David Hardy - Page 3 - View The Race Blog
A+ A A-

View The Race Blog

Good Times 5k Spring Series Race Report

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, April 17, 2013
in Road Races

After a day of tremendous sadness over the senseless violence that was inflicted on our beloved Boston Marathon, the Good Times runners towed the line on most likely the first organized road race after the horrific events of April 15th. Runners are a resilient group by nature and almost 400 showed up on Tuesday night to show support for the innocent people whose lives were changed forever on Monday. Race Director Dave Camire had some moving remarks prior to the start of the race and asked runners to observe a moment of silence.

Like many of you I was devastated by the news of a bombing at the Boston Marathon. Unfortunately acts of senseless violence seem to be happening all too often. The sheer evil required to plan and carry out any of the recent mass shootings and the bombing at the Boston Marathon is beyond comprehension. There is no valid reason as to why someone commits these acts. Senseless violence doesn't make any sense. The only thing we can do is to hold the  perpetrator of each act accountable, increase our efforts on prevention, and make sure the victims of these acts have the full support of our nation.

 


The Race

This week's race was a unique event named the Rose Maguire's Great Mill Girl Chase 5K. In this event the women start the race first and 2:30 later the men start. The overall winner of the event receives $100, man or woman. This is a fun event for all. Even though I am not in competition for the $100, my focus is always to try to catch my wife before the finish line. I have done this race several times before and beat her for the first time last year.

This race is challenging to me for a few reasons. It is not just the 2.5 minutes that is tough to make up. I am used to starting in the front. When you start in the front and typically finish in the top 20 there are not usually many people in your way. In this race the men need to weave through many of the 200 woman that started ahead of them. There are many narrow sections of the Good Times course (check out the course) and this is always challenging and can really slow you down.

The race started and I waited the interminable 2:30 before I could begin. After running sub-par times for the first two weeks I decided to run without a watch. I like to run by feel in the shorter events. In a 5k I'm always running a 100% effort, so seeing my mile splits doesn't help me run faster. I caught up to the first large group of women fairly quickly and had a tough time navigating for about half a mile. At one point I was flying down the left side of the road third in a line of three men. There was a large group of women in front of us and the lead guy quickly went further left only to find 3 benches blocking our way. Much to my surprise he jumped up on the first bench and then jumped from bench to bench, hit the ground, and kept running. I have never seen someone do this in a road race before. This was impressive but must have taken a lot out of him because soon after he was dropped.

I suffered for most of the race. I finally broke free from the crowds and tried to focus on maintaining a fast pace. At one point on the course as you cross the Aiken Street bridge you can look to the right and see the runners ahead of you going underneath the bridge. As I got to this point on the course I looked and saw my wife about 20 seconds ahead. Unfortunately my legs were close to the red line of effort and I didn't have much left. I tried a surge on the last straightaway in an attempt to bridge the gap. Up the final "S" curves I could see her just ahead of me but the bottom line is I just couldn't do it. She ended up beating me by 4 seconds. However, I did run my fastest time of the season 19:58. Good Times!

 

 

Hits: 4145
Rate this blog entry
5 votes

Warning Signs of a Heart Attack

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, April 10, 2013
in Road Races

Yesterday I unfortunately experienced a very scary medical situation. Let me give you some background. First off I need to say I am not a doctor nor do I have any medical experience. In addition I do not recommend anyone use my actions as a guideline for handling similar situations.

On Sunday I started feeling run down and had a few bouts of sweats and feeling light headed. I didn't do much and went to bed early. On Monday I felt OK in the AM, ran 7 miles, and did some errands. After the run I had lunch and then started feeling really run down and had a bad stomach ache. I battled extreme stomach pain all during the Red Sox home opener. The pain slowly subsided and I went to bed early again. Yesterday I woke up with pain and tightness in my chest and was still feeling run down. I worked for several hours in my home office and started feeling light headed and still had the tightness in my chest. Around 11:00 AM I started making lunch and broke out into a sweat and started feeling faint. The bottom line is that I had pain and tightness in my chest, had the sweats, and was feeling faint. I couldn't believe it but I thought there may be a possibility I was having a heart attack. Me?

To make matters worse I did not have a vehicle as I had let my daughter take my car to school as I didn't plan on going anywhere yesterday. I considered calling 911 but thought there is no way this could be happening. Unfortunately I couldn't deny the way I was feeling and knew I needed medical attention ASAP. So what did I do? I quickly threw on my running shoes and walked to the Walk-in Center a half mile from my house. I was feeling very faint and weak and thought more than once on the way over that if I collapse this would turn out to be a very dumb decision.

Once at the Walk-in center I was quickly examined and the doctor told me based on what she was seeing I needed to go to the emergency room ASAP. I had no car but it didn't matter because they said I also needed to go via ambulance. To make a long story short I ended up being at Lowell General Hospital for the next 5 hours undergoing a whole battery of tests on my heart. I was examined thoroughly and I would like to thank the great staff at Lowell General.

What were the results? I had a surprisingly lengthy conversation with a cardiologist who explained to me that after all of the tests my heart was fine. They do not know what caused my symptoms but it wasn't heart related. I was probably fighting something off and maybe I strained a muscle in my chest...not sure. Regardless I was glad to hear that I did not have an issue with my heart. During my discussion with the cardiologist I mentioned I was a runner and in fact I had planned on doing a 5k road race later that day. Here is a snippet of our conversation heavily paraphrased:

Doctor: After all of these tests we do not know what caused your symptoms but it is not heart related.

Me: So my heart is fine?

Doctor: Yes.

Me: So there is no reason why I can't run in a 5k tonight?

Doctor: Well, I can't tell you what to do once you are discharged but your heart appears to be healthy.

Me: Ok..Thanks.

 

 You have to understand that after a lifetime of running and racing one of the scariest things that could happen to me is to have a heart condition. We have all heard of fit runners having a heart attack. It does happen. Once I heard my heart was fine I was instantly injected with relief and knew I was running in the Good Times 5k that night. I left the hospital at 5:30 PM quickly changed and went to the race. You see, I can deal with feeling faint, weak, sick, etc. Many long distance events I have completed at some point I have felt that way during the race. I wasn't feeling at my best (obviously) and completed the race in 20:22.

The moral of the story is that if you feel you are having a heart attack it is better to be safe than sorry. Know the warning signs and by all means call 911...don't try to walk a half mile to the doctors. A heart attack is survivable but only if you get immediate medical attention. If you have the symptoms and feel it may be happening don't wait and become a statistic....call for help. I also don't recommend running a road race after leaving the emergency room.  Smile

Know the Warning Signs of Heart Attack

Some heart attacks are sudden and intense, but most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often people affected aren't sure what's wrong and wait too long before getting help. Here are signs that can mean a heart attack is happening:

Chest Discomfort: Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.

Discomfort in other areas of the upper body: Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach. Shortness of breath. May occur with or without chest discomfort.

Other signs: These may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness

Hits: 6324
Rate this blog entry
8 votes

So This is Spring?

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, April 03, 2013
in Weight Loss

Today is the 10th 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.

 

 

 If you have read any of my previous posts you know that I have not exactly been losing weight fast. I have been enjoying my post-Ironman off season. (Maybe a little too much) After focusing on Ironman for the last two years I am having a difficult time getting back to that same level of motivation. Finishing the Ironman was a life long dream and everything else seems irrelevant. That is not to say I haven't been working out. I did run 125 miles last month and rode the bike trainer for an hour once a week. I enjoy running but I just have not been able to generate the internal motivation needed to tackle another major event.

So where am I? With exactly 10 days to go before my self imposed weight loss deadline of April 13th I am far off the mark.

Current weigh-in:    180          Goal Weight: 169

I have lost exactly 9 pounds this year. According to my math I would have to lose 11 pounds in the next 10 days to reach my goal. My brother-in-law Mike already reached his goal 3 weeks ago.

