Feb 26, 2014

2014 week 8

Random thoughts about my runs and anything else that comes to mind.

 Here's photos of everything I eat: http://instagram.com/stevetursi

Weight loss contest update. I am in two weight-loss contests right now.

Work Weight-loss contest is in its fourth week and posts results every two weeks: In four weeks I have lost 9.5% of bodyweight. I've officially gone from a sandbagged 316lbs on Jan 24 to 299 on Feb 6 and 286 on Feb 20th. Company-wide positions after the fourth week haven't been published yet, but for members of the office gym I'm in first place and won $25 for it. Woo!

The second one, held at my non-office gym, is in its third week and posts results every week. I'm down another 6 lbs (to 286) but the bodyfat is down only 0.1%. So I'm still not in the top 100 in the country, and I've dropped to 2nd in the location. But Alex is doing great in the weight loss contest: first in the location is 23rd in the country! Had I entered the weight loss contest instead of the bodyfat percent contest, I'd be 5th in the country! (I wonder if I can switch..)

on to my week...
Wednesday Feb 19
So as of yesterday I have managed to run 61.8 miles so far in February. In order to get 100 miles this month (my minimum), I need to run 38.2 miles over the next ten days. With warm weather forcast starting through about Monday, I should finally get to run outdoors again. I don't mind the cold, snow, or ice - but the problem is that all the snow is plowed into the place I normally would run, forcing me onto the middle of the street where cars drive. It's really sketchy. So even though today is the first day of the warmup (it's going to reach 40º!), I still ran inside because not enough snow has melted yet.

I meant to run an hour, but for some reason my energy levels were lower than yesterday. I lasted a half hour, where I ran 3.51 miles.

Thursday Feb 20
Shorts and T-Shirt weather! Sunny and 45º. Perfect! Ami and I ran just under 5 miles at lunch. Energy levels were low. I think I need to rethink the morning smoothie when I run before evening. I seem to have more energy at noon runs when breakfast doesn't spike insulin. There was a day last week where I had a salad for breakfast and I felt like I was on fire at the noon run. Something to experiment with and think about.

Friday Feb 21
Lunchtime Kingsbridge hill climb. 3.6 miles in 37 minutes. Skipped the fruit in my morning smoothie and ran nice and easy (thereabouts 10 minutes per mile on the flat portion of this run) and felt super-comfortable at the end of it. Similar pace in yesterday's run was a real slog, where I did have fruit in the morning smoothie. It's anecdotal and more experimentation is required (particularly to see if I can repeat the slog by having fruit in the morning) but right now the evidence suggests that when I'm on a low-calorie diet where I'm intentionally keeping glycogen levels low, any sort of run on stimulated insulin is going to be hard. One thing I did notice about today's run is that it would be difficult to increase my effort with this diet. I felt like I could have run all day at ten minutes per mile but at 9:30 I wouldn't have lasted 5K. And that's OK, because I don't plan on keeping this diet when racing.

Saturday Feb 22
I volunteered at the Febapple 50m/50k/20m/10m at South Mountain Reservation today. Together with Zsuzsanna we ran the aid station at the start/finish. The winning time in the 50m - 10 hours with a 12-hour cutoff - and the low finishing rate - 7 out of a couple dozen starters - spoke to the conditions which amounted to a foot or two of slush on hilly trails. Actually, in the first lap, it was a foot or two of slush with an ice crust, that people had to break through, and anyone who wore shorts ended up with bloody shins! I swept the course along with my friend Dan, starting at 4:15, and by then it was just tight-deep slush. Lots of fun but very difficult. Took 2:38 to cover the ten miles, finishing about an hour after dark. Fun!

Sunday Feb 23
Slept extremely well overnight, and woke up late because I had 9AM California start for an easy (12 minutes/mile) five laps (15 miles) at Rockland Lake with Ami. I was really beat up.

So this 25-mile weekend was great, because it buttoned up my 100-mile month in February (so much for my earlier concern about being behind the eight ball).

