Health Update

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Last Thursday I completed my physical as mandated by my new health insurance.  This is going to be a yearly occurrence for me going forward, which is not a bad thing.  Back in high school football, physical meant something else, but we will not delve into that on here.  Last May, my employer was having health screenings at the office, so I was able to get accurate counts for the majority of my health statistics.  I will be using those numbers for comparative purposes today.

The silhouette should probably be a little plumper, right?

The silhouette should probably be a little plumper, right?

  • Total Cholesterol: May 2013 score was 125. September 2014  score is 149. The desirable and lowest listed range is 125-199.  An increase, but not too big of one.
  • HDL Cholesterol: This is the “good” cholesterol and your want a higher number.  May 2013 score: 41, September 2014 score: 57.  This is in the decreased risk factor interval.  This score shows improvement from my last testing, so I have that going for me.
  • Triglycerides: May 2013 score was 100.  September 2014 score was 57. Optimal is anything under 150, so I’m golden, and much improved over last testing.
  • LDL Cholesterol: May 2013 score was 64.  September 2014 score was 81.  Optimal is 55-99, and I am creeping to the top of that, so I will watch it a bit closer.
  • Non-HDL Cholesterol: May 2013 score was 84.  September 2014 score is 149.  Optimal is anything less than 130, so I have some work to do here.  I am still in the safe range, but I want/need to get back to the optimal range.
  • Total Cholesterol to HDL Cholesterol Ratio: May 2013 ratio was 3.1.  September 2014 ratio was 2.6.  Optimal is less than or equal to 3.5.
  • Glucose: May 2013 score was 100.  This is 1 point higher than optimal, but upon reading the literature, the 65-99 scale they used was for fasting glucose (only water for 8 hours prior to screening) and since I had just eaten, my target range was 70-119, which I was comfortably within.  September 2014 score was 86.  I did fast prior to this test, so it looks good to me.
  • Blood Pressure: May 2013 score was 124/84, and September 2014 score was 129/86 which are both just over the targeted levels. The doctor did not seem too alarmed about this yet.
  • BMI:  May 2013 score was 36.  September 2014 score was 35.5.  This places me firmly in the obese range.  I’m working on that.  You can read an alternative take on BMI here.
  • Weight: May 2013 weight was 246.5 pounds.  September 2014 weight was 248 pounds.  I am obese by any metric and hopefully I will get a little more diligent about shedding some pounds.
  • Other Notes: The September physical also produced a few other results that the health screening at work did not. Most of my results were in line with where they should be with one notable exception.  I presented with a Vitamin D deficiency and advised to start taking a supplement.  This was actually a subject at boot camp a few weeks back.  I assumed I was OK in this regard and did not take any action.  I guess I was wrong.

After both screenings I was advised that I need to get more exercise.  I tried to explain about my running schedule and boot camp, but when you are 50+ pounds over your recommended weight, no one listens to you.

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Wordless Wednesday: Disneyland Half Weekend Preview

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I leave for Anaheim in 9 days, and at the end of my 3 days there, I expect to experience as much goodness as the area can provide.  All of the following should be in my future:

Double Double goodness

Double Double goodness

High fiving Mickey at the finish line - this is such a great feeling

High fiving Mickey at the finish line – this is such a great feeling

Another stadium marked off my 30 MLB park tour

Another stadium marked off my 30 MLB park tour

2014 Disneyland Half Weekend Medals

2014 Disneyland Half Weekend Medals

One of these is hopefully in my future!

Disney Coast to Coast Medal

Great Race Medals

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It has been awhile since I posted, but I just came across this article about the coolest race medals of the year thus far. I have one of the medals (Disney), and at least four of the others would have been very manageable to obtain from Memphis (and I might try obtaining the Jackson, MS, and Little Rock, AR ones next year).

2014 WDW Marathon Medal

2014 WDW Marathon Medal

I will say that it seems that size matters for these medals, but the one for the ODDyssey Half Marathon is amazing and original.  They have taken the idea of a bottle opener and took it up a notch by making the medal a mountable bottle opener!  Very cool!  I do feel that the Oak Barrel Half can hosed on not being included, but it is still a solid list.

