Weight Loss Ultimatum – Day 15 | Yearning for Something Lost

After 15 days of my new challenge I’ve found two things. The first is that there are tons of people out there that are in the same boat as me and they’re eager to support me in my efforts to live a healthy life. This is such a great time to be alive. The world is truly so much smaller now and like minded folks have so many more opportunities to share their stories and help each other out.

The second, and the one that fueled the title of this article, is I’ve lost something incredibly important in my life. Well over a decade ago I started my journey to a healthier me by lacing up a pair of running shoes and entering myself into the Gary Bjorklund Half Marathon in Duluth, MN (USA). I weighed just over 260lbs when I signed up and had no idea if I could actually run 13.1 miles. Since then I’ve run several half marathons and even one full marathon. I relied heavily on my running to keep my weight in check.

About two years ago I noticed my right foot starting to hurt more and more in the heel and arch. I didn’t do anything much about it and kept running. Sure enough, I wound up with full blown Plantar Faciitis. Fast forward to today and I’m still feeling the effects of the poor decisions of years ago. I can barely run more than a mile at a go and when I do, my foot will throb for days. Just walking can be painful.

I miss running so much and I haven’t been able to find anything to replace it while I work on rehabilitating my foot. I play hockey in the winter, but that’s just once per week for just a few months. I could play more, but with 3 small kids, a wife, and full time job, it’s just not as easy as running was.

I had a love hate relationship with running. I hated doing it, but I loved what it did for me. Hopefully that makes sense. I never fully felt like I belonged with all the other runners come race day, but they always made me feel like one of them. I was the guy who didn’t quite have all the gear everyone else had. I wasn’t laden in spandex, but it didn’t matter to anybody. We were all there for one reason, yet we all had so many different reasons that got us there. I miss that. I yearn to be able to run again.

Starting this ultimatum has brought me back to my blog more regularly, and brought me to go read more articles everyone else has been writing. I do it to find support. To find camaraderie. I often have a sense of yearning when I see post after post of people who are chronicling their first marathon, their 21st marathon, or just a random training run. I miss it so much. This must be one of my top goals now. I need to get my body back to running shape so I can run again.



A Little Less Wiggle Will Stop The Jiggle

This is a bit of a sensitive subject for me, but I feel it is my civic and social duty to impart my wisdom on all who will hear it. It is a problem many of us who are graced with additional weight we’d like to do away with will face. It is… Jiggle. Yup, that’s right. I’m talking about what our extra portions of cake, pudding, tacos, pizza, etc cause our bodies to do when we are active.

As already noted, I’m particularly sensitive to this subject as I was an avid runner back in the day, but I wasn’t always. Prior to starting to run, I was at my worst, around 260+ lbs. I decided the best way to lose weight was to enter into a 1/2 marathon race. After 15 or so races and several thousand miles of pounding the pavement I think I can consider myself somewhat of an expert on being an overweight runner. Much of my running career was spent over 200 lbs, so this advice is for those of us who cannot stand the feeling of our bodies jiggling while we run.

Disclaimer!!!! I want everyone to know, I share this information as both humor, and as an actual piece of advice that all runners, be they large or small can use. I mean no offense to anyone, I simply am sharing my own personal self-conscious issues that I applied a theory to that resolved my insecurities.

2nd DISCLAIMER!!! This one is more important than the first. You must know, if you are self-conscious about running or being active. If you’re insecure about your body, know this. Nobody is looking at you and judging you. More often than not, it’s simply because I have chosen to judge myself that I feel I am being judged by others. Yeah, from time to time there’s a jerk out there, but you know what screw them. They’re not important, you are.

Ok, so let’s get going and answer this all too important question. How do I reduce my body jiggle when I’m jogging? Is this real?

Here is what specifically worked for me and I’ll explain them further after.