In case you are wondering the picture on this post is what I call my Poster of Shame. I started this years ago whenever I needed to lose some weight. Basically I write my weight on a poster and hang it up in my office so I have to look at it all day. Even this tactic has only had minimal impact on my motivation to lose weight. Not to blame the weather but it is hard to get motivated when it is snowing in March.

Even the Good Times Spring Series has been affected by the terrible weather. I look forward to running in this series every year and was hoping the competition would increase my motivation. Well, last night was the first race and guess what....Coldest Good Times ever! Thirty-something degrees with a heavy wind...I had to wear my winter running gear...Winter will just not let go....check out the story and video here. (your VTR host placed 17th)

The good news is that we are now in April and the extended forecast looks much better. (Of course as I write this post the windows of my house are rattling from the wind and it is freezing out) As soon as it gets warmer I will start to get some outdoor rides in and running will be much more enjoyable. Good weather is motivating for everyone. The first day it is 60 degrees on a weekend day you will see a ton of runners and cyclists on the roads. It makes you wonder where everyone has been for 6 months.

The bottom line is that training without a goal is tough. If I didn't truly enjoy running I would have slacked off big time. With no impending events that "scare" me, I don't feel like I have to get serious. We will see what happens....for now I will run in the Good Times Series every week and see if I can be competitive in my new age group.

Hits: 3629
Rate this blog entry
4 votes

Weight Loss Success Story

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
User is currently offline
on Saturday, March 16, 2013
in Weight Loss

Today is the ninth 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.

 

 

 My Results


With exactly 4 weeks to go to reach my goal I am still losing weight at an extremely slow pace. I now weigh 181. I have seen 180 on the scale numerous times over the last few weeks but the facts are I have only lost 8 pounds since January 1st. I think I was confused with the contest. I thought it was who could lose the weight the slowest. I still have 4 weeks to go....I won't bore you with the details....Focus on Mike....He's the man!

Starting weight: 189   Mar 16th weigh-in: 181   YTD loss: 8 lbs

Mike's Results

I did it!!  169!!

For what is is worth, I would have won the biggest loser for the second year in a row. Check out my weight loss blog from last year to see how I lost over 60 pounds and won the biggest loser competition at my work in 2012.

Since January 1st I have lost 13% of my body weight.  At that weight I would have been runner up overall in last year's competition (and I still have three weeks to go and weight to lose).  I am writing this on the eve of my March 16th weigh-in, and to be honest I did not want to get off the scale this morning.  I saw a weight I thought was impossible to ever see. I know I talked about it a lot.  A real lot for anyone that would listen...possibly too much (sorry family).  But I said it, and kept saying it until it happened. This morning I was at a predictable 170.8. I know I have been talking about 169 for a while now, but at 170.8 I feel I accomplished what Dave and I set out to do. Tomorrow I will wake up and I will be 169.  But at the end of the day, a number is just a goal, an ideal.  

When I see success, I do not see it in black and white.  In my life I have seen that successful people understand this.  The "Success" they set out for is rarely what they end up with. It usually is close to the original form, but not exactly. Happiness is realizing this and growing into new adventures. 

Since I won the Percussion biggest loser competition last April, I have lost another 25 pounds. In the last year I have lost over 75 pounds and kept it off. People say that I inspire them, but frankly, I would not be here without the support of those who reached out to me and told me I encouraged them. You are the inspiration that drives my success!

 Continued success is not resting on the triumphs of the past, but pushing on to new outrageous goals and adventures, repeatedly claiming the new goal until it becomes reality.  My old goal is met. Life is fully available to those who take it by the horns, I may hit it or I may not, but anyone that knows me knows that I believe that true failure is not pulling yourself off the mat. I will acknowledge my success, cheer on Dave (as I always do) and set my new goals.
 
When I graduated from high school, I was 165 pounds.  June sounds good, I will be 40 then.   160, get dressed up in your best suit, I will see you soon....

 Starting weight: 192.5   Mar 16th weigh-in: 169.8  YTD loss: 23 lbs

 Next Update March 30th!

 

Hits: 3687
Rate this blog entry
3 votes

Do You Race to Win?

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
User is currently offline
on Monday, March 11, 2013
in Road Races

Leprechaun Leap 5k 

Why do you race?

A race is by definition:

Noun

A competition between runners, horses, vehicles, boats, etc., to see which is the fastest in covering a set course.
Verb
Compete with another or others to see who is fastest at covering a set course or achieving an objective.
 
I think runners run in road races for many reasons. A race is a competition. For a small group of runners the competition is for 1st place overall. This would include elite runners and typically the best runners in a geographic area. Another larger group of runners compete for the age group awards. The competition for these awards varies greatly. At some races it is very difficult to place in your age group and at other races just finishing with a half way decent time is enough to place. If you are not fast enough to compete for awards then runners can still be competitive by competing against friends or competing against themselves by improving their time at a particular distance or on a particular course.
 
So now that I have explained racing...Why do you race? What if I told you that you would place 6th overall and 1st in your age group at your next race? Would you consider that event a success? Would you need me to tell you what your time was? If so...would you care?
 
Runners can be funny people. Yesterday I ran in the Leprechaun Leap 5k in Nashua, New Hampshire. This is the third week in a row that I have raced. As I mentioned last week, I am really excited about getting back to racing in 2013. I did not know very much about this event but I chose this race due to the close proximity to my house. Unfortunately I woke up on Sunday morning not feeling at the top of my game. On Saturday night I attended a surprise 40th birthday party for a friend of mine in Worcester, MA. For all of those Seinfeld fans I will describe what happened as.. I went to the party and yada...yada...yada... I did not feel great on Sunday morning. I struggled to the start line with basically no warm-up. Since I didn't know much about the event I was unpleasantly surprised to be greeted with tough hills on both the 1st and 2nd miles. The third mile was mostly flat with a good downhill but the damage had already been done. As you would expect I had no "zip" in my legs and the entire race was a struggle. My splits were 643, 704, 641 with a finish time of 20:56. Now normally I should have been just under 20 minutes on a tough course like this so I was not happy with my time. In addition last week I ran 20:18 and thought I had a bad race. The big surprise came with due to the small field (115 runners) I ended up finishing 6th overall and 1st in my age group and won a medal.
 

 

Now as I analyze the results I had no chance to win the overall race even if I ran my PR so 1st place in my age group was the best possible result. In addition the course was hilly so even if I was in great shape I would never be able to PR on this course so that wasn't an option either. So the question is...Why do you race? Do you race to win? If my best possible result was achieved why should I care what my time was? Would I be happier if I PR at an event and finish 10th in my age group and win nothing? I guess it really depends on why you enter events. Placing overall in an event is not realistic for me so placing in my age group is the best I can do. In my opinion if I end up getting an "ugly" win it is still better than not placing at all.

At the end of the day we are all trying to improve our race times and winning a meaningless age group medal doesn't make my time any better. Even though that is true, I do strive to place in my age group at every event. Whether you believe medals/trophies are meaningless or not, running is our sport and that is what symbolizes success at an event. I don't know about you but I like be called up to receive an award. Why would I cry about my time and downplay my award? I showed up, ran the race, and reaped the rewards...case closed.

I have met a lot of people that never seem to be happy with their race times. No matter what success they achieve they are always upset and claim they should have done better. I am going to make sure that person is not me in 2013. I plan on entering 25-40 events this year and guess what...I am going to have some good ones and I am going to have some bad ones...If you race a lot that is the reality. I only hope that regardless of my race times I get a chance to win more medals!  See you out there!

