Sunday, December 7, 2014


Waaayyy back in 2010, when I was close to turning 30, I decided I should go in for a physical. This would be the first physical I'd gotten since I was in college and on my parents' healthcare insurance. The results were fine. In fact, the nurse told me that my bloodwork was so healthy it was "sickening."

What wasn't fine was my weight.

I'm 5'9" and on the stocky side. During my senior year in high school, when I ran 40-50 miles a week in the spring/summer/fall and starved myself for wrestling in the winter, I weighed roughly 150 pounds. 

By the time I graduated college, at age 23, I weighed about 170 pounds, which I thought was fine, basically about what I should weigh given my age and frame. 

On May 10th, 2010, at age 29, I weighed 220 pounds.

As the nurse read my weight out loud on the scale, I shook my head and smiled. I believe she thought my smile meant, My, how that weight certainly does creep up! when in reality, I was thinking to myself, HOLY SHIT! HOLY SHIT! HOW THE HELL DID I GET SO GODDAM HEAVY?!

Immediate action was needed. I decided to do what I had done back in 2005: run a marathon. It wouldn't be easy, but it shouldn't be too bad. After all, I ran throughout high school, kept it up a bit in college, and was able to train pretty well for a marathon back in 2005. The extra 50 pounds I was now carrying shouldn't be that much of a factor. 

I believed this, because I was a moron. 

Training for a marathon in 2010 was one of the toughest summers of my life. It didn't help that the summer of 2010 in Chicago was disgustingly hot.  The marathon itself, though in October, also reached about 85 degrees Fahrenheit. My finishing time was 5 hours and 55 minutes. Five years earlier, at age 24, my finishing time for the Chicago Marathon was 4 hours and 15 minutes. 

Apparently the extra 50 pounds made a slight difference.

There were some other factors for such a shitty time: getting excited and starting out too fast, relying on a faulty Nike iPod odometer, which slighted over-calculated my distance over 3 months of training. 

The reason I ran, losing weight, did not produce the stunning results I'd been hoping for either. Oh, I'd lost some weight, down to about 210 lbs, but I'd been hoping to get to 180.

However, I did go from this:

To this:

within a year, so some success. (Both these pictures were taken at friends' weddings about a year apart).

I decided to run the Chicago Marathon again in 2011. Which I finished in 5:15. My weight was down to about 200 lbs. Not bad, but not where I wanted to be. So then I decided to run the Chicago marathon again, only this time, I was also going to watch what I ate as well as meticulously plan my runs using MapMyRun.

In the 2012 Chicago Marathon, I finished in 4:35 minutes. I am absurdly proud of this, though really, for a runner my age, it's barely in the middle of the pack, and also twenty minutes slower than when I ran it in 2005.

I also weighed about 185 pounds at that point, which I was unbelievably ecstatic about, as I was able to fit into all of my old clothes again. 

Over the next year, I did OK with running and my weight, keeping it around 185-190 and managing to get about 5-15 miles in per week. Not perfect, but not bad either. Maintainable. 

Flash forward to today... since moving out to Seattle, and discovering its wonderful food (I'm pretty certain they lace their sushi with crack), I was disappointed, though unsurprised, to see my weight has crept up to 205 lbs. 

And that's why, on June 14th, 2015, five days after my 34th birthday, I'll be running the Seattle Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon. Half-marathon, instead of a full, because Seattle is A LOT hillier than Chicago and I'm still getting used to running up and down the mountainous roads of the Pacific Northwest. Also, I've come to believe that a half-marathon is sort of an optimal healthy distance for running. I've felt great running a half-marathon, but in a full 26.2, there's I always hit a point where I think to myself, "OK, this is no longer beneficial to my body."

I'm not saying running is the healthiest or the best way to go about losing weight. I can only say that it works for me consistently. I burn more calories than I consume when I'm running regularly. That's just math, bitches. It also helps to eat right, get enough sleep, and not overindulge in anything worth overindulging in. There are some great training programs out there, and a lot of them are free.

So I would encourage any one of my friends who doesn't run to give it a try. It's a great time to think about things. (I frequently brainstorm story and book ideas.) You can listen to some fantastic music to get you motivated. (I think I'll post my running playlist soon.) And, though you may not believe it, you get the benefits of a runners' high, which is like Mother Nature's own anti-depressant/sedative.

Take a step out onto the road. You won't regret it. :)

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