Day 9: Cruising Along, 5lbs Down

0 Brilliant Remarks
If I said it was freakin' GORGEOUS outside again, would you hold it against me?

No? Good. Because it was freakin' GORGEOUS outside again. AGAIN!

I again slept the sleep of the dead last night. I don't know what it is—I haven't been missing a lot of sleep or anything, but I ended up getting an 11-hour binge in last night. It might be a result of some of the meds I'm taking for my walnut-sized medical issue—I know one of them has a side-effect of somnolence, which is a fancy way of saying "knocks your ass out". Whatever it is, I'm generally a 7-hour-a-night guy, so this is sorta weird. I mean hey, I like sleep, so I'll take it. But generally it's not easy for me to get a lot of it.

Anyway, due to my binge I started later than I wanted today, but I got my run in down at Crissy Field. Yes, as I said, another gorgeous day. I hope to soon start taking them for granted, like I did in San Diego. Taking a beautiful day for granted is one of my favorite luxuries. Well, having beautiful days to spare is one of my favorite luxuries. In Chicago you'd kill for some of the days you get in San Diego, but in San Diego you get those days 270 times a year. So it's no major sin to read a book on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon, because you know next Saturday is going to be just as nice.

The good life. And San Francisco has been damn-near just as nice as San Diego as of late. Maybe just a bit cooler, which is just fine by me.

There was a wicked headwind heading towards Golden Gate Bridge, and while it was refreshing I felt incredibly slow. My split times were actually much faster than I expected—it felt like a 12-minute-mile run, but ended up averaging out to about 10:30 a mile. Slow, sure. And a little slow for me. But not as bad as it felt.

I don't know if it's the sleep binge or the food-fuel from yesterday or maybe the weightlifting, but I felt really heavy and tired out there. I felt solid, but I felt heavy. And I know I'm down 5 pounds so it's not actual weight that made me feel heavier.

If it was the weight training, then good. This is training after all. It's a challenge. It's not pattycake. It's supposed to be difficult and demanding and taxing and hard.

I have felt for a while that my biggest weakness was mental, and the biggest challenge that I am enjoying out of all of this is getting more mentally tough. It's supremely important, and it's not something that happens over night. You gotta pound away on it to become disciplined. And I would like to be a lot more disciplined on all fronts.

Good stuff, kids. Good stuff.

Total Weight: -5lbs

Day 8: Just Liftin'

0 Brilliant Remarks
I tell ya, I'm a whole lot stronger in the gym when I lift *without* running beforehand.

My general routine of 3x5 of bench (185lbs), squat (185lbs), still dips and pull-downs felt really light today. One of those "damn! I shoulda put more weight on!"-type days.

I'll remember that for next week.

Didn't stick exactly to the nutrition plan today because I got 2 different kinds of gluten-free pizza crust mixes to try with @LosBee. She was diagnosed with celiac a couple months ago, which has caused us to rework how we eat. We made 2 pizzas with one of the mixes and, while it didn't look quite right, it tasted pretty good!

She's a beer-and-pizza girl, so celiac has been a royal pain in the keister for her. But I think in time we'll find things she really likes that won't jack up her innards.

That's what it's all about, isn't it?

Anyhoo, I was probably below my 2200 calorie goal, and I don't think I was on track with my 35% protein/50% carbs/15% fat macronutrient breakdown, but what the hell, it's pizza with the wife. And there are some things you just don't pass up.

Total Weight: -3lbs

Day 7: Sunday "Long" Run

0 Brilliant Remarks
My endless repetition of "it was GORGEOUS out!" is getting old, I know. I know.

But damn, dude, it's been really nice out.

I woke up at the right time, I've eaten the right food, I've done the hip exercises, I did the ab workout, and I got my run in. Good stuff.

Lotta folks down at Crissy Field, getting their run in. Did folks pass me? Sure. Sure they did. And I'm cool with that. I have no problem being a back-of-the-pack-er. I'm a Slow Mofo™ after all. I'm just out there, doin' it.

Feeling great.

Tomorrow is strength training, and I'll hit 24 Hour Fitness, but I'm tempted to bust out the Power Yoga DVD, too. That stuff works, man.

