Thursday, December 12, 2013

My Bucket List


Many of you know that I have been diagnosed with a malignant tumor. Of course, untreated, it's deadly. As it turns out, I ran 2 half marathons, a full marathon, had a 5K PR and a 5 mile PR while having cancer. I am not saying that you should get cancer to run your best, but it's working for me. I won't have any details until Tuesday afternoon. That's when I will find out what the heck is going, how bad it is, and what we are going to do about it.

It's been a long process of blood tests, medication that made me feel like crap, and 3 weeks ago, a surgical biopsy which was pretty gory. Waiting for the results was nerve wracking at moments. I kept busy working on my book from 5 AM until 9 PM, running, praying and being a smartass in my various online groups.

I do have good news. I am running the Boston Marathon in April even if someone has to push me in a wheelchair. I have an application sitting on my desk. As part of the that I am raising funds though a virtual 5K if you feel like running on March 8th, HERE is the info.

The other good news is that a charity I have previously done fundraising for is going to set me up for the Chicago Marathon in October! I will have confirmation once registration opens in February. There is also a possibility of San Francisco too. If you are going to run, you might as well make sure that it counts for something. I hate cancer, and that is what I can do to help.

All this talk of the Big "C" has made me think about what it is that I really want to do before I die. Here is my list. It is just things that interest me or pertain to people I care about. It's entirely selfish, that's why it's my bucket list.

- Take my wife to Hawaii.
- Get my kid a horse and someone to take care of it.
- Run a marathon in Europe.
- Leave instructions for how I want my life insurance spent.
- Be with my family as often I can.
- Drink coffee in the sunshine with Mrs. J.
- Stay under 200 pounds.

That's it. I have pretty much done it all. I have been to 42 states, 13 countries, put kids through college, been married to the best woman in the world and found faith in God.

How about you, do you have a bucket list?

Friday, November 15, 2013

ICU to Marathon - Preface

"ICU to Marathon - Diaries of a Nearly Dead Man" is the magic bullet you’ve been waiting for! To solve all of your health issues, create domestic tranquility and get your whites whiter.

Maybe not.

This running book is not about running, it’s not another fad diet, it’s not a weight loss book, and it’s not a fitness system or a pyramid scheme. I am not another guru with a new "clinically-proven scientific breakthrough" to seduce you with. Yours truly is not an expert, but if I had the chance, I would play one on TV. I hope you’ll find my book inspiring, or, at the very least, as entertaining as a cat might find a mouse stricken with arthritis to be or a teenager with a SmartPhone.

This is the story of a fat guy who became deathly ill in April of 2011 and nearly bought the farm. Despite some negative "expert" opinions from medical experts, that guy decided to make the most of his life, and eventually beat the odds.

That guy was — and is — me; however, I think in reading this book, you’ll find that in many ways, it is a book about you, too.

The two years prior to writing "ICU to Marathon" have been a unique part of life’s journey. Educating myself about health, fitness and nutrition has been a process, through which, I have actually learned more about my faith in God than why flavonoids are good for you. There has been a lot of error and trial as I focused on correcting unhealthy habits. Of course the road to running a marathon, even for a healthy person, is challenging; and for me, many would have argued, impossible.

Like so many others, I have often said, “If I had only known.”

We all seem to have twenty-twenty hindsight, do we not? This book represents a lot of time sifting through the myths, the mystery, the unbelievable claims, the science and the practical day-to-day habits that make solid personal fitness possible. For instance, doctors say that each piece of bacon you eat takes a minute off your life. Based on that data, I should have died in 1886. Sometimes health is matter of common sense, other times it is knowledge, and occasionally, it involves luck. Here is an example; one day I ate a large can of cashews and it cured my IBS symptoms.

From the day I left the Framingham Heart Center, I stubbornly desired to be healthy.

On many of my treks around town today, my route passes by the hospital where I had been in the ICU. In my mind’s eye I would see the monitors, tubes, and wires, hear the beeping machines and the incessant echo of the intercom speakers in the hallways and the condescending words of the doctors who tended to yet another pathetic fifty-something couch-potato that landed in their midst, and then as I pass by, I declare my health and wellbeing. My inner-voice crying out, “never again!”

