Friday, October 31, 2014

October Running

Man, October ran by fast! I managed 138+ miles this month, which is just a few minutes shy of my 155 mile goal. I'll have to catch up during November.

It's been a tough month, but I feel like I'm making progress. In August and September the pounds just dripped off me, but the weight loss has not been as rapid this month. Even so, my slow runs are now at a 10 minute mile pace, with many runs at a 9 minute pace, with one short run at about 8:30.

Also, a lot of my clothes no longer fit. The first thing to stop fitting was my underwear. Fatty Angelo stretched out all the rubber bands, which just fell off not-so-fat Angelo. So I had to buy new underwear. And I can't wear about half of my work clothes. I folded up all of my 38 waist pants and went out to buy some 34 inch waist ones. And they fit! Amazing.

I'm almost at the point where I'll have to buy new shirts. I've got a work trip next week, so I'm going to go buy one suit and a couple of shirts that actually fit, but my plan is to buy a whole new wardrobe after the marathon on January 11.

I've been running 2 1/2 months with 2 1/2 months to go, so if I keep this up -- and I plan to -- literally none of my clothes should fit by then.

I really had planned on blogging more this month. I had one week where I was constanstly starving no matter what I ate, and then this week I was exhausted so didn't really run -- which is why I fell behind on my monthly goals.

In the next couple of weeks I'm looking forward to falling below 200 lbs. It will be the first time since 2007 -- 8 years -- since I've been that "small."

I've also signed up for a half marathon in Richmond on November 15 -- 15 days from now. This will be my longest run ever, excluding the Tagaman Triathalon a few years ago. I'm shooting to run it under 2 hours, but this being my first half marathon, we'll see how that goes.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Award Winning Fatty

My legs were feeling fresh on Thursday so I decided to go for a long run. I've mapped out a 9.1 trail that runs around the National Mall.

Do you ever have one of those days where your legs move faster than you thought they could? When you look down at your watch and think it must be broken? That was Thursday. I hit my first mile at 9 minutes and hardly slowed. I finished the run at a 9:15 pace. I haven't done that in a while.
After the long run on Thursday, I knew Friday's run was going to be a slog. I'd like to get to the point where my slow runs are about 60 minutes at conversation pace, but lately I've been finishing my 5 mile runs in about 50 minutes, so I expanded my usual trail by going around the Lincoln Memorial rather than in front of it. That added 0.3 miles. I think next time I may run around the Capital Building rather than in front of it as well.

I also won the weight loss contest at work. 22 lbs. earned me first place in the overall weight loss contest. I'm now $415 richer -- which means I've basically broken even considering all of the weight loss contests I've participated in over the years.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Mr. Obama’s Pacific Monument

The New York Times today published an editorial praising President Obama's expansion of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument (which by the way, is begging for a better name).

My hope is that President Obama takes a look at the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument next. I am no longer working on the creation of large marine protected areas (my focus is shark conservation), but this is a place I care a great deal about. My father first introduced protections for this area into the CNMI constitution nearly 40 years ago and I worked very hard in 2008 to expand those protections. It is time for those protections to be expanded again. Five years ago the Friends of the Mariana Trench Monument wrote to CNMI Delegate Gregorio Camacho "Kilili" Sablan with three recommendations to improve management and conservation of the area. Kudos to John Gourley for hosting our letter on his website for the world to see.

Here is the editorial from the New York Times:
It’s safe to assume that most presidents have big ambitions and visions of lasting Rooseveltian achievement. Though, in recent history, the millstones of Washington’s pettiness and partisanship usually grind such dreams to dust. There are exceptions, which happen when presidents discover the Antiquities Act.

This is the law, used by Theodore Roosevelt and many successors, by which the executive can permanently set aside public lands from exploitation, building an environmental legacy with a simple signature and without Congress’s consent. This is how President Obama last week, in addition to everything else on his plate, created the largest marine preserve in the world.

