Thursday, Apr 24, 2014
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Category: Running

There is a difference between getting fit, and staying healthy.

Lot of us spend our days sitting around and not being as active as we could (or should).   We then add rich and fatty foods to our sedentary lifestyle, and blam, we have a few to many extra lb’s.  This isn’t rocket science, and this is a story that we all can relate to.  (Medical conditions not being accounted for here)  So, what happens?  We get fat or, we do something about it.

All of us find motivation to get fit one way or the other.  Maybe it was someone mentioning that you looked bigger, maybe your favorite jeans didn’t fit, or maybe you look in the mirror one day are say enough is enough.  Whatever your reason to get fit, you need to look at a method/program to follow.  (Any Fitness Program will take dedication and laser focus to get great results.)  And this is different from staying or being healthy.

You can lead a less active lifestyle if you choose not to overeat.  This does not mean you can get by without some basic exercise.  Staying healthy means doing what you need to do to feel good, and live the life you want to live.  You don’t have to eat “organic” this or “natural” that, and you don’t have to join an extreme fitness gym.  You have to take accountability for your actions (or inaction), and not be a glutton.

To get fit, now there is a challenge.  I believe you must follow a meal plan (to the letter) and you must also increase your activity significantly.  It will be a ramp up to extreme fitness training, and it will be hard, but you will get through it, and you will be better off.  Home programs like P90X, Insanity, and Turbo Fire will give you great results if you follow them.  As will gym based programs, working with a personal trainer, or competitive sports/martial arts.  There are so many activity choices once you dial in your meal plan.

Me, I like my Beach Body videos.  I can throw together a 30,60, 90 day fitness program and get back to being lean and ripped.  I can target improving my cardio or just work to look better naked.  (Everyone wants that)  This isn’t the best way, it is my way, and a way which has been working for the last 5 years.  (Plus Soccer, Sambo, and other craziness)  The important thing for me is to stay active for several weeks while keeping my eating/drinking in check.

Once I am where I want to be fitness wise, well then the slow slide back to needing a fitness kick in the ass begins.  It is called maintenance mode.  Still not being a glutton, but having a lot more flexibility in my eating.  Many people call this time, “Staying Healthy.”  But even when “Staying Healthy” you may (probably will) gain weight, and need to kick it into high gear for a time.  And however long you need to kick it into high gear is decided on how far you are willing to let yourself slide.

My typical reset trigger: when I reach 201lbs, and it isn’t due to heavy salt or lots of drinking.  This is usually a day or 2 thing.  (Bloat) When that weight remains pretty consistent for a week or 2, I know it is time to get back down to 190-195.

Do you have a trigger?  Do you have a goal weight?  Are you happy with how you look right now?  Do you want to feel better?  What is your motivation?

-FitLifeSFRob

 


“What you want is irrelevant. What you’ve chosen is at hand.”

This nugget of wisdom popped out at me from the background noise of Wrath of Khan on SyFy last weekend. It felt particularly prescient as I hobbled about on my crutches, moping about yet another San Francisco Marathon training cycle gone to the dogs thanks to a stress fracture—My seventh in four years, and this one the femoral neck, which is generally considered the “worst kind.”

Thankfully, I have the “better kind” of the “worst kind” of stress fracture (compression-side vs tension-side) and am cleared to swim, so it’s back to MLK pool for me. Coincidentally, about the same time I got hit with the injury, I started back to work with a company that does a lot of work with triathletes, so of course the wheels get to spinning again as they do nearly every time I’m in this situation… “Maybe I should just suck it up and do a tri…”

Nearly every year, I find myself in some ways crossing paths with the Escape from Alcatraz hullabaloo. And every year I say, “I want to do that!” Escape is this coming weekend, so I’m definitely catching the buzz again. It’s not the swim from Alcatraz that gets me worried, though, it’s that damn bike. Especially in San Francisco where cyclists and everybody else are about as friendly as the Crips and the Bloods. But, get a nice road bike and a wind trainer and I can picture myself happily whizzing away in the driveway for hours at a stretch (I do love spin classes). I wouldn’t have to ride through the city that much. There are paths I can drive to. I can join a tri club to show me the ropes. I can get over it. Can’t I?

There’s really no good reason not to take the plunge. Having three disciplines to train in vs one means I can reduce the amount of pounding and still grow my endurance and cardiovascular fitness. And, as much as it might feel like it, this move doesn’t mean that I am “giving up on running.” I can still bust out races up to half marathon on a whim or go for a long run with my running buddies—and rumor has it my running might even improve. Inarguably, it will improve beyond my top Crutch Pace.

