the results could be. You imagine the "new you" down the road and how awesome it would be if you weighed your goal weight. Today is the first update of my goal to to return to race weight by April 13th. As I mentioned last week I am in a "sort of" competition with my brother-in-law Mike to reach our mutual goal of 169 pounds. See last week's blog for details on where we started. I think you will see we both tackle weight loss in a completely different way. The goal of this series of posts is to show how a couple of average guys get back to their goal race weight.


Dave

Week One Strategy:  
I already eat healthy...I have just been eating too much. This week I cut back on portion size and eliminated second and third helpings of dinner. In addition I have been eating out a lot during the Holidays so I made a point of not eating out this week. I am not counting calories or dieting; just following my instincts with portion control.

Exercise:

Sunday-40 minutes on bike trainer

Monday-off

Tuesday-Ran 5 miles easy

Wednesday-Ran 5.5 miles (track workout-15 x 1 minute at 10k race pace)

Thursday-off

Friday-Ran 5 miles easy

Saturday- Ran 7.1 miles (long run pace)

Totals: 40 minutes on the bike and 22.6 miles of running

Results:

Starting weight: 189    Jan 5th weigh-in: 187.5     Weight loss: 1.5 pounds

Mike

Week One Strategy:  
If you don't know my story I lost over 60 pounds last year by using a strategy of juice fasting and becoming a vegan. I wrote a number of blogs explaining in detail how I did it and you can read them here. This year I am happy to say I do not have to lose 60 pounds. I only have to lose 24. I like to dive right into weight loss so I decided to do what I do best right out of the gate....juice fast! Since January 1st I have not eaten anything. Last year I became a real believer in juicing and as you can see the results speak for themselves. In addition I have started exercising primarily with yoga and the elliptical.

Exercise:

Sunday-off

Monday-off

Tuesday-30 minutes easy on treadmill (running)

Wednesday-yoga 60 minutes + elliptical 60 minutes + 30 minute spin class

Thursday-off

Friday-yoga 60 minutes + elliptical 60 minutes

Saturday-yoga 90 minutes

Totals: 30 minutes of running + 2 hours elliptical + 3.5 hours of yoga

Results:

Starting weight: 192.5    Jan 5th weigh-in: 187.2     Weight loss: 5.3 pounds

Week one Recap:

After week one you can see that we both approach weight loss in different ways. On the competitive side you can see that Mike's extreme strategy really paid off. I chose a more measured approach and to be honest was content with the 1.5 pound reduction before I heard Mike's results. If you have not weighed yourself in awhile the initial weigh-in is always a little questionable. Weights fluctuate all the time so it is hard to tell if Mike had an inflated number to begin with. This week will be telling as it is the first full week without a Holiday distraction and also we both have a better idea of where we stand. Can Mike keep it going? Will I see better results next week? We will see. I know this is motivating me and I hope you have started your return to race weight!

 

Next update January 12th!

 

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