Total Weight: -1lb

Day 6: Rest. In Sonoma :)

0 Brilliant Remarks
Today was a rest day. Rest days can be nice. Niiiiice.

It was gorgeous out. AGAIN! I can't believe how nice the weather's been.

There are few pleasures as sweet as taking the short hike up to wine country. It's an hour trip from San Francisco, and when the weather's nice it's truly beautiful to be up there. Jaw-droppingly so.

I strayed from the diet plan—I didn't completely pig out, but I wasn't strict. I just enjoyed myself, within reason. And since I was Designated Driver Guy I didn't pour a billion empty alcohol calories down the hatch.

I just enjoyed myself.

And it was good.

Photo courtesy jimg944 on Flickr.

Day 5: Powersleeper™

0 Brilliant Remarks
For whatever reason, I slept like 11 hours last night. That's really unusually for me, so I guess I needed it.

I woke up late (a luxury of working for yourself) and went about my usual shizzy: eating, swimming, etc. I actually mixed it up quite and re-figured my food intake for the day so I could eat a delicious burger at Chez Maman. Sooo good.

Tomorrow's a day off, which honestly will be nice. Today I felt pretty worked-over. Like the week of running and swimming and lifting and doing hip exercises and ab exercises and waking up early has worn me out a little. It's good.

I'm gonna turn in relatively early tonight and enjoy my day off tomorrow. I reckon me and @LosBee are heading to wine country! Gotta like that.

(Oh and it was gorgeous out AGAIN and looks to be nice tomorrow, too. Awesome.)


0 Brilliant Remarks
I looked around Flickr for a nice sunny pic to go with this post but didn't find anything that captured today's beauty at Crissy Field and the Bay. So, instead, I made this crappy image. Enjoy!

Today's run went great, even tho I was sucking some wind at some points. As an added value, it was on the warmer side (during which I generally crap out, so it was a great training and conditioning experience.

After the run I hit 24 Hour Fitness and did some lifting: bench, lat pull-downs, still dips. I did one set of squats (on the Smith machine—the squat rack was taken) but it didn't feel right, so I decided to let it go.

Good stuff!

As far as the other parts of the March-May plan, the last 2 nights of drinking and being out somewhat late caught up a bit, and I hit the snooze button for about 45 minutes... Didn't mean to but whatever. Food-wise I feel packed. We'll see how things go, but I feel like I'm getting more than enough food.

It's all about what you eat, because if you pick the right things you can seemingly eat like a pig. I learned that one a while ago, but it's still nice (and easy) to go slam down a burger and fries, you know? But that doesn't really get you where you want to go.

Total Weight: -3lbs

Day 3: Aww Yeah

0 Brilliant Remarks
Late post—just got back from the Great American Music Hall here in San Francisco. I met up with my buddy Dan for some din din, then watched his band OK Go play. Thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyable show. I'm a pretty jaded concert-goer; on top of seeing shows regularly from age 17 to age 25, I also bartended in a couple rock clubs way back when. It suffices to say I have seen just about everything. Twice.

But this was a truly fun experience. Not your average rock show.

(Convenient—and entirely accidental—timing, I just posted an interview with Dan, the drummer of OK Go at Hella Sound. Peep it out if you're curious.

Anyway, Day 3. Slept like the dead last night, got up, did the hip stuff, did the food stuff, then hit the pool and did laps for about 45 minutes. Freestyle, breaststroke and a bunch of frog kicks with the kickboard. It's cross-training for the Hal Higdon plan, and the frog kick—the kick you do for the breaststroke—is very therapeutic and strength-developing for the hips. So all around a good workout day.

Last night and tonight were both social eating and drinking nights, but I've basically been tweaking my diet to account for the beer and the restaurant food while staying (roughly) in the 50% carbs/35% protein/15% fats macronutrient breakdown and the 2200 calorie range. 2200 is a lot of calories to play with, and I'm glad to have such room to move. I'd be royally screwed if I was down to 1800.

Anyway, tomorrow's running and strength (plus all the other stuff). It'll be good.

*yawn* Goodnight.