He used his Antiquities Act authority to expand the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument from 87,000 square miles to nearly 500,000 square miles, a vast change. The monument is not one area but the ocean surrounding several coral-and-sand specks of United States territory that most Americans have never heard of and few will ever visit, like Wake and Johnston Atolls and Jarvis Island. The ocean there is relatively pristine and now will stay that way. Commercial fishing, seabed mining and other intrusions will not be allowed.

The monument is not as large as it could have been; Mr. Obama chose not to extend its boundaries out to the full 200-mile territorial limit for all the islands within it. Still, environmental groups are uniformly praising him for going as big as he did and for defying opposition from Hawaiian fishing interests whose loyalties lie with the producers of canned tuna. That industry has other places to fish; it will not suffer. But, at a time when the world’s oceans are threatened by rampant pollution, overfishing and climate change, the benefits of Mr. Obama’s decision will be profound, particularly if other countries now follow the United States’ excellent example.

Few of us will see these benefits directly. But out there beyond Honolulu, living in splendid isolation, are sharks, rays and jacks; coconut crabs; moosehorn, staghorn and brain corals; humpback and melon-headed whales; green and hawksbill turtles; bottlenose and spinner dolphins; and untold millions of boobies, curlews and plovers. All these, and countless other living things, will be better off.

Republicans will complain, but they should remember that it was President George W. Bush who created the monument. Mr. Obama only expanded it. Building an environmental legacy is an idea with bipartisan appeal.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

500 Miles 2 Disney

Long time readers of this blog (yes, both of you), know that I struggle with my weight. I'll put on some weight, run for a couple of weeks and burn it off, then get lazy again and put on more weight. Part of it is my work. I travel a lot and spend lots of time in hotels and restaurants. The other part is that I really like food. A whole lot. Recently, I've been heavier than I've ever been.

Earlier this summer I signed up for a weight loss contest at work. It was $60 to compete and the contest would stretch for 12 weeks. The two people who lost the highest percentage of their original weight or most pounds overall would win. The contest ends this Friday.

I forget where I went, but I was not in town for the first weigh-in. I let the organizers know and they allowed me to weigh-in a few days early. To compensate, I'd have my final weigh-in a few days early, too.

For the first six weeks of the contest I did nothing. I traveled to the British Virgin Islands, the Marshall Islands, and Palau while eating and drinking to my heart's content. While I was in Palau I went for a four mile run with one of my co-workers. I couldn't go more than two miles without having to walk. The next week when I arrived back home, I decided I'd take the contest seriously and start exercising.

That was six weeks ago. I started my workouts on the treadmill in my apartment building. With a brand new pair of shoes, I set the timer for 60 minutes and set a pace for 4.5 miles per hour. That's kind of slow. Each day I tried to go a little faster. I'd increase to 5 mph, and if it got to be too much, I'd slow down. A few weeks in and I was running 6 mph and really bored of the treadmill. I've been doing all of my runs around downtown Washington, DC ever since.

My final weigh-in was Monday. From an original weight of 230, I dropped to 208, a loss of 22 lbs, or 9.6% of my original weight. That's the most weight I've ever lost at one time. The final weigh-in for everbody else at work is on Friday. Fingers crossed that I win, but even if I don't, I feel and look a lot better.

I feel so good, in fact, that I did something a little crazy this evening. After running 5.3 miles along the National Mall, I signed up for the Disney Marathon in Orlando on January 11.

So what's my goal? Honestly, to finish. I've never run a marathon before and I haven't competed in a race since 2012's Tagaman. I've done a little math, and with 14 weeks of training to go, I think I can run 500 miles between now and the start of the race.

It's the first of the month, a great time to start counting down my 500. And since I ran 5.3 miles earlier, I've only got 494.7 miles to Disney.

Stay tuned for updates, and I appreciate any and all encouragement! I've already received some from the mouse: