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?"


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. get thin.

...a marathon is on my bucket list.'s good for my heart.'s good for my head.'s good for my soul.'s good for the companies that sell running shoes.

...I can leave the troubles of the day behind. saves on gas (but not on bananas).

...I can relax.

...I can listen to my thoughts. keeps me healthy. makes me feel alive (so does sex and coffee), but it's hard to beat endorphins.'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!
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.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

You Read My Blog, How About My New Book?

Did you ever wonder what food creates the most sensual body shots? Maybe you wanted to know the most common injuries incurred during pole dancing and why the treadmill isn't much safer. Maybe you want to be entertained by my listless and neurotic self-talk as I pump myself up to run a marathon.

I try to answer some of the most important questions about life, running and weight-loss in my new book.
Maybe you already know that I suffered congestive heart failure in April of 2011. Or that I write hospital ER and OR reviews (not really - but I am like a connoisseur). Or that I can help you prepare for a plethora of surgical procedures and give first-hand pharmaceutical advice.

I am also hoping that you won't find out that I am not as funny as I think I am.
I have been blogging about my fitness journey for over 2 years. Somewhere along the way, I have been encouraged to write a book about my weight-loss, my running, and my recovery from heart disease.

Today, it gives me great pleasure to announce my new book, ICU to Marathon - Diaries of a Nearly Dead Man.

In it you can read about a 5K race where I ran behind a pooping poodle. There is a story about the time my pants fell down in the security line at the airport. It's actually not all that funny. The good news is that I had on clean underwear which made it bearable for the other passengers.

One of the things I loved about doing the Kickstarter video was that after I had asked my daughter to keep quiet during the filming, she had an urgent need - all captured in the background audio! Even if you don't care about the book, be sure to skip ahead to the video outtakes.

To those who have encouraged me, we are in this together. Thank you for your kind words, blog comments, well wishes and prayers. We have 34 days left to get this done. Here is where to pre-order your copy.

Live, love and laugh - and get fit. David

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Challenges, Facts, Fiction and Fallacy

Let me start by apologizing for the screwing up of a near perfect alliteration in my title. As weight losers, humans, athletes and wannabe athletes, we face many decisions during our journey. Some of those decisions you would think would be no-brainers, however; based on the staggering amount of controversial health and fitness posts in cyberspace, that is not at all the case.

Excuse me a moment while I put on my own guru hat.

Challenges: There are dozens of them every day. What do we eat? When should we eat? What should we do if we blow it? How should we train? How much cardio? How much strength training? How many long runs? Are these running shoes cute? What underwear chafes less? Do avocados make you fart?

There seems to be science to back up every position, which makes getting it right, overwhelming.

The best approach to managing challenges is to have a plan. A plan needs to have a goal such as losing 20 pounds, training to finish a 5K in under 30 minutes, or to bench press a baby elephant - that sort of thing. Then the plan needs bite size steps. No matter what you are doing, if you can't make it a priority, it will continue to challenge you, and probably defeat you too. Make a schedule to reach your goal and adjust it as needed.

It's OK to switch your long run day to one that is sunny instead of a blizzard-ing.

Facts: Fact just are. They are true and never predicated on theory. Most of our science seems to be based on the logical outcome of selected facts. That is junk science. (seems to work for politics and religion too) Real science takes into consideration, all the facts. An anecdotal outcome such as I drank 10 cups of water and only peed out 6 does not specifically mean that you retained 4 cups of water. The point is there are other ways for the water to escape the body. And when it comes to water, there are many sources unless you are only eating celery powder. Oh - and here's a tip: don't drink out of the same cup you peed in.

Do you want facts? Use a tape measure, a measuring cup and a food scale.

The bottom line is that each one of us is metabolically different, and that is a fact. Some are prone to gain weight depending on their protein/carbohydrate /fat intake ratio. Some are sensitive to sodium, others are not. Some have a thyroid problem, and others have a sugar addiction; we are all different.

Fiction: Worse than junk science is outcome based logic which is not backed by facts. There are a lot of hypotheses regarding calories, weight loss, marathon training and other health related issues. Although the basic math of calories in/calories out holds an overall truth, it is pretty much fiction because all calories are not created equally. Caloric labels, treadmill displays, and Garmin HRMs are all educated guesses which can be used as a guide. They are pure fiction.