Total Weight: -4lbs

Day 2: Good Stuff Abounds

0 Brilliant Remarks
Second day in and things are cruising along. Did my hip rehab exercises, did my food, did my running—good stuff. Plus, it was a gorgeous day for a run.

I'll tell you what: the Active Range of Motion exercises I'm doing for my hips have made an appreciable difference in how I feel when I run. It's hard to explain, but I feel much more stable and solid, and I feel like I have more "spring" in each stride. It's good.

I woke up a bit later than I wanted, but considering I'm adjusting my sleep schedule quite a bit that's not that big a deal.

I did have my follow-up Running Analysis session at CPMC today and it reaffirmed what I felt during my run: my stride has improved and I'm in a better place than I was a month ago. I'll write more on Hella Sound shortly.

Tomorrow's a swim day, which I'm looking forward to. Good stuff.

Total Weight: -3lbs (I tend to shift weight +- rapidly, so don't get too excited)

Merch Preferences: Ladies

20 Brilliant Remarks
Hella Sound Running Music

So at some point I'm going to want to put together some fancy, stylish apparel with the Hella Sound logo emblazoned. So I ask you first, ladies, what would be good to have? Leave your feedback as a comment, por favor!

- Tight or loose?
- "Technical" fabric or cotton?
- Black or white?
- Long-sleeved, short, or tank?
- Centered, larger logo or smaller logo placed over one hoot?
- Loose-fitting or tights?
- Shorts, running shorts or pants?
- "Technical" fabric or cotton?
- Black or white?
- Logo/writing on the ass, or no?
Thanks for the feedback!

Day 1: Mostly Tired with a Chance of Full

0 Brilliant Remarks
Yo kids.

So today was the much-heralded first day of my Master Plan, and it went really well. Well, with the exception of me not getting any sleep last night and spending the day in a haze.

Funny thing: when I start a new job, I tend to get all anxious and excited, and I historically have wicked insomnia the night before. Strangely, today was just like that. Also, part of the plan (as you can see by this embedded Google calendar) is waking up and getting crackin' at 7am. 7am is not early by any measure, but since I work from a home office I tend to start late and work late into the night. As a result, 7am is actually a little early for me right now.

So I had a sleepless night and started my day at 6am.

The exhaustion became overwhelming by about 6pm, so I set an alarm and passed out, planning to get up at 7:30pm. Unfortunately, I slept right through it and woke up at 10pm. Damn!

What I missed:
 1. my first day of strength training
2. 2 meals
3. the 2nd hip rehab workout
I planned on hitting the gym after my nap; it seemed like a bad idea to lift free weights on zero sleep, but now that it's past 10:30pm I think it's too late to lift.

I may just do my hip rehab exercises and some push-ups, squats, lunges and dead-lifts at home. Or I may bust out the "power yoga" DVD. The last thing I want to do is skip this.

Food-wise, I ate the Meal #4's protein (chicken breast) when I woke up, but not all the other components. Really, all day long I felt full. PLENTY of food in this plan. 2400 is no small amount of calories, and I tend to do very well eating like this. It works great for me. I just think I'm going to skip some of the planned food for today, given my wacky sleep scenario, and pick it up tomorrow.

Woulda been nice if today went like clockwork, but I think it went well regardless. I'm looking forward to tomorrow!


1 Brilliant Remarks
nervous...Tomorrow's the day I kick off my 2 month plan. And to be perfectly honest, I'm a little nervous. I think, in this process, it's really going to be about slowly learning self-control and some level of discipline. I just have to stay dedicated, stay focused and stay on top of it for 2 months, one step at a time.

Wish me luck! And, of course, kick me in the ass if I slack off at any point.

Photo courtesy law_keven on Flickr.

It's Get Busy Time

2 Brilliant Remarks
Alright kids, it's time for me to get serious. Seriously.

If you've read this blog for a while, you've seen me follow various plans, set various goals, and try various things to stay on top of fitness. What I've realized recently is that I do need a race on the horizon to stay on top of a running plan. I can do something for a month or so on my own, but if I don't have a goal I lose focus and slack off.

Right now I'm committing to getting serious about this.