  • Take longer strides when you jog
  • Don’t run on the balls of feet
  • Create a consistent breathing pattern
  • Run tall, run with good posture

Let’s take a look at why these four rules can help. Mind you, these are some good tenets of good running whether you’re overweight and running or not.

This is probably the most important rule I always run by. Longer strides do many things to decrease the jiggle, but the most obvious is if you’re taking longer strides, you’re also taking less strides. Less strides means you’re hitting the ground less often. The jiggle we feel is almost entirely caused by our feet hitting the ground, reduce the number of times that happens, and boom, your body will jiggle less. It will also reduce the overall amount of energy you expel because less strides equals less motion required to move the same distance. For a long distance runner, I recommend you learn to regulate your stride length and change your stride length from time-to-time during a long run. This allows certain muscles to get a slight rest while you work other more rested muscles. Then you can switch back and forth.

Running on the balls of your feet is fine for a short sprint, but for longer distances you’re going to want your foot to fall more so in a rocking fashion from the front of your heel, then rocking forward to the ball of your foot. This creates a well cushioned foot fall to the ground. You’d almost feel as though you’re gliding along instead of clomping along. If you couple this with your longer stride, you’ve almost entirely reduced the jiggling of your body with these two rules. Now, for those of you unsure of this, let me tell you, if you stop running on the balls of your feet, you’ll probably reduce the shin splints you get, to none, to barely any. Shin splints (the pain you feel in your shins) often happens because the force of your foot hitting the pavement right at the ball of the foot goes straight to the shin. If you even out the blow of your foot hitting the ground into a rocking motion allows the foot to dissipate the force more evenly among the entire foot, and doesn’t resonate nearly as much of that force up your leg.

Breathing is obviously very very important. Your body needs to replenish the oxygen it uses while you run. When you create a consistent breathing pattern you are controlling not only your lungs, but the muscles around your lungs, and your legs and your arms etc. Control equals discipline. Discipline means you’re not thinking about things you shouldn’t. Yeah, I’m basically recommending a mind trick, but a good breathing pattern is really just a good running technique to get the most oxygen into your body in the most consistent way possible. My pattern is this (hopefully it will translate well to text).

This indicates when the foot is hitting the ground

Left Foot (breathe out) > Right Foot > Left Foot (breath in) > Right Foot > Left Foot (breath out) > Right Foot

I’ve used this exact breathing technique for over a decade and it has been crucial to my ability to run long distances. The key is not on the breath in, but on the breath out. My out breathes occur as my left foot hits the ground. Why? When my foot hits the ground gravity is making everything in my body drop towards the ground as well, this forces my lungs to shift down just a little, which means when I breath in, I can bring just a hair more oxygen into my lungs than I would have otherwise. This means I get more oxygen, so my muscles get more and my body is happier. The overall cadence of the breathing provides a consistent supply of much needed oxygen to my body which means I feel less out of control. I feel less anxiety, and I’m less likely to cramp or have a side ache.

Finally, stand tall when you run. Run like you mean it. Run like you’re not tired, even if you are. Why is this important? Yes, it’s also a mental trick, but also, when you run with good posture, your body does less work, and you use less energy. If your body is moving less, you’re going to jiggle less right? Yup. Not only that, but because long distance running is such a big mental endurance battle, if you force yourself to look like you’re not tired, you will be less tired. Mind over matter. So often I’ve seen people who look like they’re in better shape than me start a race with bad slouchy tired looking form and they just can’t do it. They start with a tired mindset. You’re setting yourself up for failure. Run tall (not totally straight up and down), run like you mean it. Run like you’re trying to get somewhere. Even if you have to lie to yourself about how tired you are.

I get that the premise of this post is a bit ridiculous, and I also get that many people (myself included) wouldn’t consider me a running expert, but here’s where the foot meets the pavement. Until I hurt my foot a couple years ago, these were all very important principles I lived by when I would train for and run a race and they all worked. I had self-image problems. I hated that my body jiggled, and until I lost the weight, I needed something to reduce that jiggle as it was killing my mindset when I would run. Go on Youtube and find videos that show good running technique and have a friend or loved one watch it with you. Record yourself running and compare it to these videos. It’ll change your life, or at least your PR at the end of a race.

