Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Armpocket Armband

Since its getting close to the most wonderful time of the year, I figured I would toss this one out there as a must have if you exercise with your phone.  I use an Armpocket Xtreme i-30 (there are other models).  I had to use this one due to the size of my phone (Android Galaxy Nexus).  There are 3 armband sizes small/med/large and an assortment of colors to choose from.  While this is a somewhat bulky armband, once your moving you hardly notice your wearing it.  Other than your phone, there is a small area to hold keys, slots for credit cards/id, or anything else that is about the size of your phone.  The back of the armband has memory foam which will fit snug to anyone's arm shape and tbh it works a treat.  I know there are other options out there, but since I always have my phone and sometimes jog at the local high school track this suits me perfect.  I want to say I've used mine for about 6 months now with 0 issues.  I don't think you will be disappointed if you buy anything from  If you hunt around they sometimes have free shipping coupon code.

Here is a pic of the inside.  My Nexus would fit right up in the top half with the strap plus plenty of room for other goodies behind it.

Friday, December 7, 2012

1 month - No Exercise

I didn't really plan this but it just happened.  Hurricane Sandy handed me a week of high winds and cold weather.  I figured a week off was due since I've been hard at it since June.  1 week lead into 2 with the cold weather.  I attempted to jog once when it was in the 40's which was fine was running but holy hell it got cold fast on my cool down.  I ran a 5K that weekend but other then those 2 days, that was it.  After 2 weeks of basically no exercise, I figured lets wait this out for a few more weeks.  I wanted to see if the exercise was the key in my weight loss/maintenance or the amount of calories I was eating.

I am happy to report, 4 weeks later, my weight basically remained the same.  TBH I was very pleased with the results.  It showed me that I can live this lifestyle without exercise and not balloon back to 300+ lbs.  So what does this tell me?  I can miss a day or 2 of exercise without huge repercussions.  It also shows that just diet alone you can still succeed in your weight loss (which I did in my first diet before my wedding).  I don't recommend that route (I can't wait for it to get warmer to get back out there) but missing a day isn't the end of the world.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Turkey Day!

Just want to wish everyone a Merry Thanksgiving!  While I know this is a trying time for some, just remember this is but one small bump in the road to your goal.  This is a day of celebration when the Pilgrims ate some popcorn and watched Charlie Brown Special with the Germans.  Enjoy the day but also don't forget this isn't a free pass to go hog wild.  Everything in moderation, unless your talking about pumpkin pie. :)  Hope everyone has a safe and filling day!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I have tried a handful of granola, protein, and energy bars through the years.  While on a diet or just looking for something different to eat, I've tried plenty.  We got a coupon at Krogers for $2 off a box of Cliff Granola Bars.  They were on sale and you really can't go wrong with peanut butter crunchy granola bars.  Without sounding like an add for Clif, the granola bars were hands down the best I've ever had.  The website boast about using organic ingredients but I don't really care.. they are that good!  They were not hard like Nature Valleys bars and just have a nice texture to them.  My only issue with the granola bars is that they are expensive.  $2.50 a box on sale and you get 10 bars where Nature Valley you get 12 bars for $2-2.50.  That is the main reason I stick with Kroger or Nature Valley, price.

Clif Builder's Protein Bars are not to shabby either.  Come in 8 dif flavors and tend to be priced right with other brands.  Same goes for the original Clif Bar.  They just came out with Crunchy Peanut Butter which is very yummy.  I put one of these in my pocket and just took little bites of it during my 10 mile jog a few weeks ago.  Did it work?  No idea but I did manage to jog 10 miles.  It also didn't upset my belly during the run either.  That is a double bonus for me.  These come in over 20 different flavors with a  few of them being seasonal (Peppermint Stick).  I do enjoy getting behind a company who sponsors athletes in various sports.  That and I also like the color red, so I would have no problem wearing one of their shirts.  You hear that Clif?  Im an XL or 2X now. 