Background: More Than You Probably Want To Know

I haven't really elucidated my medical issue I eluded to early on in this blog. I'm not totally sure I will fully explain it; I guess I'm not wholly comfortable laying it out for all the world to see.

It suffices to say that, after having horrible headaches for 8 months, a neurologist found a problem nestled inside my skull. A walnut-sized problem, to be more precise. Not a life-threatening problem, but definitely something that has thrown me out of whack and caused various medical funkeries.

Anyhoo, this little bugger has been growing in there for 5, maybe 10 years, which nicely coincides with quite a bit of weight gain on my part. I reckon it has caused metabolic funkiness, muscle development funkiness, and physical funkiness in general. On top of it, I quit smoking about 10+ years ago and for a short while substituted Snickers bars for Camel Lights, which will, of course, pack on pounds faster than a cheetah can close in on a fuzzy bunny rabbit.

Things are good, and I'm on medicine that has put me back in balance. This medicine, however, is essentially steroids, so it is also contributing to my overall mass. So what does this all come down to?

It's Time To Get Serious

So this post is all about my new all-encompassing plan. It's a 2 month plan leading up to the ING Bay to Breakers 12k in San Francisco, which I'll be running with some Bay Area folk I've met on Twitter.

The Plan: March 2009 — May 2009

The overall plan can be broken into 4 parts:
  1. Running Training Plan
  2. Strict (for me) Nutrition Plan
  3. Hip Rehabilitation Plan
  4. Ab & Core Strengthening Plan
Running Training Plan
I'm going with Hal Higdon's Novice 10k Training Program. Yeah, I've run 10ks before, but since my hip is a little jacked up I'm not looking to win medals here—I just want to finish without looking like a jackhole.

Week Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 Stretch & strength 2.5 m run 30 min cross 2 m run + strength Rest 40 min cross 3 m run
2 Stretch & strength 2.5 m run 30 min cross 2 m run + strength Rest 40 min cross 3.5 m run
3 Stretch & strength 2.5 m run 35 min cross 2 m run + strength Rest 50 min cross 4 m run
4 Stretch & strength 3 m run 35 min cross 2 m run + strength Rest 50 min cross 4 m run
5 Stretch & strength 3 m run 40 min cross 2 m run + strength Rest 60 min cross 4.5 m run
6 Stretch & strength 3 m run 40 min cross 2 m run + strength Rest 60 min cross 5 m run
7 Stretch & strength 3 m run 45 min cross 2 m run + strength Rest 60 min cross 5.5 m run
8 Stretch & strength 3 m run 30 min cross 2 m run + strength Rest Rest 10-K Race

Strict (for me) Nutrition Plan
This is going to be one of the major challenges; I tend to eat whatever the hell I want, and a lot of it. But I think this is where the majority of my improvement will come.

I'm going with a rough macronutrient breakdown of 50% carbs, 35% protein and 15% fat. This'll be a huge departure for me, since I eat pretty poorly and indulgently.

Here's a look at what an average day's food intake will be like:

PROTEIN POWDER (w/ coffee)

MILK 1 cup

MILK 1 cup

OLIVE OIL 1 tbsp

BROCCOLI 3 florets


I'm shooting for about 2200 calories coming from pretty darn "clean" food sources. I'll make substitutions as need be (out of boredom or if social eating or drinking plans arise). I generally do well eating like this, and hopefully I won't slack off or get too bored in the 2 months I'll be eating like this.

Hip Rehabilitation Plan
I'm going to religiously do the prescribed exercises every single day, 2 times a day as recommended. These exercises are for strengthening my hips, which will ostensibly improve my running form and overall hip health. Also, they will hopefully prevent injury...
(AROM == Active Range of Motion)
  1. AROM Lumbar Bridging (Bilateral): 3 sets of 20 reps
  2. AROM Hip Extension/Rotation: 3 sets of 20 reps
  3. AROM Hip Abductor (Unilateral): 3 sets of 20 reps
  4. Isometric Trans Abdominis: 3 sets of 20 reps
  5. Standing Bilateral Hip Stretch: 3 reps held 30 seconds
Ab & Core Strengthening Plan
Like most people that work in front of a computer, my abs (and thus my posture) could be improved. I recently picked up Stronger Abs and Back and plan to incorporate their tiered program into my daily routine. What the hell, why not, right?

