Archive for April, 2012

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6 Months

April 30, 2012
June ’10… gives you an idea of the 320.

10/22/11.

That date was supposed to be HUGE for me.  In August of ’10 I decided, with help from my friends, that it was time for me to take control of my life, lose weight, get my head straight and and get back into shape so I would not be a pathetic mess anymore.  For those that are new to the blog, my goal was the Tough Mudder which, at the time, was relatively unknown – only 7 events across the country – and not the HUGE spectacle it is now just a short time later.  Well, I was gonna train and lose all this weight and kick ass at this cool obstacle course.  The date of my Mudder?  10/22/11.
But, as we ALL know… life has a funny way of not working out the way you envisioned.
This was me at my heaviest… 346. I was literally 2 of Joe.
I fell off the path and actually ended up weighing MORE than I was back in August ’10 (I was 320 at that point).  I have no reasons… just excuses to be perfectly honest.  I could try and blame a job, a girl; the list could go on and on.  But fact is they were just excuses to bury myself in a pizza or a cocktail and feel sorry for myself.  What is a fact though is that, as 10/22/11 approached things simply weren’t going the right way and I was hanging on that date as a signal of the ultimate failure in my life – 10/22 would forever signify to me that I can’t set a goal and complete it.
A few weeks before that date, my parents decided they wanted to trek down to VA for a visit.  ‘Cool… something to distract me’ I thought. As the visit got closer, for some reason I started to think about VA versus NJ, and why I’m not back home – and why I’m still in VA at this point.  So I did a list; typical… positives about staying in VA and positives about going back to NJ.  NJ won by a landslide.  I slept on it, then decided that when the ‘rents got down to VA I would pose the idea of moving back home.
Now – it takes a lot for a 37 year old to ask his parents to move back in while he moves back to NJ and get re-established, etc.  I knew it was gonna be a LONG day when they got there, b/c this conversation was gonna take a lot of talk about the logistics of such a big decision.
My awesome moving team (sans Oliver)… and me at 346lbs. 
So it’s finally 10/22… they get down to VA, check in hotel and we grab lunch across the street.  I waste no time to start the convo b/c it’s gonna last well past lunch, into dinner and back into breakfast the next morning – and possibly into phone conversations once they get back home – before they decide what’s best.
The conversation lasted about 10 minutes.
Turns out they wanted to talk about the exact same thing.  There were still clearly things that had to be figured out, but for all intents and purposes it was done.  I was coming home.  3 weeks later, and a 90-minute pack-up at my apartment w/ the help of some really awesome people (yes, I was so prepared and had such fantastic help it it literally took 90 minutes to move) I was on the way to Jersey.
I fast forward now to April 22nd, 2012… the date of my first half-marathon, 62 lbs less than I weighed when I left (along with a myriad of other positives)… 6 months after what I thought would be one of the most depressing days of my life, and realize that I was right all along – not that it would be the most depressing, but rather what it was initially meant to be… one of the most important.
What a difference 6 months makes… 283.
I made a HUGE decision that day; a decision that set into motion a series of events that have shown me a lot; positives, negatives and true colors (both good and bad) – about myself as well as others.  I’m not fooling anyone (including myself) when I say I have a long way to go… but it’s good to know that I’m heading in the right direction, in the right place and with the right people.
As for what’s next?  I’m working on the transition to minimalist running, with my first race in my Vibrams on 5/20.  I’m also hearing rumors that I’ve been recruited for the Color Run in NYC so once I get clarification on that I’ll let y’all know.  The Philly 1/2 Marathon in November is a definite, 18 miles in LBI in October is almost definite (It’s in T2 status for my Marriott peeps), while the Tough Mudder in October and Rock ‘n’ Roll Vegas Marathon in December are still on the radar.
We’ll see about those last two though… gotta get through Joe’s new PowerPoint presentation detailing 6 months of weight/ interval/ circuit training for everyone.
Seriously… he made a PowerPoint.  And he ended the PP with the following:

“The result will be the sum of our hard work, commitment, and our preparation.  Together we can not fail, we can not be stopped”
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I AM A HALF-MARATHONER

April 26, 2012
(This blogs gonna have a lotta pictures… just sayin’.)

OK… let’s get the details outta the way, shall we?

(L to R) Nancy, Gach, Reilly, Marty
RACE:  Unite Half-Marathon
TIME: Clock 2:59:28  Chip 2:55:52
WEIGHT: 283 lbs.
TRAINING MILES LOGGED: 290
POUNDS LOST: 62
INJURIES: 1 (minor)
So… this is the part of my blog where I find something funny to talk about, a great story to tell, SOMETHING.  Only the funny thing is – I don’t have any.  The whole day, beginning to end, was flawless.  Yes, we had some rain in the last hour but it was nothing that made it distracting in any way whatsoever.  It really truly was the perfect run for me.
Don’t miss Marty right behind us…

My friends and I ran together for over 1/2 of the race and even when we separated, we waved as we saw each other around corners, high fived as we passed on loops… it was great!  Joe and Amanda were our mobile water stations… navigating the course on bikes meeting us at different spots to strip off clothes, refill bottles, carry stuff we didn’t want anymore.  