Tuesday, October 30, 2012


I use a HRM (Heart Rate Monitor) every time I work out.  It is a Polar FT7 that uses a chest strap.  When I was walking I used it 99% of the time to see how long I've walked and how many calories I've burned.  Since I use MFP and count calories, knowing exactly how many I've burned helps.  MFP is hit and miss on estimated calories burned, so a HRM is one of the few tools you can use.   During most of my walks I was pushing my 2 boys in a stroller so there could be a 250-400 calories difference from my HRM to MFP.  While they are not 100% correct, I feel it's better then nothing.  Now, once I started to jog I used the HRM to see where my HR was when I felt winded (plus the calorie burn).  I know there is the equation for Max HR 220- Age but I've read on a few running forums that is not 100% accurate.  Since I have no other option right now, I use the formula as a base.  For me its 186 and to be honest unless I'm at full sprint I never get near it.  At least with the HRM I know where I'm at.  Since I'm doing this for my health first then to get in shape for races, I figure error on the safe side seems like a good idea. :)  I did some research on HRM before I bought mine and it seems that Polar is one of the top brands.  There are plenty to choose from and most of the base ones seem to be in the same price range.  If your into counting calories like me, I feel it's 100% worth it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Weight Loss Myths: Bob Harper's Tips To Get In Shape

Retweet: Bob Harper from Biggest Looser (that other weight loss show I'm sure you might have heard of) article in Huffington Post about weight loss.  This is a simple and to the point article that I feel some folks take these tips to the extreme.  You know who you are! :)  I am not talking about a certain friend of mine that lives near Chicago either.  **cough**cough**

Monday, October 22, 2012

Velocity Bike and Bean, Florence, KY.

This is geared more towards my local crowd.  My bike had issues and I'm sure Montgomery Cyclery would have worked but I figured I would give this new place a shot.  Its called Velocity Bike and Bean which is located on 18 across from the skate park.  Im walking my bike in and the first thing I noticed was the bean part of the place.  Yes, the front half of the store is a coffee shop and the back half is the bike shop.  It's a mom and pop type place and from what I hear it has really good coffee.  I wouldn't know, I don't drink the stuff.  No one was in there so he put my bike on the rack and took a quick peek at it.  I ended up having a gear bent that was causing issues while shifting.  Replaced the gear, bent back another piece that was slightly off and adjusted my gears.  All of this for $43!  While I haven't ever took a bike in to get fixed this sounded very cheap.  Needless to say I highly recommend Velocity Bike and Bean for your bike and coffee needs.  I would much rather deal with a place like this then a large chain.  Now I just need to ride the bike more often. :)

You can visit their website at

Monday, October 15, 2012

I'm never going to say, "I can't" anymore.

2012 Ironman Kona was last weekend.  This is the Super Bowl of Ironman races.  Little over 2000 (I think) people started and it looks about only 1886 finished.  Last person to finish was Harriet Anderson from San Carlos, CA.  Why do I even mention this?  She is 77 years old and just did something I can only dream about right now.  She was the last person to finish this years Ironman Kona in 16:59:19.  Yes that is 16 hours 59 mins and 19 seconds.  "I can't" is no longer an option when this little old lady just finished an Ironman race.  Here is the video of her finishing.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Apps I use

Since not so smart phones and tablets are all the cray cray right now, apps are a basic part of some of our lives.  Prime example for me, My Fitness Pal app that I have logged into for 430 days in a row.  Through the past 430 days I have tried numerous fitness based apps.  Some good, some bad, some ugly.  Here is a list of what I've used so far.