Hits: 3668
Rate this blog entry
4 votes

Freeze Your Buns Off 5k Race Report

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
User is currently offline
on Sunday, March 03, 2013
in Road Races

 

 

One thing you should know about me is that I love racing. I especially love running in 5k road races. (check out my race history here) Over the past couple of years I have been focused on Ironman training so I have missed out on a lot of 5k's and sprint distance triathlons that I really enjoy. Despite the fact that the weather was terrible and my performance wasn't great, I think running in the Hyannis Half Marathon last weekend started to get my racing juices flowing. I have to admit that after last week I was not excited to sign up for another half marathon but I started to get excited about getting back to racing shorter distances.

I am really excited about the Spring Good Times 5k Series in Lowell and I knew I needed to enter a few 5k's before the series starts on April 2nd. (see the course here) Now I have no illusion as to my current conditioning. I am in the words of the famous movie "Full Metal Jacket" quote a  "disgusting fat body". When I am feeling out of shape and overweight I always think about the below several lines of dialogue from that movie when the drill instructor found a jelly donut in the barracks. This really has nothing to do with the 5k I ran today but if you are wondering about what I think about during the race this is it.

 

Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: Holy Jesus! What is that? What the f%#k is that? WHAT IS THAT, PRIVATE PYLE?
Private Gomer Pyle: Sir, a jelly doughnut, sir!
Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: A jelly doughnut?
Private Gomer Pyle: Sir, yes, sir!
Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: How did it get here?
Private Gomer Pyle: Sir, I took it from the mess hall, sir!
Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: Is chow allowed in the barracks, Private Pyle?
Private Gomer Pyle: Sir, no, sir!
Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: Are you allowed to eat jelly doughnuts, Private Pyle?
Private Gomer Pyle: Sir, no, sir!
Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: And why not, Private Pyle?
Private Gomer Pyle: Sir, because I'm too heavy, sir!
Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: Because you are a disgusting fat body, Private Pyle!
Private Gomer Pyle: Sir, yes, sir!
Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: Then why did you try to sneak a jelly doughnut in your footlocker, Private Pyle?
Private Gomer Pyle: Sir, because I was hungry, sir!
Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: Because you were hungry...
[turns and addresses rest of platoon]
Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: Private Pyle has dishonored himself and dishonored the platoon. I have tried to help him. But I have failed. I have failed because YOU have not helped me. YOU people have not given Private Pyle the proper motivation! So, from now on, whenever Private Pyle f*&ks up, I will not punish him! I will punish all of YOU! And the way I see it ladies, you owe me for ONE JELLY DOUGHNUT! NOW GET ON YOUR FACES!
[rest of recruits get in front-leaning-rest position, Hartman turns to Pyle]
Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: Open your mouth!
[shoves jelly doughnut into PYLE's mouth]
Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: They're payin' for it; YOU eat it! Ready! Exercise!

First 5k Race of 2013


Since the racing juices were flowing I wanted to enter a 5k close to home. I wanted a quick and easy fitness test to see what kind of shape I am in. The Freeze Your Buns Off 5k in Nashua, New Hampshire is a no frills, well organized 5k race series managed by the Gate City Striders. This race was exactly what I needed today. The race only costs $5 and has a simple rolling course around Nashua High School.

After a nice warmup I hit the start line. Conditions were not bad for winter...30 degrees and snowing. Not snow that sticks to the ground,  just nuisance snow that goes into your face and eyes. Certainly the weather was a lot better than last week's pouring rain. I ran a hard but controlled pace for the entire race but didn't have the fitness to maintain my pace. I won't bore you with the details but my splits tell the whole story:

Mile 1-  6:19

Mile 2- 6:34

Mile 3- 6:53

5k Official time:  20:18  (6:32 pace)

Not bad for the first 5k of the year and a decent starting point. For me I always think if I break 20 minutes in a 5k then I had a decent time. Over 20 minutes sucks...I plan on entering a few more races this month and continue training for speed. The cool thing about racing short distances is that you can race every week if you want to....I am looking forward to the 2013 racing season!  See you out there!

Hits: 3957
Rate this blog entry
3 votes

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!

Hits: 3771
Rate this blog entry
1 vote

Hyannis Half Marathon Race Report

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
User is currently offline
on Monday, February 25, 2013
in Road Races

 

Yesterday I ran the Hyannis Half Marathon in Hyannis, MA. This race is the first opportunity of the year to run in a half marathon or marathon in New England and brings in as many as 3,500 runners.

After enduring a week of ominous weather predictions before the race I arrived on Saturday to a seasonably cold and cloudy day. The storm track kept changing seemingly every 12 hours and by Saturday it appeared that the Cape was going to be spared from the snow. Game on! I picked up my race packet, checked into a nearby hotel, and then hit the British Beer Company in downtown Hyannis. After having a great meal and a few pints with friends I turned in for the night ready for whatever race day would bring.

I woke up Sunday and tentatively looked out the window hoping the weather forecast was correct and the snow had held off. I was happy to see clear roads but unfortunately it was pouring rain and windy. The good news is that I knew I could deal with the rain but the bad news was I knew it was not going to be fun. After a leisurely breakfast (the race starts at 10 AM) I headed to the start. The rain and wind actually relaxed a bit right before the race but I was already wet just walking to the start.

It was a cold rain so I decided to wear my full winter gear for the race. But as the race started I almost immediately started to feel uncomfortably warm. By mile 2 I took off my head wrap and wished I had worn shorts. The rain continued to fall and the roads were completely covered with puddles due to all of the pouring rain and the snow melt. Dodging puddles made it almost impossible to get into any kind of rhythm and my legs felt sluggish right from the start. The puddles in the road were so bad a few sections of road were impassable forcing runners to run in the front yards of houses or on the grassy sections on the side of the road. I was soaked and to make matters worse I grabbed a cup from a water stop, went to drink and had the cup "explode" in my hands all over the front of my jacket. Fun!

I was soaked and for parts of the race I felt warm and others I felt cold. I tried to maintain some type of pace but felt like I was struggling the whole time. It was a real battle. Right after Craigville Beach there is a tough hill that leads up to the 8 mile mark. I knew it was coming so I purposely reduced my speed and ran a comfortable pace up the hill. I made it up the hill but soon after I started to feel like my legs were giving out. By the time I ran over the "speed bumps" after mile 9 and turned on Route 28 my legs were dead.

The last 5k was a real struggle. I had decided before the race not to wear a watch and there were no clocks on the entire course so I had no idea how I was doing. I wanted to run by "feel" and the last 5k I felt terrible. Running through the last two side streets before the finish felt like it took forever, and I finally started my finish line sprint up to the line. The cool thing about running without a watch is that as I rounded the corner to the finish I had no idea what the clock would say. I crossed the line to 1:43:32....7:54 pace. Not a great time for me but with the tough weather just finishing is a victory.

As soon as the race was over I instantly felt freezing cold. Not sure if it was adrenaline or the effort of running heating my body but I didn't feel that cold during the race. I think I can speak for everyone and say I was very happy to warm up and change out of my soaking wet clothes.

Despite the weather this race was a "fitness check" and I think I did OK. I am behind where I was last year but with a few more weeks of training I should continue to improve. I am really looking forward to the Good Times 5k Series in April and plan on working on my speed over the next month to prepare. First race of 2013 in the books!

If you are interested in running this race or the marathon check out the course video here.

 

 

 

Hits: 4292
Rate this blog entry
2 votes

Do You Have the Winter Blues?

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, February 19, 2013
in Weight Loss

Today is the seventh 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.

 

 

Dave's Week Seven Summary and Results:  

You know what? Getting serious about losing weight is no fun. Why is that? Because everything we enjoy in life involves behavior that is detrimental to weight loss. That is why you need to change your behavior in order to lose weight and keep the weight off. 

Last week I had a case of the "winter blues". Maybe you are familiar with it...sick of winter, sick of cold, sick of snow, sick of the treadmill, etc. I ended up eating out a couple of times last week and made some bad food choices. Luckily I didn't miss a workout but every workout was a struggle mentally, and I felt like I was right on the edge of losing my motivation. When this happens I am usually rescued by my inner voice which tells me..."Stop being such a baby and get it done" or something like that. Sometimes there is an inappropriate adjective in front of the word "baby" as well...The bottom line is that if you are committed to an exercise/weight loss program you need to get it done. No excuses. I have mentioned this in previous weeks...if it was easy everyone would be fit and thin instead of unfit and fat.