I can’t find one thing about this that wasn’t short of awesome.  Seriously.
Around Mile 9 they had a band playing Pearl Jam… as I came up they were singing ‘Alive’.  That made me laugh when I was out there.  Also, in a bit of coincidence… the longest I had ever run prior to the race was 12 miles, and the best time I had done that in was 2:43:59.  When I hit the 12 mile mark at the race?  Yup… 2:43:59.  I also high-fived the Scarlet Knight as I came in under 3 hours, which made for a GREAT pic too.
See?  The Scarlet Knight is SUPER happy.  And look at Nancy cheerin’ me on back there! 🙂
But really that was it.  TRUST ME – I wanted to have some crazy fun shenanigans to talk about, like I did in that terrible 12 mile run down the shore a few weeks ago.  But I just don’t.
When I think about that, one point does strike me – I think that’s because I was well-prepared. I didn’t have to rely on anyone… no one could screw this up for me but me.  Whether it was mentally, physically, whatever… if this was gonna be a disaster, it was gonna be my fault and only my fault.  
And I trained my ass off for this.
Not gonna lie – this is probably the worst blog ever.  I wish I had more to say!  But that’s OK… I’m allowed a crapper every year and a half or so.  I actually have a lot of other blogs ready to go, but I couldn’t actually NOT write about the race itself!  I WILL say thank you to everyone who supported me with this though – be it messages, calls, texts, workouts, runs, races, etc.  To my friends – Team Immediates – I love you all.  To my parents – I love you both very much.  Michael – you’re the best brother in the world… and I hate you and your 5.8% body fat.  And to Eva – I love you… and yes, it’s just like running to Livingston Mall and back from your house… it’s REALLY far.
Joe switching out my ‘cocktails’ – Pedialyte/ 5 Hour Energy Mix
I wanted this pic b/c I always wanted to wear 1 of these tinfoil blankets…
I DID IT!!!
From my parents for a job well done
Pretty much speaks for itself…
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Action/ Reaction

April 15, 2012

NEWTON’S LAW OF MOTION:  ‘To every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction…’

Let me give you a recent example of this which personally involved myself:

ACTION – Running 7 miles in 65 degree weather without the proper layering on can result in a lot of sweating, which in turn can result in a lot of this:

*DRAMATIC SPACING TO CAUSE YOU TO SCROLL… *

*SEE… IT WORKED!*

Oh, yeah… that’s my nipple surrounded by a nice red little blotch, because my nipple was totally bleeding.  The friction against the shirt caused some chafing which led to the ol’ “bloody runners nipple”

REACTION – So, due to this unforeseen circumstance, I went to the running store this afternoon and purchased this:

Oh, yeah… not only is ‘bloody runners nipple’ a “thing” so to speak, they actually make a product to help prevent it.

**SHAMELESS PLUG – we actually talked about this on the last installment of my show, No Filter Radio (click HERE for website, HERE for Facebook and HERE for Twitter to catch it) and it was very entertaining… you should listen, it’s funny.  I’m sure the next one we will talk about bloody nipples. **

So there you go… Newton’s Law proven in 2 pictures and a few sentences.  Carry on with your day.

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And Now… The End Is Near

April 10, 2012
***  PLEASE NOTE!  I WILL BE UPDATING THIS PAGE AS INFORMATION IS SUPPLIED, SO KEEP CHECKING FOR ANY NEW INFORMATION – I WILL ADD IT TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE WITH AN UPDATE NOTE NEXT TO IT! ***
_______________________________

Lots of people have been askin’ me about the half-marathon on 4/22 and, more specifically, where people can watch Nancy, Martin, Brian and myself and cheer us on.  First and foremost – that is humbling… and effin’ awesome.  So a HUGE ‘Thank You!’ from the four of us to all of you for even considering coming out.

