Archive for May, 2012

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Wanna Run With Us?!?!

May 29, 2012

Running is more fun when you’re with people.  It’s really that simple.  When you’re not alone, you run faster and it seems to go much more quickly that it really does.  I think this is why my friends and I always try to get groups of people out for all the races we run… and why I’m trying to do it again!

I get asked quite a bit about races: which one(s) I am doing, where to find races etc. In regards to finding them?  There’s this AMAZING website that literally has tens of thousands of races listed with everything you need to know about them.

Just google race length and location that you desire then the ol’ Google machine will work its magic and spit out the best options.  I know it’s Google 101, but “the more specific you can be about your search, the better the search results will be”

NOW… as for which ones we are doing?  Here’s the list.  If you’re reading this, we want you to come out and join us.  These are all within the next 2 months… and you can run 1 or all of them if you want!  Doesn’t matter if we’ve never met, haven’t seen each other in 10 years or we saw each other yesterday.  Like I said in the beginning, running is more fun when you’re with people – and I can prove it!

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JUNE 24th – New York Giants Run of Champions 5K: This is gonna be AWESOME and, if I’m figuring it out correctly, will be the biggest group of peeps we’ve done a race with yet.  Myself, Jennifer, Nancy, Martin, Joe (with as involved as he’s been it’s actually his 1st race w/ us), Brian, Courtney, Mai and Hiba are ‘ALL IN’ already and we really wanna see a lot more people out there with us.  The kicker w/ this race?  You end the race running the length of the football field in Giants Stadium (sorry… not calling it MetLife Stadium.  Can’t do it.) and crossing the finish line IN THE END ZONE… WHILE YOU’RE SHOWN ON THE SCOREBOARD.  Yeah… pretty freakin’ sweet.

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JUNE 24th – Fitzgerald’s 1928 Lager Run: “Uhhh, Gach… you screwed up a race date in the blog.  I think you cut and paste it or something. It says you’re doing the Giants race and the Beer race on the same day. Just wanted to let you know dude!”  There is no screw up.  In the eternal quest to challenge myself and my personal boundaries (and because someone said “Think we can do 2 5K’s in 1day? I think we can. That would be fun. And this one has beer!”) I will be running TWO (2) 5K’s in ONE (1) day.  Right now there are four of us doing the ‘2 5K/ 1 Day Challenge’ and, if you really want to be able to say something even some of your more accomplished running friends can’t – maybe you should do this with us. Just on logistics alone it’s difficult to find – let alone participate – in 2 races in 1 day so, even if they’ve run farther than you in a race, you can still say “hey, I ran TWWOOO races in ONNEEE day…” 🙂

BUT IT DOESNT STOP THERE – Remember that “eternal quest to challenge myself and my personal boundaries” thing I mentioned? Well, the ‘2 5K/ 1 Day Challenge’ is gonna be equal parts fun as it is challenging so, in the spirit of the latter race being a Lager Run, two of us have decided to add a “Chaser” to the day.  The ‘6-Pack Chaser’ is exactly what you thought it was when you read those words in your head – in the 8 hours you have between the end of the Giants race and the beginning of the Lager Run, you gotta finish a 6-Pack of your libation of choice. There will be more details about THIS part of the festivities in the next week or two, so don’t be shy… hit me up if you wanna join us and we’ll give you the specifics!  Oh, and don’t be crazy uptight and hit me up with the health risks, etc… we’re all adults, not idiots.  If you wanna find a health cause involving running get after THIS RACE… which, incidentally, I REALLY wanna try as well.

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July 4th – Cranford Jaycees Firecracker 4-Miler:  This race has been in my hometown for YEARS… and now that I am running I HAVE to do it.  I know 3 of us have definitely signed up for it, with more coming, so once again it will be quite the large group of people.  Plus, being the fat guy running in front of this particular group of thousands of people will have my anxiety at an extremely high level, so the more the merrier!

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Might have to get this for the race!

July 25th – 11th Annual Downtown Westfield 5K & Pizza Extravaganza:  5K… Pizza… do I really need to say anything more than this?!?!  Actually, yes.  This is on a WEDNESDAY NIGHT at 7pm.  It’s gonna be super fun for sure, but I didn’t want that to go under the radar since 99.44% of races are run on weekends.  But there’s pizza, so I really don’t care what day it is.  It’s pizza for God’s sake.  We’ve got 5 definites, 1 “you know, I looked up that pizza race you’re doing…” and a few others that are interested as well!

(UPDATE 1:35p, 5/29/2012 – the 1 “you know, I looked up that pizza race you’re doing…” decided to take the plunge and make the commitment, so now it’s 6 definites for the pizza run!)