Your Part In All This

So why the hell am I telling you all this? Well, basically, I want to be held accountable for staying on top of this, taking the steps every day, and sticking to this 2 month plan. This is something I need to commit to, and to be honest, I'm nervous that I won't pass the gut check. I'm worried that I'm going to wuss out.

So, as usual, this here blog will be my way of posting my workouts, celebrating success, and if it comes down to it, owning up to failure.

Wish me luck. And kick me in the ass if I slack off. Seriously.

A Gift of Running Music for Your Earhole

0 Brilliant Remarks
No, unfortunately I don't have a kick-ass workout to report, but I do have some kick-ass music to report:

Hella Sound running music is now for sale!

Our first release, How To Turn Around A Bad Day, is available for download.

This first song was a long time in the making, and I can't wait to hear how it works for your run. I'm gonna do a little write-up on Hella Sound about the song—provide some detail on the various parts, what I was going for and what my inspiration was, etc. A sort of low-frills Behind The Music, if you will.

Anyhoo, I have a little gift for you folks that read Slow Mofo:


That's a buck off, just for you. Click any of the links above to go to the song page, or just click this link right here.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy!

(PSSST! The coupon expires at the end of this month (March), so go get it while the gettin's good.)

A Pool. A Nice Pool. A Very Nice Pool.

0 Brilliant Remarks
After my horrendous experience at the Potrero 24 Hour Fitness pool I scrambled, looking for other available pools to get my kicks (as it were). Rossi Pool in San Francisco got a good review (and doesn't require a $60/month membership), so I gave it a go.

What a great experience. The pool was very clean, with incredibly wide lanes. They use the counter-clockwise lane share method, meaning you can have multiple people swimming in one lane and instead of going back and forth you move in a circular fashion. The lanes are divided into Slow, Medium and Fast, so you're not swimming up anyone's keister. And, in the event you want to go a bit faster than the retired person in front of you, there's plenty of room to pass them. The etiquette for all this is posted on the wall, and everyone seems to get along harmoniously.

I probably spent a total of 30 minutes in the water, 25 of which were doing frog kicks with the kickboard in the slow lane. And yeah, even though I was doing frog kicks I still passed some folks. But hey, if I'm like these folks and swimming when I'm 90 it'll be a miracle.

I bounced to the Medium lane to do full breaststroke, and the Fast lane to do some freestyle, but this whole thing is about working on my hips. And I think I got some good work in. Swimming, along with the hip exercises I was given, seem very effective. Hopefully I get what I'm looking for out of this.

Back on the Horse. A Little.

0 Brilliant Remarks
The intent was to run 3 miles and then lift weights. I ran a little less than 2 and skipped the gym.

I'm recovering from a bit of a nagging cold, but I am mostly feeling my own vincibility (which is to say I'm *not* invincible). The gait analysis has made me want to be cautious and tend to my hips first and foremost, and really this is not a bad thing.

As explained before, I've always based my training predominantly around races, and have frequently jumped into a training program without building up a really solid base. As a result I tend to get little tweaks and pains (and sometimes bigger tweaks and pains) that become an issue.

So, I'm being a wuss. But I'm also looking at this as an opportunity to *slowly* develop my base, for a change. If, for the next month or 2, I only run 2 mile sets, so be it. I'm looking for health and fitness here, not to prove some big monolithic thing to myself.

Rationalization is divine, isn't it? ;)

Now That's a Nasty Pool

1 Brilliant Remarks
Like I said, I was going to start swimming again.

I've had about 2 weeks off with busyness and a cold and was ready to get going today.

Murkiest. Pool. Ever.

Just nasty. I just finished my write-up on Yelp! so head over there and read what I had to say on the matter if you're curious.

Very disappointing. There's one other pool I'm going to try in the area, but if that's a bust then it looks like I'm going to have to wait a bit before I get my swim on.

Tomorrow is a run and a lift. L8r t8r.

Photo courtesy Read Me on Flickr.