Running: 10 Years and Counting

Running Ten years ago this month I made a decision that changed my life: I laced up a pair of old sneakers and went running.

It was the latest in a series of attempt to lose weight. After working as a cubicle jockey and enjoying a constant stream of free sodas and snacks from my employer, I was on the verge of being obese. I hated the way I looked and physically felt. I knew I needed to change my lifestyle or I was going to be miserable for the rest of my life.

At the time I never thought that running would be something I be doing one or even 10 years in the future. I just thought a little exercise would help me shed some weight and, once gone, I’d change my eating habits to keep the pounds from returning. But as I kept at it I discovered that running was something I really enjoyed. More than just exercise, I liked feeling the sun on my face and feeling the road under my feet. I enjoyed running farther, running faster. Every day was a challenge to see if I could improve and do a little bit better.

And yes, the weight came off. Six months later I was 50 pounds lighter. Looking back, however, it wasn’t’ just lacing up the shoes that day that made the difference. It was getting up every morning after that, no matter the weather or how I felt, and tying to run a little farther, a little faster. It was making that decision the second and third mornings and every morning since that helped me not only lose the weight but rebuild my life, fall in love with Marathon Girl, and bond with my kids.

So here’s to a decade of running—something that changed my life in ways I never even imagined when I first put on those worn out sneakers. And here’s to running every day for the rest of my life.

Family Runs II

Family Runs

Now that the weather’s finally warmed up, Marathon Girl and I have taking the kids on weekly family runs again. In the back of my mind I worry that the kids will tire of them but every week they still enjoy hopping on their bikes or climbing in the stroller for a three or four mile run with Mom and Dad. The oldest two enjoy them so much that they’ve now ride alongside me during my morning—so long as they’re awake and ready to go when I’m heading out the door.

Most mornings, just as I’m finishing my weight routine I hear them running down the stairs to see if I’ve left without them. When they see that I’m home, they let out excited cries of joy, put on their shoes, and head out to the garage to get their bikes.

It’s been a nice having the two boys on their bikes with me as I run. Having them with me helps me focus my thoughts on the family instead of work or other stress inducing subjects. It's been fun to watch their endurance increase with each passing day. A four mile bike rid is no longer a problem for them.

We don’t talk much during our runs but from the big smiles on their faces as we count off the miles, I can tell they’re having a good time riding their bikes in the cool morning air with dad.

I hope they can tell Dad enjoys them too.

Family Workouts

Family Treadmill Runs

When it comes to my kids’ bad behavior, I often see them mimicking my own shortcomings. I grimace every time my 4-year-old son get frustrated when something doesn’t go as planned because it’s something he learned from watching Dad. It’s a reminder to me that I need to do better (I’m trying!) and how much my actions (instead of my words) influence them.

Thankfully the kids learn from my (and Marathon Girl’s) good behavior too. One thing they’re really into is exercising. For them exercising usually involves running around outside with their friends. But with the cold spring, playing outside hasn’t happened as often as they like. So on days when it’s too cold to play outside, they run on the treadmill—just like Mom and Dad.

They know how to turn it on, select a speed, and run. I get a kick out of watching them run at full speed for a minute or two, slow down to walking speed until they catch their breath, and then start running again. And while one runs, the other kids explore my weights, pick up the lightest dumbbells, and start mimicking curls or strength training exercises they’ve seen me do.

When they started running this winter, I thought it was because the treadmill was new and that they’d tire of it after a week or two. But they’re still at it, almost every day, enjoying running on the treadmill. Today my oldest used it while I worked my triceps and chest. It made my workout extra fun to work out with him. It was a nice bonding experience.

I hope he enjoyed it as much as I did. I’d love to keep working out with him and all of my children now and as they get older.

I look forward to the day that they can run faster or bench press more than their old man.

Real vs. Virtual Talent

Time Management

The best Christmas present I ever received was an Atari 2600. Unwrapping it on Christmas morning is probably my most vivid Christmas memory. Over its life it received thousands of hours of playtime. Even after it became outdated (Nintendo’s were all the rage in high school), friends and I would break it out on occasion and play our favorite games. It and the dozens of games we owned were finally thrown away as the family packed up to move to Wyoming.

By far the best Christmas present our kids received this year was a Wii. And while I’ve enjoyed playing it with them as well as watching them play, it’s been somewhat troubling how addictive they find it. The boys would spend all day doing nothing but playing it if we let them. (We don’t. Its use is highly regulated.)