The fiction is based on how caloric content is measured. Basically the testers incinerate the food, but that is not exactly how it happens in a your body. At least one study showed that people who ate the exact same amount of calories of salmon vs beef, showed slightly greater weight loss. I can attest to the fact that it is much easier to burn 80/20 burgers than it is a piece of salmon when grilling.

The bottom line, it does matter what types of food you eat.

When it comes to training and running, most plans are based on some sort of mathematical progression and not on any actual physiological evidence, except that if you have an injury, you pushed it too hard.

Be very skeptical if instant results, magic pill diets and train for 3 days a week marathon training plans. For every person that could possibly achieve those results, there are thousands who cannot.

I am not even convinced that a 1 or 2 pound a week weight loss number is ideal. The truth is no matter what plan you use, what diet, what training you force yourself to do, you will gain back 73% of what you lost for one reason, and one reason alone: You stopped doing what was working.

Did I say you need to adjust your plan to meet your goal?

I lost 30 pounds in 3 months by adding a little exercise (90 minutes a week) and cutting calories. I actually had a couple of 4+ pound loss weeks. I have never gained it back in 2 years time.

The point is this, we need to choose a lifestyle of good foods and regular, and increasing cardio with a mix of solid strength training.

Which brings me to my first point. the challenge is setting a goal with obtainable steps. 

Thank you for commenting and sharing!

The Kickstarter video for my new book is just around the corner. Follow the progress on

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Rules For Running, and a Few for Life

Just like the law of gravity, there are some rules for running that will produce similar health benefits if you don't fight them.

Don't run in the house. You should have learned this as a kid!

Get running shoes fitted at a running store. Wear them even if they are not cute.

Prevent injuries by strength training. Nearly half of all runners are injured in any given year. This does not include poking yourself in the eye with the mic at karaoke.

Prevent injuries by warming up and cooling down. RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) is the most common treatment for soft tissue injuries.

Casts are the most common treatment for broken bones and some times face-palms.

Prevent injuries by stretching. 82 percent of runners will experience a running-related injury in their lifetime.

Have a training plan. What is the goal of your training? To run far? To run fast? To run a 5K? To get to the bar on time?

Have a flexible plan.

Celebrate your victories!

Don't increase mileage or intensity too much each week.

The best run is the one you don't skip.

Don't just run, strength train and cross-train. Fitness keeps injuries low.

Eat some carbs and protein within 30 minutes after a run. (Lots of geeky scientific reasons, just do it!)

Run facing traffic. You'd hate to miss your last second on earth without knowing what hit you.

Don't run right after eating Thanksgiving dinner.

Remember, you are not on a bike. If you try to coast, as soon as your legs stop, you'll fall flat on your face.

If your muscles are sore after a run, that's good.

Get enough sleep. It's best if it is not while you're running.

Replace your shoes every 300-500 miles, or if they stink so bad they could knock over a skunk.

Learn to run long slow runs and fast short ones. It depends on how long you have until the cops find out what you did.

If you run at night, make yourself visible. Most drivers are not using night-vision goggles.

If you have any sharp pains during/after running, that's probably a sign to take a few days off.

You should be able to talk in complete sentences while running. That is to say, if you can talk in complete sentences when not running.
A headwind always slows you down more than a tailwind speeds you up. It's hearsay, but it feels that way.

Running uphill slows you down more than running downhill speeds you up. Also hearsay.

Don't run with scissors. If you are reading this, you probably still have eyes.
(Dr. Finch: Where would we be without our painful childhoods?)

Take rest days! At least one a week. If you are new, start with 4 rest days, and work up slowly. (Have a training plan!)

Have fun!

Did I miss any?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Batman Smells, Robin Laid an Egg

When I was in 2nd grade, one of the most popular shows on TV was Batman. Bruce Wayne, billionaire by day, and crime fighting superhero by night, ran crooks out of Gotham City with his sidekick Robin. 

They were so popular, their names were added to the lyrics of Jingle Bells!

Robin had a pretty extensive vocabulary, but he was sort of religious. All of his expressions were proceeded with "holy." For example, "Holy Hoodwink" was the expression he used when the crooks tricked them. HERE is a site with the audio for just about every holy expression that was used in the original series (as far as I know). They have been collected by someone who can't spell, but I didn't notice.