1) My Fitness Pal, no need to say anything else
2) My Tracks, Googles GPS app to track where your going.  I used this on my Droid Eris and it just wasn't that good.  It could have been my location or my phone but that app just didn't work well for me.  
3) Noom CardioTrainer, I used this app for 6-8 months on my Droid Eris.  When I used the free app there wasn't much to it other then it would keep track of your workouts and total miles.  That's all I used it for.  From Google Earth and driving our street, it was by far the most accurate GPS app for me.  Simple to the point and since I was only walking when I used it got the job done.
4) Sports Tracker, only used it for 1 or 2 walks.  Like the user interface but it was way off on distance.  This was also with my Eris which wasn't the greatest phone.  
5) Endomondo Sports Tracker, I really liked its user interface and all the extra little things it did.  I did use this for a little bit but when I upgraded to my Nexus it didn't work right off the bat.  Overall this is a solid app but I fell in love with another app.
6) Map My Run, Once my brother showed me (Map My Ride) I was hooked.  Map My Walk/Run/Ride are all the same basic apps (I think) and you can change what exercise your doing before you start a workout.  This has been by far the most accurate distance wise and the calorie burn for my runs are not far off what my HRM says.  Where this app excels at is its website.  I can go on and on but its one of those you just have to check out for yourself.  One key feature of the site is that you can create a course.  It pulls up Google Maps and allows you click away on the map to create a course.  It will tell you how far you have gone and has a few options on how to create it.  I have used this to help me figure out where to go on my long runs and bike rides.  You can save the routes and even search other users submitted routes.  This is all done on  Since I started using this app, I haven't even looked into the other apps listed above or even sought out new ones.  This app seems to do everything I need and more.  
7) C25K, The Guy Hoffman Couch to 5K, This is a great app that helps you go from walking to running 30 mins straight.  While its called C25K, I have yet to run a 5K in 30 mins. lol  The idea for the app is to get your body used to running.  It slowly builds up the running over time till you are able to jog 30 mins straight.  If your new to jogging and need a little structure, hands down the best app to use.

I know there are GOBS more out there, but these are most of what I've used getting started.  The nice thing is these are all free.  Download them and try them out.  Don't like it, delete and try another.  As long as your moving, that's all that matters.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Susan G Koman 10K Race Report

EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT!  I posted my race report for my first 10K.  Click on the Race Reports and Goals page or just click HERE.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Loose Skin

In the forums at My Fitness Pal about once a week a post pops up about, "loose skin."  If you lose a ton of weight, it's bound to happen.  Some folks will get a little some folks will get a lot.  I read about folks doing things to prevent it, but when you carried so much weight in your belly like me, its going to happen.  My arms are not bad at all since I never really had any muscle there but my belly seems to have mud flaps now  (my belly flap can stretch out 3-3.5 inches) .  I've lost 120 lbs in 59 weeks and 140 lbs of that might have been lost from my belly.  Oddly enough, I think I've been lucky because it doesn't bother me (bouncing, rashes, etc).  I've been jogging and riding a bike with no issues.  I was a tic worried but it's not like I had much of a choice.  I searched the net far and wide for information on what I should do.  Most suggest that I just need to give it a year or two for my skin to shrink back down.  The bad part is, they also say that it depends on how long and how far your skin has been stretched.  So while it might shrink back some, it might not go 100% back to normal.  Whatever normal is.

Anyone that has lost a good chunk of weight have any success stories on their mud flaps shrinking?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

My friendly running tip of the day.

Warm up, then stretch
"Try some light jogging or walking before you stretch, or stretch after you run. Stretching 'cold' muscles can cause more harm than good."
--Runner's World editors

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Scale Yo-Yo

If you are on a diet there is a good chance you have played the scale yo-yo game.  Mon morning weigh in, Mon night up 3 lbs, Tues morning lost 2 of the 3, Tues night even, Wed morning down 2 lbs, Wed night after big dinner up 5 lbs!  Then you see all the post, "HOW IN THE WORLD DID I GAIN 5 LBS IN 2 DAYS! AAAAHHHHH!!!!"  I step on the scale just about everyday, twice a day.  Once when I get up and normally right before I go to bed.  My only other time I might get on is after a long run for a laugh.  I've lost 6 lbs in an 8 mile run before. lol  Folks, our bodies like to play tricks on us.  There are to many reasons to list why our weight is always going up and down.  It's just how our bodies work.