Had a better week in bowling. 169-164-169 for a 502 series. No huge games but above my average in all three. And I broke 500 for the first time in what feels like months.

Monday Feb 24
2.14 miles in 20 minutes on the treadmill. Rest day. This officially put me over 100 miles in February. Also I had a fruit smoothie in the morning and was once again feeling a little tired on this run, though this may just me being beat up after 25 miles this weekend. More Experiments!!

(Actually that was a mistake - this would have been 32nd consecutive..)

Tuesday Feb 25
3.3 miles in just under 30 minutes on the treadmill with the Lifetime Run club. Kind of a "blah" run for me. And since I had reached 100 miles in February by now, I wasn't motivated to go any farther, particularly with another 15-miler planned for Saturday.

Feb 19, 2014

2014 week 7

Random thoughts about my runs and anything else that comes to mind.

 Here's photos of everything I eat: http://instagram.com/stevetursi

I am in two weight-loss contests right now. The first one, held at work, is in its third week and posts results every two weeks. The second one, held at my gym, is in its second week and posts results every week.

Work Weight-loss contest: In two weeks I have lost 5.38% of bodyweight and am in tenth place out of 484. I've officially gone from a sandbagged 316lbs on Jan 24 to 299 on Feb 6.

Gym contest: in 9 days I have officially gone from 30.1% bodyfat to 27.5%. That is an 8.6% change. I have also gone from 313.9lbs on Feb 9 to 292.1lbs on Feb 18. Bodyfat percentage is calculated using a bioelectric impedance gadget, which is not super-accurate, but if it was, the maths suggest* I've lost 14lbs of fat and 8lbs of lean. It'll be interesting next week to see the non-sandbagged week-to-week results. I'm in first place at my gym location but not in the top 100 nationally. Alex, who is doing the pure weight loss contest there, is in second place at the location and in 64th nationally. If I was in the pure weight loss contest, I'd be in 6th place nationally. With a $10,000 prize, I'm beginning to regret not entering that.

on to my week...
Drilling screws into your old shoes is an awesome effective cheap way
to gain traction on snow and ice. But this doesn't offer sufficient
protection from fast-moving 3000-lb blocks of aluminum and steel.
Wed Feb 12
I actually had a free personal training session today to help me on my form with deadlifts, jerks, and squats. It went well. And before the session, I ran ten minutes on the treadmill.

Thu Feb 13
Went out in the blizzard for 19 minutes, where I ran 1.7 miles. Thought I'd have a good story to tell about this run, but not really. Snow blew in my face when running into the wind, that wasn't pleasant. A bunch of people shoveling snow were looking like they were pissed at me. There were a few unplowed side roads that I ran through until well after 1 mile, and then I walked through. That's about it.

I am starting to get a little concerned that my volume is really low lately. I'm really going to have to ramp up the second half of February. Temps are supposed to warm up a bit next week, and that's going to help a lot.

Fri Feb 14
Me - "Hey honey want do you want to do on Valentine's Day?"
Wife - "Binge-watch House of Cards."
I love my wife.

Kingsbridge Hill Climb after work (from home.) Kind of sketchy.. Lots of snow, not a lot of room to run.

Weekend Feb 15-16
(Actually writing this on Monday)
Both runs this weekend were half-hours in the afternoon on the treadmill. There is too much snow to safely run in the streets - my Friday outdoor run was a bit sketchy. The temps are going to warm up starting on Wednesday, which will alleviate the problem (and may cause a different problem - flooding!)
Saturday's run was 3.21 miles, Sunday's 3.38.  I am now just over 50 miles for the month, with 12 days to go.

Sunday I had one of the crappiest days of bowling ever. I shot 94-138-143 for a 375 series. Holy crap, I thought I had bowled my last sub-100 game.

Mon Feb 17
I wrote a blog post on nutrition today here: http://stevetursi.blogspot.com/2014/02/nutrition-update.html. I am struggling to go all-out but can manage a respectable pace under the current nutritional restrictions. 3.49 miles in 30 minutes on the treadmill. I don't think I'd want to try to PR a 5K without some simple carbs in me. This nutrition approach seems better at supporting long slow work, but that is a hypothesis I still need to test.