I ended up losing another pound last week so I have continued my 1 pound a week average. So far I have lost 7 pounds in 7 weeks. Nothing special but I continue plodding along. I am hoping one of these weeks I'll really kick it in gear and speed up the process but it hasn't happened yet.

Exercise Totals: Ran 24.5 miles and biked 40 minutes on trainer

Results:

Starting weight: 189   Feb 19th weigh-in: 182   YTD loss (7 weeks): 7 lbs

 Mike's Week Seven Summary and Results:  

 A friend of mine once said you only have a certain amount of will power, and once you use it all on something you have nothing left for other things. When something that can be normally considered bad happens, your mind goes to processing it. Well when you are in a competition and something happens, it is best to process it quickly. This weekend my diet consisted of potato chips, beer, and french fries. I just lost it. My mind was processing something out of the ordinary and I had no will power left for eating right. I would hope that my rational side would have kicked in and my eating habits would remain unchanged, but Ruffles covered in Sriracha squeezed from the bottle, are way better than the lays rendition. All this good food coupled with video games, what a healthy lifestyle.

Another wise friend once told me that it is OK to be angry, but remember this. "Be angry for a day, a week, a month, or a year, but when you are done being angry, you will have to pick it up and start from that point. In other words, don't waste too much time being angry". When you are not really mad at anything, or anyone, it is harder to let it go, but you have to.  So I allowed myself two days to process it, and then rationally let it go.

The best opportunities I have been involved in have come from conventionally bad events. So I picked myself up yesterday, 90 Minutes of Bikram yoga and 75 minutes swimming later, I am back on track and not as mad. It may still be a few days mind you, but I am squeezing my will power to things I have control over and trying to move in a positive direction.  174.8..despite my let down I only gained a half pound...I can't wait to sweat this salt out of my veins.

 Exercise Totals: Elliptical 90 minutes +  biked 1 hr + swam 2.5 hrs + yoga 90 minutes

 Results:

Starting weight: 192.5   Feb 19th weigh-in: 174.8   YTD loss (7 weeks): 17.7 lbs

 

              Next weigh-in will be the 2 month mark.....March 1st!

Hits: 3233
Rate this blog entry
2 votes

Surviving the Tough New England Winter

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
User is currently offline
on Sunday, February 10, 2013
in Weight Loss

Today is the sixth 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.

 

 Dave

 Week Six Summary and Results:  
Surviving the tough New England winter and maintaining your fitness is extremely difficult. Let's be honest...you have every excuse in the book to miss workouts. It's freezing cold and there is 2 feet of snow on the ground. Time to cash it in and wait till spring, right? If you allow yourself to fall into this trap you will be very unhappy with what you look like in April. If you want to get in shape to perform well at spring road races or just want to look good at a Florida beach during April school vacation week the time is NOW to start losing the holiday weight. Don't wait! No excuse! There is no snow at the gym and if anything, it is too warm not cold.

Last week was a good one for me. I mentioned on my last post that I had a bad weigh-in, and I think this week's results prove that. I dropped 2 pounds last week, and I am still going strong.  And it's going to take some mental toughness over the next few weeks.  As the picture above shows, the New England winter dumped close to 2 feet of snow yesterday. It looks like I will be forced to complete all of my runs on the treadmill indefinitely, but I am mentally prepared and I will get it done.

 Exercise:

Sunday- ran 6 miles tempo

Monday- off

Tuesday- ran 5.25 miles easy

Wednesday- ran 10 miles (long run)

Thursday- off

Friday- ran 10 miles (another long run to beat the storm)

Saturday- off...if you call shoveling for hours a day off

Totals: ran 31.25 miles (first time over 30 miles in awhile)

 Results:

 Starting weight: 189   Feb 10th weigh-in: 183   YTD loss (6 weeks): 6 lbs

 

                                                                      Mike

 Week Six Summary and Results:  
Every great athlete will usually have the old adage "finish strong" drilled into his head from the time they first start competing. Finishing strong and pushing through the pain at the end of a game or a run is essential for realizing your best as a competitor. Hitting heartbreak hill and pushing through, or making sure your splits are faster in a 5k, both take practice and discipline. When I finish any training run, I usually am running uphill. I try to go as fast as I can and after I cross the finish line, I want to have nothing left for the day.

 The same is true when losing weight. The beginning is easy, you can see fast results, get caught up in the adrenaline of the "race", but after the pack weeds out, that is where it gets hard. Losing weight is like running, you are alone, most often racing against your own time and goals, keeping focus over long periods of time.  

 

 Like running, the only way losing weight works is to make it a lifestyle choice, not a goal.  When I was new to running, to finish a 5k was my first goal. When I finished my first 5k, I didn't stop because I met my goal, I just kept running. Do I train the same every day, week after week? Truthfully no, but I wish I did. Some weeks I am busy, some weeks I have other things I just need to do, and still other weeks, I find myself in "running burnout". Losing weight is a part of something bigger, being healthy. Like running a race is part of being a runner. So even if I have a bad week, bad weigh-in, or get sick, it does not matter. I have had slow races or have run injured, just to keep up the practice. And I have taken it easy, but have gotten back up and run faster or stronger.

 

Now I am approaching the end of this particular goal, and this is where the focus has to be greater, and I have to remember that losing weight is part of a lifestyle choice. The weight is not my ultimate goal, it is to be healthy.  Bell lap, under 5 pounds to go...174.2, see you at the gym!

Exercise:

 Sunday- 1 hour elliptical

Monday- 75 minute run

Tuesday- off

Wednesday- 1 hour yoga

Thursday- 1 hour spin

Friday- 1 hour run

Saturday- 1 hour run

Totals: 1 hr yoga + 1 hr cycling + 1 hr elliptical + 3.25 hrs running

  Results:

 Starting weight: 192.5  Feb 10th weigh-in: 174.2  YTD loss (6 weeks): 18.3 lbs

 Week Six Recap:

 Losing weight is a marathon not a sprint. As we get closer and closer to April, the key is to know you are on the right path and continue moving forward. You have to maintain focus on your goal day after day week after week. Mike survived his vacation last week and has returned to juicing. He is determined to hit his goal weight ASAP...he isn't content to wait until April like I am. Since I was training outside for most of my runs the most recent blizzard will put more pressure on me than Mike to maintain focus. Training indoors is tough and gets boring quick, especially for long runs. We will see what happens....

As you can see from the results of the past 6 weeks Mike's strategy is extreme but really works. He has lost over 18 pounds in 6 weeks. If you would like more detail on what he is doing check out his blogs from last year. He used this strategy to lose over 60 pounds in 2012.

Mike's Story

 

Next Update February 19th!

 

Hits: 3410
Rate this blog entry
2 votes

Week 5: Exercising on Vacation

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
User is currently offline
on Sunday, February 03, 2013
in Weight Loss

Today is the fifth 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.

 

 

 Dave

Week Five Summary and Results:  
Back to Back solid weeks! I think I am finally over my sickness. Last Sunday was the first time I was able to attempt a long run outside and it felt great despite the 15 degree temps at the start. I was able to complete all of my workouts and ran a solid 27.5 miles for the week. I ended up only losing a half pound this week but that was due to an ill-timed, late Mexican dinner last night. All week I have been showing 1-1.5 pounds of loss until of course...weigh-in morning. I will make sure I don't sabotage my weigh-in next week.

