Sunday, February 20, 2011

What worked....

Weighing less equals being healthy, right?  Believing this statement means that if you loose weight, especially if you are obese, you will receive all the benefits of being healthy.  We diet to loose weight. We diet because its easier, doesn't affect our schedule, and we see instant gratification with the first 10 pounds of water weight we loose.

This was the cycle my wife and I were in.  When we did not feel good about ourselves, we would put ourselves on a diet.  Once we reached our "goal weight," we would slowly creep back to our "normal" weight.

It was time to break the cycle.  It was our time to break the cycle.  Two events helped us.  First my wife was asked to be in a wedding. This gave her the desire to loose weight.  Second, we wanted to simplify our lives financially. So I began riding my bicycle to work.  This was 11 mile round trip so I began the dropping pounds.

Now here was the challenge: we have three young children.  So what could we do as a family that also allowed us to get healthy?  It started at Lafayette Reservoir.  We started walking around the lake as usual.  We had a double jogger and some how fit all three kids on it.  One day my wife, and I still do not know what got into to her, began to run.  Not very far at first, only a quarter mile, back to the car.  Then half a mile.  Then half the lake.  Then the entire 2.8 miles of the reservoir.  This is not a flat trail, it is pretty challenging.

I was left to either walk around the lake or join her. I will admit, by this time, I hated to run.  However, we had decided to get healthy together, so I also began to run.

She also began a on-line crosstraining program.  I started tracking my miles on my bike and running.  I started tracking my calories on  We began eating a lot of grilled chicken, fish, salad.  We experimented with different ingredients. And we lost the weight.

The final component to healthy living was when a couple we are friends with invited us to do an Urban Race.  This is like the Amazing Race in San Francisco.  By this time I had lost 40 pounds and was feeling younger.  We placed 13th out of 189 couples. I couldn't believe that we were doing it.  Climbing the hills in San Francisco, doing the obstacle course, it was crazy!!!  We did three of these that year.

Next, my wife signed up for a 5K (3.1 miles) in Lafayette.  We trained together for this but two weeks before the race she sprained her ankle!  She was good to go by race time though, and did it within 27 minutes.

Then she talked me into a trail run.  We went through Pacific Coast Trail Runs and ran the Muir Beach run.  This was an 11K and took me back to my days at Stadium High School.  If you ever want to try trail running, I really recommend this course.  It has beautiful vistas of the Pacific Ocean and runs through the Marin Headlands.  It was a beautiful day and it was wonderful doing this race with her.  This was early December.

Then she suggested that I consider the Surf City half-marathon in Huntington Beach.  This would be on the first Sunday in February. This would mean very little training time.  However this half-marathon had special significance. First, this was the beach my parents and grandparents would take us to when we were kids.  Beach music would be played through out the course, taking me back to my childhood. Finally, I would turn 40 ten days after the race.....

I will describe the training for this race and the race details in my next post.  However,  I can say that this was the race that I began to enjoy running again.  I also realized that I had limited myself.  If I set my mind to something, set the right priorities, then worked toward that goal, that I could achieve what I set out to do...

To sum up.  The goal is being healthy, not to loose weight to be healthy.  It means being accountable for yourself.  It means being balanced and realistic about your limitations.  However, it is OK to challenge yourself and test the validity of your limitations.  

Be active!!!  Find that one activity that you enjoy.  If you are married or have a family, find the activity or activities that you can do together.  Have fun, don't be a victim of circumstance, keep moving forward!!

Next my first half-marathon.....

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