Tues Feb 18
It snowed some more this morning. By 6pm when it was time to run the snow had stopped, the sun had come up, and at 36ºF it was downright balmy. But there was way too much snow on the side of the road and it just doesn't feel safe, especially after dark, because there's not enough clearance. And so it was yet another treadmill run, with the lifetime run group. We had a great time though, and I ran 7.05 miles in 63 minutes.

* I'm watching too much BBC programming

Feb 17, 2014

Nutrition Update

Typical dinner - spinach, red onion and egg salad with homemade vinaigrette
So those of you following along will know that I am currently involved in two weight loss contests. Well, one weight loss contest and one bodyfat loss contest. My weigh-in for the weight loss contest was 316lbs (heavily sandbagged, of course) and for the bodyfat was 30.1%. For this past week I have been very strict in my diet, with half my calories coming from fruits and vegetables and protein powder, and the other half coming from eggs, milk, and olive oil (in vinaigrette).

I haven't been counting calories, but I'd estimate I'm eating in the neighborhood of 1500 per day, almost none of it from simple carbohydrates.

I am specifically excluding some foods, at least initially. That includes bread including pizza, cereal, macaroni, rice, potatoes, red meat, chicken, and butter. This week I'm adding bananas to that list. All my meals are planned and choices are limited (decreased variation of food has been shown to cause people to reduce calories.)

Most importantly, my wife is doing this with me - so I'm not trying to cook separate meals for me and her, which has never worked in the past.

The problem with this is that it's tricky to train on this kind of reduced calorie load. There's this stuff I use called superstarch which is corn starch treated to have insanely-long molecular chains (500,000-700,000 g/mol* - glucose is 180 g/mol), making is so low-glycemic that it only negligibly affects insulin levels. I found that if I take that a half hour before exercise then I have sufficient energy to carry me through at least a half hour. I haven't tested it yet for long workouts.

For a few days last week I've taken in before my workouts with mixed but mostly positive results. On Saturday, something came up after I took the superstarch but before my run, so that it was over 3 hours between taking the supplement and the start of the run. The run itself was a real struggle, and my blood sugar crashed pretty hard afterwards. Bad experience.

On Sunday, I experimented by adding a teaspoon of BCAAs to the superstarch, the intent being to create this chalky tasteless cocktail that allows me to maintain a low calorie diet but also give me energy for running, while not catabolizing muscle too much. Took it 30 minutes before my Sunday run (which itself was 30 minutes long) and it seemed to work OK. Going to continue experimenting with it.

Results are promising so far. I've been resisting temptations successfully and relatively easily. I know that this "prefrontal cortex brute force" approach to weight loss can't last forever or even the entire 3 months of the weight loss contest (and the diet isn't maintainable anyway), so I've set a March 25 end-date to this phase and have not decided what 'll do afterwards.

* source: http://vimeo.com/51891286#t=41m30s

Feb 12, 2014

2014 week 6

Random thoughts about my runs and anything else that comes to mind.

 Here's photos of everything I eat: http://instagram.com/stevetursi

Wow, we're already six weeks into the year.

Wed Feb 5
Quite a snowstorm happened overnight, and I stayed home yet again. I'm not sure why I've been unwilling to run in the snow; it's not particularly uncomfortable for me and it certainly is nicer than running in the heat. But still, I go out and I'm just not that much into it. Another fake zero Lonergan loop. With more snow in the forecast, I'm feeling pretty blah about things right now. Slightly-better-than-average food day today.

Thurs Feb 6
Busy day at work, only had about 30 minutes at lunch to get a run in (that includes the shower), so I ran 2.01 miles in 15:59. Happy Birthday Joey! Ten years old today.

Fri Feb 7
Broke another treadmill today
I ran 1.35 miles in 10:30 before it died. It's frankly annoying that the treadmills at the office gym can't handle a 300lb man running 8MPH. I was on pace for another 23:xx 5K, but when the thing stopped on me, my heart just wasn't into it anymore. I walked another 12 minutes on another treadmill at 15%, getting about 500 vert.