It’s an honor to be selected to take a spot in the magazine rack in your bathroom. (If you are reading an eBook by the way, for $5.00 more you could have had a printed copy to leave on top of the tank and not have to balance your Nook on your hairy knees.)

I hope you'll learn from my mistakes, enjoy reading about the convoluted road that got me into trouble in the first place and the road that brought me back, nearly, from the dead. I hope you find a laugh here and there — maybe even a laugh about yourself, if you're honest. But most importantly, I hope you find inspiration here; whether you choose to follow me to the starting line one day, or to just start making some smart, healthy choices in life. Sometimes it just helps to know that you're not the only one.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Failure is Not an Option

All of us have felt like, or actually been, failures at some time in our journey. Yesterday, I certainly felt like one. Most of you know that I have written a book about my transformation from heart patient to runner.

My Kickstarter project failed to reach its funding goal.

After all that work, literally months of preparation, there was zero, nada - nothing to show for it.

At 4:44 I watched the last seconds tick away to zero. Within moments, I had an email as proof of my failed mission. I sat there for a while and tried to think about all the things I might have done differently. A few of you had some suggestions.

I couple of you were pi$$ed! I am thanking God I am on your good side. :)

I confess, what was most penetrating were the don't give up now messages and emails from my MFP pals. I sat in my desk chair and thought about canceling my MFP account and disappearing from cyberspace for a while.

I decided to go for a run with the local running club I just joined instead; it was my second run for the day.

On Facebook I just posted the Kickstarter rejection email and left it that. One of my friends suggested I try out RocketHub another crowdfunding site. I kept thinking well, I didn't make once, why would I try it again? This morning I reread a coupled of my messages about not quitting.

Some of you guys kinda of suck... for telling me not to quit when I wanted to.

I clicked on the link for RocketHub and copy and pasted my information from Kickstarter, made a few tweaks, cropped a couple of photos, took out the profit on the book, removed a few rewards and launched my new project.

It was approved in 30 minutes.

This time I will succeed because, as one reader stated, "your message is too important to stay in your head." You know, I believe that because I once ran along side a blind man in a road race. I thought, if he can do it, I certainly can.

In order to succeed, I have lowered my expectations, but I have not changed my goal. I am still going to publish my book.

Failure is not an option.

I appreciate everyone's support from the messages, to the pledges, to posting my link on your social media pages. It has been awesome.

And finally, as another friend wrote on the RockectHub page. "Glad you persisted, I wouldn't have expected any less. :)"

This time around, I need your help. With it, I am going to succeed.

Here's the link to join the party! RocketHub!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

What is Wrong With Me?!

I used to be a desk jockey and weighed in just south of 300 pounds. I ate what I felt like, and never gave not eating, or exercising a thought. I got fat enough where I just didn't bother to look in the mirror. Gone were he days of wearing 31" waist jeans. I had ballooned up to 40" with elastic waistbands.

I was obese and I felt tired all the time. My joints ached, my back would go out and leave bedridden for days at a time. I relied on the doctors to medicate my symptoms, but nothing was getting solved because I was not part of the process. I kept doing my thing, and they kept trying to counteract it with drugs. I took anti-inflamatories for my knees, blood pressure meds and an occasional antibiotic if I was sick. And I got sick at least a few times a year.

It was really awful, but I just figured that it was part of getting old.

My health got worse and I ended up in the ICU. It was there my then 7-year-old put her head on my chest and said, "Daddy if you die, who is going to take me to Toy R Us and not tell mommy?"

GASP!

In the weeks following I slept a lot. I did my best to walk a mile a day. It was hard, I was tired all the time and the Bruins won the Stanley Cup. I was prisoner to my own fears of having a heart transplant. I couldn't believe I had wasted over 50 years. Living out the 5 or so years I supposedly had left was my punishment. (You may be familiar with Country star Randy Travis. He is now going through the same thing except I did not have a stroke to make things worse.)

I was depressed and kept to myself. I didn't tell anyone how really terrified I was of living as a sick man for whatever months or years were left.

For those that follow me, you know how it turns out.

 Things are different now. Yesterday's run for instance. I was sweating so much that when I got home, taking off my running shirt was like a skunk sausage giving birth to the moon. There I was screaming in front of the bathroom mirror crowning! It wasn't pretty.

That's my new life.

Now my life expectancy is probably more closely related to what I say to my wife, which side of the road I run on, and how I ride my motorcycle than it is to my heart condition - or lack thereof.