On the diet front I also had another good week. I have continued drinking tea to curb my appetite and I am beginning to get used to the smaller portions at meals. Losing 20 pounds takes time and every week just builds on the last. Losing 1-2 pounds a week is about all I can ask for without going crazy like Mike. I am happy to continue plodding along week after week sticking with my strategy. It is pretty clear to me at this point that my sickness and the antibiotics definitely held back my weight loss at the beginning of the month. Not sure if there is a medical reason that prevented me from losing weight or maybe it was my body holding on to the weight to protect itself. Who knows?  I finally have my energy back and that is all I care about.

 Exercise:

 Sunday- ran 10.4 miles (longest run this year!)

 Monday- off

 Tuesday- ran 6 miles (tempo workout)

 Wednesday- ran 5.1 miles (60 degrees...Wow!)

 Thursday- off

 Friday- ran 6 miles (30 min of it was track workout)

 Saturday- biked 40 minutes easy on trainer

 Totals: ran 27.5 miles and biked 40 minutes on trainer

 Results:

 Starting weight: 189   Feb 3rd weigh-in: 185    YTD loss (5 weeks): 4 lbs

                                                                      Mike

 Week Five Summary and Results:  
If you can't measure it, you can't improve. It has been said in business and it is true in training.  Sure, when I step up to the start line in a 5k, I am watchless, but as I look to increase my speed, I will measure everything. Carefully keeping track of my progress allows me to see what works and what does not. I am tracking every workout now using time (not distance), as speed and distance will come with a good base.

So here I am on vacation, no scale.  One of the best ways I have found to lose weight and keep focus is weighing myself every day at the same time. I know that when I eat sushi, I gain 1.5 pounds, mostly as my body keeps in water to flush out the salt. I also know that after my long workout on Saturday (my fasting workout), I weigh myself and if I am disciplined, I can reach that weight by the following Saturday. No scale is good and bad. No daily reminder that I am losing weight, but no real penalty if I eat a little too much for enjoyment. So, I take a break from weighing myself, but not from losing weight.

Traveling and eating right is difficult to say the least. Ordering a salad with no cheese, no egg, no dressing, no oil, only to have it come out with salt and pepper..(who salts and peppers a salad?)  I guess people will be people. It is a sign of how terrible our eating habits have become. I am sure the chef felt that the vegetables needed "something" on them to make them taste good. So that "something" gets added to everything we eat, and we really don't need it. Anyway, adding another 60 minutes outside running in California is not bad. Hopefully the added exercise will make up for the eating.

One final note, as I was getting ready for a drop-in yoga class, the instructor said she never thought of visiting a yoga studio while traveling. One of the best parts of vacationing is changing up your workout routine, running in new places, dropping in on a different style of yoga than you are accustomed.  If you stay poolside drinking a tropical drink, you lose out on experiencing what could be the best part of traveling, running on a new road...

 Exercise:

 Sunday- 1 hour elliptical

 Monday- 1 hour yoga +75 minutes swimming

 Tuesday- 45 minutes yoga + 1 hour spin

 Wednesday- off

  Thursday- 1 hour run

   Friday- 90 minutes Yoga + 45 minutes run

   Saturday- 1 hour elliptical + 20 minutes bike

 Totals: 3.25 hrs yoga + 1.33 hrs cycling + 2 hrs elliptical + 75 mins swimming + 1.75 hrs running

 Results:

 Starting weight: 192.5    Feb 3rd weigh-in: vacation  YTD loss (5 weeks): 15.7 lbs

 Week Five Recap:

Even though I didn't have the results to prove it I had a great week. I am feeling stronger and stronger and with Mike on vacation this week I have to think I am gaining ground. Losing weight takes time and hopefully I can build on this week. 

As you have seen both Mike and me approach weight loss and exercise in a completely different way. What works for Mike would not work for me and vice versa. Everyone's body responds to diet and exercise differently. In addition everyone has different personalities and ways of staying motivated. I hope that lesson learned is that you have to do something....If you have been on the sidelines take that first step today to improving your health and fitness. You will be glad you did!

Next Update February 9th!

Hits: 3171
Rate this blog entry
5 votes

Drinking Tea for Weight Loss?

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
User is currently offline
on Sunday, January 27, 2013
in Weight Loss

Today is the fourth 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.

 

 

Dave

Week Four Summary and Results:  
This is the first week this year that I felt fairly close to normal. I have been sick and on/off antibiotics since December 18th. Crazy! I am still congested but I finally got rid of the constant malaise and lack of energy that has been killing my workouts. I had a strong week with 2 really good runs (long run and track).

On the diet front I also had a good week. I have started drinking tea during the day which seems to be suppressing my appetite and has replaced some of my need for daytime snacking. I am drinking decaffeinated tea, mostly green tea and classic black tea. I now drink at least two cups of tea a day. I would recommend giving it a try if you haven't done so in the past. Especially during these cold winter days, sipping a warm cup of tea fills you up and can have less caffeine than a cup of coffee.

I also did a good job at reducing portions and did not eat out this week. On the negative side I did go out for drinks 3x  for meetings which added unnecessary calories. I ended up losing 2 pounds this week! About time! I look forward to building on this past week and start catching up to Mike!

 Exercise:

 Sunday- off

 Monday- ran 8.5 miles

 Tuesday- biked 40 minutes on trainer

 Wednesday- ran 5.7 miles

 Thursday- off

 Friday- ran 6 miles (30 min of it was track workout)

 Saturday- Ran 4.15 miles easy

 Totals: ran 24.35 miles and biked 40 minutes on trainer

 Results:

 Starting weight: 189   Jan 27th weigh-in: 185.5    YTD loss (26 days): 3.5 lbs

                                                                      Mike

 Week Four Summary and Results:  
I used to eat 100% of the time for enjoyment. Every bite of every meal was to satisfy my taste buds; overwhelming them with rich, salty, fatty, sweet foods. Eating was a constant search to find food that tasted better than the last meal. One year later, I have learned that eating is more of a survival mechanism, the fuel that your body needs to survive day to day. Fat is simply a storage mechanism your body uses to store calories for the day it has no food. So when I was overeating, my body simply stored the extra calories for that rainy day, waiting patiently to serve a purpose.

I have found if you eat for survival you tend to look at food differently. You end up choosing foods that are high in nutrition and not refined. Refining food concentrates calories, so you get more out of the same bite of food. Food, in its natural state, is almost impossible to consume in quantities that would cause weight gain. You see bread is NOT a food in its natural state, whole grain oatmeal is. Olive oil is NOT a food in its natural state, raw olives are.

Now do I think it is wrong to eat for enjoyment? Absolutely not. That is what happened last week, the night before the weigh-in I ate for celebration. I went out and had a great time with family and friends. Eating right has to have some component of eating for enjoyment and celebrating life, but remember, "its not a party if it happens every night..."  176.8. Looks like 6 pounds this week, but it is actually 3 pounds a week for the last two.

 Exercise:

  Sunday- 90 minutes elliptical

  Monday- 1 hour yoga + 80 minute spin class

  Tuesday- 1 hour yoga + 75 minutes swimming

 Wednesday- 1 hour yoga

 Thursday- 1 hour yoga + 60 minutes bike trainer

 Friday- 1 hour rock climbing

 Saturday- 1 hour yoga + 1 hour elliptical

  Totals: 5 hrs yoga + 2.33 hrs cycling + 2.5 hrs elliptical + 75 mins swimming

 Results:

Starting weight: 192.5    Jan 27th weigh-in: 176.8  YTD loss (26 days): 15.7 lbs

 Week Four Recap:

Although I had a decent week losing 2 pounds Mike is totally kicking my butt. The real difference is I am taking a balanced approach and haven't been real serious about my diet until this week. Mike is a very extreme person and has no middle ground. Since the beginning of the year he has either been juice fasting or eating only vegetables. In 26 days he has lost 15.7 pounds! How can I compete with that? Hopefully now that I have turned the corner on my illness I can start to catch up. I don't think there is anyway he can continue this extreme dieting. I am hoping I can lose another 2-3 pounds next week and start to narrow the gap. Of course if he continues to lose 6 pounds a week I am all done.