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So there you have it kids… the next 2 months worth of races that we have scheduled. I can’t stress this enough – IF YOU’RE READING THIS & WANT TO RUN, RUN WITH US!  If you’ve been reading my blog you’ll notice that the run group has gotten larger… and it’s because people (like YOU) reach out – just once – and then realize from that 1st race we all do it’s infinitely better to have a ton of people to do this with so they keep coming back.  Hit me up here, on FACEBOOK or TWITTER… I can speak on behalf of all my running peeps when I say “we can’t wait to run with you!”

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Hair Of The Dog 5K

May 21, 2012
Pre-Race…

RACE: Hair Of The Dog 5K

LOCATION: Silver Decoy Winery, Hightstown NJ
DATE: 5/20/12
TIME: We’ll get to this
PACE: Ditto

I raced in the Hair Of The Dog 5K this weekend with some VERY specific goals:

*  Break 40 minutes
*  Run the race in my Five Fingers
I definitely had some trepidation going into this.  First of all, this race started at 10am – that’s late.  Most races start around 7am-8am, so 10am throws my whole ‘thing’ off – and that’s because my ‘thing’ involves eating no more than a roll and drinking a little water before I run.  Easy to do before 8a… a little bit harder to wait till almost 11am after running.  So I had breakfast… a wonderful breakfast of oatmeal and ‘grapefruit’ :)… but when you have a routine and that routine changes, doubt definitely creeps into your mind as to how it will affect you.
Secondly, “Gach’s 4am Airport Shuttle”!  My best friend needed a ride to the airport.  There aren’t many reasons I can think of that I wouldn’t have done this (death and half-marathons come to mind right off the bat) but, since he’s now training with us to do the LBI 18-Mile Run, I’d be lying if I didn’t think that the 10 miles from my town to Newark Airport could be a nice, relaxing jog for him before he left.  As far as my race goes, being up at 3:30am when you’re racing at 10am isn’t even something recommended by the “Dean K School of Running Prep.”
Gettin’ my STRETCH on!

Third on the list?  My damn foot cramped up.  SERIOUSLY – I’ve been exclusively training in the Five Fingers now for a month with NO issues outside of the norm.  Then, all of the sudden, the arch on my left foot cramps up 2 hours before the race.  Can’t make this s**t up if I tried.  If you know me, or have read my blog before, you know that I PLAN… I plan a lot and I plan early.  Because I like to be prepared.  Random foot cramping does not fall into my planning mentality well AT ALL.

And finally – IT WAS HOT.  For a guy my size who spent his entire half-marathon training in the winter months, this was/ is/ will continue to be a HUGE challenge.  Big dudes don’t do well in the heat… throw in the mix a competitive road race and you’re asking for trouble.
TO RECAP: I’ve been up since 330am, filled up on breakfast before running and got a foot cramp before racing on an 80 degree day.  So what happens?
I run like the gahdamn wind and set my 5K PR by OVER 7 MINUTES.
Like I said before – I can’t make this s**t up if I tried.  
Six of us ran this race – myself, regulars Nancy and Martin and newbies Jennifer (accomplished triathlete and all-around bad a**), Michele (running her FIRST EVER 5K) and her friend Lauren (who is a ‘living healthy’ success story all to herself).  So… the race starts and Nancy and I go.  Like ‘go’ go.  And 10 minutes later we’re at the first mile marker.
Just in case you missed that: 10 MINUTES LATER we’re at the first mile marker.
“Somebody” decided to just take the hell off and ‘run like he stole something’ (to paraphrase a post my friend sent me via Facebook this week).  Nancy’s right with me, and everyone one else is behind us.  I don’t know what got into me.  We both decide it ‘might’ be a good idea to scale it back a bit (Translation –  we slowed down because we would have both died if we kept that pace up.)  So we bring it back to a reasonable pace and get to Mile 2.  Jennifer catches up for a bit, Martin is back there somewhere, Lauren is completely MIA and Michele is BY FAR the smartest of the group, keeping a nice reasonable pace… you know, because it’s 80 freakin’ degrees out.
Post-race…

Right around the 2.5 mark, Martin catches up to Nancy and I… so now it’s a race. I’ve never been in this position before – to have the ability to actually compete against my running friends at the end of a race.  I’m always well behind just lumbering along waiting to see all their smiling “already finished the race” faces waiting for me when I cross the finish.  But, for the 1st time EVER, I’m in the lead pack.  And let me just tell you, it’s competitive up there.  You could FEEL the energy and the competition between us.  We all took turns jumping out to the lead in the last half mile and, in the end, the winner was:

*drum roll…*
*cymbal crash!*
Post race spread!

