Sunday, October 30, 2011

Team Attila

If you've heard that I've been running around Yadkinville with a bunch of women, then yes, I confess. It's absolutely true. I've been chasing women, and women have been chasing me.


Never in my life had I run a mile without stopping until I started the 5k training course, much less two and now three. It has been very hard, certainly the most difficult thing I've done since beginning to try to lose weight. Yet I look forward to every class.

For the first time Saturday, we did the course we'll be on for the 5k itself. I finished in less than 33 minutes, by far the best time of my "running career." With the exception of just a few yards at about the 2.5-mile mark, I ran the whole way. It would not have been possible without the encouragement and accountability of the ladies who make up the rest of the class -- the newbie runners like me and the instructors.

In one respect, I can't wait for Nov. 19 and the Yadkin Go Far 5k. I'm looking forward to putting a time on the board, hopefully one that's even better than what I did Saturday. Yet I hate to see the class coming to an end. There's been talk of putting another one together to get ready for ... I honestly can't believe I'm even able to consider such a thing ... a 10k.

Sign me up.

Team Attila (from left to right) -- Debbie Taylor, Leslie Gough, Brandy Whitaker, Mandy Marxen and instructor Wendy Hayden. The goober lurking in the back is yours truly.

Friday, October 28, 2011

And In This Corner ...

This morning, a friend from church was telling an acquaintance of his about my efforts to lose weight. The friend asked how much I was jogging a day, and when I told him, the other gentleman looked at me and said something that caught me off guard.

"Well ... boxers are supposed to run a lot, right?" he asked.

Huh? What? Wait just a dadgum second. Boxer? I still had my weight gloves on -- my new weight gloves, remember? -- so maybe he just thought that I'd been working a speed bag or something. It could not possibly have been that I looked like I'd just been beaten to a pulp by Apollo Creed ...

Yo, Jeanie ... I did it!!!

No. 52

After very nearly forgetting my Friday lunch with the boys at school last week, Adam left me this reminder over my computer monitor this morning:

Adam and Jesse are 10 and in the fifth grade. There's coming a time, sooner rather than later I'm afraid, when having dear ol' Dad show up at school for lunch won't be the cool thing to do any more. So while I'm still welcome, I'm still there!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Jock I'm Not, Part Two

I'm never going to be a jock, but doggone it, it looks for all the world like I'm starting to dress like one.

First of all, I needed to get some compression shorts and shirts for when I jog so I could keep everything saggy in check. It was getting to the point where I was kind of afraid my belly might whack me upside the head, or as Christian comedian Mike Warnke once put it, have my belly button make suction on my forehead and suffocate me to death.

If you want to call the things girdles, then so be it. Even Jesse said the other day that they make me look "a little" skinnier. Thanks, Hoss. Your dad can use all the encouragement he can get, if only just "a little."

When I started the 5k class, I was told by Julie, one of the instructors, that I needed to get some special running shoes, just like Forest Gump. C'mon ... you've gotta be kidding me. I've been perfectly satisfied with my $35 Wal-Mart specials. What difference could shoes possibly make?

But who am I to argue with Attila II? Off we went to Omega Sporting Goods, where I picked up some "neutrally balanced" Nikes. I've jogged once in them, and I'm still not ready to qualify for the Olympics. What gives?!?

Run, Forest, run.

Finally, I've had the same pair of weight-lifting gloves for more than a year now and the Velcro has worn almost completely off. Velco, by the way, is capitalized because it's a brand name. I know that after I once received a letter from the company's attorneys. Wonder how they'll react now that I've written that their product has, in NASA-speak, shown signs of degraded performance?

At any rate, I've ordered a brand-new pair of gloves off They come with a wrist brace and everything! As soon as I put them on, I expect to be bench pressing no less than three bills, maybe three and a half or four.

If I have a shirt, shorts and shoes like a runner, then I must be a runner. If I'm wearing hard-core weight-lifting gloves, then I must be ready to take on that big dude from the Soviet Union they used to always show on Wide World of Sports.

Or not.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

First Time For Everything

Let's see here. I've been breathing for a little more than 44 years now, so you'd think I might have gotten pretty good at it by now.

But noooooooooooooooooooo ... and for the first time since I've been trying to lose weight, I truly scared myself tonight at the end of my 5k class. The assignment seemed simple enough. Five laps of the walking track behind the Y, a trip I've made many times over by now. There were only a couple of catches. No walking, and try to improve your time each time around.

Yeah, OK. No problem. Go ahead and start filling out the toe tag while you're at it, just to save time on the paperwork.

One lap, no walking. Two laps. Three. I'd done a mile and a half just the week before, so I was fairly confident until starting the fourth lap. My legs were still working, but I. Just. Couldn't. Catch. My. Doggone. Breath. I know I must've sounded like a runaway freight train, huffing and puffing and fussing at myself to keep going.

Honestly, my legs are fine. I think I could probably handle three miles and more without much of a problem, but it's figuring out how to breathe that's got me bumfuzzled.