Good luck everyone and I’m sorry if I offended someone because I wrote “Jiggle” too many times. 🙂


Weight Loss Challenge – Day 227 | Quite the Milestone

It’s been over a year since I hurt my foot (Plantar Faciitis) and I’ve not run or jogged since. Today, after I did my leg workout, I decided I’d go for a job. Yup, that’s right, I decided to go against everything the doctors and everyone else smarter than me has said about treating PF and I went for a job. On the running/walking track no less at the gym.

Here’s what went down. I jogged, very slowly.

You were expecting more? Ha ha… Ok. So I initially planned on doing 2 laps which would be 2/10 of a mile. For those of you Math reducers out there, that’s 1/5 of a mile or .2 miles. I wound up going way over my goal and jogged a whopping… wait for it… 5 laps. That to me, is so huge. I’ve not run a half a mile, like I said earlier in over a year.

Now you’re asking, “Ok, so how badly did it hurt?” Not too bad. Actually, it didn’t hurt at all. Though I’m pretty sure it will hurt tomorrow morning when I wake up. I did notice a slight discomfort in the outside of my heel, but just discomfort. I tried my best to use a normal stride, not one that is compensating for something (get your mind out of the gutter freaks).

I did not run all that hard/fast. I ran at a steady 10 min per mile pace. Pretty slow, but not something I’d likely be able to do walking either.

Overall, I’m really happy with what I did today. I’ll be even happier if I don’t have pain in the morning too. What’s in store for the future is unclear. I don’t plan on jogging regularly, though I might throw a short jog into my workout once per week, if it feels right. We’ll just see. I do not want to jump back into this too soon.

Finally, I’ve made a decision on this Weight Loss Challenge deal. I’m done with it. Well, I will be on Sunday. I’m not really working towards those last 5 lbs I thought I wanted to drop. I’ve been sitting at 175ish the last couple weeks and I’m happy with that right now. On Sunday will be my last Weight Loss Challenge post and on Monday I will begin my new challenge. I’ll lay out the goals and rules and all sorts of other fun stuff then. Until then, keep it real yo.

Run Like You Mean It!

I used to be a runner. I long to be a runner again, but until I can get my Plantar Fasciitis healed, I’m relegated to sitting on the sidelines watching everyone else run. This provides me the opportunity to see a lot of people run… and judge them. 🙂

My biggest pet peeve is people who run like they’re tired. Perhaps you’re one of them. It doesn’t matter if you’re on mile 26 or you just started a 1 mile run, you’re running like you’re out of breath and your body is about to collapse in sheer exhaustion.

What’s the deal? Don’t you know that running is like 150% mental? That if you allow your body to think it’s tired, then your body “will” become tired? I see so many people jogging with their heads bobbing like their melon is so heavy it should have its own sidecar so you can just wheel it alongside you. I guess you also put on your lead shoes because your feel are doing the drunken shuffle too.

Come on! Hold your head high. Pick up your stupid feet, and for the LOVE OF PETE, run like you mean it!!!

Don’t run tire until you are tired, and then, even then, STOP RUNNING LIKE YOU’RE TIRED. If you’re going to mentally get through whatever distance you’re running, don’t shoot yourself in the foot by tricking your body into thinking it’s tired. When I was able to run, I was constantly telling myself things like “I could run for days like this” or “Man, I have so much energy.” I was trying to trick my brain into believing what I was saying and it usually worked. I never had a training run or race that I had to end early due to “being too tired to finish.” That’s not to say I didn’t get tired, but the mental aspect of those situations required me to lie to myself to get my body to do what I wanted.