Then I ate a salad. Shut up.

Sat/Sun Feb 8/9
On Saturday I got with Ami and Dong and ran four laps at Rockland Lake. It was a bit of a suffer fest for me. Sunday I got with Ami and the tri club and ran 8 miles, giving Ami and I a 20-mile weekend. Felt much better on Sunday. Both days were cold and dry. I like the cold but these teen-temps are getting a little old, even to me. I've got to appreciate them, because they're a lot better than 80 degree runs. But even to me they get old. I would like some of the snow to clear so we have more room to run on the roads. Some shorts/tshirt 40-50 degree runs would be nice too. Whatever. It's the only weather I've got, so I deal with it.

Bowling was better this week. I shot 159-194-192 for a 545 series. Finally.

Mon Feb 10
Alex and I are now committed to a weight loss challenge that we're doing together (Actually the Life Time 90-day challenge) and today is the first day of it. That means a smoothie for breakfast and a smoothie for lunch. That also means we're back in the Monday "Strength Foundations" group exercise class together, which was really good today. Before the class I ran 1.14 miles in the treadmill in ten minutes.

Tue Feb 11
3.31 miles in 30 minutes on the treadmill with the lifetime run group. Today I found out that lifetime as bought the NJ marathon, which is meaningless to me but still interesting. I am also rediscovering superstarch as a great way to train while cutting calories. Without it, I struggle to run ten minutes. With it, I almost feel normal.

Feb 5, 2014

2014 Week 5

Continuing my random thoughts about my runs and anything else that comes to mind. Again, not promising to do this every day or every week. Again, I am promising to post a photo of everything I eat here: http://instagram.com/stevetursi

Wed Jan 29
I got my ass kicked on the treadmill today, as I huffed out a mere 1.12 miles in and suffered every minute of the 11 minutes it took. Running + losing weight is tricky. 290lbs this morning, which I thought was an anomaly. But then I was 288 after the run. Breakfast and lunch were the same as the last two days. After a crummy day at work I went home and ate OK: pork chops and broccoli. But also had three heavy high-alcohol beers. 293 the next morning. hah.

Thu Jan 30
Work is still bumming me out, but fortunately Ami was willing to do 5 easy miles with me at lunch. Breakfast and lunch were the same as yesterday, but we went to Costco in the evening and dinner was a slice and a half of pizza plus half a hot dog. When I got home I had a salad. No beer though.

Fri and Sat Jan 31 and Feb 1
I'm actually writing this bit on Thursday night. Tomorrow morning I intend to wake up very early and get a mile in before going up to Belleayre to ski with some guys form church for two days. Saturday morning I'll plan to run a mile before skiing all day again. After skiing upwards of 50 days per year for a few years, this will be the first time in about 5 years I've been on the slopes. Eager to see how I do.

Monday review of Fri and Sat: Everything went according to plan (well the running and skiing did), didn't bother worrying about food and haven't had the nerve to weigh myself since. My alpine ski boots do not get along with my bad ankle, so it might be nothing but telemark for me for the future.. Still was fun though! This is my first time on alpine skis in 5 years. Great times.

January total: 153.7 miles. My highest non-marathon/ultra month ever.

Sun Feb 2
This bowling slump has got to stop. 115-108-137 for a 360 series. Holy crap. That sucks. I was lucky to break 100 in one of my games. Then I went to the track and ran a mile. Then I watched Dr. Who while eating super bowl cupcakes. This bowling slump has got to stop.

Mon Feb 3
Geez, I didn't see this snow coming. Ran 1.5 miles after work. Exhausting day at the office. Didn't eat very well today either. Not crazy bad but not good.

Tue Feb 4
Ran 30 minutes on the treadmill during lunch. 3.19 miles. I actually walked the first 10 minutes because I was still exhausted from the previous day. Food was like yesterday. Not bad but not good.

Happy hump day!