I bring this up because it amazes me how much time kids and adults spend playing video games. Even a lot of adults I know can’t live without their weekly game nights or spend hours after their kids are in bed playing World of Warcraft. Granted today’s games are better, more complex, and take longer to play than the ones I grew up on, but it really concerns me when I see the boys begging to play the Wii while they’ve got plenty of other toys and friends to play with as well as countless activities they can do outside. And though I wasn’t a video game addict, I did spend lots of time during college and the year or two after I graduated playing video games. Looking back it was time that could have been better spent honing my writing skills or spending time with friends, family, and loved ones.

This month we gave our boys a choice: they could sign up for spring soccer or baseball. (They both chose baseball. And, no, I did nothing to influence their decision.) The issue wasn’t what sport they were going to play but, rather, how they’re spending their time. And even though there are hundreds of clichés on why sports are good for kids, the real reason I want them to play a sport is so they can learn the amount of hard work it takes develop real talents as opposed to virtual ones.

While I don’t expect my kids to become professional baseball or soccer players, I know they all have skills they can develop that will help them later in life. It takes hours of practice to become a good artist, plumber, or computer programmer. Having the self discipline to work hard at something will carry anyone long distances in the real world.

We all have a limited amount time in this life. One of the best things we can learn at any age is what our real talents are and the best way develop and use them. Yes, it takes skill to hit a baseball 450 feet on the Wii (I’m still working n that one), but it takes more talent to hit a home run with a real bat and ball.

I’ll take the real talents over virtual ones any day.

The One New Year's Resolution I Can't Keep

New Year's Resolution

I'm pretty good about keeping New Year’s resolutions. Whether it’s writing a book or two, shaking up the exercise routine, doing things that make me a better husband or father, I can usually look back at the year and see that I’ve accomplished most of them.

There is one exception to this rule—one that I've tried for the last three years with varying degrees of success: no more soda pop. As hard of I've tried, I’ve never been able to go an entire year without it. The longest I’ve made it without any bubbly was three years ago when I went all the way to September.

Since I don’t drink a lot of soda anyway, you’d think this would be an easy one to keep. The only time I usually drink it when we go out to eat (an Apollo Burger isn’t an Apollo Burger without some carbonation) or the occasionally family party. And avoiding carbonation during those times wouldn’t be difficult since there are always plenty of non-carbonated options to choose from.

Part of problem is that nearly a decade ago when I started running every day is that if I met my running goals for the week, one of my rewards was a 32 oz. fountain drink from a nearby convenience store. Even though drinking soda was went somewhat against the grain of the weight I was trying to lose at the time, it was still my reminder that I wasn’t giving up soda—but only drinking it after I had accomplished other health related goals. Nearly a decade later, I still routinely meet my fitness goals. However, I still want a reward for doing it. Hence the draw of at least having something carbonated to drink once a week. I’ve tried non-carbonated substitutes but so far nothing seems to work well enough to keep me off carbonation for 365 days.

It’s also become more difficult now that our kids are older. When Marathon Girl and I were first married, we never bought it. Now we buy it occasionally for the kids—usually as a reward for good behavior. This, however, creates temptations when we have it occasionally with dinner even though there’s plenty of other stuff I could drink. In the end, however, I have no one but myself to blame.

There are always other options available—I just choose to have the occasional soda. So this year I’m going to give it one last try and see if I can have the self control to abstain for at least a year. Hopefully by this time next year I’ll have good news to report.

Running in the Rain

Running in the Rain

Years ago, during the dark period of my life, daily, morning runs were the only thing that kept me from falling into the abyss. Those early morning runs were a necessary not only to get me out of bed but give me the push I needed to make it through another day alone.

One January morning as I was getting dressed, I could feel the wind shake the house and listened as bits of snow and ice were thrown against the window. I knew it was going to be well below zero. I paused and thought about getting back under the covers for another hour or taking a hot shower. But inside I knew I had to run—even if only a couple miles—because I knew that staying home and doing nothing would be worse in the long run.

So I put on extra layers and headed out into the cold. Thirty minutes later I finished a four mile run. Even though I was chilled to the bone, I felt like I had just climbed Mt. Everest. There was something about enduring the elements that made feel like I could take on whatever life was going to throw at me.

Ever since then I’ve enjoyed running when the weather is less than perfect.

Especially the rain.

There’s something invigorating about having big drops of water splashing in my face and soaking my clothes. I love splashing through puddles as I run and feeling my hair stick to my face.