I can go to bed at 225 and wake up 6 hours later at 223.5.  I don't know if it's my scale or I just managed to lose 1.5 lbs in my sleep.  Either or it happens all the time.  I normally can go to bed Sun night and know if I'm going to have a good weigh in or not.  I only count Mon as my weekly weigh in.  Like the day I lost 6 lbs during the run, I found 4 of that with liquids and lunch.  I've been up 6 lbs before during the week to end up losing 2 come Mon.  If you can hack it, I highly suggest to get on the scale more often (AM pref) so you can understand how your body works.  I'm sure everyone is different but you don't know till you try.  

Moral of the story, don't be freaked out if your up 2-3 lbs.  One trip to the bathroom could sort that right out. :)

Friday, September 7, 2012

Mark Rucker, Ironman Louisville Results

Mark Rucker, a native KY boy like myself, another member of the 100+ lb lost club, MFP member, and 2012 Ironman Louisville competitor.  Since I was unable to attend, first thing in the morning I logged on to IMLOU's website and started watching the broadcast of the transition areas.  I have watched a few bits of races on TV before but never really had a reason to seriously watch.  IMLOU site updated their stats throughout the race so at least you could follow folks even if it was a few hours between updates.  For those who don't know a full Ironman race consist of 3 short segments which total 140.6 miles.  2.4 mile swim in the crystal clear swap of the Ohio River, 112 mile bike ride, and just for a laugh 26.2 mile jog.  Everyone who puts one toe in the water, is a little mentally unstable at this point.  You have to be a little nuts to attempt such a race.  Thing is, folks keep coming back because receiving the title of "Ironman" isn't something that is given out, It's earned.

Shortly after I woke up, Mark finished the swim with a time of 2:13:42.  Since I am not avid IM fan, I'm clueless if that is good or not, just finishing in the time limit is amazing to me.  Yes, there is a time limit to each segment and the entire race.  Race starts at 7 am and finishes at midnight.  You don't finish the segment in a certain amount of time your are DQ'd, and even at midnight if you can see the finish line, your done.  Mark started the 112 mile bike with a slower pace then he wanted.  He ended up having issues with the bike (back brake was stuck on) and at the 50 mile mark had to pull out of the race.  Something like 14% of the 3000 or so who started the race DNF.

Was a shame since I was watching the live feed and ready to post a screen shot of him crossing the line.  Mark has shown me that what I thought was impossible is possible.  He is older then me, he is bigger then me, and he can smoke me in the water, running, and on the bike.  Watching the last 2 hours really changed my mind on what I want to do.  People off all ages and backgrounds, running, sprinting, and even passing out as they crossed the line.  As someone who is extremely competitive and comes from an athletic background, I know what it's like to win and lose (those who know me know I know that way to well lol).  I know what it's like to achieve a goal that you didn't think you could do.  I would love to sit here and say IMLOU 2013 here I come!  I just don't think it's financially possible at this point (over $600 to enter plus all the gear etc).  What is possible, doing a half marathon in the spring or a sprint triathlon.  What is possible is doing a marathon in the fall or even possibly a olympic triathlon.  The one thing this Fat to 5K journey as taught me, anything is possible if you want it enough.

Click HERE for the Ironman Louisville 2012 Full Circle video that Mark is in.

My most recent win, and what a great feeling it was...