Four laps. Then five. All two and a half miles, at a jog. I did it. But when I reached Julie, tonight's instructor, I couldn't breathe. I hurt all over. Pains were shooting all over the place. She told me to keep moving, and I couldn't. I simply could not regulate my air intake, and it scared the daylights out of me, which certainly didn't help matters.

Get your arms up over your head.

I can't.

Do it.

Finally, I couldn't take it any longer and laid down on the ground, flat on my back. Within seconds, I had my breath back. I had been woozy before -- like every single time I work out or jog -- but this was different. This was just this side of scary.

So ... if you have any tips on how a fat guy can breathe while trying to jog, feel oh-so free to pass 'em my way.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Notepad

Wonder of wonders, I found a small reporter's notepad that I used to keep track of my weight loss beginning in January 2007. It was one of many, many times that I've been on the bandwagon, and one of the many, many times I fell off.

On Monday, Jan. 29, 2007, I weighed 370 pounds.

Today, I weigh 275.

Still, I don't count myself as having lost nearly 100 pounds. I can't allow myself to fudge (pun intended!) like that. In September of 2007, I hit the Y like I always had and found myself shunned by the jocks on the wallyball court. I walked out, the kid in gym class who didn't get picked last ... he didn't get picked at all.

I didn't go back for three years, and it cost me 30 pounds. So, yeah, since the first of 2007, I've lost 95 pounds, but on the path I'm on now, I'm down 80. Twenty more to go ... and then I'll allow myself to believe I've reached century mark.

That said, the remarks I made to myself ring true to this day.

For Jeanie. For Richard. For Adam. For Jesse. Keep going.

Never weigh before working out, peeing and with keys and wallet in your pocket! Hang in there, Fat Boy.

It's OK, Rick. Everything was going on with Jeanie and that's more important than working out. Keep after it this week (Jeanie was going through treatments for thyroid cancer at the time).

Playing racquetball with Artie is working miracles! I don't want to have surgery, and I'm not going to if I keep going like this. I don't want to go back to being fat and not caring. I'm still fat, but at least I care enough to do something about it.

YOU ARE THE MAN!!! You're a stud. A studly stud! I'm very proud of this. Maybe the next time you go to Junior (Johnson)'s house for breakfast, I won't break one of the stupid chairs (Yes, this really happened ... and they still haven't let me forget it!)

Who cares? I don't. It doesn't make any difference in things I care about, so why should I bust my ass every week? (Sorry for the language, but as you might've guessed, I was a bit disappointed.)

Then ... the final entry ... on August 29, 2007.

This was really surprising. I thought I'd lost, so this was really bad. Still, I had pizza this week and the watermelon I've been snacking on is evidently not as good for me as I thought it was.

Stick with it, Fat Boy. Just stick with it this time.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I Take It Back

The 5k class I'm taking through the Y in Yadkinville is probably one of the best things I've done while on this journey called weight loss.

It's hard to explain, really. For more than a year, I trained for whatever 5k I had coming up completely on my own. I ran to a point and walked, ran to a point and walked, ran to a point and walked. I pushed myself a lot ... or so I thought.

Thanks to the ladies who are a part of Team 5k -- we reallllllly need a cool name, don't we?!? -- I'm doing far more than I ever thought possible. Take tonight for instance. It was raining, so surely we wouldn't have to run outside, right?

Wrong, because Crystal was in charge.

Out the door and into the downpour we went. She said go, and we took off down the service road headed east. Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuppppp the hill we jogged, and doooooooooooooooooooooown the other side we jogged. Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuup the next hill we jogged and doooooooooooooooown the other side we jogged. A quarter of a mile, then a half. We turned on a side road, then doubled back.

I had never run this far before, ever, without stopping. A mile. A mile and a quarter. Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuup one hill and dooooooooooooown the other side. Finally, at a little more than a mile and a half, I stopped to walk. Never had I gone that far. Crystal caught up to me and told me that I was doing great and to keep pushing. I walked maybe a quarter of a mile and took off again, determined not to stop.

I didn't, not until I reached the sidewalk back at the Y.

What's the difference in training on my own and training as part of a class? A couple of things, really. First, there's a certain amount of male ego involved. Running smack in the middle of a pack of good-looking women, I can't show weakness, can I? You know the Tim Allen "he-man" grunt? Yeah, that's me.

Accountability is also a huge factor. Four instructors have shared in leading our sessions, and each has had her own style. Each has pushed us to do things I for one didn't think were quite possible -- for me at least.

They pushed and every single person in the class has responded, so I'm taking it back. I'm not calling Crystal "Attila" any more (at least not out loud to where she can hear me!!!), because what I was able to accomplish tonight meant the absolute world to me. I honestly and truly didn't know that I had it in me.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Works In Progress

Who would've ever thought that these two beefcakes ...

would ever have been able to do something like this ...

en route to this?!?

That's my best friend, Joe Estep. We've been through a lot together either while living in the same neighborhood or hundreds of miles apart. I'll always have his back, and I know that he has mine.

I'm proud of you, Bugfeet.