If I make the commitment to do this, I’ll have invested in all the equipment and learning I need to swim in the bay whenever I want or hop on the bike on the wind trainer in the garage in the mornings before work, so even if I don’t like all three in a race setting, I’ve increased my crosstraining options 200%. I’ll get to geek out on learning about a whole new set of training modalities and buy all sorts of new technical crap and have a whole new set of numbers to crunch. And, have you seen a triathlete’s physique?! Not a bad endorsement at all.

So, having weighed the pros (and corresponding lack of cons– cost and aversion to cycling being the only two I can find), I am officially on the record: No more “maybe I should” or “one day I ought to…”

What I want is irrelevant. What I’ve chosen is at hand.

Before the year is through [insert all necessary prostrations before the gods], Smurf will be a triathlete.

At the very least, the journey should make for loads of entertaining blogfodder as I stumble my way through the process. I hope you’ll get at least a few laughs at my expense and maybe find the inspiration to push your own boundaries.


Love Being a Lab Rat! SFSU Metabolism Study

Here's me all hooked up for the VO2max testing.

I’ve always loved any kind of medical testing.

When I worked in the back office of a pediatrician and had unfettered access to the hemoglobin machine, blood pressure cuffs, and urinalysis strips, let’s just say I was the most well-ironed, diastolic-aware, clean-peeing medical assistant that ever lived.

Which, I think is part of the reason I love running… I can hook myself up to a heartrate monitor and look at graphs and numbers and track fueling and hydration and all sorts of other data that gives a window into the thoroughly awesome stuff that happens inside the body.

So, needless to say, when my running buddy let me know that a grad student at SFSU was looking for guinea pigs who ran 30 miles a week, and that those guinea pigs would get VO2max tested, hydrostatic bodyfat tested and metabolism tested (twice!) for free, I threw my furry little rodent paw up! (Click the red “learn more” button for the rest of the story– we still need to fix that design flaw.)


Congratulations! You’re A Little Bit Going to Boston!

Stand around any marathon finishline between 3:15 and about 3:50 after the starting gun and you’re sure to hear many finishers and spectators yell those words every runner wants to hear… “You’re going to Boston!” For many recreational runners, qualifying for the prestigious Boston Marathon is a years-long goal in the making.

Two years ago, I half-jokingly set myself the pie in the sky goal of qualifying for Boston my first time out in San Francisco, one of the more difficult courses in the country– and surprised myself by nearly accomplishing it.  My qualifying time is 3:45:59 and I ran a 3:48:58.  So, this year, my goal was to hear those words– YOU’RE GOING TO BOSTON!

Slight wrench in the plans.

Today, the Boston Athletic Association announced changes to the qualifying process.  Now, I’ll admit the changes are necessary since last year’s field filled up, as the locals would say, “wicked-fast. ”  The changes in a nutshell: Runners who qualify for the 2012 race will be allowed to register in waves, starting with those who beat their qualifying time by at least 20 minutes, followed two days later by those who beat it by 10 minutes, followed by those who beat it by 5, followed by the riff-raff who only just hit it by four or less.   In addition to these changes, for the 2013 race, qualifying times for all age groups will drop by five minutes.

Personally, I’d almost rather they drop the times another 5 minutes to make it an even 10 across the board and do away with the waved registration… I want that moment of knowing I qualified for Boston, even if it takes another year or so, rather than having to say I “qualified with an asterisk.”

Like being “a little bit pregnant,” now it’s not so much “You’re going to Boston!” as it is “There is a mathematically not totally insignificant possibility that there could still be spots left when you are allowed to register for Boston!!” And that’s a lot to write on a sign or yell out after running 26.2 miles.

It does, however, make a nice eCard:
someecards.com - Congratulations! It's not a statistical impossibility that there will still be spots left when your group is allowed to register for the Boston Marathon!


San Francisco Marathon Fever is Contagious

It might still be 22 weeks away (who’s counting?!) But I am definitely feeling that old familiar tickling in the bottom of my feets that can mean only one thing… San Francisco Marathon fever is about to set in!

I ran last year’s as my debut marathon and came within two minutes of qualifying for Boston. This year? Boston, baby!  Well, Boston or another stress fracture, but I’m hoping for Boston.