My awesome race medal!

My awesome race medal!

So anyway, you can find the entire list here.

I think that I will do my own top ten list of race medals at some point.  Maybe a top ten of the ones I have earned as well as a top ten of all that I have seen.

What It Is Like to be a Fat Runner

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So this site leaves little doubt about my physical stature.  I am a fat guy.  Or, at the very least, a recovering fat guy.  I have lost a considerable amount of weight, 116 pounds at my pinnacle.  I am physically nowhere near what I was as recently as 2010, and for that, I am very thankful.  It was not an easy journey to get here, both with my initial weight-loss and trying to maintain a healthy weight since.  Never once in my adult life have I been at my recommended weight, and maybe I never will be.  I am fine with that as long as the rest of my health  measurables as well as my physical activity are at the optimum levels.  My blood pressure, cholesterol, and the such are much more important to me than the number on the scale.  I know others do not agree with this approach, but seeing where I was a few years ago, I think that it is tremendous progress from a guy in college that would routinely eat his recommended daily caloric intake in each meal!

Lap Those on the Couch

This blog was started after the bulk of my weight-loss occurred and actually, I have gained a few pounds since I started blogging.  However, this blog was began to not only give some insight into my running and weight management journey, but to also give some advice on my experiences running large.  I have not given much insight into this field as of yet, but today will be a big one.  This post will share what to expect on race day when you are not the prototypical runner.

True Story

True Story

People are going to look at you funny.  Do not get too caught up in this.  You do look different from others out there, but you are running the same miles as everyone else.  Enjoy it.

Don’t take offense to what people say to you.  Often at races, after staring at me for a few moments, people will approach me to talk about why I am running.  I have heard a variety of things, both to my face and seemingly out of my earshot (little do people know that my hearing is great and I observe quite a bit around me).  The following are some of the most common things that have been said to/about me at a race:

“More people like you should run.” – The sentiment is in the right place, but it can come across the wrong way

“You’re running? Really?” – Yep, I’m fat, and I will be running this race.  It is incredible, isn’t it?

“Is this your first race?” – If you are fat, obviously this is your first race because if you have ever ran a race before, you would not be fat anymore.

“You finished how fast?” – I love this one.  This often is people who assume that I am going to lumber in front of the sweepers for the entire race.

Do not worry about what people say.  The vast majority of them have the best of intentions when they talk to you.  They may come across the wrong way, but they are not meaning to.  Just smile, thank them, and run the best race that you can.

If the race is giving away a tech shirt, chances are that they are going to be an athletic cut.  Some company’s have fuller cut versions of tech shirts, like Nike and Under Armour.  Others run a little tight.  I wear an XL in the vast majority of my shirts, but for certain races, especially the St. Jude Memphis Half Marathon, I need to order a XXL.  So when registering for a race, just be mindful that the shirt might not be a fuller cut.

Make sure to stay fueled/hydrated.  This is great advice for anyone running a race, however, when there is a little more meat on the bones, we think that our excess weight will fuel us along.  Fueling, regardless of the fuel, is vital to performance.  Do not try avoid fueling at a race to save some time unless you routinely run the distance at race intensity without fuel while training.  Do what you do on a training run during the race.

High fiving Mickey at the finish line - this is such a great feeling

High fiving Mickey at the finish line – this is such a great feeling

Finish.  This is why you are at the race in the first place, some complete the damn thing!  It doesn’t matter if it takes you 30 minutes or 4 hours, finish.  The sense of accomplishment and pride that you will get will circumvent any discomfort you might be feeling during the race.  The number of people who hate life while running a race that almost immediately register for another one after crossing the finish line is staggering.  This will likely be the same for you.

Every. Single. Time.

Every. Single. Time.

Your finishing time may be humbling…to you and others.  You will be surprised what a surge of adrenaline can do for you during a race.  You run one way during a training run, but when surrounded by several other runners and the prospect of finishing can boost your time quite a bit.

Slow still counts!

Slow still counts!