I know, I’m probably being too judgy of others, but when you can no longer run, it makes it really hard to see people squandering their ability. I get it, some of these folks I’m judging could be experiencing even worse injuries than I and for those, I apologize. I doubt very many of those I see though, have anything holding them back from running a little taller, a lot stronger, and light years faster.

Knots are Not Fun!

Went for a 7 mile run tonight and had the most wonderfully horrible run I’ve had in quite some time. The first 2.5 miles went great, but then it all went down hill. Between miles 2.5 and 3.0 I suddenly, and when I say suddenly I really mean suddenly, started getting the most excruciating pain in my left shoulder blade near the center of my back.

I wasn’t surprised as to the location of the pain becuase over the weekend I noticed on Saturday a horrible pain in the same place, but I had gone running yesterday as well and didn’t have this same issue.

What was the pain like?

Aside from being excruciating, the pain was like someone was pushing a stick or their thumb into the knot in my back. As the pain increased, my chest continued getting tighter, which then caused me to become short of breath and my chest began to hurt. This went on for about 1.5 miles or more.

That’s knot all folks!

Of course, when one thing goes wrong, there’s always something else lurking around the corner. Sure enough right as my shoulder was starting to feel slightly better (which it never fully stopped hurting) I noticed something that looked odd near the church I was running past, and just then I stumbled on one of those mini water manholes. The part that took the brunt of the force was my big toe which has a horrible blister on it right now. So that was pretty excruciating as well.

All in all, I would say that was a pretty good run. Why am I saying it was a good run? Because I finished the run and didn’t slow down too much because of all the pain. I’d say that was pretty good focus so I’m pretty proud of myself.

The pain is gone now right?

I wish. No, the pain in my shoulder is worse than ever. Time to go find some pain meds. The sheer throbbing in my shoulder is enough to hunch me over. I really cannot stand up straight right now, but I’m still pretty happy about the run.

Run a Mile in Retired Shoes

Shoes on the left have 700+ miles on them. Shoes on the right are the new Adidas Supernova Sequence 4M I just got.

I finally retired my old running shoes. Unfortunately, I replaced them one run too late, and ended up hurting my left foot. Today was my first day back to running and the first day with my new shoes.

I didn’t do anything crazy and try a new brand, nor did I even try a new model. That’s right, I got another pair of Adidas Supernova Sequence shoes. I figured the last pair made it 700+ miles without letting me down, there’s no reason to switch to a new brand.

I wasn’t, and still am not a fan of the fact that I paid full price for them, but I consider the discount I didn’t get was actually the cost for labor I got from the wonderful Rochester Running Room employee who helped me find a shoe that fit.

Running Room

I tried on about 6 different shoes at The Running Room and another 5-6 at another shoe store and the Supernova Sequence was the best fitting of all of them.

From now on I will be going to The Running Room for my marathon shoes as the service you get is worth the price of the shoes.

My first run back was a short 3 mile jaunt. There were some pains in my foot from the injury but nothing more than an annoyance. I kept the run short and easy going so I wouldn’t aggravate and reverse what healing I had achieved thus far.

Hopefully this new pair will last me all the way to the marathon in June. Technically they shouldn’t as they are rated for 300-500 miles. Let’s hope for another 700+ shoe from Adidas.

Training Setback

acupressure,acupuncture,feet,healing techniques,healthcare,medicine,needles,pressure points,peopleTypically around the Christmas/New Years season I would expect my training setback would be a lack of motivation to train. Right now, I would prefer that over what has actually occurred.

Last night I went for a jog, hoping to go 12 miles. I made it only 6 miles and barely finished that. What ended up happening is what I am deeming Sesamoiditis. I am no doctor and if the pain increases or doesn’t go away quickly, I will likely have to setup an appointment.

From what I’ve read, Sesamoiditis is not a serious injury, but it can take a while to go away if you aren’t careful. I hope that is not the case.