It got me to thinking, Robin may have been a runner or health and fitness nerd like me? These are some of his actual lines.
Holy Almost (missing a PR by seconds)
Holy Apparition (speaking of someone who looks like Hal Higdon)
Holy Backfire (speaking of fartleks)
Holy Ball And Chain (DOMS)
Holy Blank Cartridge (when your water bottle is empty)
Holy Bunions
Holy Caffeine
Holy Catastrophe
Holy Cinderella (speaking of the Disney Princess 1/2 Marathon)
Holy Clockwork (when you had a good race time)
Holy Costume Party (speaking of the Halloween 10K)
Holy Flight Plan (when your race buddy beats you))
Holy Fork In The Road (when you see a sleeping race marshal)
Holy Fruit Salad (post race bananas)
Holy Hamstrings
Holy Heart Failure (speaking of me)
Holy Heartbreak (reference to big hill at the end of the Boston Marathon)
Holy Hole In A Donut (reference to a hole in a donut)
Holy Hoof Beats (speaking of an approaching runner)
Holy Interplanetary Yardstick (there is no good time to say this)
Holy Jelly Molds (post workout legs)
Holy Love Birds (couples crossing the finish line holding hands)
Holy Marathon
Holy Mashed Potatoes
Holy Miracles
Holy Nick Of Time (speaking of a race ending in something and :59 seconds)
Holy Nightmare (speaking of lost toenails)
Holy Non-Sequiturs (you need to know what a sequitur is to use this)
Holy One Track Bat Computer Mind
Holy Oxygen
Holy Rats In A Trap (people stopping to walk in the middle of a race)
Holy Relief
Holy Return From Oblivion (speaking of a marathon finish)
Holy Roadblocks
Holy Sarcophagus (running shoes with a small toe box)
Holy Skull Tap (this is just cool)
Holy Slipped Disc
Holy Split Seconds (tenths and hundredths of a second)
Holy Stampede (a race start with thousands of runners)
Holy Ten Toes
Holy Uncanny Photographic Mental Processes (what goes on in my head every day)

As always, thanks for reading along!
And the photo is from the BBC website and taken by AP.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Running for a Cause - My Own

Race for a Cure 5K
Saturday I woke up and went for a 6 mile run. I cut my 12-mile long run short so that I could run a 5K Race for a Cure on Sunday. It was nice to just run without training; 2 miles of it was on the 5K course.

I got back home about 9 and took a shower, because, well, if I don't, it's not pretty.

When I came downstairs a friend of the family was there. She brought coffee and muffins to celebrate packing day #5. Moving sucks! After 3 moves in 10 years, we have stuff that we don't even know where it came from. I think the IRS has targeted us, putting stuff in the house when we are not looking.

After a couple of hours of work, I went and donated a car full of fat clothes at the Salvation Army. Size XXXL and XXL shirts, 36" through 42" waist-ed pants and belts.

It felt good, really good!

In my bedroom I was packing some boxes and my chest felt tight. I thought my heart was racing but my pulse was only 62, which is not an unusual pulse rate at all. Once you've had a heart trauma, you don't play around. I went to my office and took my blood pressure, and it was 170/106. For just sitting around the house, it was not a good sign.

I drove to the ER which is so close, I easily beat 911.

They took me in and hooked me up to the EKG. It's one of those times when men wish they didn't have chest hair. Actually, except for photos, there is no time we wish we had it. EKG = normal. Hmm... that's reassuring. I remember one time when the EKG put everyone into a frenzy. It was like chimpanzees having a poop fight.

Now that they thought I would live, it was time to check in. The folks working there kept spelling my last name wrong and had no medical records. Finally, they got it right. The triage nurse turned to me and said, "So what do you do for fun when you're not having surgery?"

"That's me," I said.

I got my own bay and johnny and then I underwent blood tests, x-rays and was hooked up to a heart monitor. My blood pressure was still high, 150/96. They gave me aspirin after which I spoke to 2 doctors and 2 cardiologists. The doctors had lots of questions for me: What have you eaten? What is your pain level? Your pulse seems a little low at 52 bpm, do you run? I got a little excited about that question. When I was fat my resting pulse rate was 72. What's going on in your life? We are moving. The room was silent.

Do you think that might be a reason that you have elevated blood pressure? I thought about it - well duh, yes, or course. All I know is my normal is 126/82. I guess I need to take it easy?

Well, your heart seems normal. It's not A-fib (huge relief!), and your enzymes (the ones that show heart damage) are normal. Let's keep you overnight for observation.

Overnight, can I have a different doctor!?!

I spoke to the second cardiologist at length. We talked about my recovery from nearly dead to running a 125 miles per month. We talked about diet, training, weight loss, rest days and faith.

"Even though you are a poster child for turning it around, I am concerned about letting you go home to the chaos of moving." he said.

"I just want to be with my wife tonight," I replied.

"Is that good for you?" he asked.

"She's the best thing that ever happened to me." I said with a smile.

"You are going to take it easy and relax as much as possible?"

"Yes sir, I will."

"As long as your enzymes come back 'normal,' you can go home today."

"Thank you, doctor. And one more thing, can I run tomorrow?"

"I don't see why you can't run 2 or 3 miles - but easy. You'll stop immediately if you have any pain, right?"

I went home and had dinner with my wife and went to bed early.

When I woke up on Sunday, I had a cup of coffee and took my blood pressure. 128/84. Caffeine is good. :) I got dressed for my 5K race and pulled on my Cancer Sucks/ICU 2 26.2 T-shirt. I drank some water, ate a mini bagel, put on sun screen, said a prayer for my health, and kissed my family goodbye.

This is my favorite race of the year. I run it in memory of my mother who died in 2001 from pancreatic cancer. (READ MORE HERE) After I picked up my number and T-shirt, jogged a mile or so to warm up, I stood at the starting line checking my messages with the names of your loved ones. There were so many, and truthfully, it made me cry. Sorry, not very macho.

Then I ran for them. I ran as fast as I could go. And when my body said "give up," I thought to myself, my mother didn't stop having pain for months, I can run 10 more minutes. I passed the dog, the lady with the double stroller, and a guy who said he had run the Boston Marathon the day of the bombing. 7:55 for my first mile, 16:05 at mile two and I was hurting. I pressed on up the hill and onto the flat.

The Boston guy and I were neck and neck and I turned it on for the last 400 yards.

Although it wasn't a PR, it was still under 26 minutes. It was 4:04 faster than last year, and my second fastest 5K ever. I think I was slower simply because I was carrying a bigger load.

I love you and I miss you, mom.

Thanks for all your support and for your comments; it makes the journey a little lighter.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A Fitness Nerd' View of Winning the Weight Loss Battle

There are lots of claims out there regarding weight loss methods, diets and health and fitness products. If you skip church or stay up late enough, you can watch hour long infomercials about them!

There is not a weight loss method on earth that doesn't require some effort from you!

Now that all the "I thought there was a magic pill" readers have reported me to the PC Police for abuse, we can carry on. The truth is this: one study (WebMD) showed that as much as 15 % of gastric bypass patients do not lose a successful amount of weight; some due to metabolic make up.

That sucks!

Another study showed that subjects regained an average of 73.4% of their weight loss during the first three years.

The really sucks! That means out of my 1000 friends 734 of you are going to fail.
I have finished 2 years of my journey and allow me to make some observations.

- Some of the people that fail can be found in the cookie aisle.

- My friends who have succeeded in really getting their weight under control are active, very active!

- I don't think any of my friends are really on a cheat meal regimen. It's more like life that has parties and holidays and you roll with it.

- Cleansing is counting poop as weight loss.

- The ones who disappear are usually defending their right to eat anything they want as long as it's within their calories for the day.

- The ones that win seem to understand ditching the junk food, the soda and the oceans of processed food, are part of the lifestyle change.

- Losing weight is only one part of being fit. It might have gotten you started, but it won't keep you going.

- There are lots of so called "answers" about what to eat, when to eat, who to eat, how much to eat, and dying if you eat less than 1200 calories in a day. What matters most is what works for you. The question is can you sustain this for the rest of your life?

- Reading the label can save your life. And not just if you are allergic to nuts. You can avoid too much sugar, sodium and other chemicals you can't even pronounce.

- Checking menus for restaurants BEFORE you go out to eat is what successful people do.

- Biking is for runners who like to coast. ;)

- Eating salad is healthy, but not with high calorie dressing. There are a host of supposedly healthy choices that are not. Many yogurts, snack bars and lots of whole and natural food offerings are loaded with sugars.

- Most canned food is loaded with sodium and so are frozen diet meals and even some "all natural" foods.

- Not paying attention can end you up in the cookie aisle.

I want to be in the percentage that is successful, and I want you to be there too!
Thanks for the shares and comments.

If you like this blog, be sure to stay connected for the release of my new book, ICU 2 Marathon - Diaries of a Nearly Dead Man!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Finishing is Winning

I keep thinking about doing my best, being fast, and winning races. There is a distant image of perfection of who I could have been in my mind's eye (Which, probably needs to be poked out.) Ah - if I had only chosen this path to fitness long ago.

There are so many things I could have been. Well, maybe not a Kenyan, but a lot of things.

When we were a kids, we dreamed of being astronauts, doctors, fireman and cowboys. Later on it was rock musicians and sports greats. In first grade I wanted to be married to the girl next door, but she fell in love with Tomas up the street. 

My regular readers are probably well aware, I didn't become any of those things. Well. I did get married, but not to the girl next door. Actually by 4th grade I think she had cooties which made her yucky!

If I had to do it all over again, I would have started running way back then. My friend Tom says that you can achieve the same results in about 2 to 3 years as you would have with a lifetime of running. I don't know.

Sunday I did the pastor a favor and skipped church to run a 10K race. He hates when I stand on the pews any way.

It was in the region known as the Worcester Hills, about an hour from Boston. Guess what? They have HILLS there; lots of them. From 30,000 feet it looks like a topless beach in the French Riviera.

As I look back over the last 2 years, I have come a long way in my running performance. My first 5K, the graduation of C25K took me 31:42. My best 5K time was 7 months later and was 25:08. That's 2 minutes per mile faster. About 10 minutes per mile, down to a pace of 8. You can convert to miles or kilometers HERE. 

Runners use pace as a standard comparison - well, that and brightly colored shoes.

My 10K times have fallen from 1:05:37 last fall to 59:08 on Sunday. I have only done one half marathon and the next one is going to be under 2 hours! I have another one planned in August, and 2 more in September. 

Maybe my friend Tom is right, in another year I will reach my running destiny and achieve my top speed and performance.

Honestly, I don't really care. I love to run, not for the competition, but for the heart and for the head. In the fall I am shooting for my first marathon. I just want to finish - to say I did it. And then we'll see what I do next.

I have already applied for a spot in the Boston Marathon and I am waiting to hear back. Why? Because finishing, for me, is winning.

Thanks for letting me ramble. I appreciate the comments!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Why the Gym and I Are Breaking Up

From Crossfit Files
I have been a member of the local YMCA for over 2 years. I have worked out a few times a week since we joined. I did skip it while I was in ICU, after 2 surgeries I had, and while I was away on vacation. I like vacation better than surgery.

I learned a lot from being part of a gym and taking some classes.

The real reason I am leaving is not because of anything they did. It's not even because of the people there, many of whom are on the People Of Walmart site; it's just that after being unemployed for 9 months, I need to cut some expenses.

I can run outside, and I have perfected a home workout routine for strength training that I can do on the carpet - right after I shampoo the spots where the dog puked.

I will miss the ability to go run on the treadmill if the weather sucks. And circuit/strength training was really easy with their machines. I admit, I haven't taken a class in awhile, but I loved them because we had fun and encouraged each other. The staff was helpful in showing me proper form, and opened my eyes to the possibilities of various types of workouts.

One of the funniest moments happened in my In It To Lose It class. We had a fellow named Dick in our class, and he would often show up late. One day one of the other students came to class late. The trainer asked the late comer sarcastically: "What are you, pulling a Dick?" I just about dropped my Bosu ball.

Here are a few of my observations about the gym:
- Classes: If there is a class where people do sit ups while facing each other in a circle, one in which they give each other high-5s, I guarantee someone will fart, and you will know who it is.

- Planks:  A 1 minute plank is no different then being backed over by an SUV.

- Treadmill Use: If you use a treadmill, be sure to get one in the back row. That way if you step off it at 8 MPH, not as many people will see you. The down side is that it also might take someone longer to come to your aid.

- Cell Phones: If you are using you cell phone and taking up space on a machine, you deserve a freakin' slap. If you are yakking it up on the treadmill, someone needs to trip you.

- Skin: Modesty is well, not the motto of everyone there.

