2012: The next six-week challenge

March 5, 2012

It’s 2012, so I’m due to start working on my next six-week challenge.  I’ve managed to keep the weight off that I lost last year while training for the Tough Mudder, so the new challenge would take me down near 190 pounds.  A year ago I thought getting down to 195 pounds was almost impossible since I wasn’t successful in prior challenges, so to think I could get down to 190 pounds back then wouldn’t have ever crossed my mind.  Now that I know losing weight is possible, 190 pounds is definitely reachable.

My friends have asked if I would do the Tough Mudder again this year, and I’m not 100% sure that I would.  It was fun, but it was brutal as well.  We’ll see.  But in 2012, I think I want to get away from the running aspect for something that’s easier on my knee and hip (issues that I had problems with last year).  I’m currently leaning towards retiring my 20+ year old bicycle for a new one that better fits my body.  There are plenty of hills around in my area, so it wouldn’t be an easy ride by any means.

Of course, there’s another way I could lose five pounds, and that would be by changing my eating habits.  While I eat well, there are things that I could change in order to easily shed some weight.  My friend that did the Tough Mudder with me always said “Just think of how much lighter you’d be now by eating better!”  I’ve been working on that as part of my New Years resolution, but not a major change.  Another  thing I could do is one of those clean detox programs.  Some are done by following a strict diet for a few weeks, while others are done with supplements.  While this is a good process to clean your insides and lose weight, it doesn’t fall within my exercise concept.  Maybe I could consider trying this after the six-week challenge to see which of the two had the better results.

I don’t have a date yet as to when I’ll start the challenge, but I will keep you posted.

I am a Tough Mudder

October 26, 2011


It wasn’t easy (or graceful), but after 6 hours and 8 minutes, I crossed the finish line of the Tough Mudder held in Wintergreen, VA on October 23rd, 2011.

When I started down this path in May, my focus was on running. As I chronicled on here for the first three weeks, my run time improved slightly, but I was missing my goals of being able to run four miles because travel and uncooperative heat in the evenings. What I didn’t report was shortly after the six week period, I injured my hip, sidelining my efforts to go out and run for about a month. By the end of July, I returned to running, but cut back to running just a few nights during the week to allow my body to recover, and I switched to doing more indoor work with the P90X and Insanity workout programs.

It was the latter that I feel helped me more in this event, since it focused more on cardio, which in turn improved my endurance level. Much of the event dealt with walking/running up and down steep grades, requiring more than just leg strength. In fact, my back was more tired than my legs on the Death March up the ski slope, which I don’t think straight run-training would have prevented, let alone improved.

In the end, I completed the challenge with the help of my coworker. In the final two months, we trained together in the evenings, changing up our routines each night. We worked on upper body, legs, and cardio during the final weeks with the focus on being able to tackle all obstacles (both the fixed structures as well as the distance between them). I think together we were more productive than if we tried this on our own, and to that end, I give him a lot of credit for me being able to complete the event.

On to the stats!

Weight: When I started, I weighted 202 pounds. While my weight did drop down to 193 pounds, I weighed 195 on the day of the event. That’s a net drop of 7 pounds . . . something that I have not done during any of the prior six-week challenges.

Chest: I dropped from 40.67 inches to 39.67 inches since May; a reduction of one inch. To be honest, I am a bit surprised by this because of all the upper body weight training I did. I thought they numbers would be much closer.

Stomach: Conversely, I thought the loss around my stomach would have been greater. I started out at 39.42 inches, but ended up only at 38.75 inches (a net loss of 0.67 inches). Maybe I didn’t do enough ab work?

Waist: One change I easily noticed was the drop around my waist. I lost 1.17 inches during all this training, falling from 38.17 inches to 37 inches. If you recall, my waist measurements were bouncing all over the place during the six-week challenge. While those fluctuations occurred, my pants usually fit the same. Now . . . they are looser, requiring the use of a belt.

Glutes: My biggest disappointment was the glutes. I started out at 42.67 inches, but ended up only at 42.42 inches (a loss of just 0.25 inches). I would have thought with all the leg work (not to mention the loss around the waist) that my butt would also shrink at a similar rate. I guess I can’t complain, since a decrease is a decrease.

Well, that’s it for this challenge. We’ll see if we can keep the body in this current position until the next challenge comes around.

Weeks 4 through 6

June 22, 2011

Where oh where have my updates been?  Probably the same places as me!

Over the past three weeks, I have been traveling between Texas and New York.  As such, there hasn’t been much running.  I did get one day in the gym while in Texas (while it was over 100 degrees outside), and I walked all over creation in New York City for three days and nights.  I still haven’t been able to run two straight miles, though I was close on the treadmill in Texas.  Though while I’m behind in my running, I did achieve the weight-loss goal.  For the first time in my six-week challenges, I have lost 5 pounds.  I’m down to 196 from 202.  YEA!

The stats:

As you can see, I went ahead and added in notes as to why I didn’t have any run-times posted.  There’s a lot of travel listed, and the heat from Texas followed me home making it unsafe to run (even at 8:30pm).  The asterisk (*) comes from a night that I was headed out to run, but was stopped by a 40 minute phone call and then an hour talking to my neighbor on the street.  Instead of running my planned route, I decided to just do sprints up and down the hill on my street until it was too dark.