ALL OF US.  Nancy, Martin and I all finished within 4 seconds of each other with Jennifer less than a minute later.  Michele had a personal goal in her 1st race ever – and beat it by ONE SECOND.  And Lauren?  We found her – AT THE FINISH LINE… She ran it faster than all of us!  Everyone did so amazing… I can’t even begin to tell you how fantastic the energy was after this experience.  And then we got to spend the rest of the day sitting outside at the winery, drinking local wines and listening to live music.  If it were possible to take the awesomeness of this day, bottle it up and sell it I would be a zillionaire…. seriously.  

In the afternoon I had a conversation about ‘capturing a moment’ – she talked about recognizing you’re in a moment so special that you stop, take in everything about it (sights, sounds, smells, emotions, etc.) and just store it away so you can revisit it when you need to take a mental vacation…. kinda like your Happy Place.  
She said she did that with Sunday.  She wasn’t the only one.

RACE: Hair Of The Dog 5K
LOCATION: Silver Decoy Winery, Hightstown NJ
DATE: 5/20/12
TIME: 34:44 (PR – previous best 42:10 1/1/12)
PACE: 11:11
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Space Underwear!

PS – On Saturday, I put up a super quick post about my underwear.  Besides the fact that the post somehow got the most views for 1 post EVER in the history of my blog (still trying to figure THAT one out), I had a lot of questions about how it went using them for the 1st time.  

IT WAS AMAZING.  
I can’t really ever justify spending $100 for performance underwear… but, if I could, I would tell every guy that does anything athletic to run out and cop a pair of RevolutionWear Frigo No. 1’s.  I didn’t have to adjust ‘the team’ once all day… and any guy who’s worn compression shorts/ pants knows how impossible that usually is.

Technology is freakin’ amazing… who the hell knew you could make drawers better?!?!

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You Must Be Wearing Space Underwear…

May 19, 2012

… because you’re wearing some crazy ass performance shorts!

(This is gonna be a quick post, but I HAD to share…)

So, I use Klout to help spread the word about my blog and occasionally they send you some ‘Perks’ based on how influential you are in certain areas.  Many of my topics center around Weight Watchers, working out, running, losing weight, etc.  Well one day I get a Perk notification and it’s from a company called RevolutionWear and they are giving away their state-of-the-art performance underwear – Frigo No. 1.

Yeah, I said it – state-of-the-art performance underwear.  And it came with directions!

So what makes it ‘state-of-the-art’?  I’ll let the directions show you.

So I’m gonna give these special shorts a whirl at my 5K tomorrow… see how amazing they really are.  I mean, they’re $100/ pair… and I didn’t pay a dime.  For a hundred bucks they gotta do SOMETHING, right?

I’ll let yas know next week!  🙂

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Who In The HELL Is That?!?!

May 17, 2012

I look weird.
Like, seriously… I look at myself in the mirror or in pictures and look just awkward and odd.  I know to some of people that’s crazy because I’ve lost almost 75 lbs and I’m working out like it’s my job.  They think I should be saying self-assuring things to myself like “WOW – I LOOK AWESOME!”, but I guess when you’ve been looking at yourself a certain way for so long you get comfortable with it – even if you’re uncomfortable with it.
It’s hard for me to explain really.  I know I’m healthier… I know this is right… I know that I’m doing it right and the loss is going exactly the way it should be.  But losing an enormous amount of weight is almost like getting plastic surgery – you become a completely different person and mentally you need to prepare for that.
I’m not sure I did that as well as I could have.
I remember how uncomfortable I was trying to get dressed to go out when I was heavy – I would put my arms into my knit shirts and try to stretch them out so they hung looser and didn’t “hug the curves”.  I loved sweatshirts… like, LOVED them.  I never tucked in shirts at all, because all THAT did was highlight terrifying things about me.
Now it’s different – but the same.  I look in the mirror and see this big ‘ol long neck that I “never had”… I think my shrits look ridiculous because of it so I’m constantly pulling the collars closed around my neck.  I’ve lost 8 inches in my waist so far, and I’m not comfortable AT ALL in pants that size so I find myself cinching a bigger pair w/ a belt.  And I still wear a lot of sweatshirts.
So… why the hell am I putting this out there?  I have a reason… and that reason is BODY IMAGE.
It’s shore season in Jersey (yes, America… we’ve been calling it the Jersey shore far longer than MTV named a show after it) so I hear so many people talk about how they wanna look great for the beach.  Now, I look at these people and shake my head… they’re in amazing shape.  Some are gorgeous… some are stunning… some even look like bodybuilders for God’s sake.  But they all have the EXACT SAME ISSUE that I do; they’re not happy with themselves.
In their eyes, they look weird.
And I honestly don’t know where it stops… I have muscular friends that want to get leaner.  I have lean friends that wanna put on some muscle.  I have friends that wanna tone their tummies and tighten their booties that honestly (from an outsiders perspective) I don’t see a problem on them in either of these areas.  And then there’s people like me that just wanna lose enough weight to not terrify beachgoers if they choose to take off their shirt (RELAX, Jersey… you got ‘til 2013 for me)
But, what this did do is remind me that this journey is SOOOO much more mental than anything I’m doing physically.  I tend to forget that sometimes when I reach a goal at Weight Watchers or finish a race.  But every one of those accomplishments goes right back to the fact that MENTALLY I prepared myself to handle the physical aspects of those goals to achieve, so I need to understand that MENTALLY I need to learn that there’s nothing wrong with how I look. It’s not an easy task – especially for a guy whose head works and processes things in the manner that I do – but I need to focus on the right things… focus, focus, focus.  Focus on the end game, focus on the progress, focus on the fact that this is barely the middle of a journey I’m still very far away from completing.
And focus on the fact that I can’t get comfortable with anything now because it’s all gonna keep changing – again and again and again.  But I CAN be happy with it.
I wanna end this with something I wake up and tell myself every single day.  And I’m not just saying that because it seems dramatic… I really mean it – I say this EVERY SINGLE DAY.  And I think it encompasses what I really want to convey in this post:
“You don’t get healthy so you can be happy with yourself… you need to be happy with yourself so you can get healthy.”

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Responsibility

May 7, 2012

(No pictures?!?!  Must be serious!!!)  🙂

14,117.

Anyway you slice it, that’s a big number.  That number signifies the amount of people that have read my blog since it’s inception.

YEAH – I KNOW.

So… the other night I had this fantastic conversation which led me to actually SAY something I’ve thought about for a very long time, but never really talked about.  I never actually put into words.  You know what I’m talking about – you’ve got something in your head that’s run through there a bunch of times then, when it comes time to articulate it:

“It’s like… I mean… ummm… It’s… like… hold on… well… OK so it’s kinda like…”

Yup – that was me… bumbling like an idiot.

But great people – truly great human beings – are great because they help bring out the great in others. Could be with words, in their performance… it can be a bunch of things.  This chat did that for me.  It brought to the forefront for me something I think I need to address, because I need to make sure everyone is 100% clear on what’s going on.

I started to write this blog for me… I got tired of updating everyone with the same story over and over again about what was going on with me so I figured I’d put it all in 1 spot, make it a little entertaining, and then my family and friends could start the convo with me if they felt so inclined after reading.  It’s clearly become more than that.

And I want you, reading this right now, to know that I recognize that.

I write about the physical people in my life a lot; the people that are around in my life that motivate me.  I kinda feel bad because I think on some levels they’ve maybe unwillingly accepted the fact that they’re part of this for me/ with me.  This was MY choice to put this all out there, and they’ve all been kinda sucked in to having their pics posted and their ‘rolled up sweatpants/ sandal running’ lives put out there for everyone to read.  That’s gonna be something I re-evaluate w/ my peeps… it’s been so long I should really make sure they’re OK with it.

HOWEVER… what I don’t put out there as often as I maybe should is the ‘random acts of kindness’ that I receive almost daily from people who read this.  It’s stunning to me to see the reach this blog has produced simply by Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc… all of the people it’s touched and, apparently, helped or motivated.

In all 50 states and over 15 different countries.

YEAH – I KNOW.  🙂

It’s a hard thing to accept.  To say “Yeah, I motivate people to (insert activity).” I’m not an idiot… I look at myself in the mirror every single day… so to think I motivate someone in some kind of physical capacity is awkward to say the least.  But I chose to put myself out there (action) and, sometimes, this is what happens when you do that (reaction).

That being said, I accept the responsibility of how this blog not only helps ME with a lot of things, but how it’s helped others as well.  I am not going to fail this time.  I refuse to do that to myself – or you guys.  I do not take this lightly and don’t EVER think that every one of you 14,117 isn’t appreciated – even if at this point you’re simply a number.  Each of you are here for a reason, and will do my best to entertain/ motivate/ educate you while I continue on my journey.  Even if I hit the bump in the road, I’m gonna share it regardless of how crappy it may be, because as I’ve said before this journey isn’t all sunshine and roses – It sucks sometimes.  But the true test isn’t those times, it’s how you RESPOND to those times… how you GET THROUGH those times… and how you still head towards success IN SPITE OF those times.

I’m really looking forward to having more conversations like that.  Lord knows it’s not easy to make me speechless (see: every single post I’ve ever written… ever… including this one.).  And to everyone reading… thank you.  I appreciate you and I will NOT let you down.  Fasten your seatbelts… we’re taking this to a whole new level real soon.

Have a great week y’all 🙂

***  UPDATED 5/9 ***

THIS is the kinda stuff I see… thank you, Meredith.  🙂

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