For others, they often see you and think “I can beat that guy.”  Often, they are right.  But you cannot judge a book by its cover.  In my first half marathon in 2011 I completed the course 15 minutes faster than my next closest friend, who happens to be the epitome of physical fitness.  I crushed his time.  It happens, so when it does, enjoy it.  A second example of this happened the same year for me at a 5K.  There was another runner there that I had some mutual friends with, but we never were that close.  We both set PR’s that day, but I happened to be about 30 seconds faster.  He asked what my time was, I told him, and his reaction simply was “Oh…” and then he walked away.  It happens.  Just congratulate others on their race, embrace yours, and go on.  There is no need for negativity.  Like I said earlier, you all ran the same miles.

You are a runner, embrace it and do not feel ashamed about it.  Wear your race shirt out, leave your medal on as long as you like, tell people about your experience.  You have earned it!

Congratulations on your accomplishment and I hope to see your out there one day!

Quick Update: I’m Not Dead!

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It has been over a week since my last post, and first, I want to assure everyone that I am still here, plugging away!  The hills of Nashville did not consume me!  This is the last week of the semester and I have quite a bit of work left to do.  Some of this is due to my procrastination, and some is just the nature of grad school.  Also, some of it is due to the Memphis Grizzlies being in the playoffs.  So, as I take a mental break from my 30 page paper and budgeting assignment, I thought that I would do a quick update on what is going on.

First, I completed my 4th half marathon in 41 days in Nashville when I ran the Country Music Half Marathon.  It was a fun event and a full recap will be coming later this week or early next week.  But for now, I want to share the medal with y’all.  It actually looked better in person than I thought it would.

2014 Country Music Half Marathon Medal

2014 Country Music Half Marathon Medal

Second, a couple of months ago I was chosen to be a FitFluencial Ambassador, which mean I will have the opportunity to review some products, techniques, or events throughout the year.  My first couple of reviews from this partnership will be coming very soon.

Third, Monday I finally joined a local running club here in Memphis.  I joined the Memphis Runners Track Club, which is the major running club here in town.  I only did a 1 year membership because I want to see what it is all about.  I am certain that I will post more about this in the near future as well.

MRTC

And one last thing, Go Grizz!  Tonight, at 7:00 PM CST, the Grizzlies will host the Oklahoma City Thunder, here at the Grindhouse.  If you cannot be there, watch on TV.  And look for the battle between Tony Allen and Kevin Durant, which pits the league’s premier perimeter defender against the league’s premier pure scorer. It has been fun thus far.

The Time I Saw Someone Get Shot

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It has been a busy couple of weeks for me, but I wanted to share what Susan, I, and a couple of friends witnessed last Friday night.  I should preface this post with the some background information about my history.  I tend to witness and attract some craziness in my life.  In college I came across a person passed out drunk in their car on the train tracks.  I had to punch the guy in the face to wake them up and move their car before a train came.  I have witnessed a bus boy and waiter get into a fist fight in the middle of dinner rush at a restaurant.  I have seen a security guard at Target chase down a shoplifter, jump in the back of their truck, through the DVD player out of the back of the truck, shattering in the process, and the driver speed off with the security guard still in the back of the truck.  Once at IHOP our waiter told us that at one point in his life that he has had sex with a dog.  Like I said, I have heard and seen some weird things.  That being said, this event ranks right up there.

Susan, two of our friends, and I went to Nashville last Friday night for the George Strait concert.  It was George’s last in Nashville and we had free tickets, so it was an easy choice to go.  Before the concert, we went Rotier’s in West End near Vanderbilt for dinner.  Rotier’s is a famous eatery in Nashville and we wanted to try their famous French bread burger.  About halfway through dinner, a couple of cops that were also enjoying dinner in the restaurant jumped up and headed out the door, apologizing to the owner.  This caught my attention, so I wondered what was going on.  A few moments later, we hear sirens everywhere, with the cars converging in the parking lot across the street.  The  we hear it. Pop! Pop! Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop!  I am standing up, trying to go outside to get a closer looks.  Susan is pulling me down onto the booth.  Candace is asking if it is fireworks.  The waitress is telling us that the glass in the restaurant is bullet proof.  People are dropping to the floor, more cops are pulling up, and we all have questions.