As I ran last night, I noticed very soon into the run that there was a slight pulling in the front portion of the arch of my foot just behind the ball of my foot that connects to my big toe. As I continued running, I noticed the pain growing more and more. Finally when I hit about mile 4 I noticed I could no longer run using my usual form. Inevitably I assume this made my foot get worse quicker.

Hopefully this will go away soon so I can get back to running on a regular basis. My theory on what caused this pain is one of two options.

  • I need new shoes (over 700 miles on the same pair)
  • After a short break, I ran 8 miles too quickly causing extra stress to my foot

I’ll probably be getting some new shoes this weekend. I’m also going to ice my foot and take it as easy as is possible. Just walking is painful so I better take this seriously.

Better this happens in December than in May or June.

An Unexpected Result

Yesterday I decided I needed to go for a run which is not my typical day for running. Sundays I usually watch football and anxiously await my Sunday night hockey league game. This week, however, I decided I needed to make up for some missed runs from Friday and Saturday.

The run went great. I ran 8 miles and did it a lot faster than I normally would at that distance. I ran an 8 minute 51 second mile average for the whole run. I am pretty excited about that.

I was, however, a little nervous about how my hockey game was going to go. I haven’t run on the same day as my hockey game in a long time so I was expecting my legs to have nothing left.

The surprise was that I skated stronger last night than I have all year. I technically didn’t play awesome, but that wasn’t due to tired legs. I felt a lot more confident on the ice which was pretty weird considering I should have been tired.

I’m interested to know if the success was due to the run or some other factor. The only thing I changed on the run was I conciously chose to keep my arms, shoulders, and hands relaxed as opposed to slightly tense as is my usual.

The other factor that was different wass the temparature was about 20 degrees warmer, so perhaps I didn’t wear my body down as much from battling the cold.

Whatever it was, I’m pretty happy with the results and might try it again next weekend.

7 Months and Counting

As of today, there are 7 months until Grandmas Marathon. Training is going pretty well thus far. This morning I went for a 10 Mile run which went really well.  So far in the month of November I’ve run 64 miles.

The cold weather is starting to make it much harder to convince myself to get out there and train. This hopefully will pass over time and it’ll get much easier to get out and run. Thankfully, I went out and bought some of those thin stretchy gloves for a dollar at Menards. They are working great. Slowly but surely I’ll get there.

I’ve also started playing hockey on Sunday evenings which has thrown a bit of a wrench in the plans. Hockey is a great workout, but it makes me so tired on Monday that I can’t usually get myself out there to run until Tuesday. This ends up screwing up my week. I’m starting to adjust now, but it is a little tough. I only hope with the holiday season coming up, that I will be able to find the time to keep up the workouts.

Luckily, I’ve got 7 months left, so a small setback here and there isn’t going to ruin my goals.

A Nice Fall Run

Gabby and I as I took pictures on our run.

I got up a little early this morning to go on my long run for the week, and decided to take some pictures as I ran. Hope you enjoy them. Gabby and I ended up running 9 miles. It went really well, thanks in part to my taking all of these pictures. It helped me slow down which I’ve been having a hard time doing.

Look at Gabby go. She’s such a great running partner.

The New OMC Clinic.


Getting onto the Douglas Trail. What a great sunrise this morning.


An empty trail can be so peaceful.


I really enjoy trails that are covered by an arch of trees. It's more pronounced in the summer, still pretty in the fall.


It's a little tough to see but there's a bridge on the golf course.


A little better picture of the golf course.

imageI guess I have a thing for bridges.

Another picture of the golf course.


There was a race being run today. Apparently this was the turnaround point. Not for me though.


I know... Another bridge... What can I say... I really like them.


Go Gabby, Go!!!


Thought this was a cool old building.

I like old farm equipment pictures.


That's right... I broke the rules... I ran on the closed sidewalk.


I wasn't the only one who ran on the closed sidewalk at least. These guys passed Gabby and I and were pretty nice.


Another old building on along the way.