The training will continue past the six weeks as I’ve got to get ready for the Tough Mudder.

Week 3

May 30, 2011

Week three was the first real challenge.  The Summer heat has come in with a force, bring with it a lot of humidity as well.  I found myself going out later and later in the evenings just find a comfortable heat index.  On Thursday night, I didn’t head outdoors until 8:30pm.  But the heat wasn’t the only problem.  My right foot and ankle were hurting as well, and I wasn’t sure if I was coming down with shin splits.  So, I decided to not head out on Wednesday and only walk on Thursday.  Because of this, I am going to push back the next stage of the challenge by one week so I can reattempt the “1-run, 1-walk” stage.

And with that, here are the stats:

As can see, Wednesday was left black (for the reason noted above), and so was Friday.  Friday was a golf day, and after 5 hours out in the heat and tackling 18-holes, I felt that it was an equivalent amount of exercise than an hour of running/walking.  The average of 62 minutes for the approximate 4 miles is slightly better than the totals of stage one and stage two (64.2 minutes), so it is a sign that I am improving.  Hills are still my weak point, however, and I need to build up those muscles if I am going to be able to complete the next stage of running the approximately 4 miles.

On a positive note, all the physical measurements (except for my stomach) saw a decrease.  I am now down 3 pounds since the start of the 6-week challenge, and I’ve shed almost a half-inch from my waist.  I would argue that a lot of this loss is water weight due to the amount that I was sweating this week.  If that continues, I could possibly lose the five pounds by mid-June … especially if this heat continues.

Week 2

May 23, 2011


As you can see, all the stats remained the same or dropped (which wasn’t much of a surprised).  After the bump last week, I expected lower figures this week – especially after starting the running portion of the challenge.  Speaking of running … oh my goodness!  On the first night of running, I thought I was going to die.  I didn’t even get the first quarter of a mile under my belt before I was out of breath (it didn’t help that it was raining much of the week as well).  The thighs were also sore by the end of the week, but fortunately my bad knee and feet held up.

After the first night, I did start to increase the distance I was able to run each night, though I wasn’t able to run the full 2.2 miles at any point.  With the new week bringing an additional 1.75 miles (walking) to the mix, I hope to be able to run the first lap straight by Friday.  I was averaging 13 minutes and 22 seconds a mile running last week.  Let’s see if we can get that down to 12.5 minutes by Friday.

After week one

May 15, 2011

The first week of the new six-week challenge has come and gone, so let’s take a look at the stats:

As we’ve seen in past challenges, the first week tends to see the measurements go UP for some reason, but eventually goes down, so I’m not too concerned by the increase.  However, the weight did go down a surprising 2 pounds.  It could be that either last week or this week’s measurement might be an outliner, but taken for what it is, it’s a nice change.

Coming up this week will be the first week of running.  Unfortunately, looking at the weather forecast, it should also be raining (with a chance of thunderstorms) all week.  I guess this will be trial by fire.  If I can do my first week of running in the rain, then I should be able to continue running when it’s dry.

Well … here goes nothing!

The next “6 Week” challenge

May 11, 2011

The never-ending quest to lose those pesky five pounds continues.  This time, it’s not really a six-week challenge as much as it is a six-month challenge.  A coworker has asked if I would join him in this years Tough Mudder – a 10-mile off-road obstacle course.

Running has never been my strong suit, so it’s going to take some time to get into shape (if I do take him up on his offer).  I went ahead and bought a pair of new running shoes with help from a running professional, so my flat feet should be able to handle all the impact.  Now I’m in the process of breaking the shoes in.

The Tough Mudder website says the race is about 10 miles and should take approximately 2.5 hours to complete.  In order to start practicing for the running aspect, I’ve mapped out a route in my neighborhood to begin practicing.  The first lap is 2.2 miles, and each additional lap is 1.75 miles.  My plan for getting up to par with the running is to do the following:

Week 1 – Walk the first lap (2.2 miles).
Week 2 – Jog the first lap (2.2 miles).
Week 3 – Jog the first lap, walk the second (3.95 miles).
Week 4 – Jog the first two laps (3.95 miles).
Week 5 – Jog the first two laps, walk the third (5.7 miles).
Week 6 – Jog the first three laps (5.7 miles).
Week 7 – Jog the first three laps, walk the fourth (7.45 miles).
Week 8 – Jog the first four laps (7.45 miles).
Week 9 – Jog the first four laps, walk the fifth (9.2 miles).
Week 10 – Jog the first five laps (9.2 miles).

From that point on, I will be mixing in strength exercises with the running.  Since the event will require carrying logs, climbing walls, and negotiating monkey bars, I’ll be working on pull-ups and probably push-ups.  Hopefully that will be enough to get me up to speed with my coworker.

As with all the prior six-week challenges, I’ll be keeping track of my weight and measurements at four key points: chest, stomach, waist, and glutes.  A chart and graph will be updated periodically so we can see where improvements are being made.  Maybe I’ll finally shed those five pounds once and for all!