Note: I'm not on the roof, I'm back by the spoiler.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Month 12, Milestone Month

I started this month with about 5 lbs to go to hit my 1 year 100 lb goal.  I weighed in July 2nd at 245.2 and on July 4th I had my first 5K. (check race reports for info)  Just starting that race was a victory for me.  I am not a runner and its hard for me to think I was about to do an actual race.  My guess the race really motivated me since I ended up losing 4.4 lbs that week.  I need .8 lbs now to hit the 100 lb mark which I did in week 49.  To see 239 on the scale was hard to imagine.  I was excited but then again I should have never let myself get that big.  When I joined Jones Brothers Racing I was probably around 290-300 lbs.  I have a chunk of friends that have never seen me like this.  Last time in the 230's was probably 1994 or 1995.  Now that I didn't have to worry about that goal, next item to tackle was another 5K.  Luck have it, there was one August 4th at the school where my brothers kids go.  My nephew wanted to run cross country this year, so I figured this would be a great way for him to find out if he had it in him.  This race we had a cheering section! (check race reports for info)  Another race, another PR crushed.  July 4th race was 41:26 with a goal of under 44 mins.  August 4th race was 36:58 with a goal of under 40 mins.  I finished the last 100 yards running with my oldest boy (it's hard to look at that pic without that proud papa tear forming).  I'm not going to mention that my 13 yr old nephew finished 1 min behind his uncle.  Nor do I ever remind him of that.  I will take the victories while I still can get them. :)  To me this month reminded me of the saying, "Good things happen to those who wait."  August 6th rolled around with my 1 year weigh in.  Tipped the scales at 231.8 for a total loss of 108.2 lbs.  That week I also logged into My Fitness Pal for 370 days in a row.  Year 1 done and what a wild year it was.  I went from 340 lbs to 231.8 with a diet I thought I would only stick to for a few months.  Year 2 will have to be a damn good one to top Year 1.

I want to thank my family and friends for their help this past year.  Without it and their not so kind words (they know what I mean lol) I wouldn't be where I am today.  What made this year even better, was other friends and family members joining me in this journey with their own.  I can't wait to see what Year 2 has in store.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Small Victory: Kentucky Speedway 2012

The location of this small victory was Kentucky Speedway.  No it wasn't because a Dodge ended up in victory lane but because something DIDN'T happen for the first time in a long time.  That would be, "chub rub", chaffing, or whatever you want to call it.  Those going whats chub rub let me explain.  It would happen to me when it was hot and I would be outside for extended periods of time.  Normally when I wore jeans or jean shorts but it could happen while wearing anything.  I would sweat, then add that I was in jeans and the inside of my thighs would get raw from rubbing together.  After the 2011 Cup race at KY, my thighs hurt for 2-3 days.   TMI probably, but most folks know exactly what I'm talking about.  Now its 2012 and we are in the garage area at KYS.  We walked from the parking lot, all around the front of the track (1.5 mile speedway), back to the car, then through the tunnel to the infield.  While inside you basically do numerous loops and my guess we do anywhere from 4-6 miles of walking.  It's very possible we did more when we walked out on the track for driver intro and the pre-race concert.  We left before the finish of the race since people were still stuck in traffic from last years race.  I sit down in the car and noticed my legs didn't hurt.  I'm down around 90 lbs compared to last years race and in extremely better shape also.  The first thing that popped in my head was, "wow, no chub rub!"  Sad but it was.  That was the first time I've been down there, (it was over 100 deg in the pit area with the track being 130+ at times) and not hurting at all.  I will take every victory I can get along the way.  My thighs also agree with me there.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Month 10 and 11, Reagan said it best.