- Plastic Surgery:  You will see at least one bad Botox job. There was one woman I was going to put back in the fish tank.

- Mirrors: The more muscles you have, the slower you walk by the mirror.

- Couples: Most men don't really want to work out with their spouses.

- Free Weights: Grunting is tolerable in the free-weight section, but screaming like you just had an orgasm is not.

- Attire: I suggest posting a picture of your gym attire on Facebook before actually going to the gym. You might get some constructive feedback.

- Spandex: If you have chub rub and run wearing Spandex, people will think you are lying when your pants catch fire.

Thanks for the comments and shares!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Monday, Bloody Monday

Today I woke up. It's my short run day - an easy 5 or 6 miles. I should have been excited about the perfect spring weather, the sunshine, 2 cups of my favorite coffee, nature making its move before the run, and thinking about my next race.

Instead, as I got dressed, I watched the news, the horror, the images of the sidewalk I have been on dozens of times, and the Boston Marathon finish line strewn with bomb blast debris.

Yesterday started out perfectly. My wife and our 9-year-old got up and walked the mile down to the race route. We are at the 10K checkpoint (Mile 6.1 of 26.2). There we cheered and clapped for thousands of runners as we waited to high-five our friends (whose names will be changed).

My little one sat on my shoulders and my wife by my side. "What color is John wearing?" She asked.

"He's wearing a red shirt with white lettering and dark blue shorts; I saw them in the picture he posted on Facebook. And the ladies are wearing purple. And the Mark is wearing a dark blue Running Club tank-top."

My cell phone buzzed with a text message. Mandy was killing it. 44 minutes to the 10K checkpoint. She pulled over to the ropes for a quick high-5.

10 minutes later the next buzz and John showed up with a huge grin. "55 minutes," I shouted and high-fived him. It was his first Boston Marathon. Then Mark came through. "1 hour buddy, you are on pace for a personal best!" Another high-5 and off he ran. We waited another 5 or so minutes and Kendra shouted from the middle of the road, "Hey David!"

"Good luck!" I yelled as I waved.

We started our trek back home through the throngs of cheering Bostonians amidst the balloons and clanging cowbells. Then we stopped for lunch with a view of the race route.

All the way home we talked about the crazy costumes, funny t-shirts, and how fun it was to see our friends among 23,000 others - plus the hundreds of bandits running without numbers. If I didn't have to get back to work, I would have been one of them.

I sat at my home desk posting the checkpoint times of my friends to Facebook as they made the 1/2 marathon and 30K check points. I got my last one at 1:47. John had made the 30K checkpoint at 3:04:04. The others had past it a few minutes earlier.

I was expecting to get more updates around 2:47. Mandy had already finished in 3:30. The others were all on pace for a finish in about 4 hours.


I was checking the BAA website and no finish times were recorded. They must be overloaded, I thought. Then I noticed some one posted something on MFP about bombs going off at the Boston Marathon finish line. I Googled it and got the first news stories and 1 photo. I scanned it looking for signs of my friends. I saw the Mandy had LIKED a Facebook post and I messaged her to see if John was alright.

No answer.

I texted the guys on my phone and left posts on their Facebook pages: "Just let me know you are OK."

No answer.

At 3:42 I heard John was OK. Later I heard those from the purple team were all accounted for. Thank God. It took until early evening until Mark returned my text. He was safe in his Boston hotel.

For those of you who run, you know what the camaraderie between them is like. These are my friends. We run together when we can, we encourage each other, and we support each others fund raising efforts. And we see each other at other functions too.

How do I process all this? Today I am angry, tearful, thankful, and as I write this, determined. I dedicated my morning run to thinking and praying for those 3 race fans that died as a result of the evil that a very small group of humans seem relentless about perpetrating on others.

As an American, I have a response. As a Christian, I have a response. As a husband, parent and the protector of my family, I have a response.

My heart goes out to those who lost loved ones, those who have lost limbs, to those who are scared, and to those who just freakin' care about their fellow man and are saddened by this act of violence.

As a runner, I also have a response. I am going to run. The first chance I get, I am going to run in downtown Boston. I am going to remember, and I am going to pray. I am going to be sad for those who worked so hard, only to be robbed of the victory of finishing the greatest race on earth: The Boston Marathon.

Go run or pray, or hug your kid, or call a friend, or do something nice for someone. Please.
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