Next Update February 3rd!

 

 

 

Hits: 3634
Rate this blog entry
2 votes

Dealing with Weight Loss Setbacks

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
User is currently offline
on Monday, January 21, 2013
in Weight Loss

Today is the third 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.

 

Dave

Week Three Summary and Results:  
As I write my third update I feel like the last three weeks have just been a continuous string of excuses. Now, don't get me wrong. My excuses are legitimate and completely make sense. The problem is excuses are the reason people gain weight and also are the reason it is difficult to lose weight. The last ten days I have actually gained a pound. During this time I was still sick and on antibiotics, was on vacation in Florida for 5 days, and had a couple of late nights out. You could say that only gaining a pound during a vacation along with my other excuses was a victory. The problem is I could come up with legitimate excuses every week. The bottom line is that three weeks deep I have only lost 1.5 pounds.

 Exercise:

 Sunday- ran 4 miles easy

 Monday- off

 Tuesday- off

 Wednesday- ran 8.35 miles

 Thursday- ran 5.25 miles with a couple of pickups

 Friday- off

 Saturday- Ran 5.1 miles easy

Sunday- off

 Totals: 22.7 miles of running in 8 days

 Results:

 Starting weight: 189    Jan 21st weigh-in: 187.5     Total weight loss: 1.5 pounds

Mike

 Week Three Summary and Results:  
Well, week three was rocky. In the last 8 days I have only lost .6 of a pound. Transition from the juice fast, two Patriots playoff games, and a scheduled annual bar crawl. If you know anything about me, you know that I know any success has its share of failures. The only separation between failure and success is picking yourself back up. During the first Patriots playoff game, I kept telling myself I only want to eat because I am stressed, so I didn't. Success. The bar crawl started out good, but drinking and weight loss don't really mix in my opinion. Finished the night with French fries, but it was an example of the 5% of the time I feel I can eat for enjoyment. Failure. Two hours on the Elliptical and probably at least three days to wash the salt and bloat out of my system. So here I am at the end of week three, still at it, and excited to get to running season. I am looking forward to a three hour event in June and then a seven hour event in September. But for now, I will drink water, clean up my system and get back on the mat. About 10 pounds to go in two months.

 Exercise:

 Sunday- 40 minutes elliptical

 Monday- 75 minutes swimming + 45 minutes yoga

 Tuesday- 1 hour spin class

 Wednesday- 90 minutes elliptical + 1 hour yoga

 Thursday- off

 Friday- off

 Saturday- 1 hour run

Sunday- 2 hours elliptical

 Totals: 1 hour of running + 1 hour spin + 1.75 hours yoga + 1.25 hours swimming + 4.2 hours elliptical in 8 days

 Results:

Starting weight: 192.5   Jan 21st weigh-in: 182    Total weight loss: 10.5 pounds

Week Three Recap:

The last 10 days were not what either of us wanted. Both Mike and I enjoy having a good time. The challenge is how do you enjoy life and lose weight at the same time. The problem is most of the fun things in life are not conducive to weight loss. Eating out, drinks with friends, and big family dinners are not the recipe for weight loss. So what do you do? Stop having fun? Finding that perfect balance of moderation is the key to a happy and healthy life. Setbacks are a fact of life and moving forward is the only way to deal with a setback. After a devastating Patriots loss last night the only positive is now I won't have to write a post explaining why I gained weight during a Super Bowl party.

Next Update January 27th!

 

 

 

 

Hits: 3678
Rate this blog entry
3 votes

Week Two: Staying Motivated After New Years

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
User is currently offline
on Saturday, January 12, 2013
in Weight Loss

Today is the second 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.

 

 

 

Creating a weight loss plan can be fun and exciting. Starting the plan and then sticking to it is a lot less fun. Since we are only in week 2, hopefully it is not a struggle at this point to stick with your plan. Take your plan day by day and try not to get short sighted. You didn't gain the weight in a week or two....Even to lose the 20 pounds I need to lose I expect months of behavior modification.


Dave

Week Two Strategy and Results:  
This week unfortunately I had a relapse of my bronchitis I suffered with at the end of 2012. I ended up going back to the doctors on Tuesday and have been taking antibiotics, cough syrup, an inhaler, and Advil all week. Strategy out the window...I have maintained my portion control but I have been sedentary most of the week. A couple of days I barely left the couch. Not a good week. The good news is I didn't use this as an excuse to overeat or completely throw away all of my workouts. I still managed some weight loss and I will push on to week three.

Exercise:

Sunday-40 minutes on bike trainer

Monday-ran 4 miles easy

Tuesday-Ran 5 miles with 4 "pickups" of 1 min

Wednesday-on couch all day

Thursday-on couch most of day

Friday-Ran 5 miles (9 x 2 minutes at 10k race pace at 2-3% grade)

Saturday- Ran 4 miles easy

Totals: 40 minutes on the bike and 18 miles of running

Results:

Starting weight: 189    Jan 12th weigh-in: 186.5     Total weight loss: 2.5 pounds

Mike

Week Two Strategy and Results:

Every war is won before it is fought, I heard someone in my sales bullpen say this week and it is true.  Strategy and preparation are the two things you can control going into any situation that will have a huge impact on the outcome. As I moved into my second week of the juice fast, I kept strong in remembering what Dave and I are working towards is a goal weight that will make our times better than last year. Being ten pounds lighter alone will knock 20-30 seconds off my mile time, and the confidence of being under 170 will carry me a long way in speed training come April.

Today, I come off my juice fast and will continue on my controlled calorie, single ingredient diet.  Last year I lost more weight eating that way than when I juice fasted. These last 13 pounds will be very difficult to take off, so I have no illusions of any more rapid weight loss. I anticipate months of focusing on the goal at hand. Some ask how I can spend 90 minutes on the elliptical in January, don't you get bored?  To them I say "the under 22 minute 5k I will run in May will be worth it."

Exercise:

Sunday-90 minutes easy on treadmill (running)

Monday-75 minutes in the pool (swim class)

Tuesday-60 minutes spin + 45 minutes yoga

Wednesday-yoga 45 minutes + elliptical 80 minutes

Thursday-yoga 45 minutes + 45 minutes treadmill

Friday-elliptical 75 minutes

Saturday-60 minutes treadmill

Totals: 3.25 hours of running + 2.6 hours elliptical + 2.25 hours of yoga + 1 hour spin +

1.25 hours swimming

Results:

Starting weight: 192.5    Jan 12th weigh-in: 182.6    Weight loss: 9.9 pounds

Week Two Recap:

After 12 days you can see the results..Mike has lost almost 10 pounds and I have lost 2.5 pounds. Believe it or not I am actually happy where I stand. After being sick for the entire week I still managed to drop a pound. It would have been very easy to end up gaining a pound of two or to skip a few workouts. I have to give credit to Mike...he has started the year hardcore with a 10 day juice fast and he worked out all 7 days last week. Kind of hard to compete with that....It must be nice to drop 10 pounds in two weeks! If you would like to see details on how Mike manages his juice fast check out his juice blogs from last year.

The next update will be 9 days out and I think it will be a very important status check. Both of us will be three weeks deep and hopefully we will both post some nice numbers. Can Mike continue this torrid pace? Can I finally post some decent losses or will I continue plodding along at a pound a week?

 Next update January 21st!

Hits: 3297
Rate this blog entry
3 votes

Indoor Cycling Tips to Survive the Winter

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, January 09, 2013
in Cycling

Unless you are lucky enough to live in a snow less environment, chances are you are going to have to ride indoors at some point this winter. Many of us put this fact off for as long as possible because the reality is indoor cycling sucks. All of the things you love about cycling do not exist when riding indoors. Riding down a country road enjoying the sights and sounds of a beautiful spring day. Pushing your body to maintain speed over a small rise and then accelerating on the downhill. Designing a new route for your long ride and then feeling like an explorer as you cover new ground. Compare that to being locked in a stationary position sweating your #@!* off as you turn the cranks hour after hour in a dark corner of your house. Now there are many different ways to "spice" up your indoor training. Here are a few ways to get you through the winter.