I have been writing this blog for 2 years. Together we've laughed about my pants falling down in airport security. You followed the journeys to my first 5K, 10K and 1/2 marathons. It's really been a bit surreal. Some of you I have met at races, others I feel like I know anyway. This once, I'd like to ask a favor. Would you consider supporting my book project if you haven't done so already? You can do it for as little as a $1.00.

I'd really appreciate if you would at least watch the video of me being silly. The outtakes are probably the best part.

Feel guilty yet? Good, now go pledge something! :)

Rocket Hub

Thanks for being on the journey, for your friendship and your support. David

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Reasons Why I Run and You Should Too!

When people ask, why I run? I usually answer with why don't you run? I am sort of a smarta$$, but I did think about it. I don't really like, or even love running. For me it's mostly one pain followed by another, sweating like a pig, and taking time from other things I'd like to be doing like sitting on the couch eating bonbons.

Oh, that's right, I already did that and felt like crap.

Everyone has different reasons to run here are some of mine.

I run because...

...walking is too slow.

...I can run for those that can't, raising money for research.

...I like being around runners - well, not the snobby ones.

...I can compete against myself.

...the shoes are cool.

...I sweat and then I pretend I mowed the lawn.

...someday I may need to run from the cops.

...I am on fire and never learned stop, drop and roll.

...to get thin.

...a marathon is on my bucket list.

...it's good for my heart.

...it's good for my head.

...it's good for my soul.

...it's good for the companies that sell running shoes.

...I can leave the troubles of the day behind.

...it saves on gas (but not on bananas).

...I can relax.

...I can listen to my thoughts.

...it keeps me healthy.

...it makes me feel alive (so does sex and coffee), but it's hard to beat endorphins.

...it's the place where no one can find me.

As always, thanks for the shares and comments. You guys, rock!
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
If you like this blog, you might want to consider reading my new book - but at least watch the video and have a smile or two. It's HERE.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

There is a Lot to Learn!

elcivics.com
I thought I was an expert when it came to losing weight (just like I am in marriage). After all, I had done it 2 times before! I tried the starvation diet and went from 232 pounds down to 190. I tried the Dr. Phil diet (to be fair, with 90 minutes of exercise a week) and went from 240-something to 199.

I knew what was best, yogurt, low-fat anything, fruits, veggies, high quality cold cuts and frozen diet meals. And I knew what was bad: soda, rice, potatoes and pasta!

... and that bacon, eggs and cheese were my friends!

I signed up for a weight loss class at my local gym where I first started counting calories. They gave us a little lecture on staying away from pizza, wings and fast food. The trainer even taught us fractions as we divided up our plates into thirds. Of course we exercised 2 times a week for about an hour as well as being encouraged to do a third on our own.

Two out of three In it to Lose It sessions our team took first prize for the largest percentage of weight lost. (and the most farts during sit up circle!) Go us! I was on my way to losing a small child.

In the midst of all that, I got sick, really sick - like congestive heart failure sick.

After a week in ICU, a surgery, a "we don't really know, but some people need heart transplants" prognosis and a long recovery, I decided that maybe I didn't know as much as I thought I knew. (No surprise to the people that know and love me!)

I worked with the cardiologist, the doctor, an immunologist and a nutritionist to find a path back to health and fitness. And I prayed. Truthfully, I had only desired to swoon over myself in the mirror before that. Now I wanted to be healthy and fit too.

So what did I learn since they took me off the heart monitor?

- Not all calories are the same. They are just a guide for comparison; actual mileage may vary.

- Losing weight, even a lot of it, is not a guarantee that you are healthy or fit.

- There are many factors to being fit: basic strength, cardiovascular health, aerobic capacity, pain free joints, blood work within healthy limits, and best of all, you feel good.

- If you can't pronounce an ingredient on label, it's suspect.

- All natural foods can still have too much sugar, salt and unhealthy amounts of carbohydrates.

- Whole foods are not the same as low-calorie foods.

- Walking is not running.

- Hydration is very important! You can get water from other sources besides water; like fruits, veggies and water based drinks. There is even water in  margarita!

- Hydration, according to the spies at the CDC, is good for the following: Keeping body temperature normal, lubricating and cushioning your joints, protecting your spinal cord and other sensitive tissues (I guess like your privates) and gets rid of waste through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements. Eww!