Part the reason is because rain in Utah is a rare treat. When it does rain, it comes in 10 minute or 15 minutes bursts before the sun returns. Seldom have I been able to do an entire run in a good rain.

So as soon as I saw the ran coming down last week, I quickly got into my running clothes and headed out the door, hoping that it would last for a mile or two.

By the end of the first mile there were still gray clouds everywhere and it showed no signs of letting up.

By the end of the second mile I was soaked and loving my run, happy that it was raining harder than it was when I started.

By the end of the third mile I looked to the west and could see the end of the storm.

So I picked up the pace, determined to finish the run before the rain stopped and the sun came out. Seconds after finishing the fourth and final mile the rain stopped and the sun came out.

Breathless I pumped my fists in the air, grateful that I been able to enjoy 30 minutes of running in the rain and had another a chance to remind myself that whatever challenges I’m going through, I will overcome them.

Family Runs

It’s no secret that Marathon Girl and I love running together. Some of our first and best dates were waking up at 5:00 a.m. and enjoy long runs together. Even after six years of marriage, we like the bonding experience that comes from spending 30-60 minutes running side by side. As our family’s grown, however, running as a couple has been more and more difficult. After the birth of our first child, we bought a running stroller and were still able to run together several times a week. But after second and third child arrived—and we bought a double-wide running stroller to compliment our single one—running together become something we’d do every week or 10 days together.

Then number four came in January and having the chance to run together came to a screeching halt. There were too many kids and not enough running stroller seats to make running as a family feasible.

It was hard not having time running together. It was time that Marathon Girl and I needed—even if it was only once a week.

Then two months ago our oldest learned to ride his bike without training wheels. While we were watching him zip up and down the sidewalk the idea came to Marathon Girl that maybe he could keep up with us as we ran. So the next day she took him on a test run/ride with found out that not only could he bike our four mile course without any difficulty, but he could ride faster than she could run.

So we started we started weekly family runs. We put the younger three in the running strollers and the oldest on his bike. It’s worked out so well that it’s something our three oldest kids really look forward to. (Number four is too young to express an opinion. He usually falls asleep a few minutes into it. I guess that means he likes it.) I get home from work and all three kids run into the garage and excitedly tell me that we’re all going for a family run then climb in the running strollers or get on their bike in anticipation.

I’m glad the kids like it and hope it’s something we can continue for years to come. It’s turned into nice family time and give Marathon Girl and me a chance to reconnect in a way that brought us together in the first place.

Adjusting to XXL Sized Shirts

Years ago I received a letter from a friend who mentioned how expensive it was to gain or lose weight because you had to by so many new clothes. At the time I didn’t give much thought. I was 20 or and still had the same tall, lean frame I had since eighth grade. I had worn the same size jeans and shirts for at least five years. I thought my friend should get off his fat butt so he wouldn’t have to buy new clothes. Time passed. I graduated from college and realized my metabolism wasn’t what it used to be. Eighteen months after graduating, I had gained 40 pounds. During that time, I bought a lot of new clothes.

After realizing I looked like a big, white marshmallow, I decided I didn’t want to be fat. I started running. Within six months I had dropped 50 pounds simply by changing my diet and running 4 miles every morning. After my weight leveled out, I ended up buying a lot of new clothes.

Last October I was surprised to learn that my long sleeve work shirts no longer fit. My weightlifting routine had increased my chest, shoulders, and arms enough that larger and longer shirts were required. I ended up buying a lot of new shirts.

Last week I made the same discovery about my short sleeve shirts. Yes, the same shirts that fit great last fall are too tight around the arms and chest now. This took me by surprise since my weight has held steady for the last 6 months. (It must be all the swimming.)

That mean it was time to buy more new shirts. And what a shock it was to find out that the only shirts that look good on me are sized XXL.

I haven’t had to wear XXL shirts since my fat days. Ever since I’ve started exercising, Large or XL sized shirts have always fit great. I didn’t want to buy the XXL shirts even thought they fit because I associate them with being fat. Even with Marathon Girl cooing about how nice the shirts looked on me it was a big mental step to actually buy them.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad I did. It’s nice to wear shirts that actually fit. And having to buy new clothes because of expanding muscles instead of an expanding waistline is a good problem to have. It just mentally disconcerting to think I need XXL shirts.

And, no my clothing ordeal isn’t done. My two suits along with all my dress shirts don’t fit all that well too. Since the weather’s warmed, I don’t have to worry about fixing those problems for another 4 months or so.

Maybe by then I’ll be able to fit into them. :-)

Gym Wuss No More

jogging in the snow

There's one downside about working out at the gym: I've become a wuss about running in the cold.

It wasn't always this way.

A couple years ago it didn't matter if the temperature outside was twenty below zero. I'd just put on an extra sweatshirt and head outside at 5:00 a.m. and run, run, run.

Then to accommodate a new work schedule and other demands on my time, I started working out at the gym during lunch. It was convenient, but because I was running indoors, I lost the ability to shrug off cold temperatures.

Until this weekend.

Since I had about 10 days off, I needed to run. Sure, I can miss a day here or there and not have it be a big deal. But I can't miss 10 days in a row.

I'd go crazy.

While the gym is conveniently located close to my place of employment, its many locations are NOT convenient from my home. So driving to the closest gym every day wasn't an option.

And by my second day off, I was pacing the living room, looking out at the snow, trying to find the courage to go running.

Then Marathon Girl walked by.

"What's wrong?" she asked.

"I need to go running," I said.

"Well, why don't you go?"

"It's cold outside."

Marathon Girl gave me one of those "This is the ‘man' I've married?" looks. That look alone should have been enough to get me out the door. But sometimes, when I really don't want to do something, I dig in my heels and become really stubborn.

I dug in my heels.

"It's below freezing outside," I said.

Marathon Girl just stared at me.

"It's way below freezing," I said.

Marathon Girl just stared at me.

"I could die from exposure and then you'd be a widow with three point five kids to raise."

Marathon Girl just stares at me.

I finally get the message. She's been walking everyday in the cold, hoping to get this baby out of her with no luck. Why am I being such a wuss?

So I tucked my tail between my legs and went running.

I came back 40 minutes later, sweating and feeling great.

"You survived," Marathon Girl said.

I smiled. "Not only did I survive, but it was great to breathe in the cold, winter air."

Marathon Girl just smiled and returned to her book.

I'm a gym wuss no more.

When Less is More at the Gym

Treamills with Televisions

My gym’s going upscale.

In a bad way.

They’ve spent the last few days adding flat screen TV monitors to the treadmills. By the end of the Thanksgiving holiday they’ve promised us that these sets will be functional and we’ll be able to stare blankly at whatever channel we want (Really? Any channel? I see a lawsuit coming.) from a screen 12 inches from our faces instead of staring blankly at the ones on the wall.

Here’s the problem: When I worked on the other side of town, the gym on that side of town did exactly the same thing.

I hated it.

Since running on a treadmill is infinitely more boring then running outside, I can see the need for a distraction. When Marathon Girl was forced to use the treadmill in our basement, you can bet she has a move playing to distract her. When I run at the gym, I usually find a treadmill near to the TV with ESPN so I can glance at the football highlights (or whatever they’re showing) while I run.

But I don’t plug in the earphones to listen to the sound because I’m usually 1) thinking about what I need to write that night in my book 2) silently mocking the people on the treadmill who are trying to talk on their cell phone and “run” or 3) checking out how fast other people nearby are running and, if they’re running faster, seeing if I can keep up with their pace for five minutes. All of these are in infinitely more interesting than staring at a TV screen.

Now instead of having a TV monitor that I can glance at occasionally, I’m going to have a screen right in front of my face.

It wouldn’t be too bad if I could move the monitor and push it out of my way, far from my line of sight, so I could glance at it occasionally like I do now. Instead they’re attached to some kind of titanium bracket which I doubt even the Incredible Hulk could bend.

Then to rub salt on the wound there’s no way to turn the TV sets off.

So you have to stare at something, even if you’d rather stare at nothing.

At the very least, it would have been nice if they left a handful of treadmills without the TVs for the few souls like myself who would rather do something than watch television. But no, they converted every damn one of them.

The elliptical machines are next.

It makes me glad I cut the number of runs I do each week at the gym from five to three and replaced the two runs with two 30-minute swims. As far as I know, they haven’t found a way to put TV screens in the pool.

Long Sleeve Short Sleeve Shirts

The weather’s turned cold and as a result, I’ve started wearing long sleeve shirts to work. When I first put on a long sleeve shirt last week I realized it didn’t fit right. I looked down at my wrists and realized that sleeves were about an inch or two shorter than normal. Thinking that the shirt has somehow shrunk last time it was washed, I set it aside and put on another long sleeve shirt. It also felt funny and I noticed that it too wasn’t quite long enough on the arms.

I put on a third shirt and noticed the same problem. I was about to tell Marathon Girl that something was wrong with our washing machine when I noticed that the shirt I was wearing felt tight around the chest and arms.