Police cars everywhere

Police cars everywhere

Five cops had shot and killed a man outside a business across the street.  The man was obviously dead, and a crowd was beginning to gather.  There was glass everywhere, and police tape restricting several people from accessing their vehicles.

Police cars were everywhere

Police cars were everywhere

At first the speculation was that this was a robbery attempt gone awry, and that is what we thought for most of the night.  After the concert, we checked the local news and got some information.  The victim was Aaron Dino Smith, Jr., a 51-year-old Franklin man on parole with a lengthy criminal history.  Mr. Smith was a suspect in a robbery from March 13 in Smyrna.  Credit cards from that theft were used at a business in Nashville earlier in the day, and a detective went to the business to investigate.  Mr. Smith arrived and was confronted my the detective, which ultimately led to Mr. Smith pulling a gun on the officer.  At this point, the detective let the suspect flee on foot and it was then that Mr. Smith carjacked a lady in a Buick Enclave (same car as Susan).  A high-speed chase ensued through rush hour traffic.  Nashville PD decided to pull back due to safety concerns and just followed the car with their helicopter and by tracking the car owner’s cell phone.  Mr. Smith made his way to West End, ditching the car in a parking garage across the street from us.  Metro Police converged on Mr. Smith while he tried to enter a business.  Mr. Smith aimed his gun first at his head and then at the officers.  It was at that point that the officers opened fire and deprived this world of Mr. Smith’s presence any further.

This was the scene right after the officers fired

This was the scene right after the officers fired

We live in Memphis, which has one of the worst crime rates in the country.  I have lived here for fourteen years and never witnessed a shooting this close before.  Go figure that a one night trip out-of-town to a “nice area of town” in a city not associated with quite the criminal stigma that Memphis is would be the situation in which I witnessed an event like this.

Five For Friday

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It has been a busy week here in Memphis for me.  From work and some improvements on the homestead, I have a few subjects to share with y’all.  And instead of dedicating a post to each, I am just going to encompass them all here.

1. St. Jude sent me a thank you for being a St. Jude Hero.  I am not sure if this was a thank you for the canceled St. Jude Marathon Weekend last December or the upcoming Country Music Half Marathon, but it was a nice surprise.  St. Jude sent out a pair of Yurbuds Signature Series Earphones and a Frogg Togg.  So, thank you St. Jude!

Thank you St. Jude!

Thank you St. Jude!

2. I wanted to share a couple of photos from our newly painted living room.  Here are some before and after pictures of our progress.

Before 1

Before 1

After 1

After 1 (with our model Beau)

Before 2

Before 2

After 2

After 2 (with a Beau photobomb) 

3. And my personal favorite addition to the new living room, my new Nest Thermostat.  It was not exactly needed, but it is really freaking cool.  My thermostat is now actually connected to my WiFi and I can adjust my house temperature from my iPhone here at the office.  The thermostat learns our heating and cooling habits, and adjusts accordingly.  I also get monthly reports on my energy efficiency and how I compare to others in my area with a Nest.

I have some work to do to where the former thermostat was, but I love my Nest.

I have some work to do to where the former thermostat was, but I love my Nest.

4. This weekend is the Germantown Half Marathon and I cannot wait for Sunday morning to get here.  I am very interested to see how running this event will actually be healthy. Of course, according to the weather report, it looks like it is going to be a wet race.  Current projections so 100% chance of precipitation at the race start time.  If this holds true, this will be the first race above a 5K in which I have encountered rain.  There is a first time for everything I suppose.

5. Thanks to the lackluster effort by the Memphis Tigers last night against UConn in the American Conference Tournament, this entire town is on suicide watch today.  A 72-53 loss on your home court against a team that you already lost tow twice this not easy to swallow, especially when on paper, you are evenly matched with the victorious team.  I think Giffey just hit another wide open three!

Memphis will be seeing this in their nightmares

Memphis will be seeing this in their nightmares

Sports talk this morning in Memphis has not been fun.