That being said, I wanted to do a quick post on here that had all of the details so everyone could have 1 place to get all the important links, directions, maps, etc.  Here’s the vitals:
NAME: Unite Half Marathon ( –> OFFICIAL WEBSITE <–)
LOCATION – Rutgers University – starts on Busch campus, goes onto the Livingston campus and ends up on College Ave.
START TIME: 8:00 AM
BIB #’s:
Gach – 4133
Nancy – 4120
Martin – 676
Reilly – 3898
RUNNERS PACE: We plan on running at around a 13 minute/ mile pace in ideal conditions (which the current weather conditions are NOT calling for).  So as long as none of y’all are THIS lovely brain surgeon:
this means we will be at mile post 1 around 13 minutes after we start*, mile post 2 around 26 minutes after we start*, etc. This is important to know because then you can figure out around what time we’ll be hitting the Spectator Areas (and what time you should be where you wanna be).
(*: ‘we start’ – we’re not gonna be the first people out of the gate at 8a so don’t expect us at 8:13a on the 1st mile, then leave b/c you thought you missed us!)
Speaking of Spectator Areas; I have this handy, dandy little map for y’all  –> CLICK HERE FOR SPECTATOR MAP <– and it shows you exactly where all of the spectator areas are and will help you kinda figure out how to get from area to area if you wanna go to multiple locations.  Big thing to know as well:  THERE WILL BE SHUTTLE SERVICE TO DIFFERENT AREAS!  So, if ya wanna be at mile 4, then get to the Finish line?  You can do that via the shuttle service. As for the specific details of the shuttles (times, places, etc.) that info is not available yet, but if it is made available before race day it will be posted here. 
Now, even though they encourage the use of the shuttles, if you would like to walk you can also be at the start and finish lines by using THIS handy, dandy little map –> CLICK HERE FOR WALKING MAP <– and you’ll see it would take you about 25 minutes to get from both locations.
Oh… one last handy, dandy map –> CLICK HERE FOR RUNNING COURSE MAP <– Here’s why this map could be useful to you… just follow the arrows from the starting point and you’ll see there are several spots we go by TWICE – so you can be in 1 spot and see us coming… and going!
POST RACE:  After the race you will probably find us here:
wearing these:
But for now, that’s all the info I have.  If you have ANY QUESTIONS, post them here – or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.
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12 Miles In Long Beach Island

April 2, 2012

Let me tell you a little about Dock Road.

So, many years ago my best friends family bought a house just off of Long Beach Island (LBI) here in New Jersey and they have always been gracious enough to allow the group of us to come down whenever we’d like and stay as long as we want.  It’s a luxury I don’t take for granted, and summers normally consist of several visits down to Dock Road.  It’s arguably one of my favorite places on Earth – mostly due to the conversations and experiences I’ve been fortunate enough to have down there.

Well, his parents ‘moved in’ this weekend (they live in GA and come up for summers), so we were invited down to assist Joe w/ helping them get settled in, empty the trailer, etc.  Since most of the runners (Nancy, Martin and I) were going to be in attendance – and needed to knock out a 12 mile training run this weekend anyway – we decide ‘what could be better than driving over to LBI and doing it right along the beach?’

Well… we found out the answer to that question:  A LOT.

We decided earlier in the week the run would be from Bay View Park to the Barnegat Lighthouse – with the path we took (not straight down, we added some turns down blocks, etc.) it was just over 12 miles away.  Saturday AM it is dreary, around 40 degrees and a misty, but consistent, rain is coming down.  If there was EVER a day you would look out the window and say “Eh… I’ll do the run tomorrow” THIS would have been that day.  Well, we didn’t… we ran.  So at 9:15am Joe and our mobile water station drop us off at Bay View Park, says ‘Good luck – see ya in 3 miles!’ and leaves.  Like it or not, we’re running.

So we start.  First 2 miles are fine – little wet, little cold… but for the most part A-OK.  Then my body decides to throw a little curve ball at me:

“Yo, Gach – you need to go to the bathroom.  BAD.”

OK… not real happy about it, but what can you do, right?  So I start going into food places that are open to see if I can use their bathroom.  Here is how it went:

#1 – “Uhhhh… sorry it’s for employees only”
#2 – “Uhhhh… sorry but the policy is that you can’t use it.”
#3 – “Uhhhh… well… uhhhhhh… ummmmm… I gue-” *manager interrupts*
        “No, I’m sorry you can not”

I’m about ready to explode by the time I get to location #4, where the 2 young ladies at the counter in CVS were nice enough to allow me to use the employee men’s room in the back.  So I get in there, close the door and turn on the light.

There’s no light.

THERE’S NO GAHDAMN LIGHT IN THE FRIGGIN’ MENS EMPLOYEE BATHROOM?!?!?!?

At this point there’s no turning back… Once you mentally decide you’re going you HAVE to go.  So, I crack open the bathroom to get some light and assess the location of the toilet as the door closes and sit in udder and complete darkness for 5 minutes.  The ‘crack door open, get light & assess situation’ process happens a few more times and then I’m back outside with my running mates and we’re at Mile #3 (57 minutes, including the potty break) and our 1st of 4 water stations (re: Joe driving my car with a cooler in the trunk meeting us every 3 miles).