Also, feeding the fever? Aron over at Runners Rambles is giving away a free entry! And, you know I love me some free. Even if you aren’t planning on giving SFM a whirl, check out her blog for your own running inspiration– she’s a fellow Bay Area woman runner who started the blog to chronicle her first go at SFM, and who has since qualified for Boston and forged an awesomely fit life with running at its core.

My mantra for SF Marathon 2010: "If you can, you must. If you cannot, you must try." Bikram Choudhury


Maximum Motivation 3- Reward Yourself!

This is a re-post of a multi-part series I did over on the Yahoo! Blog about motivation. If you want the ultimate in motivation, there’s still time to join the FitLifeSF 10-Week Challenge!

Welcome back to our series on motivation and finding ways to keep your fitness regime from getting stale.  We’ve already talked about ways to mix things up and keep it fresh as well as using goalsetting and progress tracking as motivation tools. Today’s topic is using rewards to keep you moving forward.


Runners- Relive your Cross Country Glory Days!

So, I never ran cross country. I always considered myself “too cool,”  priding myself on being “not a TRACK person, but a FIELD person.” I famously walked across the finishline on a 200M because I firmly believed anything over 100M was strictly for the socially inept and, god forbid, I’d actually admit I belonged in that camp. Now, twenty years later, I don’t see a reason to go run unless it’s more than 8 miles, and I’ve since reconnected with those “cross country kids” on Facebook and realize they’re a pretty cool bunch.  So, what better chance to make amends than to rock an all-comers adult cross country challenge in Golden Gate Park?!

The Bay Area Track Club (BATC) is proud to announce the inaugural Bay Area Cross Challenge (BAXC). The BAXC is a unique opportunity for runners of all ability levels to compete alongside professional distance runners on a cross country course in the heart of San Francisco. The event is also aimed at establishing a professional cross country season in the United States to compliment the national and international offerings in January and February, namely the US Cross Country Championships and the World Cross Country Championships.

Check out this link for details. The event is Sunday, Jan 16 in Golden Gate Park.


Spontaneity can lead to fun fitness

I met up with a buddy of mine today to catch up and shoot the shit.  During our conversation which touched on work, common friends, and general insanity, he mentioned he just joined an adult dodgeball league.  Let me repeat that, an ADULT DODGEBALL LEAGUE.  Bad assed!

He tells me it is run by the San Francisco Recreation Department, and will go for 10 weeks starting tonight.  It goes from 7:30-9:00 on Friday nights at the newly remodeled gymnasium about a mile from my house.  So, of course I had to look it up online.  Low and behold, it was not only NOT FULL, but it only cost $27.00.  You got it, $2.70 a week to run around like a kid and throw balls at people.  AWESOME.

Now here is the part that blew me away; I went to the Parks and Recreation website and was stunned.  They offer all sorts of great classes for kids through seniors.  Everything from art classes to fitness classes to sports to ballroom dancing to theatre.  Again…AWESOME.  And they do it cheap!  All you have to do is join the parks and recreation site (Free to join) and then start choosing places and classes.  You pay for the classes you want to take.

I HIGHLY recommend anyone in SF who is looking for something fun to do, to visit this site. 

Because of a conversation with a friend, tonight I was throwing balls at strangers and having a great time.  And the other people playing had as much fun as I did.  Good times.  Very good times.  (and rather spontaneous)

I wonder what I will try next?

-Rob


Men and Women trying to lose weight, listen up! You are not alone.

You are reading this because you are one of the normal people who wants to get more fit.  I say “get more fit,” because some people want to lose weight, some want to add definition, and some of you want to put on muscle mass.  All of you want to improve your fitness level, and are looking for that “magical something” to make it happen.

Well, here’s the secret.  99% of you already have what it takes to get more fit.  You are reading this, and this shows me you have the desire to make a change.  Now we have to make that desire an action, then a habit. 


San Francisco Marathon Race Report- Smurf’s First Marathon!

Background: So, this might be redundant for some of you, but for those first joining the story I feel like it’s important to say that I didn’t intend to run San Francisco Marathon this year. Last year, I’d had 4 or so stress fractures, my most recent coming on in one step on mile 7 of an 8-mile easy run on Thanksgiving. Fibula. A bone that rarely gets broken, since it’s technically not weight-bearing, but I managed it. Running great, feeling strong… step… broken bone. I remember the exact spot where it happened on the Embarcadero, just before the marina before the ballpark. So every step of the way this training cycle, that was in the back of my mind. “You feel great, but one step…. One step is all it takes.” Even to my last two miler on Friday… “One step and your world can change.”