Apparently my summer exercise regimen along with swimming twice a week has increased the size of my chest, arms, and shoulders to the point where I need bigger shirts. :-)

This is a good problem to have.

Swimming Rocks

Swimming Rocks

Adding swimming twice a week to my workout routine has had some nice, unexpected benefits.

First, every muscle in my body has become stronger and better toned. Marathon Girl is very happy with the results.

Second, my running’s improved. Yeah, that was truly unexpected. I thought since I was replacing two three mile runs with swimming that my pace would slow. That’s not the case. I’m running faster. When I started swimming Marathon Girl told me that, if done right, swimming would help my running. Did I believe her? No. Do I have egg on my face now? Yes.

Best of all, it’s given my fitness goal to work towards. After benching my weight (yes, I can still do it) I ran out of fitness-related goals. As a result, my workout routines have been rather flat and there been several days where I’ve had to motivate myself to get to the gym. My new goal is to be able to swim a mile without stopping by the end of the year and gives me the kick I need to go to the gym. Right now I can do seven laps before taking a break. In an Olympic-sized pool, a mile is 33 laps so I’m already 1/5 of the way to my goal.

Wish me luck!

Swimming: My Respite from Reality

When temperatures are routinely climbing past 100 degrees Fahrenheit, it makes me glad I’ve incorporated swimming into my gym routine once or twice a week – depending on my workout schedule. Yesterday after giving my abs and shoulders a good workout, I headed for the pool. The water was nice and cold compared to the hot sweaty gym. The water felt so good that after my 20 minute swim, I didn’t want to leave the pool. Just wanted to float in the water and pretend there wasn’t a crushing load of work to deal with back at the office or that I’d be sweating in the hot car again after heading back to the office.

Since there was no one else in the pool I closed my eyes and floated on my back letting my breathing and heart rate slow, enjoying the still water and the silence that comes with having your ears below water.

For a few minutes my mind wandered.

I thought about what a better swimmer I am now than I was when I started swimming last month. I’m still the slowest swimmer in the pool, but my time, technique, and endurance have improved tremendously. Michael Phelps may not have to worry about me in the 2008 Beijing Olympics but he and the rest of the American swimming team better look out in 2012.

I ruminated over a problem I was having with one of the characters in my novel and whether or not I should eliminate him from the story altogether.

I wondered what Marathon Girl was doing and hoped she was taking some time to rest. Between taking care of three young kids and have a fourth one on the way, she needed those afternoon breaks when the kids are down for naps.

I started to think of something else but there was a disturbance in the water. I looked up. In the next lane a swimmer was barreling down the lane, toward my end of the pool. I watched him flip as he reached the end of the pool and headed back to the other end.

My respite from reality was over.

It was time to get back to work.

Swimming 1 Abel 0

Swimming

While running the other day, I tweaked a muscle in my left calf. Though rather painful, the injury wasn’t very serious. It would simply require a week of no running to heal.

In the meantime, I had to find a replacement cardio activity. Yesterday, I decided to give swimming a try. I figured I had strong arms, legs, and lungs, how hard could it really be to swim for 30 minutes? Besides, when Marathon Girl is working through a running injury, she can swim non-stop for an hour or more without a problem. If she can be Super Woman, why can’t I be Super Man?

I forgot that there can only be one adult superhero per family.

Thirty minutes after I started, I dragged my wet butt out of the pool completely exhausted.

It would be nice to insert a story here about how far and fast I swam and that was the reason for barely being able to exit the pool under my own strength. But I can’t.

Here’s the sorry truth: I ended up swimming 20 lengths during the 30 minutes with a short break between each length.

Yeah, it was that difficult.

Swimming is nothing like running or strength training. I worked muscles I didn’t even know I had.

When I got home last night Marathon Girl asked how my swim was.

I told her.

She did a good job keeping a straight face and telling me I did a good job for not having done any serious swimming in 15 plus years.

Today my shoulders are very sore (in a good way) and I had to take it easy on my weight exercises that involved those muscles. Even though it was a very tiring and humbling experience, I’ve decided to swim once a week in place of a scheduled cardio or strength training workout.

At the very least, I hope to be able to keep up to Marathon Girl if we ever go swimming together.

Marathon Girl Knows What She's Talking About

Since I’m very busy at work, in the middle of writing a second book, and trying to be a good husband/father, the most convenient time for me to work out is during my lunch hour. This isn’t a big deal. There’s a gym close to my work and the exercise in the middle of the day keeps me sharp and focused for the remainder of the afternoon. The only downside to using the gym is, on days that I run, I’m forced to use a treadmill. I’d much rather be outside running – especially on days like today when the temperatures are in the high fifties and there’s nothing but blue skies and sunshine outside my office window. But since my office doesn’t have a shower handy, I go to the gym.

When I started running at the gym last summer, Marathon Girl informed me that running on a treadmill is a lot different than running outside. She said to best way mimic an outdoor run, I needed to make sure I was running on the treadmill with an incline of three percent. Running with no incline, she said, is like running downhill. As a result when you try to run outside again, you’ll struggle.

Of course, I ignored her advice. Sure, Marathon Girl’s a world-class runner, won two marathons, etc. but what could she possibly know about running on a treadmill? Not much, I thought.

So I had to learn my lesson the hard way. Back in February, Marathon Girl and I went on a run together. I had no expectations of keeping up with her but I was surprised at how hard the five mile run was for me. I had to stop three times and catch my breath.

During one of these breaks Marathon Girl asked if I was having a hard time with the course.

“Yeah,” I said. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me today.”

“Do you get winded when you run at the gym?”

“No.”

“Are you running with an incline on the treadmill?”

I looked away. I wanted to blame the twenty pounds of muscle I’ve added in the last year, the cold weather, or anything except for the fact I hadn’t listened to her.

“That’s what I thought,” Marathon Girl said as she turned and started running again.

The next time I ran at the gym, I added a slight incline, slowly raising it every week until I can now complete a four mile run in under thirty minutes with a three percent incline.

Thankfully, all that hard work paid off.

Last Monday I didn’t have a chance to work out during lunch. After I got home Marathon Girl suggested we put the kids in the stroller and go running together. Of course she kicked my butt, but I was able to keep up with her and complete the entire run in a decent time without stopping or getting winded – even while pushing a stroller with Aidan in it.

After the run, Marathon Girl put her arm around me and complemented me on being able to keep up with her.

“I take it you’ve been running with an incline on the treadmill.”

“Yeah,” I said. “How on earth did you know.”

Marathon Girl just smiled at me and walked into the house.

I’m never ignoring her running advice again.

Exercise Rocks!

I love exercise. Nothing invigorates my mind or body like exercise. After feeling languid all morning, I went to the gym during lunch. I feel refreshed, revitalized, and ready to knock all my assignment at work out of the park and write another chapter in my book tonight! (After LOST, of course :-) .)

Benched My Weight!

Bench Press

It’s no secret that I was born with little in the way of muscle mass. Though being tall and thin has its advantages, it also means that I don’t have much muscle mass. Any muscle I manage to add is quickly gone if I don’t lift or try to grow what little muscles I have on a regular basis.

So it was quite an accomplishment on Saturday when I actually bench my own weight – 205 lbs (93 kg) – without any assistance.

It took two years to get here – a process that was slowed by fact that I still run regularly – but it was well worth the time and effort to be this strong.

And the accomplishment was even sweeter because instead of doing it in a gym, I did it at home in front of Marathon Girl, who, by the way, really likes the muscle I’ve added over that period of time.

Life is good and sweet – especially when you’ve worked hard to accomplish something.

Resolving to do Better in 2008

I was mildly surprised to see how packed the gym was this afternoon. Then I remembered it was January 2 and people are high on their New Year's resolutions and burning off the unwanted pounds or whatever it is they're hoping to accomplish by working out. Sadly, most of these people will be gone come March. The good news is that once people start giving up in a couple of weeks, I won't have to occasionally wait for equipment. To make successful goal -- whether it be a New Year's resolution or something else -- takes careful thought and planning but also determination to accomplish it. That's why making a resolution that you, say, want to lose weight isn't enough. It's a good start but you need to decide how you're going to shed those pounds.

If you decide exercise is the way to slim down, you need to enjoy the exercise. If running on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike seems boring, then don't do it. Instead find an exercise that you can enjoy like swimming or tennis. Whatever it is, you'll be more motivated to exercise if you enjoy doing it as opposed to something that you don't look forward to accomplishing. If you can't find an exercise at the gym that you enjoy, you're simply throwing your money away.

Sadly three out of the four people that were crowding the gym today are doing just that.

Ten Pounds to Go

We interrupt this regularly scheduled blog update to announce I benched 200 lbs. today!!!! I'm 10 lbs. from benching my weight and life-long goal.

You can now return to your normal web-related activities.