The Bike Trainer

Almost every cyclist/triathlete has a bike trainer of some type. The problem is most people find riding on a trainer consistently all winter very difficult. Here are a few tips that may help you keep your sanity.

1) Design a program that meets your fitness goals. If you trudge down to the basement with no plan you are not going to last long on the trainer. Create a winter workout plan that is realistic and will help you stay focused. Keep in mind the trainer can be a tougher workout than riding on the road. There are no downhill breaks or coasting. If you stop pedaling the bike stops. Creating a high intensity workout that lasts 30-60 minutes can really increase your fitness.

2) Don't waste a lot of time riding junk miles. The last two winters I religiously spent 6 hours a week on the trainer during the winter months. Of these 6 hours I would say only 1-2 were quality and the rest were just spinning my legs. I honestly do not think riding junk miles on the trainer increases your fitness level. I would have been better off riding a couple of high quality workouts and a long ride each week. Everyone has a winter indoor cycling tolerance and every time you get on the trainer it goes down just a little bit. You don't want to waste your time. Make each workout count.

3) Have trouble designing high quality workouts? Try Spinervals indoor cycling workout videos. I have purchased several of these videos and they have worked for me. These videos are great because you do not have to plan or design your workout. You simply follow along with the video, changing gears and applying the appropriate trainer tension as described on the video. A note of caution.....most of these videos are really tough workouts. They are designed to be high intensity workouts to increase your fitness. If your "workout" on the trainer is spinning your legs in an easy gear while you watch the news you are in for a rude awakening.

4) If you want to get a "long ride" done on the trainer set yourself up for success. I am not sure if it is beneficial to ride 2-5 hours at one time on the trainer but if you feel this would help your fitness then you need to plan ahead. Just because you are indoors doesn't mean you don't have to plan out the details of your ride. Just like on the road you have to still plan out your nutrition, fluid intake, etc. All of these items need to be accessible during your ride. In addition how will you pass the time? I usually plan ahead and make sure I have several movies or TV shows available. Keep in mind if you are riding for four hours that is at least 2 entire movies. There is nothing worse than running out of things to watch and still have 60-90 minutes left to ride.

 Spinning

Sick of the trainer? Spinning can be a great way to break the monotony of the bike trainer and can be an excellent workout. If you have never tried a spin class you should definitely try one this winter. Riding the spin bike takes a little getting used to but you should not feel intimidated going your first time. The spin bike is similar to the trainer as you control the tension on the pedals. That is why I said spinning "can" be an excellent workout. The instructor will guide you though the workout but no one is verifying your tension level. When I attend a spin class I am looking for that high intensity workout. I try to use as much tension as I can tolerate to make the most of my time.

There is no denying that you can get a great cardio workout from a spin class. There is some debate as to whether spinning will increase your cycling fitness. The spin bike is not the same as your road bike. Seat angles, pedaling, lack of shifting, and general positioning are all different. I can only give advice based on my experience. Three years ago I did limited riding on the trainer but consistently did a spin class three times a week all winter. In February of 2010 I came close to my PR at the Mercedes Half Marathon after running a great 5k the day before. I started riding outdoors a month later and I was shocked that I was not in great cycling shape. I was very uncomfortable on my bike and my leg strength was not there. My opinion is that spinning can get you in great overall shape and is great cross-training but cannot replace riding your bike on the trainer.

Computrainer

A Computrainer is your bike trainer on steroids. Sensors are attached to your bike, the bike trainer, and your person to monitor cadence, power output, pedaling efficiency, heart rate, etc. While you ride you are watching a screen with a pre-loaded bike course of your choice. The tension on the trainer changes based on the course conditions. Most of the Ironman bike courses are available and it is a great tool as you can actually ride race courses in advance. Many top triathletes use Computrainer to train for specific early season events. The big drawback with the Computrainer is the price. The lowest end version is around $2000 and each race sells for $99. One option to avoid the big price tag is to look for a local club or YMCA that may offer use of a Computrainer. In my area there is a club that has a Computrainer Center and charges $25 an hour. (check it out here) This is a great option if you would like to try it or just add sessions into your training plan.

As all of us try to drag ourselves through the next couple of months of winter the key to maintaining your cycling fitness is to keep training. Don't get burned out...Adding in a spin class or Computrainer session can break up your week and keep you motivated. I think variety in your indoor cycling training will keep you sane and make your winter training more enjoyable. Of course if you really want to have fun pack up your bike and head somewhere warm for a week!  Cool

 

 

 

Hits: 4079
Rate this blog entry
2 votes

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!

 

Hits: 3563
Rate this blog entry
3 votes

Lose the Holiday Belly and Return to Race Weight

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
User is currently offline
on Monday, December 31, 2012
in Weight Loss

 

 

 As the calendar turns symbolizing the end of the holiday season, every athlete should begin to switch gears from the "off-season" mode to 2013 race season preparation. At VTR we will focus on two athletes who gained some weight this off-season and are starting the process of returning to race weight. This will not be a scientific examination of the process. The goal is to give helpful tips and hopefully some motivation to start losing the extra weight you inevitably gained over the holidays. I think you will find it interesting as both athletes begin to return to race weight in two completely different ways. The focus will be on total weekly mileage, general nutrition strategies, and of course the results of the weekly weigh-in.

This is not a weight loss contest but what usually happens with competitive people is that everything turns into a competition. It will be interesting to see who reaches their goal race weight first but the focus will be to gradually lose the weight and increase fitness as we get closer to serious racing in the spring.

Profiles below:

Athlete #1: Dave   (your VTR host)                                                           

Goal Race Weight:  169         Current weight:  189

Last year: Great season as I completed the Ironman in Montreal on September 10th. In addition completed 18 races including a half-Ironman, 3 half marathons, and a failed Ironman attempt at Vineman.

Off-season: Mostly ran; averaging 100 miles a month since September.

2013 goals: Break 1:30 in the half marathon on April 13th. I want to be at my goal race weight on that date as well.

 

 

Athlete #2: Mike (popular juicing blogger)                  

Goal Race Weight:  169         Current weight:  192.5

Last year: Incredible year losing 65 pounds in the first 4 months of 2012. After completing all 10 events in the Good Times 5k Series, started training for triathlons and completed the Montreal Olympic Triathlon in 3 hours on September 10th.

Off-season: Yoga 3x a week and several spin classes. Limited running and swimming.

2013 goals: Finish a half-Ironman. Goal to return to race weight by start of Good Times Spring Series. (mid-April)

 

 

 First progress update Jan 6th.....Time to get moving!!!

 

Hits: 4278
Rate this blog entry
1 vote

5 Steps to Planning Your Next Goal Race

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
User is currently offline
on Thursday, December 20, 2012
in Training

After the holidays many us start the process of planning out our big races for 2013. Some of us already have a plan, and others are still trying to decide what they want to do next season. I am a firm believer that anyone can do anything if they commit to it. This is a great time of the year to figure out what you really want to do and then start down the road of meeting your goal. As an athlete and a veteran racer that usually means selecting a big race and then putting together a plan to train for it.

 


5 Steps to Planning Your Next Goal Race

 

1) Self-Evaluation

How did last season go? Are you happy with your race results? Are you burnt out? Proper self-evaluation is a key part of the race planning process. For most of us racing is a hobby and something we enjoy doing. Did you have fun this year? If running and racing has stopped being fun then you are doing something wrong and need to fix it in 2013. Don't make the mistake of signing up for races in 2013 just because "I always do that race". Once you evaluate where you are mentally and physically start to think about what you "really" want to achieve in 2013. What distance do you enjoy the most? What event have you always wanted to race? Make a point of making sure you know what you want to do before committing to a bunch of races.

2) Be Realistic

A big part of making sure you have an enjoyable and successful season is choosing realistic goal races. If you are reading this and have never swam before I wouldn't recommend signing up for an Ironman event next season. Look back at 2012. What races did you complete? Did you leave any "unfinished business" in a particular race distance? As I mentioned above,  I do believe anyone can finish any event. What I am recommending is for you to consider all of the training involved with each event before you sign up. If you barely finished a half marathon this fall signing up for a marathon next year is going to take a tremendous amount of effort. Do you really want to do this? Choosing an event that is so far above your current fitness level is a recipe for disaster. Remember step 1? Self-evaluation....Complete an honest self-evaluation and choose events that are a natural progression from your 2012 season. I guarantee you will be a lot happier in 2013!

3) Timing is Everything

Now that you have completed steps one and two you are ready to sign up for your big goal race. The key to choosing the right race is to make sure you have enough time to train for the event. If you have decided 2013 is the year you want to complete a marathon you need to make sure the timing is right. When do you want to start training? What kind of shape are you currently in? Do you want/need stepping stone events to lead up to the big goal race? Don't make the mistake of rushing to the nearest race calendar and signing up for the race with the best website. Do your homework and find out how long it will take to train for your event based on your fitness level. If you don't plan on starting any serious training until February 1st and you plan on taking 4 months to train for your marathon then June would be the first month to start looking at races. Know in advance how long you need to train before you start looking at events. The worst thing you can do is set a goal and then sign up for a race that is too soon. Make sure you have enough time to train to ensure your goal becomes a reality.

4) Stay Focused

Now that you have selected your goal race don't make the mistake of signing up for major events that are scheduled after your big day. If you are completing your first marathon in June don't sign up for a second marathon before you have completed your first one. Enjoy the process of training and focusing on your big race without having to worry about other challenges. Many people forget or are unaware of the mental and physical strain they will experience after months of training. Once you have successfully completed your goal many times all you want to do is take some time off. After some reflection you also may decide to do something else. Don't lock yourself into another event.


5) Keep Racing

Keep the racing juices flowing! if your big event is 4 months away or longer, break up some of that impending training monotony with some racing. If you are training for a marathon sign up for a half marathon that will fit nicely with your training. Maybe you can even find a 30k or 20 mile race that would also fit. I recommend reviewing your training plan and signing up for a few events that fit right away. Not only will this keep you motivated but completing these secondary races are excellent training for your goal race. These races can be used to test your pacing, nutrition, and pre-race routine. Don't wait! If you wait to sign up for secondary races something will always come up and you will not be able to enter the race.

 

Follow these simple steps and you are well on your way to having a great 2013!

 

 

 

 

Hits: 3789
Rate this blog entry
2 votes

What motivates you in the off-season?

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
User is currently offline
on Friday, December 07, 2012
in Training

 

As we get deeper into the off-season some of you probably have not been training much and some not at all. Of course there are probably some of you that have already signed up for an Ironman event next year or an early season marathon and your training is still in full swing. After training right through the off-season for the last 3 years I am faced with my first real stretch of time where I am not signed up for a big event and don't really have a "reason" to train. In some ways this is liberating and in others it is a little scary. My whole identity for years has been focused on my training plan and preparing for either an Ironman or marathon. In some ways I feel a little lost without my training plan "blanket".

After fumbling around training randomly for the first 2 months post-Ironman, I decided to enter a few races to determine my fitness level. I entered a 5k on Thanksgiving Day and 3 days later I entered a half marathon. I did not have stellar performances in either of these events but it got me back in the game. Unfortunately there are not a lot of races to choose from for the next couple of months. Racing every weekend or even every other is very difficult with all of the Holiday commitments and limited race schedule. So now what?

I needed another plan to keep me motivated....Sign up for a big event in 2013? No....not ready....Then I remembered something I always wanted to do. I hesitated to write a blog post about this because it is not that big a deal and also it may not be that smart. I have always wanted to run every day for an entire month. I know....why? It isn't even that cool or exciting...I think I watched a news story about a guy called "The Raven" who has run 8 miles a day on Miami Beach for 35 years in a row. This intrigued me and I have occasionally thought it might be cool to do a very limited version of this insanity. After much deliberation (with myself) I decided I would run a minimum of 4 miles a day for the entire month of December. Now I am not running the same course, I just have to cover the miles. Again I am not writing this because I think this is an incredible feat. This is just something that will keep me motivated for the month of December and then we will see what happens....I post all of my workouts day by day here if you want to see if I make it.....who knows maybe if I am successful I will keep going....Remember this quote from the movie Forrest Gump ?

Forrest Gump: That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run. So I ran to the end of the road. And when I got there, I thought maybe I'd run to the end of town. And when I got there, I thought maybe I'd just run across Greenbow County. And I figured, since I run this far, maybe I'd just run across the great state of Alabama. And that's what I did. I ran clear across Alabama. For no particular reason I just kept on going. I ran clear to the ocean. And when I got there, I figured, since I'd gone this far, I might as well turn around, just keep on going. When I got to another ocean, I figured, since I'd gone this far, I might as well just turn back, keep right on going.

 

                                                  What keeps you motivated?

 

 

Hits: 3651
Rate this blog entry
3 votes

Wolf Hollow Half Marathon Race Report

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
User is currently offline
on Monday, November 26, 2012
in Road Races



Yesterday I ran in the Wolf Hollow Half Marathon in Nashua, New Hampshire. The race was held primarily in Mine Falls Park near the Nashua YMCA. I got the idea to enter the race after I completed my longest run since September (11 miles) last weekend. I said it was good idea to keep me motivated and ensure I continued to increase my long run. My plan was to run it at my "long run" pace and enjoy the trails of Mine Falls Park. I figured if I ran between 8-830 pace I would handle the increase to 13.1 miles easily. Sounds good on paper, right?

Regardless of what I say....I find it almost impossible not to run hard in a road race. Yesterday was no different. Looking back at my recent run history there is nothing that would make anyone think I was in shape to race a half marathon. Not to mention my body was tired and lethargic from the Thanksgiving day parties and the fact I had just ran in my first race since September three days before (Thanks 4 Giving 5k). Oh, and did I mention the weather? Freezing with a strong wind. Add all of this together and you would think I would run nice and easy like I had planned. Nope....

The Race

The race started right behind the Nashua YMCA. The first 2.15 miles were on roads and then we entered Mine Falls Park for two loops before exiting the park and a short run to the finish line. I started running what I thought was nice and easy and ended up running a 6:40 first mile. I won't bore you with the details but I ran the first 5k in 21 minutes. I didn't follow my plan and I paid the price. By mile 5 my legs had seized up and my pace dramatically slowed for the next several miles. Mine Falls Park has several short but tough climbs and each one really hurt. This was not the nice and easy long run I had planned and it was my fault. I continued to suffer for the remainder of the race. Just to give you an idea as I mentioned above I ran the first 5k in 21 minutes. I ran the last 5k in 28 minutes. It took everything in my power not to walk the last tough uphill around mile 12.75. I finished the race in 1:46:42 (809 pace). On paper it looks like I followed the plan....if only.

Lessons Learned = 0

Racing a half marathon the Sunday after the Thanksgiving Day festivities will always be tough. Add to that a lack of training and some cold, windy weather and you have yourself a recipe for failure. In hindsight I should have started at 8-8:30 pace as planned and ran a nice and smooth 13.1. I probably would have ended up with the same overall pace of 8:09 and would not have suffered for most of the race. Next time I am sure I will follow the plan....yeah right!

 


Hits: 4631
Rate this blog entry
3 votes
Race ListVTR BlogVTR Discussions

Latest Blog Posts

© 2015 View The Race | All rights reserved.

Login or Register

           |