"Tear down this wall!"  Ended Month 9 with a goose egg and started Month 10 with a gain of .4.  Was it me or was the wall getting bigger?  It was time to step it up a notch.  Added more jogging and started to go out twice a day if my early walk/jog wasn't that long.  I racked up 528 mins with 6789 calories burned that week and finally saw a loss of 2.2 lbs.  That put me at 260.8 and I knew this had to be the week to break the dreaded 260 wall.  408 mins with 2-a-days and 2 3-a-days lead to a 2.6 lb loss and finally put me in the 250's! FINALLY!!!  I graduated high school in the 250's in 1996.  It seemed that jogging was the key because the next month the losses continued.  Just as soon as I got in the 250's I was out of them.  I ended Month 11 at 246.4 and over 94 lbs lost.  Not only did I break thought the plateau, I signed up for my first 5K!  That was one goal I had in mind but one goal I wasn't planning on was 100 lbs lost in a year.  Once I hit 90 lbs that 100 lbs seemed to be achievable.  100 lbs lost sounded so much better then 80 lbs.  :)  I posted on MFP,  "My new goal, 1 year 100 lbs!"  I even made a nice logo for it.  I didn't have a lot of time but I was less then 6 lbs away.  I was on a solid run to this point and just needed to keep those feet moving.  Jogging 1 mile straight turned into 2 miles and towards the end of the month I was able to stretch out to 5K's.  All the stars seemed to be lining up for that first 5K.  At this point all I could do is go out and run.  Cue slow motion video of me training for my 5K. Minus the beach, everyone else, and moving as fast as these guys were.  Other then that, it was just like that.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

My Intro into the Jogging World.

My name and jogging were two words that were not to be spoken out loud at the same time.  To me jogging was just some sort of medieval torture.  I knew I needed to step up my walking and jogging seemed to be the easiest option for me.  Since I am an internet geek, it wasn't to hard to find heards of sites for runners.  My biggest hurdle was to sift through all the crap out there.  I figured my first goal should be to do a 5K.  I found a few training programs for 5K's but one that I've read the most on was Couch to 5K.  It was a free app on my android phone and there was a nice group in the MFP forums.  For a couple of weeks I would add 5-10 mins of jogging (3 times a week) to my daily walks.  While I wasn't in jogging shape, all of the walking seemed to make the intro a bit easier.  About this time I joined the Runners World Beginner Forum.  Hands down the best forum I found for running advise.  They suggested even though I've been jogging for a short time, I still should start with the C25K program so my body could get used to the beating.  I have no shame in admitting I was clueless about this at first, so I took their advise and started the program that week.

Few things right off the bat they suggested: 1) take it easy, every run isn't a PR (personal record) run, 2) follow the program, 3) use the rest days, 4) don't over do it, to much to early can lead to injury, 5) use good form, foot strike and breathing is key, 6) speed will come with miles under your belt.  While some of that made sense and the speed part with miles seemed odd, they were the experienced runners.  I threw shot put and discus on the track team.  Not once did I run a race. lol  By the point I started C25K I already could jog 30 mins straight so I wasn't sure if I would gain from this.  I started with W1D1, then skipped to W2D1 and finished the next 3 weeks.  After W4D3 I decided that I was probably a tic farther then the C25K program was but I still feel it helped me concentrate on my form and breathing.  Since I wasn't going out to do 3-4 miles at time and my pace could be timed with the sun dial, I had time to make sure I wasn't looking like a total muppet.  Week in, week out, I tried to jog 3-4 times a week.  I read up on running form and saw a post talking about shorter steps can help alleviate some knee pain.  Granted I didn't have any and figured that could help make sure I didn't get any.

Every few weeks I noticed I could go a little farther, a little faster.  I wasn't going out to run farther/faster it was just happening.  My avg 15-16 min pace was now 14-15 mins and 2 miles was turning into 3 miles.  I was starting to hit 3+ miles, while I wouldn't say easily but it wasn't hard either, so I decided it was time to start thinking about that first 5K.  I like the idea of goals and knew it would keep me motivated to keep moving forward.  Once I saw the scale moving in the right direction again (plus the 20-30% more calorie burn), TBH that was all the motivation I needed.

Friday, August 17, 2012

WAIT! 20 mins...

I have read a few places and I'm fairly sure it was one of those tips from Extreme Makeover Weight Loss, that after you finish your meal if you are still hungry wait 20 mins.  The reason for this is because it takes time for your brain and stomach to text each other.  This is why at times you feel you're still hungry right after you just ate.  Also, from my understanding, it takes at least 20 mins because your stomach uses AT&T.