We take a quick break, fuel up a little and we’re back off again.  About 5 minutes after leaving I say to Nancy and Martin “Wow, this wind is really fighting us, isn’t it?”  Yeah… in addition to the rain and the cold, we’re running INTO the wind.  Despite that, Miles 4-6 were my easiest…. no bathroom worries, no issues… Gu and Pedialyte are just fine… and I cruise into Water Station #2 feeling pretty good.

That was the end of feeling good.

We take off on the 3rd leg, and I immediately start to tighten up – in my jaw, my legs, my hips… you name it, it got tight.  By Mile 8, Nancy and Martin were well ahead of me, as the amount of my walking almost doubled and the amount of crazy began to introduce itself for the first time in my training.

(** NOTE – I debated even telling this story, but my friends thought it was pretty funny so I figure I’ll share it.  I guess if you’re gonna judge me, you’d have done it well before this… so what the heck, right??? 🙂 **)

Sometimes, I have been told, when you run long distances you ‘may’ begin to hallucinate a little – talk to yourself, see things that aren’t there, etc.  After all, distance running is a science and keeping properly  hydrated/ nourished while in the middle of running 3 hours straight is not easy.

I can’t believe it, but this is the ACTUAL Mickey
Mouse mailbox I high-fived – no joke!

Well – down the shore the mailboxes are all free standing right on the road so the mailman can just drive up and put the mail in.  Many residents have fun with their mail stands by making them elaborate with pictures, statues, paintings and the like.  As I’m in between Miles 8 and 9, the mailboxes got ‘friendly’ with me I guess… because I pet 1 “cat” (made of wood) that was on top of a mailbox as I said “Heeyyy, guy”then a minute or so later high-fived a Mickey Mouse and said “Thanks, bro”as I trotted past.

It wasn’t until about 15 minutes later that I kinda came around said “DID I JUST PET A FAKE CAT AND HIGH FIVE A WOODEN MICKEY?!?!?!”

At this point Water Station #3 is near, which Nancy and Martin had just left, and I quit.  I was done.  I couldn’t even lift my feet anymore, I’m talking to wooden creatures… this is ridiculous.  So Joe does what any normal person would do; rolls up his pants and says “hey – let’s run a mile.”

I’m walking to the beach (I have no idea what I was gonna do when I got there, but that’s the way I was headed), stopped and had the following exchange:

“WHA?!?!”
“Yeah Todd – let’s run a mile, you and me”
“Uhhh – you’re in sandals”
“I know.  It’s a mile, I can keep up”
“Well, yeah… I can barely move”
“Exactly – so let’s go.  C’mon.”

So I had some Gatorade, some Pedialyte – and un-quit.  We started walking, then broke into a (really) light jog and started talking about everything going through my head at that point.  Mile 10 comes up and the car, Nancy and Martin are all there waiting for me; Joe wraps up (“Man, this wind is no joke…”) and Nancy and Martin join me on my slow pace for the last 2 miles – which I really needed because I don’t know if I could have finished if they didn’t wait for me. I’d like to think I could have finished up alone, but after what happened at Mile 9 I’d be lying if I could say with 100% certainty I would have.

Around Mile 11 I got this shooting pain in my left leg (now dubbed ‘the problem leg’ because that’s the leg it seems like everything happens to) which, at the the time, I called a hip pointer (because it seemed to describe exactly what it felt like), but after research it must have been something altogether different (exactly what it was is still TBD). So, I did what most people would do after running 11 miles and being in pain – had an out-loud conversation with my legs and Jesus, began preaching to Nancy and Martin like a Southern Baptist Minister (this wasn’t a product of anything other than entertainment… I promise) and singing Prince songs.  In other words – pretty much anything to ignore the pain.

We finally reached the lighthouse, and I swear to God I couldn’t have cared less at that moment in time – my only mission was to not move my legs…. for even just a minute – I just didn’t wanna move.

SO WE DECIDED TO CLIMB THE STAIRS TO THE TOP OF THE LIGHTHOUSE.

I won’t even try to make this dramatic – we turned around.  We made it about 1/3 of the way up before we all were like “Yeah… no” and then went back down.  12 miles was enough for 1 day.  Once we got back to the house, we were all sorts of lazy… uhh, I mean, recuperating… for the afternoon and just enjoyed the rest of our time at the house.

When we got up Sunday morning, the sun was out, the wind was gone and it was the PERFECT day for a beach run.  No, we didn’t run… but I wonder:

If I had the choice – what would I choose between knowing I could complete the 12 mile run in the conditions I did on Saturday, or do the run in the ideal conditions on Sunday?  I don’t know to be perfectly honest.  But what I DO know is that, no matter what, I did that run on Saturday – and no one can take that away from me.  It’s 3 weeks till the half, and I can almost guarantee that those 13.1 won’t be as hard as the 12 I ran this past weekend.

Boots.  To.  Asses.

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