- If you are counting calories, vegetables are better choices than fruit - if you have to make a choice.

- Processed foods are, IMHO, not good for you. There are plenty of studies to prove it. They are linked to every scary disease you can think of.

- Everyone plateaus at some point during weight loss.

- We all have 6-pack abs, some are just shrink wrapped.

- There are super foods which help you get the most nutritional value for the amount of calories you eat.

- There are so called healthy foods which are not particularly healthy.
- The right kind of fats don't make you fat (within your caloric limits), or cause high cholesterol. Stick to Omega 3s and avoid saturated fats.

- There are simple and complex carbs, choose complex ones unless it's fruit with other nutrients and fiber! Foods that contain simple carbohydrates include white flour, honey, milk, yogurt, candy, chocolate (which is a food group!), fruit juice, cake, jam, biscuits, molasses, soda and packaged cereals.

- Whole grains are the best kind. Did you know that whole wheat bread may not be any healthier than white bread if it is not whole grain?

- Learn to love whole grains! Brown rice, buckwheat, bulgur (cracked) wheat, millet, wild rice, popcorn, quinoa, triticale, whole-grain barley, whole-grain corn, whole oats/oatmeal, whole rye, and whole wheat.

- B-I-N-G-O, sugar has a name-o. Brown sugar, Corn sweetener, Corn syrup, Dextrose, Fructose, Fruit juice concentrates, Glucose, High-fructose corn syrup, Honey, Invert sugar, Lactose, Maltose, Malt Syrup, Molasses, Raw sugar, Sucrose, Sugar, and Syrup.

- The older you get, the more important fiber becomes. No, $h1t, really.

- If you are going to run, get your shoes fitted at a running store!

- Supplements (and some medications) should be used rarely. If you are eating a healthy and balanced diet, your blood work should be near perfect. If it's not, do as the doctor prescribes. Keep in mind a healthy diet and weight can reduce or eliminate the need for medication and dietary suppliments.

- There are no experts except possibly me. ;)

As always, thanks for the votes and comments. You guys, rock!
Friends and friend requests are the life blood of MFP, so send one if you like.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
If you like this blog, you might want to consider reading my new book - but at least watch the video and have a smile or two. It's HERE.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Get Moving!

The word moving has many different applications in the English language. Depending on the context and the situation, it could be good or bad. If you are like me, moving, as in the whole freakin' house including toys, bikes, photos, rabbits and dogs, that is the bad sucky week from hell type of moving.

If you haven't had a #2 in a few days, moving is good, really good. If it's been 20 minutes, it's not so good. The up side is weighing in right after.

Then there are moving violations, moving trucks, moving day, movin', movies, movements, moved by the Spirit or emotion and moving as in doing something with your body besides sitting on the couch. (We are still going to count sitting on the toilet as moving.)

How do you get moving? Why does it matter? Well, if you are here to lose weight, it probably doesn't matter. If you are making a lifestyle change and working on getting fit, moving your blood and your butt is important.

Ask yourself this: if runners can walk, then how come walkers can't run?

How fast your heart beats is very important to cardiovascular health. I am not going to argue with walkers; it's surely better than sitting on the couch. But it is not better than types of cardio which significantly increase your aerobic capacity (as does fast swimming, biking, soccer, Zumba, basketball and hockey etc.)

Cardio exercise is good for you because it increases your aerobic capacity by growing more capillaries, which in turn move your blood more efficiently, which causes your heart to work less. It also strengthens the heart which is a muscle. And supposedly it stimulates t-cells which fight disease. I also watched a documentary that said that a minute of "all out" exercise can increase your ability to process fats like cholesterol. The problem with an all out minute is injury.

Exercise which raises your heart rate for periods of time greater than 15 minutes and shorter than an hour, are very good for you.

So it's time to get moving! Just go easy and walk before you run.

I use a heart rate monitor, and you might consider one too. It's not magic, but it should give you a solid idea if you are in the zone or not. To get into the zone you are probably going to sweat (even if you swim).

I was reading this and I think when Dr Oz dies from some fad diet, I can take his place.

Thanks for the shares and comments!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
If you like this blog, you might want to consider reading my new book - but at least watch the video and have a smile or two. It's HERE.