Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Racing and Strengthening

Yep, I'm still on the working out kick and haven't gotten back to studying anything in the networking arena. I did have a couple of big milestones this week, however.

I finally beat my 14 year old 5K record of 24:03, with a new best of 23:16. I've knocked about 2 minutes off my time in the past month so I'll keep working at this until it plateaus.

I signed up for the Chicago marathon this October. There are 40,000 entrants so it could take 30 minutes or more to pass the starting line in the open bracket. I can get moved up considerable to a preferred start by posting a 1:50:00ish half-marathon by August. This equals an 8:23 pace. My 23:16 5k is a 7:30 pace. So if I can just stretch that out from 3.1 miles to 13.1 miles, I'll have plenty of room to spare. And no, it's not NEARLY as easy as it sounds.

The interesting part about running is it is taking the place of college and CCIE studying for my need for acquiring technical knowledge. I spend probably an hour or two a week on my training plan and optimizing it for things like increased VO2 max, lactate threshold, and running efficiency. And then there's the daily eating plan, in which the struggle is typically to get enough lean protein into my diet.

On top of all of that, after 6 months of calorie restriction I decided to take a break. I was at one point within 5 pounds of my goal weight but my hunger was getting ravenous and I couldn't fight it any more. So I threw in the towel and got back with my personal trainer to go with a 1 month bulking session on my upper body and core. I now get to eat about 3000 calories a day, but have to stuff down even more lean protein, with the goal of putting on 1-2 pounds of muscle a week.

In the past month I have gained 5 pounds back. I'm not gonna lie, it's pretty disheartening to be going back the other direction. But on the bright spot I bought some almost uncomfortably tight jeans right before my marathon just to have a reference point for the current shape I'm in. And even with the weight gain, the jeans are still getting looser. So that's reassuring.

Finally, after my marathon, I tried on my Air Force uniform. For the first time this millennium, it actually fit. It was a little snug in the midsection, though. I just tried it on again and it fit comfortably.

I think I can safely mark this as the time in my life I undid the 10+ years of personal abuse and am now in the best shape I ever been in.

Now it's time to keep going and see how far I can take it. Under 20 minute 5k? Less than 4 hour marathon? 100 push-ups? 10 pull-ups? And of course the original goal of washboard abs. I'm not even close to that yet and man it's still not going to be easy.